Today's musical obsessions: "dark and long" by Underworld, and "Satellite" by BT.

I'm mostly packed at this point. I should be sleeping right now, but I'm a wee bit excited and I'm also talking to Brad. I've got everything packed except my toiletries, which I'll throw in tomorrow morning before we leave.

The cats have been incredibly snuggly in the past 24 hours; they know that something unusual is going on, but probably not much more than that. I fear they're going to be confused when I'm gone next week. They like to sleep nestled up against me at night, and I think they're going to hop up in the bed looking for me and start their midnight meowing sessions when they can't find me.They're awfully silly, but it's nice to know I'm loved.

Still hard to believe that my vacation time is actually here. I know that Andy is probably going to enforce no-computer-except-posting-to-domesticat rules while I'm there, so I'm catching up on my reading of a few sites. Binge before famine, I suppose.

Am I really going to be somewhere else tomorrow? It's always like this for me before I go somewhere—my low-level fear of takeoffs and landings is greatly overshadowed by my excitement at getting to go to new places. I know Huntsville rather well now; there's pleasure in going adventuring.

Another oddity—I finally get to see Andy's house. I'm curious to see if it looks like what I think it will. When Andy was house shopping, he let me see the MLS listings of the houses he was looking at, and the one he ended up buying was the one I liked the best from the listings. I'm curious to see if the house matches up with my expectations.

Random thoughts—in reviewing my entries lately I've noticed that I don't mention Jeff much. I did some thinking about this, and I think I understand why now. I've sometimes been reluctant to talk about things that Jeff and I say to each other, mostly because I think our marriage is our business and nobody else's.

But I think there's a deeper reason, and it has to do with my expectations. When Jeff and I talk about things, it's not an unusual happening—it's an everyday thing that I expect from a marriage. When I reach that level of discourse with other friends, it's a bit more unusual and a lot more noteworthy.

It's very easy to get in the habit of taking your spouse for granted. If you're doing it right, they're a large portion of your life. You quickly grow accustomed to the luxury of sleeping with your best friend, and after even just a couple of years, it can seem rather commonplace.

I realized this evening that going away for a little while is a good thing for me. It lets me get a handle on my life, to take a step away from the fray and sort things out. It reminds me why I got married in the first place—for the comfort, the familiarity, the knowledge that I'd have someone to stick with me through both my brilliant and idiotic moments.

By Tuesday I'll be missing Jeff. By next Sunday I'll be glad to be home. But I won't regret going.

Many people don't understand why I take some time off to myself every year. In return I ask them, "How do you know who you are when you only perceive yourself as part of a unit?"

Time for me to take a few days out to remind myself of who I am. I'll be a better person for having done so.

Signing off from Alabama…