Today we had a visit from our niece, Julia, whom I have not seen since 1995, at which time she was beating the daylights out of her younger brother, Max. Julia’s fiance, Brian, was with her. Turns out he’s a serious food person, which gave us something to talk about right from the get-go. They are also both dog people, so Berry was able to let it all hang out and I didn’t have to run interference, like: “It’s OK, he’s just grouchy, so don’t worry about the snarling.” I figured Julia would be fine, given the temperaments and sizes of the various dogs she’s lived with, but Brian was totally into Berry, which was fun to watch. They both rubbed and scratched Berry confidently, and fed him from the table, which we encourage. Since Steve and I were at the last stage of a cold each, I was not up to cooking, so instead we put out bagels and a bunch of stuff to put on them, including a very ripe Fromager des Clarines, which I was happy to see Julia hack into with the little dancing girl cheese knife I set out. It’s always great to spend time with people who know how to have fun and are solid in the character department. Julia is young but has already lived and studied in Europe, and Brian just had a house built. They make an attractive couple; she’s adorable and a pistol, and Brian gives off a positive, confident vibe — with an great set of eyes.