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On Planes.

I’m so confused this week. I do think taking a red eye diminishes the jet lag factor a lot. However, a red eye with a 14-month-old and a layover cannot be healthy. We left San Francisco at 12:30 am west coast time and wound up in Minneapolis/St. Paul at 6:00 am central time and then somehow wound up in Connecticut at 10:30 am east coast time. It’s all so confusing. But we’re here. We’re so back.

On planes, you can get as close to time travel as what is probably humanly possible. If you’re going in the right direction at the right time at the right speed, you can see three sunsets or three sunrises all in a row. I have a pretty weird equilibrium sometimes. I have never in my life gotten physically ill from motion yet I can’t be picked up and spun around for even two seconds. I get off of elevators and still feel myself moving up or down for several minutes afterward. When a plane dips to one side while taking off or landing, I get very dizzy and lightheaded, even if all of the window shades are closed. I also can’t sleep well on planes. I can fall asleep but I will wake up every few minutes. My sense of time is always off. I can claim that six hours have passed, when it’s really only been three. I call it “plane time” and I’ve always wondered if other people experience this. On ground, I can be dead-on about what time it is and how much time has transpired. On planes, I am always disoriented.

I also can’t eat on planes for the most part. On the ground, I go into panic mode after two or three hours without food and I think I’ll faint or scream at any second. On planes, I can travel for 12 hours with no food and not even realize it. I once hadn’t flown in several years and had panicked dreams about it for months before a big trip. On the flight itself, we experienced the worst turbulence I have ever felt before. Literally, people were screaming and the plane was dropping rapidly. And you know what? I was cool as a cucumber, eating pretzels. I guess it was the idea of it that was worse than the flight itself.

I have often heard people say they get “super” powers on planes. I’ve heard about people being able to see other people’s auras on planes. I have heard about people communicating with deceased relatives on planes. Me? Once I SWEAR I heard Phil Collins serenading me on a plane when I was just a little kid. Now the mix of anxiety, not eating, not sleeping and my strange equilibrium send my thoughts to strange places. I call it Time Travel of the Mind. It doesn’t mean I actually think I’m traveling back in time. I logically know who I am, how old I am, what year it is, and where I’m coming from and going to. However, I can let my mind wander while half-delirious and I can “travel” back to any point in my life and experience what it was like at that time. The kicker is that I only travel to times in my life when I was on a plane. Different points of my life have had totally different feels, both physically and emotionally. Different worlds. I have always believed that every person is a whole world and when you meet new friends, you fall into their world and they fall into yours and you get some overlap of their sensory experiences. So each time in my life is colored by what I’m doing at the time (school, work, etc.), who I’m dating, where I live, the state of my family, who my friends are, and again – where I’m coming from and where I’m going. And on planes, I can go back in my mind to another time in my life, another plane trip, and remember how my whole life felt at that time. It’s fascinating, really.

Flying with a baby is 180% different. I used to focus solely on me and my comforts. Not anymore. Scarlet was such a pro. Seriously. She slept through the bulk of all four flights. I had people going out of their way to come up to me at the airport and congratulate me on the behavior of my daughter. And really – it was all her. I made her comfortable as best as I could, but she’s the one who let herself go and relax.

Our trip was so much heavier than last year. Not better, not worse. Just deep. At times, I had the relaxing time of my life in my underwear in public in a hot tub with adults or pushing Scarlet around in a baby raft in a hot springs filled with rubber duckies. The California sun felt great on my skin and the bridge and surrounding mountains were as stunning as always. We surprised old friends at their workplaces, pleasantly surprised that they still worked there and were working when we decided to stop by. We ate delicious food in the Ferry Building and got to see and stay with very close friends. Cassidy absolutely *nailed* the wedding and the combination of his serene and meaningful speeches and Scarlet’s great behavior at the wedding made me so proud of my family. Cassidy got us into our old backyard in our old apartment building and he got to spread Stormy’s ashes in the very place she spent most of her life – a mystical, peaceful, quiet and warm little piece of heaven in the middle of a major city. And I got to have the best latte I’ve ever had – at Javva the Hutt at LucasFilm in the Presidio. Damn. I don’t know what he does to that coffee but it’s magic. And then there was Santa Cruz and a great conversation with a kindly comic book store owner about controlling your life and changing your fate and calling your own shots. Under a blissful sun, anything seems possible.

On the other hand, the trip was heavy and sad and I was anxious some of the times. Seeing Scarlett’s Inn bowled us over in ways we did not expect. I didn’t even know I was holding in so much sadness and much of it came out in tears during the trip. I’m glad about that. Before the tears, I was so tightly wound that when I was hot and sticky and wearing a wet “swimsuit” under a dress and then Scarlet pooped through her swim diaper onto my dress and we hadn’t yet figured out where we were staying that night..that was a moment I almost lost it at. 14 months of motherhood and I’ve been the face of calm and stable. And that dang swim diaper and her crying at that moment almost made me scream. But hey, it took 14 months.

Torn as always with my bi-coastal disorder. I think I may have mentioned this before in my dorkspeak, but like with Harry Potter and his horcruxes, when you live and love in more than one place, it’s like your soul is split into as many pieces as you allow it to be split into. (In real life, you don’t have to kill someone to split your soul, just move from coast to coast). Marin County, Sonoma County and the Pacific Coast Highway have an epic beauty I can’t help but want to live by. And yet, I was homesick for Massachusetts. Last year, I hadn’t yet built the strong roots in Northampton that I have this year. When we got back, I was so back. Within a few hours, I went to a social media meeting, walked through Main Street smiling that the guy who plays guitar in front of CVS recognized me, and unpacked and resettled into our home in every aspect. I’m happy to be home.

Last year, we took hundreds of pictures, not wanting to miss a minute. Last year we were ecstatic to be in our sunny old home after a dreadful winter. Last year, Scarlet was a newborn who slept through life and barely needed our focus. Last year had more carefree moments to document. This year was different. HOWEVER, when I wasn’t enjoying a wedding ceremony and reception and spending hours in a hot springs, I did capture some great moments:

I forgot the name of this dog (it’s French) but he (or she) now roams in the backyard that Stormy roamed. He (or she) doesn’t have the space Stormy had but it warms our hearts to know a new dog is in town:

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On a whim with some free time, we drove down the Pacific Coast Highway, eventually winding up in Santa Cruz. Scarlet loved the water and called it “Gah.” These kite surfers took our breath away. One of them in particular, as you’ll see, was the true star of the show and got some intense air:

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Our hotel in Sonoma had a giant-sized chess board. We found this cute little bishop wandering the board:

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Very importantly, Scarlet really learned to walk on this trip during hours in a hotel room. It didn’t solidify much until we got home and she became more comfortable and familiar with her surroundings:

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And lastly, Scarlett’s Country Inn. These could be an ad for the B&B! I especially like how she’s peacefully praying in this first photo:

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Same place, last year:

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(Cassidy took this)

And that’s all for now. Everything else is hopefully locked firmly in our memory banks. I’m looking forward to blogging regularly again.

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