I land, I'm collected from the airport and it's like I've never left. I manage to stay awake until Ande gets home. I get in trouble for not keeping my eyes open during a fascinating film which I can't remember the name of. The kids lets my go have a nap while he eats dinner.
Mike collects me and we head to Venice for a great dinner with Stuart and Bianca. It's the same every time - we eat and drink too much, we talk constantly, Stuart drills me on what I'm doing with my life, Stuart picks on Mike, we get excited about being asked for ID, we talk and talk and talk until we're sober enough to drive home. This visit's poison was Chianti and 'killer garlic rolls' - they were amazing.
The wine knocks me out so I have a great night's sleep. Friday morning sees Jackie & I heading to PS#1 for Ande's Christmas Concert. For the first time ever I understand why people think it's strange to have a warm Christmas ... I've obviously been away long enough now! We stretch our necks for a better view, we shield ourselves from the sun, we wave proudly, we point and laugh at the embarrassing parents - it's a new world for me and I love it!
Ande has the afternoon of school so we go for a lunch date. I just about manage to convince him that a lunch date doesn't necessarily mean that we're dating. We sit in the next booth to Jackie and her lunch companions and then we take ourselves shopping - straight to Puzzle Zoo, then the Apple store and finally Barnes & Noble.
Siggy has to work so the three of us meet him for dinner and then head home to talk and talk and talk while the kid sleeps.
Saturday morning brings a visit to the Farmers Market and a solid session of gingerbread house decorating - a first for all of us. We then head for a pedicure and then to Santa Monica Pier for Kooza - the latest from Cirque du Soleil. It's a great show - even better because it's Ande's first time and he spends the whole performance amazed. I watch this from one row back and enjoy it more than the show.
Jack's heading out to a party so we pick out a dress for her and she gets glammed up while we prepare shabu-shabu. We spend the next hour cooking and eating and fighting over the best bits. I find it hard to believe that just 5 years ago this life was so unknown to me, that LA was a city I'd briefly visited many years earlier when right now it feels like home, like I don't belong anywhere else.
The night is still young when Jackie bails from her party and comes home to us. Siggy heads to bed and Jack and I talk and talk and talk some more. I miss this so much.
Morning comes; we have special pancakes for a sad day. Mum and Dad arrive and I'm so excited to see them again and for them to finally meet Jackie and Ande - how has it taken so long? My bags are packed, I've left the presents under the tree and Dad's anxious to get on the way ... I leave the unfinished gingerbread house and a little part of me behind...