Wednesday, October 10, 2012

That Time I Almost Died, back in September

"I don't want to die - I don't want to die - I don't want to die" The thought ran on repeat in my head as tears streamed down my face and my breath came in short gasps. 

Was I clinging to the edge of a cliff, or maybe in the middle of an armed robbery?

Nope, I was just about to get onto this:

Somehow, my dislike of flying transformed itself into a full on panic inducing phobia right before our trip out west for my mother-in-law's birthday, much to the consternation of both Ed and myself. If you know me, you know that my list of fears runs about a mile long, and includes the (in my opinion) sensible, like running solo on desert trails during rattlesnake season, to the absurd (moths freak me out a  bit, and used to cause yelp inducing panic). 

Plane rides, though, have gotten progressively worse. I've  found that with a drink and a dvd player, I'm usually alright, so I'd planned accordingly. However, when I found out that our plane only sat 50, it took my fear into new territory. Add that to the knowledge that a friend of my Dad's died in a plane crash at the airport we were landing at 30 years earlier, and  I could barely sleep the night before. I woke up early to research the plane and the plane company (because that is how I deal with fears :)). I was still in tears as Ed took me to work (thankfully it was a professional development day with no kids), and just tried to keep myself distracted. I even bought myself 3 new books over lunch to bring on the plane as an extra distraction. 

As you can imagine, by the time we were on the shuttle to the airport, I was a bit of a mess. By the time we were going through security, I was an embarrassing mess. So much so that after going through, one of the women working there came up to me to ask if I was okay. I could barely gulp out, "I'm scared" through my sobs, feeling like a complete idiot. But, what can you do. 

As soon as we got to the gate, I made a very good call, literally. I called my mom. She did her best to both distract and reassure me until it was time to get on the plane. 

As we took off, I may have been crying more than the little baby behind us, but once we were in the air, I pulled it together, got myself some wine, and put on Hairspray on my laptop. It was a short flight, and one of the smoothest I've been on. As we began our gentle descent, over the vineyards and beautiful golden California hills, I was glad I had decided to go, and was so happy to be back in my home state. 

Stepping off the plane and into the decidedly cool air, Ed and I knew it was going to be a great trip. We stopped in Morro Bay on the way home for dinner. The sun was just setting, and we took a moment to enjoy our first ocean view in a few months.

We had dinner in a beautiful restaurant on the water to pre-celebrate Sabine's birthday, and our arrival in California. It was lovely.

The next day was our main event. Ed and his brother (with some help from their respective spouses) had been working on their mom's 70th birthday party for months and it was exciting to put everything together. Keven and Noemi arrived in the morning, and we all got to work, setting up tables, decor and food. We convinced Sabine's good friend to take her for a hike so that she could be surprised with the final effect. A few hours later, she arrived and was  very happy with all of our hard work.

When you first enter the home, we had appetizers set up to tide everyone over until the late lunch. 

We also had the cake, a spot for cards, and our gift for Sabine - a digital frame loaded with lots of pictures from all of her sons and family. It was an Octoberfest theme (since Sabine is from Germany) so we had flags out to celebrate. 

Outside was where we put most of our effort, as that's where the main part of the party was happening. We decorated all the tables with beer steins and flowers to give it that Bavarian touch.

We decided to go for that more polished look and actually rent dishes and linens. It really dressed up our party and looked lovely. 

Brother in law Keven was the master griller of the day, and did an amazing job on the food!

Another Bavarian touch? Soft fresh pretzels.

This backyard party was the perfect layout. we had 5 tables full of happy, wonderful friends, all celebrating a great woman. We super lucked out with the weather, too, with beautiful 70s weather.

Everyone loved the food. It reminded me of our trip to Germany on our honeymoon. 

The excellent party planners:

The also excellent daughter-in-laws with a very special 70 year old!

After the party, Ed and I decided to go catch the sunset, so beautiful it almost took our breath away. 

Standing here made my heart ache for this beautiful state, both with sadness for having left, and happiness for getting to visit our wonderful families here. 

This is one couple very happy to be in California, even if it was just for a weekend. 

The next morning, we had one more thing on our California list - hitting those trails. 

We started in the fog, which was lovely compared to the hot Arizona runs we've had. 

Soon, though, we were up in the clear skies, enjoying the golden hills, cute deer and horses, and bright skies. While it was more hiking than running, we did run the whole last downhill section, which reminded me how much love I do have for trail running. 

A run in cambria wouldn't be complete without one last stop at the ocean. It was definitely cold, which was such a lovely change, and we soaked it all in. 

We had a nice relaxing day, just enjoying spending time outside with family. Around 2pm, we headed to our little airport. I did much better on the way back. Only a few tears were shed as we took off, and before we knew it, we were back to real life.

Feeling thankful for such a wonderful California weekend.

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