Women do not need encouragement to hang out together, learn about interesting things together, support each others’ projects, and generally have fun. It’s what they do. Regard this issue then not as a directive but rather as a glancing survey of what WNY women are up to in their free time these days. We’ve included everything from a bruising evening at the roller derby to a relaxing afternoon spent paddling down the river. We’re also featuring our yearly spa service round-up, as well as profiles of how five local, highly active gals make relaxation happen. It’s the dreaded holiday season—all the more reason to de-stress with friends—and we hope this feature section provides some inspiration.
By Catherine Berlin, Sally Cunningham, Jana Eisenberg, Donna Evans-Deyermond, Terri Parsell Hilmey, Donna Hoke Kahwaty, Jessica Keltz, Nancy J. Parisi, and Maria Scrivani

Rolling and tumbling with the QCRG
By Jana Eisenberg

Indulge me: a spa-athon
By Catherine Berlin; photos by kc kratt

The Queen City Roller Girls, standing, from left: Poison Ivy League (Amber Hayward), C. N. Red (Wendy Bielec), Ava Guardin’Her (Jacq Frost), Sissy Fit (Debra Hughes), ShockHer (Jeff Parker), Bash-Full (Melissa Blaszak), Lamb Chop (Megan Lambright), Mia Mauler (Maria Manno); kneeling: Ace Bandage (Samantha Budniewski); sitting: Holly Lulu (Holly Hughes) and Pummelina (Michelle O’Connell); and in front: Crazy Legs (Maria Hollander).
Photos by kc kratt. Cover design by Chastity Taber.

Architecture: So far, so good: the new federal courthouse
By Barry A. Muskat; photos by kc kratt
Philanthropy: A grand dame’s legacy is fulfilled
By Paul Carroll
Cool stuff: The Danceability factor
By Leah Rankin
Spree Insider: Say goodbye to 2009 at First Night
By Ann Marie Trietley
Sports: Making the team
By Julia Burke
History: Taking the Number 8 bus into history
By Ed Adamczyk
Books: Sign language
By Leah Rankin
The Hot 5: An opinionated to-do list
By Christopher Schobert

Visual Art: The art of craft
By Bruce Adams
Artist Profile: Remembering Jackie Felix
By Bruce Adams
Visual Art: A contemporary artist and the Underground Railroad
By Bruce Adams

Gardening: Coming indoors
By Sally Cunningham
Gadget Planet
By William C. Altreuter and Catherine Berlin
Education: Truancy
By Bruce Adams
Beauty: Eyes vs. lips
By Catherine Berlin

Reviews of Juniper and Michael’s, a tribute to fruitcake, and the month in charity events.
By Joe George, Terri Parsell Hilmey, Jessica Keltz, Vicki G. Marshall, and Margaret M. Toohey

Take One: Cool and creative cuisine at Juniper
By Jessica Keltz; photos by kc kratt

Take One: Michael’s: A jewel in
Niagara Falls’ Little Italy

By Vicki G. Marshall and Margaret M. Toohey; photos by kc kratt

Editor’s letter, Deadlines
Dining guide
Shopping Spree
Cultural listings
Index of advertisers
Who was there

Bflo Days: It was a year
By Ron Ehmke, Elizabeth Licata, and Christopher Schobert