..and Dorothy comes home,

…eyes opened, an older and wiser person. Or so the story goes.

I'm home. I woke up this morning in Maryland. After pulling the covers over my head and denying that it was time to get up, a little part of my brain woke up and said, "Yes, it's time. Go home." On the plane I realized that I, the consummate list-maker, hadn't made a to-do list in a week.

Holding onto the peace of vacation is a difficult thing once you've re-entered 'the real world.' After boarding the plane and donning my headphones, the thoughts of regular life came slowly sifting down on me, snowflake upon snowflake of things to do and remember and keep in mind. To wash clothes, to water the plants, to set my alarm for work tomorrow morning, to write my mother, to … do everything that needs my attention. That's not even considering the fact that I'm going back to work tomorrow—another set of things to think about there.The chains of everyday life are insidious ones, tasks that nibble away at our waking hours in two-to-five-minute increments.

I was met at the airport by Jeff. I'd expected the entire wondergeek crew there, but quickly got the explanation from Jeff—they were all running late. They caught up with me down by the baggage claim area—with balloons, presents, and a big sign. Since they didn't get to make a fuss at gate 6, Jess yelled out, "It's Amy's birthday!"

I think everyone standing there at baggage claim was greatly amused by this.

It is so good to be home. The crew cooked dinner. Jeff is running my clothes through the washer and dryer. The cats wanted cuddling. My birthday present was a Cross pen and a big, fat notebook—with lines on only one side of the paper. The blank side is for doodling, they said.

I have so very much to think about. The sound of the flight pattern over Andy's house. Driving a car with a manual transmission for the first time in years. Metro farecards, subway tokens, the crush of urbanites in expensive shoes determined to cross the street under the Don't Walk sign. Used bookstores, pierogis, screaming hockey fans, life in slow motion. The tired muscles in my lower legs, the blister on the smallest toe of my right foot, the feel of hair still slightly smoggy from New York.

Dorothy has come home—to the cats and the quiet house that still needs decorating and the husband with the soft scratchy beard stubble and wide smile that she didn't really realize how much she missed until she hugged him at the airport.

Tonight's forecast: testing out the new notebook and pen, and then reading myself to sleep. If I remember, I'll even post the names of the books I bought.