Parents left for the week to travel, leaving me behind with the house and the dogs. So I had a barbecue. Becks and her boyfriend, Xander, and Jen all came over. I made hamburgers, hot dogs (which Jen actually charred and had to cook new ones), roasted broccoli and red potatoes and peppers, and an amazing mozzarella, tomato and basil pizza (I made the whole thing!). Jen also tried her hand at what she called “Half-hour Sangria”. Basically she took a cheap bottle of wine, cut up some apples and oranges, some sugar and sparkling water, and threw it all together in a pitcher. It actually ended up being moderately refreshing, though not sure I would call it sangria. We sat around the table in my backyard with candles burning, and it was great just sitting and eating and talking. It was also the first time that I had Xander hang out with my group of friends, and he meshed really well with them. Our dinner lasted forever, enough that the candles had begun to dim by the time we cleared the plates. Xander told us about how, in China apparently, families go for walks together after dinner to help their stomachs digest. Becks and her boyfriend thought it was funny, so the four of us (Jen had to go to the shore) went for a nice long walk around town.

When we got back we started a fire in our fire pit, sat around throwing logs on the fire, drinking the sangria, and making smores. Xander borrowed one of my brother’s guitars and sat strumming songs he had written. It all felt so peaceful, so happy. I was with some of my best friends, drinking good horrible sangria, watching the stars through the leaves, with Willa curled up at my feet and Rios on my lap. Can life get any better than that?

My brother came home and joined us, invited a few of his friends, John and Mike, to join. Mike played some more music, we started opening more bottles of wine, grabbing more logs for the fire. Jess joined, and soon after she and Beck left to go home. Eventually everyone but Xander filed out and left, Xan slept on the couch.

We woke up late this morning, Xan and I sat at the dining room drinking coffee, reading the paper, and talking. It was nice, comfortable. When he left, we made plans to go on an adventure to Live Earth today. We’ll see how that goes.