Home, and getting here

Oh my god, y'all. It's December! And inexplicably, it's in the mid-60s out there. But I'm not complaining because super-cold is just not my bag. I was thrilled to miss the snow last week. Whew! Yesterday's flight from Munich to Dulles was one of the most interminable, uncomfortable ever. I was assigned a crappy, interior seat in the middle row and next to a mid-twenties, extremely rude, loud woman who was co-leading a youth group abroad; you know, they all wore matching fleeces. The seat felt like an ell-shaped punishment rendered in metal, while the gal, and many in her crew, was the sort who gives Americans a bad name.

I was mystified as to why she felt it becoming to slap my arm THREE times to ask me questions, despite the fact that I had my earphones in and was clearly watching a film. I was puzzled as to why she found it appropriate to talk to her friend three seats down -across me and another girl- with a volume that suggested we were in a hoppin' bar. I found it deplorable that she and her co-leader, two rows up, took it upon themselves to stand in the aisle and judge, audibly, whose carry-ons were too large and should be forcibly removed from the plane. I found it despicable when she pretended to be asleep (yes, I could tell) when I gently nudged her to ask if I could go to the restroom.

Lufthansa, in addition to giving passengers a bit more in the way of seat support, please also remove the vegetarian Thai Curry Calzone from your menu. What a grotesque abomination of a meal idea!!

When we landed, I had a pounding headache and an intense, primal urge to flee from this horrid gal. Fortunately, doing the latter didn't take long.

On a more positive note, it was a tremendous, whirlwind of a trip, and I had a fabulous time. Florence is always a treat, and being an aunt is really the cat's meow, especially when you have access to the baby who's made you an aunt so early in the game. People, I could while away my entire life snuggling newborns. Mon dieu, they are so soft and dear. I find it fascinating to watch them as they take in the world with their eyes and bodies. The little bleating lamb sounds, irregular limb thrusts, instinctual nursing movements made with tiny, puckered mouths...I can't get enough of watching and responding to all of that. Leone provided everything in spades (I nicknamed him Lamby, from Lamb Chop).

And while I adored all of that with my own boys, there's something extremely liberating about experiencing it with a nephew or niece. I could love that baby til the cows came home, but at the end of each day, I could hand him back to his parents and go get a good night's sleep, free of responsibility except loving him.

You can see just how much I cottoned to all this, yes?