come fly with me…

one of the first couple seasons of the x-files featured an episode about a giant mutant flukeworm. this creature floated through the sewers of new jersey and somehow ended up in a port-a-potty. it was a disgusting thing to look at, and if it came across anything alive it would eat it, in a thrashing writhing show of bloody force. ever since, i’ve hated airplane bathrooms.

the worm was never in an airplane, but those things are smaller than most port-a-potties, and the tank under the toilet would be an excellent place for a flukeworm to hide. when you’re stuck on a cross-country flight, though, sometimes you have to suck it up and use it anyway.

i flew out to the city of brotherly love to visit my (very) new nephew. having come down with the flu only two weeks before, i did the responsible thing and let my sister, a nurse, and brother-in-law, a doctor, make the decision as to whether they’d allow me in the house. after assuring them i hadn’t spent any time in a turkish prison, they said it was fine with them.

when you have a new baby, apparently you don’t do a whole lot. this was fine with me. i was looking to a week of reading, writing, maybe a nap or two, and lots of cuddle time with my nephew.

well, i got in plenty of cuddle time with zoey, their cat. i thought demeter was demanding when it came to wanting pets and ear scritches, but zoey could give a master class. if i was the first one up, she’d follow me around, running down the stairs to the kitchen like a little bunny. or she’d sit on my chest until i decided to get up. not that i minded. she is pretty adorable.

my nephew quickly learned that if he starts fussing when auntie amanda is holding him, she’ll do pretty much anything to get him to stop. and he loves being walked. so we walked. and walked some more. then he’d eat, poop, take a catnap, then eat again. except when he was sleeping in the swing:

wow. that looks...uncomfortable.

when i wasn’t getting an arm workout holding him, i did manage to get some reading done, a little writing (but not a whole lot) and because the weather was absolutely gorgeous and 70 degrees one day, i went out for a walk, hoping i wouldn’t get lost.

my sister and brother-in-law live in frickin’ stars hollow. seriously. the little borough outside of philadelphia that they call home is pretty much like the fictional town from the TV show gilmore girls. it has a little downtown area:

a small library where the little old ladies like to sit around and drink the free coffee and tea the library staff puts out for patrons:

and a playfield with an awesome playground that my sister wouldn’t let me play on, plus basketball courts, soccer fields, and a batting cage:

in about the middle of the week i rented a puny little compact and drove five hours north to ithaca, new york. i attended ithaca college for about a year and a half, and my roommate had returned to the town to get a vet degree from cornell.

mmm...beer

i hadn’t been back to ithaca in over ten years, but i’d heard about some of the changes. i knew they’d built up out on route 13, but the wegmans (the glorious wegmans) was still there, as was the ithaca brewing company.

i’d left before i was 21, so i didn’t really get a chance to try the beer. not being a big beer drinker in the first place, i didn’t mind all that much. but i went and did a tasting, which is free, and i’m not going to say no to free beer. the excelsior 13 was excellent.

this being my week to play with other people’s cats, i

cute...overload...gak

met jimmy, martin, hobbes, panera, and phoebe, who belong to devon, my friend, and her roommate. i’m a little jealous; her cats clearly get along better with each other than mine do:

the commons hadn’t changed much, other than some new stores. and yay, viva! taqueria was still there!

yummy fabulous mexican food, straight from the heart of central new york state

while i was in school, i somehow missed out on hiking buttermilk falls, just south of town on route 13. it’s supposed to be a pretty easy hike, but because it decided to rain and be generally nasty the only full day i was there, we settled for beer tasting, fancy yarn store shopping, and new running shoes. i did, though, backtrack as i was leaving town to take a few pictures at the base of the falls (which is right at the entrance to the park):

what i’ve always hated about road trips (aside from the fact that it involves driving) is your food choices are often limited to fast food. i don’t do fast food. so i was pleasantly surprised to find that the hickory run service plaza, off the penna turnpike, boasted a quiznos, where i could actually get *gasp* a salad! although apparently the workers at said service plaza can’t be bothered to wipe the crumbs off the tables and chairs.

cats have this innate ability to move exactly when you’re trying to take their picture. so it wasn’t until my last full day in philadelphia did zoey finally consent to pose for a portrait, while sitting on my lap and getting ear scritches:

my nephew was also crowned king of the babies, as he’d gained 4 pounds in the four weeks since he’d been born. your average baby gains about 2 pounds during that time frame. so the proud parents decided to start on “tummy time”, i.e. getting him to start using his little arms to push himself up. he wasn’t so sure about it, though:

oh, and there was bathtime:

it’s so cold in their house that whatever part wasn’t being washed at the time was covered up with a towel. or maybe mom and dad just didn’t want auntie to have any embarrassing naked baby pictures.

pretty tame week. i also managed to make it through four episodes of series one of mi-5, this awesome british spy show with hot british guys. then i flew back to seattle, via chicago, wasted 2 1/2 hours in the terminal at o’hare (the most boring airport ever. no good shopping. NONE.) and made it home in time to crash into bed. hooray.

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