Last night, after leaving BlogHer '13, I headed back to DD and D's house for a quiet evening with them. Donna, author of the wonderful books, Landscape and Waiting for Bones (you should definitely buy and read both!!), had prepped all the fixings for Salads Niçoise, and Dirk, rabbit catcher, antique map seller, and many more (all very interesting), had ready two lovely bottles of wine. We had a spontaneous plating contest, and Donna won handily. It was all so very lovely; a leisurely night of thoughtful, good conversation with old friends just can't be beat.



Fast forward through the flight home today, and I was greeted at the airport by my sweet husband, eager and darling Jack, and a sleeping Ol. The boys had picked a huge bowl of tomatoes from our deck-based plants and what they didn't eat, they brought to me in this bowl. In addition to the attached note, I received three others plus a chopstick wand. Apparently, Oliver is now Hermione Granger, Jack is Harry Potter, and I am a sidekick. I love that Oliver only chooses to "be" and love women who are smart and strong. Hermione is an excellent addition to the Wonder Woman/Padmé Amidala/Princess Leia train.

The change in pace was expected but nonetheless a tad jarring. Man, do those little boys remind me of the Looney Toons Tasmanian Devil. There was nakedness, jumping, spell after spell, turning the easel into a three-dimensional robot, eating, more eating, spilling, attempts to core apples with large knives, and unceasing talking. We went to the market, finished the wine country puzzle, ate two dinners...And then I spied this:

"Boys, what is in Percy's crate?"

"Toilet paper, Mom, lots of it."

In an rabid desire to free the cardboard tubes from inside many rolls of toilet paper, they had unrolled the paper, shoved it (plus, apparently a number of other random objects like a Ziploc of corks, some discarded works of art) all into Percy's crate and then Duck-taped the rolls into "label makers." Don't ask, I don't know. Just after this episode, Tom asked for some toilet paper and, wait for it, there was no more in the house. Add that to the "I'm glad I wasn't here" list.

They are so precious though, and I loved snuggling with each, hearing their little voices, laughing at all their silliness. It was so incredibly good to get away, spend days straight with adults, operate on my own schedule, have uninterrupted time to consider what I'm doing and where I want to head. But it was also good to get home to my war-zone of a house, markers littering the floors, and more pieces of paper than you could possibly imagine with the word "butt" written on them.

Tom grilled salmon while I made our sides: tomatoes with young chevre and super-aged Balsamic; kale with cannellini, onion, herbs and shaved parmesan a la Deborah Madison. We sat on the deck enjoying a lovely night, and I started to settle back in.