People, the State Department's 19th St, NW, passport agency should be knighted. It is a shining example of just how beautifully and efficiently a government agency can and should run. I arrived at 8:15, and I was home before noon, new passport in hand. To a person, not one single employee -via phone or in person- could have been nicer or more professional. Smiles, kindness, help. It's everything the post offices and DMVs are not. Thank you!!! Because of all this, I was able to run home, walk Percy, visit with a friend (who'd come to walk Percy for me), eat lunch and tidy the house for my sweet family. I made the boys' beds and left them and T love notes. The dishwasher is purring, the bird feeder is full and my teeth are newly clean.

I am ready to head out and then sleep my way to Italy by way of Germany. Last night was rough. Poor J was up all but two hours or so. His tummy ached, he was crying. "Please don't go, Mom." I think the anticipation was infinitely worse than my absence will actually be. I've heard from carpool this morning that he was fine and from his teachers that though he teared up slightly, he then resumed being his regular chipper self.

Whew! Will write from Italy! Ciao!