Can you read this post over the roar of the Niagara?

Home again, friends, and I’ll say this: it’s incredibly difficult coming home from a fabulous weekend, especially when you find yourself back at your desk in less than 12 hours. Good thing I have a Diet Coke, granola bar and some fabulous memories to fuel my morning.

Spencer’s family couldn’t have been any kinder, and I can’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed — even at the beach. Though I had my trusty Palm Pre with me to upload an occasional photo to Twitter or scan my email, I wasn’t walking around Niagara Falls clutching a piece of technology. What I was clutching? My camera and Spencer’s hand. And it felt amazing.

They really rolled out the red carpet for me and made me feel so warm and welcomed, and the entire time I was gone I just kept thinking: I’m so happy. His mom made so many awesome plans for us and took me all over the area, where I definitely felt like I was away from it all. Growing up in the suburbs, a land of strip malls with a  Starbucks on every corner, it’s hard to envision wide open spaces. But New York has them — in spades. And it was just fun to be there with such great people and my amazing boyfriend, seeing the place where he grew up. I knew him well before, but I feel like I know him in a different way now. A more complete way.

Oddly enough, I didn’t get much reading done — mostly because I was socializing, traveling, driving about and eating (oh, eating. Lots of eating!). Mockingjay was tucked in my bag through my entire stay, but I only cracked the cover once and read about 10 pages. So I still don’t know what’s become of Katniss, Gale and Peeta, and I’m going to have to tread lightly around the blogosphere until I figure it out! But that should be quite all right.

While I was out, I learned I’d been shortlisted in the Book Blogger Appreciation Awards for Best Written Book Blog and Best Eclectic Book Blog. What an honor — and I’m so excited for all the festivities in September! Thanks, everyone. Voting is open now to registered participants.

I’ll be posting photos from my trip to New York’s Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Jamestown, Chautauqua Lake and Gerry over the coming weeks — probably on Wordless Wednesdays, since that’s often how I roll — but wanted to whet your appetite with just a few snapshots! I took nearly 400 shots over the course of four days — enough to fill up my SD card, blast it — and barely had the energy to lift my head last night, let alone edit my shots. I did manage to get a few up straight out of the camera . . . with many more to come.

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