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I Left My Heart in San Francisco.

I haven’t talked a lot about last year’s trip to San Francisco. We literally flew in a year to the day that we had last driven out of the city to move east. I can’t believe it’s almost been two years since the cross country trip where we stopped in Vegas and many other wonderful places, conceived a baby in Niagara Falls and settled in western Massachusetts. We experienced a year of New England life and then flew back to California for a week long trip with our then three-month-old to attend the wedding of our good friends. And now almost exactly a year later, we’re going to another wedding in wine country. This time around, the friends who got married last year are expecting a baby. For the new wedding, Cassidy is a groomsman and he’s also marrying his friends. It’s big.

Last year, we flew in to perfect weather, visiting old friends and workplaces, hitting some Food Network-recommended food places, lunch at Lucas Film, a delightful day in the hot springs in wine country, hitting old clothing and coffee and crepes haunts, Sushi Bistro, sharing the happy news of our baby and our still alive old dog who was famous in The Haight..

This time around with not only our more active role in the wedding, we’re also flying in with some very fresh grief at losing a member of our pack, a healing but still visible scratch on our now toddler’s cheek, and the sadness that awaits us in Calistoga at Scarlett’s Country Inn, where dear Scarlett will not be there to greet us or tell us tales of her recent trip to China or the many animals she has rescued. It’s so big.

And then there’s the broken heart for Stormy. For me, I’m usually ok in the day and I drink lattes and go to friend’s houses where Scarlet speaks to other babies in strange Star Wars speak and we all laugh and it’s fine. At night, I’m so sad I can’t breathe. Or eat a lot. I think many of you know what it’s like to grieve and mourn – for me, I like to be home even if I feel like total crap there. It’s home and it’s safe. And I usually have no energy to do anything at all. Yet I still have work tomorrow and checklists to make of things to pack and people and places to see and go, and there’s still my active toddler who is learning to walk and talk and likes to crawl into my lap all day – it’s her new thing. And then there’s renting a car that’s safe for babies out there and bringing a car seat to the airport here and going through security and praying for an empty seat on the plane since we didn’t purchase a plane ticket for Scarlet. I know it’s the safest thing but umm…money?? And yeah, then there’s seeing how a 14-month-old acts on a six hour flight and landing at night and….aggghhh.. I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m excited beyond belief. I’m scared.

It’s an odd time of year for me. I love fall very briefly but I always think about how it means winter. I can’t do winter. Every winter I survive, I say it’s my last. It’s so bad I can turn grinchy. I mean, I love the holidays but not the way I love nice weather. So I’m going to a place (wine country more than the city itself) where the weather will taunt me and memories of Stormy will be everywhere. And yet, I get to show my daughter a Pacific Ocean sunset and watch her wobbly walk the streets of a place I called home. It’s all so happy/sad.

I’m not sure when I’ll be posting again. I may post again before I leave or during my trip, but if not, expect a huge picture post in a week or two.

I plan to spend my trip reflecting on the past, LOVING up the present, and dreaming of a future that includes more inspiration, ambition and passion to eventually give my family a home on both coasts. Whatever it takes…I have bi-coastal disorder and the only cure is to live in both places, I’ve decided. I will do it too. Watch me.

Here are some new Scarlet pictures to hold you over until the next batch. All were taken in the last day or two. She’s a walker now but still prefers crawling as a faster method of transportation. I love to see both.

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