Not since my wedding day have I been so excited for a day to finally come. I can remember other times like this. The daze before leaving for a study abroad, all that I didn't know as I left for my first observing trip in Arizona, the frenetic build up to our flight on the Weightless Wonder have somehow lost their punch. But on Saturday, I leave for McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

Everything about this trip thrills me. I'll be stopping in Sydney and New Zealand along the way. I'll only be in Australia for a three hour layover, but I'm still counting it in my head as having been to a new continent. My only goal is to figure out how to send postcards from Sydney in that short time.

The layover in New Zealand is a bit longer. Two days, in fact. I'm not sure what I'll be doing for those two days. I imagine long periods of waiting sitting in that red parka ("Big Red"), bored and antsy at the same time. I can also imagine me running around trying to hug a kiwi (the avian variety, not the fruit nor a person).

Forget about south -- I've never traveled this far west. I'll cross the international date line along the way, meaning that I'll get on a plane in Los Angeles on a Saturday and arrive in Sydney on a Monday. I think I'm even looking forward to the jet lag associated with that mind bender.

To further add to the frenzy, I've been accumulating piles of stuff to take with me. Do I take this lens or that lens? What TV shows should I bring? Definitely need temporary tattoos for Halloween. (No seriously, these are awesome!)

I found out recently from a veteran polar explorer that it's a good idea to take a coat lighter than Big Red for day-to-day operations. They'll give you a windbreaker ("Little Red"), but it's nice to have your own anyway. This Midwesterner who all too easily became a Southern Californian found herself with little not-so-heavy-duty winter gear. Still got those great long underwear sets from living in Chicago. Thanks Mom!

You can see where I'm at with the preparations for this trip. Reveling in the madness. Maybe next time I'll tell you about how excited I am about the science we're going to do.