More reasons I love my job.

At 5 p.m., I was perched in front of the officehouse's mailroom computer, puttering about and stumbling upon absurd things (e.g., this wonder, "designed with versatility in mind"--bien sur!), when two of my lovely students pulled up in a car and skipped into the building. "What are you doing for dinner?" they wanted to know. I had no plans. "We're going shopping!" they announced.

An hour later, I was successfully lighting my barbecue grill (without lighter fluid!) and they were seasoning chicken and cleaning red peppers and oiling huge portobello mushrooms to put on said grill. A chocolate cake--one of those go-to recipes for which I almost always have all the ingredients in the house--came out of the oven and even obliged by coming easily out of the cake pan. I made a light vinaigrette and taught the students how to slice a halved avocado without peeling it. A third student walked in through the front door and made his way to the kitchen.

And this is my teaching staff for the summer--though, sadly, tonight we were missing my flaming-sworded friend, who will be my partner in crime for the next three weeks. And this, my friends, is what we call a first staff meeting.

Many hours later, after watching uproarious videos on YouTube (whose praises I may never have sung for you, because you probably don't need me to) and watching the shredder do its magic and, most importantly, tossing around some goals and concerns for the next three weeks--for our students arrive on Sunday--I sent these lovely young people off into the night with fat slices of spicy chocolate cake.

When I am away, evenings like this one will be high on the list of things I miss.