I have a habit that I’ve only just discovered. Okay, I know you’re confused by that but what I’m saying is that I only just realized that I have been doing something for YEARS that I had no idea I did.

I looked in my jewelry box this morning to put on my earrings and, as I scanned through my options, realized that most pairs have a very specific memory associated with them. That’s because I apparently have a habit of getting most of my earrings during trips. This isn’t a conscious thing that I’ve done, but it makes sense: they’re easily packable, and for whatever reason, it seems easier to find cute, stylish, and unique jewelry when I’m somewhere else. (Probably because I never go to cutesy or slightly pricey stores or jewelry stores where I live).

Several of them I bought at an adorable local artsy boutique in my brother’s home town, and those are my favorites. I always have to stop there and get another pair when I’m visiting. There’s a pair that I got visiting my BFF in Salt Lake City at the farmer’s market. There’s a pair that I got last time I was in Nashville. And so on. And then there’s the many earrings others have given me from their travels. The pair that my BFF brought me back from Vietnam, a pair that I was gifted by a high school friend from India, another pair from the Virgin Islands. Every time I put on any of those pairs of earrings, I get warm & fuzzies that others have thoughtfully made me a part of their journeys and adventures. I don’t travel a ton – not nearly as much as I wish I could – so all of these earring souvenirs are extra special to me.

So now I’m realizing that since it’s a thing that I do, for trips where I either didn’t have time to explore, browse, and shop, or don’t stumble upon any jewelry in my style or budget when I do make it out for a stroll, I’ll head to Etsy and shop by location for a local artist. So that at least I can still get something small and simple to remind me of that place.

Flying With an Infant, Take 1

Tomorrow is my first flight with baby, and my anxiety is basically at a fever pitch. If you were to read my list of worries, it would go something like this:

What if she cries the whole time? What if everyone shoots daggers out their eyes at me for having a baby on board? What if my plane suddenly becomes a convertible? What if she thrashes around and refuses a bottle on takeoff and landing and her ears are killing her as a result? What if she has a poopy blowout on the passengers seated next to me? How do you change an infant on a plane? Is there a changing table in that tiny cramped lavatory? What if I sh*t myself because I’m so stressed out? Where do I change? And how do I do that with an infant?

You get the idea. I deliberately chose a short flight to visit my friend Mari, so that I could get the experience of flying with baby over with. Well, and see my BFF! Which I am very excited about. But I’ve yet to find useful info online about how to pack, so I’m not exactly sure how I’ll manage a carseat, the carseat carrier, the breast pump, the bottles (both those that are yet to be filled and those with milk in them already), a changing pad, diapers, wipes, toys, a blanket, spare clothes, mittens, her hat, my phone, my iPod, a pacifier, and my own coat & gloves, plus my checked bag all by myself, so I’m a little frazzled. Right about now I’m picturing that I get to the gate unscathed only to find that I’ve forgotten baby at security and I get called on the intercom. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

What is this ‘Vaca’?

I’m in LA for a couple different work things, and had dinner last night with my BFF & her fiance Josh in Santa Monica. I was mulling over their beer selection, and said something about how the beer I wanted was kinda pricey but since I was on vaca, I’d get it anyway. Then Josh tore me a new one. “Vaca?! VA-CA?? You are here for WORK. Yes, you might be out to dinner with friends, but this is no vaca.”

He went on to explain that, in his world, vacation is time off from work used 1) for fun and 2) not to visit family or go to a wedding or a funeral or a birthday party or anyone else’s event. By that definition, I have not had a vaca since Thanksgiving 2003. You read that: SEVEN YEARS. Because we live in Arizona but our family lives in Tennessee, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, California, any time off I take from work is for traveling to visit family. Especially since certain family members refuse to visit here. I can’t remember us having had any family visit us since January 2007.

That’s it. Plotting a summer vaca. A real vaca.