A very good day, this is--the polar opposite of Alexander's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. There's nothing especially monumental about it. A big wide white porch with wicker furniture is involved. As is a tall glass of Diet Coke with ice and a good book. And a morning of dancing in the kitchen with the kids and taking a long walk earlier in the quiet morning. And (oh the bliss of a babysitting daughter!) the prospect of going to a movie later with Greg.

I'm here on the porch, serving as air traffic controller with my cell phone by my side. Occasionally the phone chirps and someone needs permission or a ride.

Maddy is walking around the town center with two of her friends, all three chirpy and heady with the rush of the new independence of window shopping and going for an ice cream cone alone. (One phone call: "does it matter to you where we go for ice cream?" [answer: no]. Another: "We found a really cute headband. Can I get it with the change left over from ice cream?" [answer: yes, but you'll have to pay me back from your miserly savings].)

Lauren is at a friend's house, practicing for the school talent show this week. Apparently at the practice yesterday, the supervising teacher tactfully suggested they do more work on their lip synch/choreography number (why do middle school kids so love to lip synch?) before she could grant them a spot.

Sam and Greg are off on their own, taking the rare opportunity to go do manly things together like get gear at the outdoor store and go kayaking. Last time Greg (ever the optimistic dad!) took all the kids kayaking and decided the whine factor would be greatly reduced (and the enjoyability for him) if he did it one-on-one for awhile.

Very simply, the recipe for a basic vgd* for me right now is this:

walk + write/create/read + family + embrace now + do what needs doing = contentment

Everything else is just gravy, you know? What's your vgd* equation?

*vgd (in case you didn't pick it up) = very good day