And Then We Retired to the Drawing Room for Coffee, Brandy and Cigars

We had people over for dinner tonight.

Sometimes, my parents come down for dinner, which is nice. But tonight, it was some of our very best friends, Julie, Chris and Amber, which is even better. My parents are great, and always good dinner company. But it's always better having friends over, in my opinion. One's parents are a family obligation. Friends are a different matter. Having friends for dinner has a way of making me feel very grown-up. Planning what to cook, what wine to serve, what to serve for dessert is always a pleasure. The cooking is always fun, too - how can I be unhappy or stressed with a chance to show off my mad kitchen skillz? It's kind of silly, but it's one of the only times I really feel like an Adult-with-a-capital-"A".

Tonight it was chicken tortilla soup (my own recipe, natch) and cornbread - perfect for a day when the weather finally turned back into typical, frosty December weather after a week of 60-degree days. Em made two kinds of Christmas cookies for dessert - Austrian Chocolate Balls and Mexican Wedding Cakes. Both delicious. Much wine was drunk. Matters both weighty and frivolous were discussed. I earned props for my soup, and far too many cookies were consumed.

The guests are gone and the music has been turned off. It feels a little strange to have the house suddenly be so quiet after an evening of noise.

All in all, I must say, the post-dinner-party relaxation time is one of the most perfect, simple and uncomplicated feelings of contentment I know.