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Close Encounters of the Local Kind Lights in Area Skies A Very Merry Manhattan An Insider’s Guide to the Holidays

in the Big Apple The Chairman Dances Lit-Pop for the Masses

Serving Bucks, Hunterdon and Mercer Counties

December 2011

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Christopher Willett, born in 1959, is a Bucks County

painter with a family lineage dating back to the Plymouth settlers who arrived in this country aboard the Mayflower. Willett’s fourthgreat grandfather, Augustine Willett, was a captain under General Washington. Willett is also a descendant of Edward Hicks, known for his work titled Peaceable Kindom. In more recent history, Willett artisans were renowned for their designs and beautiful works in stained glass that adorn the Bryn Athyn Cathedral on the Pitcairn Estate.

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Artist Myles Cavanaugh … 26

Music The Chairman Dances .............................. 14 Business The Pet Campus ...................................... 20 Spotlight The Doylestown Gold Exchange .............. 33 Home Finding the Right Light ............................ 36 Community Toys for Tots ............................................ 42 Spotlight Allusions Cosmetics Studio ..................... 46

Health + Beauty Love the Skin You’re In ............................ 50 Daytrip A Very Merry Manhattan ......................... 58 A Closer Look Close Encounters of the Local Kind ......... 64 Food + Dining The Black Bass Hotel ............................... 72 Backpage To All a Good Night .................................. 78

Publisher: Pearson Publishing Editor-In-Chief: Justin Elson Managing Editor: Jack Firneno Art Director: Paul Rowlands Photography: Wendy McCardle Contributing Writers: Jack Firneno, Justin Elson, R.P. Webster, Carla Merolla Odell, Scott Holloway, Oliver White, Ingrid Weidman, Caitlin Burns, Rochelle Craig, Kyle Bagenstose Distribution Manager: Tom Cormican

To advertise, contact us at 215.896.2767 or via email at For all editorial content, contact us at






Around Town
1. Local shoppers took in the food, wine and deals at Bucks Country Gardens in Doylestown during their Girls’ Thyme Shopping Event. 2. James Savana and Sindy Strouse hanging out at Zen Den Coffee in Doylestown. 3. Donna Medaglio and Brenda Olenick pose with a sexy Santa at the Girls’ Thyme Shopping Event. 4. Judith Truman and Donna Froman enjoying drinks at 86 West in Doylestown. 5. Krista Applegate, Sharon Lewis and Samantha Benson enjoying an evening at the Triumph Brewing Company in New Hope. 6. Susan and Jordan Kohn at Marsha Brown in New Hope. 7. Susan and Steven Zeitenberg checking out Love Heals Jewelry at Shop 65 in Doylestown. 8. Laura Duimering and Denise Philipp relaxing in the lounge of La Chele Medical Aesthetics in New Hope.




DOG of the MONTH
Breed: Labrador Retriever Age: 11 Years Old Owner: Kathy, Flav, Reed and Palmer Brown
By Scott Holloway

Some dogs are simply survivors. Found in the middle of New Britain Road on a dark December night with a collar but no identifying tags, Jake’s temporary family launched a massive search. After weeks of distributing flyers and posting on the internet, no one came forward. Jake soon became the third dog in the Brown family. And while he quickly won their hearts, Jake had his own obstacles to overcome. He is deaf, full of lumps and bumps, has survived major seizures and has had both ACLs replaced. But despite his ills, it hardly

puts a damper on Jake’s antics. He opens oven doors, raids the refrigerator and empties the pantry. Luckily, his heart far outweighs his mischievous ways. Full of love and empty of remorse, Jake takes on life as we all should: moving ever forward and never looking back. It’s his spirit that has taught the Browns an important lesson in forgiveness. And while they wouldn’t wish his hijinks on any other family, the Browns have learned much from opening their hearts and home to their not-so-perfect but always-loving Jake.

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The Chairman Dances Lit-Pop for the Masses
By Jack Firneno | Photos Courtesy of Eric Krewson

Dear readers, indulge me for a moment: The song Darkest Days from the Chairman Dances’ debut album, Sings Long Lost and a History of Iniquity, presents the listener with an interesting form. It’s written in two parts, the second being a variation of the first. It begins with lazily strummed, familiar-sounding chords. “We walked ourselves to the carnival parade / dressed as demons scaring kids,” sings Eric Krewson, beginning a tune which meditates on growing up. He references those lines when starting the second refrain but changing the lyric to, “We used to gird ourselves and carry the moon on our backs / We’d ride the rails for the thrill of it all.” Here, the music begins to sound anxious, and the guitar chords a tad more raucous. “The first half is in narrative time. It’s like a newspaper just describing what’s going on,” Krewson explains. “The second is in lyric time, which is like more like poetry, more expressive. The band plays faster and more dynamically. The chords are sevens and nines instead of just the usual triads.”
14 Music | December 2011


Still here? Good. It might be easy at this point to just write off the Chairman Dances as overwrought or pretentious. Noting that Krewson holds a degree in musical semiotics, studied musicology in grad school and that the album was released with the University of Pennsylvania Library acting as their record label could only serve to paint the band as, at best, over-educated indie rockers. But what makes these sophisticated literary and musical devices interesting is that, as crucial as they are to the album, they’re woven seamlessly into the background. Spanning from somber acoustic pieces and majestic mini-epics to post-punk and rockabilly, Sings Long Lost and a History of Iniquity purposefully travels easily recognizable styles while rewarding close listens with complex textures and inventions. “The material is essentially pop songs, but at the same time, the album is an attempt to stretch the language of pop music and test its limits,” Krewson explains. And while the genre may be often maligned as shallow, he notes, there’s more to it than many realize: “I equate it to folk music and the oral tradition. It’s more capable than what people give it credit for in terms of conveying meaning.” Krewson assembled the Chairman Dances last year from friends, peers and former musical collaborators to see just how far those limits could be stretched. Lead guitarist Dan Wisniewski, Ben Rosen on bass and drummer Michael Giuliana from Princeton quickly became integral to the project. “I was trying a lot of things musically with them, but it was never a situation where I was just bringing in songs for them to play,” Krewson says. “They’re by far the best musicians I’ve worked with.” True to Krewson’s intentions, their debut, a double EP featuring two separate song cycles, bends and stretches well-worn ideas in new ways. Sings Long Lost reflects on coming

“The album is an attempt to stretch the language of pop music and test its limits.” – Eric Krewson


Music | December 2011

of age while A History of Iniquity explores the darker sides of human nature. But there’s method to the seeming disparity. “I wanted to write a contemporary album for my friends,” he says, referencing the subject matter of the former. “It was born of conversations with people going from their 20s into their 30s. It started narrow, but I realized the themes were more universal.” Conversely, A History of Iniquity, he says, is “a series of grotesques,” where he created villainous characters with whom people could still sympathize: “Generally, I think people are more forgiving than we think. I wanted to see how far I could stretch characters like that before people stopped identifying with them.” According to Krewson, employing pop music to serve as the backdrop for these ideas makes them easier to express. “People are familiar with the genre’s forms and gestures, so it’s not like you need to create a new language for [the songs],” he explains. “You have a listening audience that you can tap into and hopefully say something grand.” And since releasing their album this fall, the Chairman Dances has been reaching that audience. College radio stations have been picking up the album, and the band plays regularly in and around Philadelphia with the occasional trips to Bucks County and New York City. As of this writing, they’re also up for “Artist of the Month” on the prominent Philadelphia entertainment blog The Delhi. “I’ve been very happy with the reception, and I’m more proud of this than anything I’ve ever been a part of,” Krewson says. “You really can’t ask for anything more than that.” Go online at


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The Pet Campus Your Best Friend’s Best Friend
By Caitlin Burns | Photos by Wendy McCardle

hile many consider themselves animal lovers, it takes a certain disposition to work with our furry, four-legged friends day in and day out. Patience, understanding and passion are but a few of the necessary traits needed for such professions. Just ask Wendy Whitelam. Before opening the Pet Campus, a full-service training, grooming, daycare and boarding facility for dogs – and some very social cats, Whitelam adds – in Pineville, a decade ago, she worked as a chemist. And while Whitelam ran a private training venture in addition to her day job, Whitelam’s longing to work with animals inspired her to leave the corporate environs and strike out on her own. “It seemed like a natural transition,” Whitelam says. “I’ve been working with dogs since I was 11 years old. I trained seeing-eye dogs as a child. Training has become a real passion. Now I get to do what
20 Business | December 2011


I love. And most days, it’s not really like I’m working at all.” Holding an accreditation from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and an active member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, Whitelam says the Pet Campus’ primary focus is to provide a trustworthy, reliable resource for area dog owners. “We look to provide education for pet lovers, and, at the same time, to be a resource for the education of their dog,” she explains. “Within our training programs, we help increase the social appropriateness of the dog, so their owners can confidently do things with them and take them places.” And while training methods and philosophies vary, Whitelam’s approach is one that resonates with many dog lovers. She doesn’t subscribe to negative reinforcement. Whitelam cites an experience related on her Web site for prospective customers that


“Everybody who works here loves animals.
– Wendy Whitelam

exemplifies the perhaps-damaging impacts other methods might have. “I had a client who was driving along River Road, when she noticed a man with a boxer-mix stopped at the edge of the blacktop,” Whitelam recalls. “She proceeded slowly and assumed the dog must have been told to sit previously, because the man suddenly yanked up hard up on the dog’s metal choke chain. The dog turned and faced the man but didn’t immediately sit. The man lifted his arm, preparing for a big swing, and slapped the dog hard on its rump. The dog sat.”

But there’s more than one proverbial way to teach an old dog new tricks. “There’s no negative training here at all,” Whitelam says, relying on her 24 years of experience to promote a positive environment. “It’s all scientifically based, not physically based using punishment and choke or prong collars. Animal research shows that it’s the most effective method for animal learning. Aggression just creates more aggression. Training a dog should be fun, rewarding and enrich the dog-owner relationship.” The Pet Campus offers various types of training services, including 14 different classes and the return of the possession-aggression workshop this winter. Most classes are an hour in duration and vary in number, depending on the ultimate goals. In addition to training, Whitelam also offers boarding accommodations. But it’s hardly just a soft bed and a watchful eye. Canine guests are afforded climatecontrolled spaces, daily exercise and individualized attention and playtime during their stay. And for the dog that enjoys getting out of the house more often, the Pet Campus’ doggy day care is a sure hit. “Dogs are social animals and thrive in environments that meet their physical, mental and emotional needs,” Whitelam explains. “Day care enables an already social dog to practice good social skills with other dogs. And it’s just plain fun for them.” With Whitelam and her 12 employees sharing a common commitment to their clients and their dogs, individual care and attention is guaranteed. “Everybody who works here loves animals,” she says. “We’re very patient, not only with each other, but with our clients as well, whether they come in on two legs or four.” For more information on the Pet Campus’ services, go online at or call 215-598-7202.


Business | December 2011

Uniquely Bucks Country Gardens.
~d E l awaRE va l l E y’s mo s t iNcREdibl E cHRis tma s sHoP~

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Buche de Noel | Dancing Reindeer Cake Sticky Toffee Pudding | Festive Holiday Cookies | and more!

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We are pleased to announce the opening of our NEWEST LOCATION: The Gilmore Building 65 East Butler Avenue, Suite 203, New Britain, PA 18901 215.836.7212 |

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Full bar with select wines from California and Italy. BYOB Tues & Thurs only. $10 bottle fee.

Pet Pictures with santa!
Get a photo with Santa!

Or in a Winter Wonderland!

Or get one of each!
$10.00 minimum donation to Dog Park Fund! Includes photo and food scoop! Amazing raffles! Picture is free for anyone who buys a brick or paver! Call Victoria at 267-247-5567 to reserve your spot now! Walk-ins welcome too!
Professional photos by Doghouse Photographers!

Saturday December 10
Location: Life on the Leash 42 East State Street, Doylestown, PA

11:00am - 5:00pm

Myles Cavanaugh Capturing a Simple Beauty
By Rochelle Craig | Photos Courtesy of Myles Cavanaugh and Christian Gianelli


yles Cavanaugh has lived in the Bucks County area nearly his entire life, passing the same bucolic farmhouses, fields and bridges on his daily bike rides. And through the years, he’s learned a little bit about inspiration. It can strike anywhere. Even in the familiar. And when Cavanaugh sees the seemingly common in a fresh light, he knows he’s found a subject for a new painting – even if an explanation defies him. “Something just hits me,” he says. Visitors to the Silverman Gallery in Buckingham, where Cavanaugh shares a permanent space with three other notable Bucks County artists, will undoubtedly recognize the local scenes he captures. But perhaps more importantly, they identify Cavanaugh’s work by the stillness and peacefulness that permeate his canvases. “With all the turmoil in the news these days,” he says, “I’m trying to create something
26 Artist | December 2011

calming that people would want to live with in their homes.” Raised in an artistic family that both encouraged and helped develop Cavanaugh’s burgeoning creative pursuits, he began painting, printmaking and experimenting with lost-wax casting using the family’s wood stove at the age of 15. In 1992, Cavanaugh pursued a formal art education at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. And during his freshman year, Cavanaugh made a lifelong commitment to his chosen path. “When I was a teenager, I didn’t really know how challenging it would be to really be an artist,” he admits. “After a semester or two, I felt comfortable knowing what I’d be up against.” In the earliest stages of the young working artist’s career, Cavanaugh rented out storefronts and a local firehouse, installing temporary lighting to self-produce his own exhibitions. He also set aside time to travel, studying

“I try to create something calming that people would want to live with in their homes.”
– Myles Cavanaugh



Artist | December 2011


and painting extensively in Spain and other European locales. And while Cavanaugh’s globetrotting provided an education all its own, the place where he first established his artistic legs has provided Cavanaugh his most dependable muse. “People really value the painters who were here before,” he says. “It’s one of the things people love about living here.” Inspired by the artistic heritage of the area, Cavanaugh’s work will take center stage when his solo exhibition opens on Dec. 3. Appropriately titled Places and Times to Remember: A Collection of Classic American and Bucks County Scenes, he has begun work on 20 new paintings, attempting to capture the inherent splendor of the Delaware Valley. “When I was preparing for the exhibit, I knew I wanted to work on a collection of paintings that reflect the beauty and feeling of the area,” Cavanaugh explains. “I was very inspired to paint August Evening and Colors of Autumn. I sought out the most elevated and visually unobstructed vistas I could find. I love seeing the area from a high vantage point, the rolling hills and towns nestled in the valleys.”
30 Artist | December 2011

And while landscapes play an important role in Cavanaugh’s coming show, the painter is also busy exploring other themes. “I tried to capture some of the romance and nostalgia of our area with Weathered Barns and American Roadside,” he says. “I love to see remnants of a bygone era slowly growing old. It reminds me of a time when life was a little slower. I hope that others will see the beauty I saw when creating these works. I hope that they too feel a sense of emotion in what they see.” Looking toward the future, Cavanaugh, who lives on a picturesque Lambertville road with his wife, two-year-old daughter and a baby boy born this July, says it’s been more difficult recently to balance his time between family and art. But the changes in his routine speak to the relaxing tone of his newest work: “I’m more focused now that I have to sort of steal away time to paint or get out. But when I get the time to work, I’m much more relaxed. I take it all with a calmer approach.” Go online at


200 works · 50 artists · 1 exhibit

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The Doylestown Gold Exchange A Sound Investment for Uncertain Times
By Justin Elson | Pictures by Wendy McCardle

The economic news over the past few years has been, at the risk of sounding optimistic, bleak. The talking heads spout recession incessantly. The polarizing pundits sometimes drop a depression. If you believe the doomsayers, your pension, your 401k, your stocks: none of it’s safe. But there is at least one investment out there proving both its worth and security: precious metals. “The price of silver, gold and platinum has never been higher, and it continues to climb,” says Greg Glemser, co-owner of the Doylestown Gold Exchange, who celebrated their grand opening last month. “It’s been a gradual increase over time, but it’s been getting more attention lately. Many of our clients are people who took their money out of conventional investments years ago and shifted their funds to commodity assets.” And if you had the foresight to make such a move, it’s certainly paying dividends now. But even if you haven’t switched financial strategies but do have old jewelry, coins or other collectables and think it might be time to cash in, how do you know you’re getting a fair price? “We pride ourselves on being trustworthy, reputable and honest,” Glemser says. “There are a lot of places around now that are just a table and a guy with a lot of cash on hand, and that’s not us. Many of our clients have come to us to get a second quote, and our offer is almost invariably higher.” And in matching up with their seeming fly-by-night competition, the Doylestown Gold Exchange has another trick up its proverbial sleeve: their collective experience. Glemser, a 15-year veteran

of the jewelry business and a certified graduate gemologist of the Gemological Institute of America, employs both his trained eye and sterling reputation when appraising a customer’s offerings. “Some places will pay you based on the caratweight of the gold itself and nothing more,” he explains. “But if it’s a vintage piece or contains valuable stones that are worth far more, I’m happy to tell my clients that I have people in the industry I can contact that may buy the piece as is and provide them a better return than just the scrap weight. We’ve already received feedback from repeat customers that they appreciate our honesty, personalized service and truly feel we are looking out for their best interests.” For more information, go online at or call 215-345-6630.
Spotlight | 33

Countdown to a Happy New Year
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Copper Lantern
Lighting Gallery

By Kyle Bagenstose Photos by Wendy McCardle

Finding the Right Light Beautifying Your Home, Inside and Out I
n the dark evenings of winter, lighting can be everything. Whether it’s a charming lantern, casting its glow through falling snowflakes as friends or family approach, or an ornate iron chandelier, adding warmth to your dining room during a holiday feast, quality lighting is inviting even on the coldest evenings. With the flick of a switch, foreboding environs can quickly turn to hospitable enclaves. We sat down Tim Baratelle, vice president of the Copper Lantern, a specialty highend, handcrafted lighting company in Mechanicsville, to learn more about your illumination options. Like the spirit of the season, light fixtures are always better when authentic, a belief that Baratelle and his wife, Joan, have built their business around. “We started the company in 1996 after realizing there was no place for homeowners to find quality lighting products in the Central Bucks area,” he
36 Home | December 2011

explains. “People were asking where they could go to buy unusual but nice fixtures – not the run-of-the-mill stuff that’s available everywhere else in the tri-county area. We started selling our exterior fixtures from our construction office, did a couple of local shows and it just started developing. The business just keeps on growing.” Lanterns for a Lifetime When it comes to exterior illumination, think beyond the mere porch-light. Baratelle recommends, naturally, the flagship product of the Copper Lantern. “All of our lanterns are crafted with care and designed with both aesthetics and functionality in mind,” he says. “They’re made of solid copper and brass, and we do different aging finishes to give our customers exactly the look they want. They all have hinged doors for easy relamping and cleaning. There are no steel parts and no punch riveting.

Tim Baratelle (above) specializes in creating lighting solutions for both the exterior and interior of your home. 37

of nearly any room. Our most popular shades are brown, gold and rust, but we can also go from white to green, red to black.” But that’s only half the story. “We then drape them with crystal accents,” Baratelle says. “We do all the crystal designs on all of our chandeliers.” And while crystal may evoke images of magnificent ballrooms – a look the Copper Lantern certainly can accommodate – according to Baratelle, they craft in every size. “We have designs from just a single piece all the way up to hundreds of pieces of crystal,” he says. A Customer’s Dream At many lighting showrooms, customers pick up their products and then must go elsewhere for installation. Baratelle says that the Copper Lantern’s installation expertise provides the final key to customer satisfaction. “We have our own installation staff and electricians,” he explains, relying on his over-30 years of experience as an electrical contractor to make sure the job is done right. “We do lighting designs, installations, landscape lighting, recessed lighting. We pretty much do it all.” While the Copper Lantern leans toward the high-end wares, you just can’t find the full package – from handcrafting products to properly placing them in your home – anywhere else in the area. “It’s like one-stop shopping,” Baratelle says. “Even if you can’t make it in or are shopping for someone outside the immediate area, everything is available on our Web site, as well. It’s like a virtual showroom.” And when taken all together, the Copper Lantern rises to the top. “It sets us above the rest,” Baratelle continues, “from our knowledge to install, from our products to everything else.” Go online at

Everything is handmade and handsoldered.” In addition, all the lanterns and components are domestically produced, a source of pride for Baratelle, who also says it’s rare in this day and age. “All of our lanterns are handmade in the U.S.,” he says. “These are lifetime lanterns. They’ll carry you through the life of your home.” A Touch of Class What a lantern will do for the exterior of your house, a chandelier can do for the interior. In setting a particular mood and ambience, Baratelle says that the Copper Lantern specializes in finely crafted chandeliers and adorning crystal to add the perfect lighting accent to any room. “Craftspeople make the iron chandeliers and paint them to a customer’s specifications,” he explains. “The iron can be painted in over 60 colors to match the décor
38 Home | December 2011

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Call Christine at (215) 340-1003 for the personal touch your special event deserves. Reserve NOW for choice dates! $25 Gift card for each $500 booked. Now Accepting Thanksgiving Dinner reservations! 194 W. Technorati Ashland Avenue Doylestown, PA 18901 (215) 340-1003

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By Oliver White Photos Courtesy of Kevin Miller

Toys for Tots Fulfilling the Promise of the Season
As the holiday season moves into full swing, children across our area are painstakingly preparing their allimportant lists. Although many are wrestling with the tough decisions – Do I want an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3? Do I go for an iPad or press my luck and ask for an iPad 2? Should this be the year I offer up a flat-screen for my room? – for some, it’s not a question of what but rather if. Whether Christmas, Chanukka or Kwanzaa, the promise of a holiday bounty is a tenuous prospect at best. And while the socio-economic ills that create such conditions can’t be solved in a singe season or by a single group, there are at least some working toward guaranteeing no child goes without some holiday cheer. As part of the United States Marine Corps’ (USMC) Toys for Tots program, underprivileged children, sometimes forgotten under society’s watch, are kept squarely in the public eye.
42 Community | December 2011

Originally launched in 1947 by Maj. Bill Hendricks, Marine reservists in the Los Angeles area collected and distributed nearly 5,000 toys for needy children. The venture was so successful that the USMC formally adopted the initiative the following year, establishing satellite operations in any community where a Marine Reserve Center was located. And although the effort has undergone changes over the past 64 years – distributing only new toys since 1980 and developing into a nonprofit organization in 1991 – the Toys for Tots program has distributed over 400 million toys to nearly 190 million needy children. Despite the generally affluent suburbs that characterize our area, volunteers and Marine reservists are hard at work locally, as well. Conducting efforts in Central and Upper Bucks, Hunterdon and Mercer Counties, inspiration is hardly in short supply. “I’ve been on


the wrong side of the economy myself, laid off from jobs before, so I know what it feels like,” says former Staff Sgt. Kevin Miller, who fulfilled his obligations to the USMC in 2001 but has stayed on with the Toys for Tots organization since. “And perhaps now more than ever, there are a lot of families facing the same kind of realities. But despite some tough times, every child deserves a little Christmas.” But just how does Toys for Tots obtain and get toys in the hands of deserving children? “We’re dependent on the work of our dedicated volunteers,” Miller explains, who adds that the Bucks County effort has grown from only two volunteers and three participating businesses to a team of a dozen volunteers and 250 partnerbusinesses, serving seven school districts and a population of 300,000. “They will typically be assigned a group of businesses, organize the drop-off sites, collect the toys and coordinate their movement to one of distribution sites. The toys are then disseminated among the social-service organizations that we’ve partnered
44 Community | December 2011

with and the children and families with whom they work with.” And as the holidays quickly approach, Miller says volunteers are needed now more than ever. With the recent closing of the Willow Grove Naval Air Station and the relocation of the Marines stationed there, the program’s reach in Lower Bucks has been tested. While Miller has secured extra warehouse space and his team has dedicated themselves further to the effort in order to serve the needs of children in the effected parts of the county, he stresses that more hands are still needed to ensure their objectives are met. And while time is certainly at a premium this year, Miller also says that even the simple donation of a new, unwrapped toy at any participating business can go a long way in providing a little holiday cheer for an underprivileged child. For more information on the Toys for Tots organization, to volunteer or to make a donation, go online at You can easily link to the specific program in your area by clicking on your state and county.

Allusions Cosmetics Studio Creating the Perfect Look
By Scott Holloway | Photos by Wendy McCardle

It’s not every day a little bit of the West Coast comes to Bucks County “We specialize in glamour, not glam, but that classic Hollywood look” says Janet Bowser, owner of Allusions Cosmetics Studio located at 812 North Easton Rd. in Doylestown. “Women don’t have to wear tons of makeup to look and feel better.” And in helping women achieve the desired look, the 30-year veteran employs her vast experience, offering consultations, custom applications and makeup services for special events like weddings. “Beyond makeup, we also offer a variety of other services,” she says. “Eyelashes fade with age, and eyelash

extensions enhance your eyes, making them appear more open and eliminating the need for mascara. Bowser even offers less-permanent options. “Eyelash lifts create a soft curl to bend and lift your lashes to make them appear longer and, again, your eyes seeming more open,” she adds. “This treatment typically lasts from six to eight weeks.” With the holidays approaching, gift certificates for any of Allusions’ products or services make a perfect present, especially for women searching for a fresh look to welcome the new year. “Your eyebrows are the frame for your face, and they also diminish with age,” Bowser says. “Eyebrow tinting gives a more youthful look, and eyelash tinting also provides a rich, youthful appearance and less need for mascara. This treatment lasts for roughly six weeks. We also offer airbrush tanning, which provides a natural look without exposing yourself to the harmful effects of the sun.” And in addition to their walk-in services, Allusions also offers its own makeup line to get the fresh from the studio look every day. “I’m very proud of our Allusions Undercover line,” Bowser says. “It took me three years to create, working with a chemist. Because everyone has a different texture to their skin, Undercover was produced to give your skin the texture your makeup was formulated for.” For more information on Allusions Cosmetics Studio’s products and services, go online at or call 215-822-8837.


Spotlight | December 2011

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By Justin Elson Photos Courtesy of Kim Billingsley

Love the Skin You’re In Rejuvenating and Refreshing Your Look
With another New Year’s celebration rapidly approaching, it’s once again time to take stock. With the turning of the calendar page, we often extend the simple action and create a metaphor that resonates within our own lives, taking the spirit of renewal and looking at what we can do to make the changes lingering in the back of our minds a reality. For many, that includes appearances. Confidence in your look is more than skin deep, extending to how we interact with others, carry ourselves and perceive our place in the world. We sat with down Dr. Lisa Espinoza, owner and medical director of La Chele Medical Aesthetics in New Hope, to learn a few approaches to rejuvenating and refreshing your skin and achieving the look you desire. Better Skin Through Science “We specialize in non-invasive, non-surgical ways to improve skin,”
50 Health + Beauty | December 2011

Espinoza says. “And with so many options and new technologies, the methods we have to fight the effects of aging are growing everyday.” One of Espinoza’s primary techniques: photofacials. “Photorejuvenation, or photofacial, uses a laser to produce healthier and younger-looking skin,” she explains. “By focusing on red and brown areas such as rosacea, freckles or uneven pigmentation, it’s the best and only procedure that can treat all of these signs of aging all at once. The procedure is painless, usually done in 30 minutes and results can be achieved with little or no downtime in only a few sessions.” And since the procedure yields the best results without summer tans, it’s best performed in the winter. Another cutting-edge technology employed at La Chele is Ulthera, a face-and-neck treatment that uses ultrasound technology to simulate the

Dr. Lisa Espinosa welcomes patients hoping to look and feel better.

Performing hundreds of procedures a year, Espinoza is dedicated to rejuvenating and refreshing her patients skin.


frown lines and crow’s feet. And since it’s been studied so extensively, when used cosmetically, it’s one of the safest procedures available.” Fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane target the cheeks and the lower portions around the mouth. “Dermal fillers restore volume and fullness to the skin while smoothing out wrinkles,” Espinoza continues. “Others fill in creases, lines, wrinkles and folds.” But no matter where your focus lies or what needs you’re trying to address, fillers and injectables are never permanent, last roughly a year and, perhaps most importantly, help build collagen, the main structural protein found throughout our body that provides the strength our tissue needs.

“We specialize in non-invasive, non-surgical ways to improve skin.”
– Dr. Lisa Espinoza

underlying muscle in reversing the effects of aging on skin. “We’re one of the only cosmetic practices in the area currently using Ultherapy,” Espinoza says. “The treatment tightens loose or lax neck and lowerfacial skin and elevates the brow. Patients come in all the time and say, ‘I’m not ready for surgery.’ With Ulthera, we can get immediate results in a single, hour-long procedure with little to no downtime.” Look Like the Stars They’re likely names you know from the pages of People or Us Weekly: Botox, Juvederm, Restylane. And while the treatments might be familiar, they’re hardly reserved for only the celebrity set. “Fillers and injectables are safe and effective ways to treat signs of aging on different parts of the face,” Espinoza says. “Botox is used on the upper parts often addressing
52 Health + Beauty | December 2011

An Ounce of Prevention While Espinoza performs hundreds of procedures a year on her patients, she also promotes healthy skin maintenance outside her office. “Just like you go to the gym to workout your body, you have to take care of your skin as well,” Espinoza says. “While the procedures and treatments I perform certainly help, a healthy face begins with good skin care and the use of sunblock.” To this end, La Chele offers its patients an opportunity to join their Healthy Skin Care Club. “Clients join and are welcome to pick and choose different treatments,” Espinoza explains. “Over time, mixing and matching services, patients get to know their skin better, learn what steps they can perform at home and gain a better understanding of the seasonal needs of their skin. Membership promotes a proactive approach to preventative aging that is truly invaluable.” For more information on La Chele Medical Aesthetics’ services, go online at or call 215-862-6100.

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Pictured right: Joanna Russo, a Bucks County native living in Manhattan, dishes out the hottest holiday spots.

A Very Merry Manhattan An Insider’s Guide to the Holidays in the Big Apple
By Jack Firneno | Photos Courtesy of Lane Benson and Bart Barlow

With its iconic landmarks and renowned holiday events, New York City has long been a top December destination. But all that glittering tinsel isn’t always gold: maybe you hate crowds, aren’t looking to max out your credit card on a single shopping spree or have seen the well-known attractions enough times already. Fortunately, a city suffering from a famous insomnia means someone’s always thinking of new things to do. With Manhattan just a quick car ride away – not counting tunnel traffic – and train lines from Philadelphia and Trenton leading right into the heart of Midtown, we spoke with Joanna Russo, a 26-year-old Bucks County native who moved to the Big Apple seven years ago, for tips on the attractions people outside of New York may not know about along with new ways to enjoy the old favorites.

A Mid-Manhattan Night’s Dream If you’ve never been to “the City,” there’s no reason to skip the usual tourist spots. “Everyone’s seen the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in pictures and movies but to see it in real life is something else entirely,” Russo says. “It’s huge and beautiful when it’s all lit up.” But the key, according to the New York transplant, is seeing it after dark – well after dark. “During the day, you’re fighting for a good spot in the crowd. Trying to stay still long enough to admire the scene or take a picture can be tough,” Russo warns. So for the past few years, she’s enjoyed the sight at two or three in the morning. “I’ll usually go with some friends to a nice wine bar nearby that night,” Russo says. “By the time I get to the tree, there’s hardly anyone around, so I can really enjoy it.” Safety, a concern in any late-night urban


Daytrip | December 2011


The famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center lights up the Manhattan night.

environment, isn’t much of an issue, Russo adds, because the Center’s proximity to Penn Station and the New Yorker Hotel means that there are always enough commuters and passersby to keep the area from becoming desolate or threatening. The same goes for admiring the Christmas lights at Saks Fifth Avenue and the window displays at the Macy’s in Herald Square. “It’s the Macy’s featured in the movie Miracle on 34th Street, and each year they commission a different artist to design their display,” Russo explains. Shoppers, Unite! While visiting department stores in the wee hours of the night won’t help with your holiday shopping, if you’re looking for gifts, there’s no way around the huge crowds that fill the floors during normal business hours. However,

if you’re traveling across state lines to shop, Russo suggests another option that the flagship destinations can’t deliver: something unique. “Head to the Union Square Holiday Market instead of the usual spots, especially if you hate department stores,” she says. The public square in Greenwich Village – usually inhabited by “skaters, Rastafarians and N.Y.U. [New York University] kids,” Russo adds, with a laugh – is transformed into an open-air market for the holiday shopping season. “Each year, they have amazing vendors selling just about anything you can think of. And many of the merchants are craftspeople, selling high-quality craft goods,” she says. “You’ll come across plenty of items that make great gifts, because you won’t find them in everyday stores.” The market offers everything from hats


Daytrip | December 2011

and belts to handmade jewelry and hand-blown glass house wares. There are also plenty of hot food and drink options to fend off the chilly New York weather. Visitors can find a map online at to help newcomers find their way. Gonna Find Out Who’s Naughty or Nice Russo’s last tip doesn’t exactly land on the family to-do list. But if you’re in the mood for some bawdy holiday fun, New York has you covered – even if the people on stage here aren’t. This year, the Highline Ballroom in Chelsea is hosting the 5th-Annual Menorah Horah, an annual Hanukkah-themed neoburlesque show put on by dancers Minnie Tonka and Darlinda Just Darlinda, collectively known as the Schlep Sisters. For those unfamiliar with burlesque shows, they’re live variety revues, featuring ribald song-and-dance numbers, comedy, and, yes, a little striptease. “It’s much more campy and theatrical than smutty or vulgar,” Russo says. And while today’s style is racier than its early-1900s predecessor, there’s no actual nudity, even if the dancers flirt with it. “It’s a tease but a humorous one,” she continues. “Usually the shows are revues, but the Menorah Horah is a themed show, so it’s a very creative take on the form. All the acts have to do with the holidays. I saw it for the first time a few years ago, and it was hilarious.” And if you’re feeling guilty after taking in such a sight so close to the holidays, you can always make a pit stop at the world-famous Saint Patrick’s Cathedral afterward. Go online at:


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By R.P. Webster Photos Courtesy of John Ventre

Close Encounters of the Local Kind Lights in Area Skies
UFO. The now-famous acronym dates back to the early 1950s, when a United States Air Force (USAF) captain, Edward Ruppelt, coined the phrase “Unidentified Flying Object” to describe unexplained sightings in the sky. Also dubbed flying saucers and foo fighters by the military during World War II, people all over the world, dating from antiquity to modern times, have and continue to report and chronicle seeing things in the sky they simply can’t explain. Popular culture has helped further weave the phenomenon deeper into our collective conscious. From books like H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds and Whitley Strieber’s Communion to movies such as E.T. and the ever-soclose-to-home Signs, from music like Radiohead’s Subterranean Homesick Alien – with lyrics inspired by Britain’s Martian Poetry movement, where writers took mundane subjects and described them from an alien perspective – and
64 A Closer Look | December 2011

Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush to television shows such as The X-Files, the possibility of extraterrestrial life visiting and observing life on Earth is familiar to us all. But despite its cultural popularity, those on the front lines of UFO investigations remain a societal fringe element. And while it is easy to make fun of those who remain committed to proving the universe is not ours alone, there is enough information and people out there who believe to make you wonder: Are we? Are You a Believer? John Ventre is the Pennsylvania State Director for the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON). The grassroots volunteer group is part of an international organization, consisting of nearly 3,000 people worldwide. Headquartered in Colorado, it relies on volunteers from all walks of life: former military officers,


business people, scientists and retirees who help chronicle and investigate sightings from around the globe. Ventre says MUFON “picked up where the feds left off” after the government shut down Project Blue Book, a series of studies on UFOs. The USAF project was launched in 1952, but, by 1970, the study had run its course and was terminated. MUFON formed in 1969 and continued the researching the phenomenon. Ventre himself became involved after his research in preparation for two science-fiction novels – 12/12/2012: A Prophecy and The Day After 2012 – revealed countless references to UFOs in ancient civilizations, including the Mayans, native Tibetan cultures and the Hopi Indians. “They all talked about extraterrestrials, and I became intrigued,” says Ventre, who works as a security-and-public-affairs director for a large company he did not wish to identify. “In doing more research, I found that there’s more to this phenomenon.” Ventre says that while only about five percent of all sightings reported to the network go unexplained, that five percent is enough to keep him, and many others dedicated to “ufology,” wondering what could be out there. But the believers are hardly limited to those dedicated to documenting their possible existence. The Chicagobased Nation of Islam has included
66 A Closer Look | December 2011

UFO evidence as part of its tenets in its promotion of Black Nationalism. Their late leader, Elijah Muhammad, often referred to a flying object in his teachings called the “Mother Plane,” a message interpreted in different ways. “There’s enough evidence that has been put before the world and public,” Ishmael Muhammad, the religion’s national assistant minister, told The Associated Press earlier this year. “There have been enough accounts and sightings and enough [documentary] movies made. I don’t think you would find too many people that would call it crazy.” From the Andromeda to Bucks County According to Ventre, MUFON has recorded thousands of sightings in Pennsylvania alone. The organization received 97 reports of UFOs in 2007 compared with 225 in 2008, an as-yet unexplained spike in incidents. But despite the fluctuating numbers, the state now ranks third in the country for reported incidents. The most common sightings are considered close encounters of the first kind, where a person sees something unexplainable in the sky. Close encounters of the second kind typically produce some trace evidence, and close encounters of the third kind constitute an actual craft sighting. As for close encounters of the fourth kind, an alien abduction, Ventre says MUFON typically directs those

people to a mental-health professional. “We have people that call up and tell us about memories of being abducted by aliens, but we don’t really investigate those,” he explains. “It is a bit out of our realm of expertise.” A few recent incidents have received national television coverage, including two high-profile sightings from Bucks County. The first is a Doylestown case that was reported to MUFON in May of 2008. Ventre could not say from what part of Doylestown it came, but the incident led to a segment on the Discovery Channel’s UFOs Over Earth. According to Ventre, a retiree the show called “Cliff” reported seeing a large, six-sided object in the sky about 4:23 a.m. The object returned during a storm, and Ventre says the man reported seeing six triangularshaped UFOs docked together when lightning lit up the sky. When MUFON investigators contacted the air control tower at the Philadelphia International Airport, they were told a large object did fly into that airspace without a transponder, a communication or control device used in virtually all manned aircraft. “We saw a print of the radar from the [Philadelphia International] airport, and the time and location matched,” Ventre says. “We found that extremely exciting.” A Levittown sighting, featured on the History Channel’s UFO Hunters, produced even more compelling

evidence. A woman Ventre calls “Denise” had an early morning encounter with triangular-shaped UFOs appearing over her backyard. “Eight witnesses were present, and the woman told investigators the object dropped metallic sprinkles or probes onto her tree, which then went back up into the craft,” Ventre explains. When a MUFON team sent samples of leaves from those trees to an independent lab, he says they discovered traces of boron and magnesium on them. According to Ventre, boron is an element used to coat stealth aircraft, because it does not reflect radar. “To be honest, we were skeptical, but the samples came back with boron and the leaves also showed signs they were subjected to high heat and radiation,” he recalls. “We really had no explanation.” Ventre admits they did investigate claims the craft could have been a TR-3B, a rumored military project consisting of triangular-shaped aircraft, but those rumors have never confirmed. As for Ventre’s personal experience, he says he once thought he saw a UFO that turned out to be something a little less exciting. “I thought I saw something in June of 2008,” Ventre reports. “Something caught my eye, moving really fast. It was bright like the moon and reflected light. When I looked it up on a tracking website with my zip code, a meteor passed over my location at the same time that night.” He says the majority of cases or reported sightings are resolved in a similar fashion. People thinking they saw a UFO are really seeing a meteor, a satellite or even a space station. But that five percent still remains. Writing What Others Won’t This November, the U.S. government finally addressed thousands of people who petitioned for a federal action –

or what others would call a response – on the existence of UFOs. Phil Larson, a research assistant from the White House Office of Science and Technology, released a statement effectively stating the government isn’t buying what the “ufologists” are selling: “The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye.” Larson added that the possibility of extraterrestrial life is discussed and explored, including several NASA projects that have probed the universal prospects. “Many scientists and mathematicians have…come to the conclusion that the odds are pretty high that somewhere among the trillions and trillions of stars in the universe there is a planet other than ours that is home to life,” he wrote. “Many have also noted, however, that the odds of us making contact with any of them – especially any intelligent ones – are extremely small given the distances involved. But that’s all statistics and speculation. The fact is we have no credible evidence of extraterrestrial presence here on Earth.” Still, despite the official renouncement, many continue to report and research the phenomenon. Roger Marsh, a journalist who holds a master’s degree from Northern Illinois University, has worked as the director of communications for MUFON since 2009. Among his many duties, Marsh produces the monthly MUFON journal, which is circulated worldwide. “I really approach it [MUFON] as a reporter,” he says. “I don’t really know of any full-time, professional journalists covering UFOs and noticed what was out there wasn’t very good.” Marsh also edited the book, Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO68 A Closer Look | December 2011

Bigfoot Casebook by Stan Gordon and now concentrates solely on incoming domestic UFO reports. Like Ventre, he also has his own UFO story. But Marsh’s lacks a neat and logical explanation. Growing up in the Latrobe area of Pennsylvania, his father was a closet UFO enthusiast. In the fall of 1973, a then 16-year-old Marsh was standing with some friends on a street in Greensburg, Penn., when a UFO passed over their heads. He recalls the craft was oval-shaped, perhaps 20-feet wide and possibly 10-feet high. The kicker: the craft was completely silent. “When it was on top of you, you could feel the displacement of air. It just followed the lay of the land near Route 30,” Marsh remembers, also noting that southwestern Pennsylvania had a massive amount of sightings in 1973. “It came back two more times and military jets chased it. But it vanished. I don’t remember being scared. Just a bit shook up. Dozens of families saw it.” The writer in Marsh found that, after interviewing scores of people recounting similar stories, there must be something to the unexplained sightings. “What comes back to my mind as a journalist is that there is definitely something going on out there. People are always talking about shapes in the sky that don’t seem to be anything on the list of manmade things or objects maneuvering strangely that are completely silent and disappear like a bullet,” Marsh says. “I don’t care about the ridicule factor. I am going to do it for a living.” And Ventre concurs. He says he is 99.9 percent sure the human race is not alone. “Google before you giggle,” Ventre offers. “Google UFOs and presidents. Google UFOs and politicians. Google UFOs and astronauts. You will be amazed by what you read.” Go online at

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All gallery artists display new small work. December 3-23, 2011

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The Black Bass Hotel Hospitality, Refinement and Culinary Excellence
By Ingrid Weidman | Photos by Wendy McCardle

long the picturesque bends of the river, the “jewel of the Delaware”, the Black Bass Hotel, beckons. Built in the 1740s and known then as the Lumberville Hotel, the Bass, as locals affectionately call it, sat on the super highway of its time. Often patronized by travelers, canal workers and men of commerce, the building soon grew into a social hub. Known as a Tory establishment during the American Revolution, George Washington was once denied entry, making the Bass one of few local historical buildings that doesn’t claim he slept there. But the founding father is hardly the only luminary associated with the storied establishment. Grover Cleveland, Liza Minnelli, Ethel Merman and Marlon Brando have all been rumored to have paid visits. But despite its vaunted history, after the death of its former owner in 2004, the Bass faced an uncertain future.
72 Food + Dining | December 2011


Enter Jack Thompson. Armed with he, his family and general manager Grant Ross’ attention to detail and a passion to ensure the Black Bass remains both a window to our past and our future, the team has rehabilitated the building and breathed new life into an old landmark. “Mr. Thompson bought the Bass along with the Lumberville General Store at auction in 2008,” Ross says, a Scottish ex-pat who made several attempts to purchase it himself. “I thank God that he did. Only a man of Mr. Thompson’s keen awareness and means could have ever restored this building to the condition it stands in today. His philanthropy has brought a stimulus package to River Road. We must thank the locals for that, as well.” And after 14 months of extensive restoration, which included lifting the entire building to reconstruct the support system, the Bass once again opened its doors to expectant guests.


In reestablishing its identity within the community, the Bass relies on its old-world charm and providing the hospitality and dining it has for centuries. “We have nine suites in the hotel, all with modern amenities and private baths yet each retaining its own unique qualities,” Ross explains. “You can tell by the customer which room would be the perfect fit. We also offer the Baxter Suite – named after Mr. Thompson’s beloved golden retriever – for our guests with pets.” Located across River Road from the main building, the Baxter features a sunroom that opens onto an enclosed terrace, perfect for guests to sit back and relax with their pets. But whether you and your four-legged companion find your way there or settle in to one of the spaces with floor-toceiling windows overlooking the Delaware, the Bass offers its guest a memorable stay.
74 Food + Dining | December 2011

And while the scenic views and stunning décor are sure to impress, the Bass’ kitchen is a real trademark. “We change our menu three times a year and strive to take the best of what the seasons have to offer,” says John Barrett, the executive chef who also worked at the Bass under the former owner. Lunch appetizers include potato-and-chorizo empanadas with a cilantro crema and a Stilton bleu-cheese tart served with poached pear, candied walnuts and a Zinfandel reduction. Entrees feature the molassesrum-and-pepper painted salmon served with a sweet-potato pancake and banana salsa. A fresh horseradish sauce and a red cabbage-jicama slaw on a chipotle brioche loaf accompany the house-smoked barbecue beef brisket. Dinner appetizers showcase a savory Moroccan baklava and a Mediterraneanspiced ground lamb with feta cheese, pistachios and onions in a Phyllo dough.

The view from the Black Bass, with the Lumberville Bridge taking center stage, is a picturesque reminder of the Delaware River’s beauty.

The Bass’s signature Charleston Meeting Street crab, a classic au gratin with a reduced cream, sharp cheddar and sherry, is a true crowd favorite. The succulent pomegranateglazed lamb chops are accompanied by couscous and grilled eggplant. Along with the extensive lunch and dinner selections, the Bass is also open for breakfast and offers a daily casual tavern menu. Sunday brunch is prepared weekly, complete with champagne and house favorites like the Bailey’s pâté – spiked with the popular liqueur, of course – a house-smoked salmon mousse and the chicken-curry salad. “I’m really fortunate with the brigade I have in my kitchen,” Barrett says. “There are a lot of creative minds back there.” With a striking atmosphere and an innovative kitchen, the Bass is no stranger to celebrations of all sorts. From weddings to business meetings,

from holiday celebrations to simple dinner parties among close friends, the Bass offers a number of packages to ensure your event is executed with seamless perfection. “We have a private dining room and a bar downstairs from the main floor,” Ross says. “We often have weddings or large parties here. With our private spaces, you have access to the terraces along the river, as well.” And while there’s certainly much happening at the Bass, Ross and his staff haven’t lost sight of their primary focus: their clientele. “This is a customerfocused business. Without them, we have nothing,” he says, offering a nod to the many who helped spread the word about the Bass’ return. “We are very flexible. We pride ourselves on honoring any request. We want to get it right the first time, every time.” Go online at

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To All a Good Night
By Carla Merolla Odell

hen my husband and I started dating, I warned him before visiting my parents’ home for the first time that, “My mother is very clean.” We arrived at the house before Mom and Dad returned for the day, and for fun, Ken tore off a paper towel from the kitchen counter, then wiped it across the top of the molding above the dining-room door. He promptly removed his shoes. I was pushing a vacuum when the upright Hoover was taller than I was. If we ran the faucet in the kitchen sink after dinner had been cleaned up, we were to wipe out the watermarks with a towel designated for that purpose only. And we did not leave for school until we’d made our beds. Making the bed is something I have done every morning of my life – except for days when I stayed there due to illness. If you sleep at my sister’s house and need to use the bathroom after dawn, the joke is she’ll make the bed before you’ve had a chance to flush. That’s how we are programmed, thanks to the motherboard. Pun intended. My husband stopped asking me long ago why we need to make the bed if we’re getting back into it at night. After all, he had administered
78 Backpage | October 2011


the paper-towel test. To children I’ve replied, “Because it looks nice.” That never works. “Because the sheets get dusty.” That sometimes works; though, generally, kids don’t care about dirt. “Because the cat will lie on your pillow all day, and you’ll choke on her fur in your sleep.” Scare tactics do work, although the reality is cats burrow there anyway. However, there’s another reason I make the bed that has nothing to do with orderliness, cleanliness or avoiding asphyxiation. Instead of feeling like I’m on a treadmill in the continuum of crawling in and out of a pile of cotton and quilt, pulling back the bedspread is an act of closure to another day of work, of family, of chores, of successes and disappointments. And in the morning, when I neaten the covers and punch the pillows back into place, in what has become more of a ritual, I get to start all over again. So as the year draws to a close, some may want to run the metaphoric vacuum, others wipe out their symbolic sink. Me, I want to pull back the covers on the bed I not only made for myself, but have lain in all year. And come “morning,” I will smooth out the folds and wrinkles and start all over again.

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