After the better part of a week of seriously erratic sleeping and largely unnecessary flurrying around to finish up household tasks (like cat bathing, vacuuming and mopping, and obtaining more quotes on just how many kidneys a re-roofing job is going to cost me) Matt kindly schlepped my perpetually late ass off to the airport bright and early —on his day off, the sainted man— to catch a Southwest flight up to NY for my (usually annual) pilgrimage to see the family. 

I try to go during summer since my tender, wussy Florida constitution can no longer stand colder temps in the northern climes –hell, I spend even Orlando’s two scant months of mild winter shivering in a miserable huddle– but have found that going when it’s too hot can be almost as bad: there’s no handy pool to cool off in, no central air conditioning to flee to when it’s nosing around in the 90s… really, a lot like Europe in August: you just need to suck it up and sweat. But as it turned out, my parents were busy for pretty much the entire month of August anyway, so I ended up scheduling the trip for September and hoping it would not have turned cold by then.

Looks like I’ve gotten lucky: it’s lovely and warm during the day, refreshingly cool sleeping weather at night. It took a little creative finagling to pack clothes for both temperature contingencies in a modest lil’ carry-on, but with one Europe and two NZ trips recently under my belt –where not just space, but weight, has been a key consideration– I’ve heavily road-tested what stuff is comfy, goes together (closely enough, anyway), rolls up small, and allows for most event possibilities to be appropriately covered.

bleary-eyed and rumpled from the car but ready to roll, with my wee carry-on bag (and the crushing dead weight of my computer-filled backpack viciously oppressing my traps)

My flight was only about a third full and I was in the first group to board, so I claimed a seat in the second row –which I ended up having allllll to myself!– and promptly passed out after drinks were passed round, lounging across all the seats and waking up only when the pilot announced our descent into Albany. The airport there is SO nicely human sized: just a handful of gates and a really pleasant, modern interior (they even have a meditation room, and the ladies’ room I popped into after disembarking has a whole comfy-chair furnished lounge area, ostensibly for nursing moms, but looked inviting enough for even the non-lactating set).

Mom and Michael were waiting just outside the security area, and we were home in a little under an hour.

Ye olde homestead.

I unpacked my junk, set up my computer, and then wandered around outside in the sunshine for a bit, trying desperately to stay sufficiently alert to be ready to work later (and failed – ultimately, a nap was needed). Random photographic fruits of my wandering are below.

so jealous. *my* hydrangeas have been about 7 inches tall for two or three years now. >:/

possibly one of the best things about going back home: the real deciduous trees. Maples! Birch! Weeping willows! True oak trees, with leaves the size of your hand! Our stuff in Florida doesn’t really compare, except for the rarely spotted (and gorgeous) sycamore, which has proper leaves that turn color and fall off as Nature originally directed, even in Orlando.

I tromped up to “The Rocks,” which are 3 huge (and one little) limestone boulders dragged up and left into the rolling now-farm fields by advancing glaciers.

With nothing else around of a rocky nature as far as the eye can see, these look more like some sort of Bronze-Age, human-left monoliths than geological rubbish tossed out the passenger window by the Pleistocene era.

I used to play on these as a kid. Well, maybe not this tallest one so much (shown here with me for scale), because it was pretty sheer relative to the others and HUGE when I was a little stripling.

Now the biggest danger to me was probably deer ticks. I put on long pants, tucked ’em into my socks, and carefully navigated around the waving grasses in my stepdad’s yellow galoshes, which are at least four sizes too big. Dead sexy.

That’s right, yellow galoshes, AND a man’s v-neck undershirt. Hey, I was just (1) worrying about avoiding Lyme disease, and (2) pleased with how much taller I felt when compared to my memories of being a 7 year old capering around up there. So what if I looked like a homeless person?