Happy Trails


“Let others delight mid new pleasures to roam,
But give me, oh, give me, the pleasures of home. 
-John Howard Payne
Saturday, May 21, 2016 5:56 am
Thousand Oaks, California

Disclaimer: I’m not complaining.

(Although Schwink says when you say you’re not about to do something, you’re going to do exactly the thing you say you’re not about to do. I’m about to prove Schwink wrong. Which isn’t, I’ve learned in 100+17 years of friendship, an easy thing to do. This time, however, I shall prevail ).

Some people get to take vacations and some people get to stay home and meticulously adhere to three pages of single-spaced, typed instructions on how to care for their cat.

Guess whose the former and whose the latter this morning.

And I don’t even like cats.

I do, however, like home.

A lot.

That is Reason Number One I am not complaining.

As I write this, my friend GordoDarls and The Mrs. are being Roadrunnered to LAX for a flight that will wing them on a vacation to New York City (Schwink’s favorite destination, her Darling City). The Dude and I will be on above mentioned Cat Beat for the next 10 days. I must say, this particular 17 year old honey colored feline, Bandit, is lovely. As far as cats go. Not that I would necessarily know a lovely cat from an unlovely cat. As I said, not a cat person. Or any kind of animal person really. Not counting my love of The Bunny, which is that and only that; a love of The Bunny. In a Bunny Appreciation kind of way. I would never own one. I wouldn’t want to own any living thing that respirates. I feel fairly sure that my days in the care, feeding and disposal of fecal matter of other living things have come to an end. Not bitter. Not jaded. Just…done. (Since The Badass Bunny isn’t likely to have any, La Belle and Beau’s children, I’ve decided, will be the exception to this rule. But don’t think a blood test for veracity won’t be required. Because it will. And once said grandchild’s authenticity is verified, it’s a limited time offer sort of thing. Two, three months max. Four at the absolute most. And that’s only in the case of conscription or overseas employment. Or if La Belle asks.)

Reason Number Two that I’m not complaining is that having traveled both domestically and internationally, I’ve seen all the pretty places. And I loved it. Every single second. I’m a fearless traveler and the thought of experiencing the wonder and excitement of new and different vistas, sights, sounds and experiences calls to me. I have an epic, grand and insatiable wanderlust.

Just not now.

Reason Number Three I am not complaining is that I am, by choice, a Graceful Recluse. (More about this later. More about everything later). (Promise). I leave the house under duress. These happy days, going to the mailbox constitutes an outing. A trip to the library with The Dude? That’s a calendared event. This sometimes worries La Belle and The Bunny, but I assure them that all is well. There’s very little out there that’s not in here and if you spent an afternoon here on the terrace with me, you’d understand why I’m such a happy little Pearl in her clam.

Reason Number Four has to do with Reason Number Three.

It also requires a Metaphor Alert.

A good part of the reason I’m happy at home is because The Fateful Eight is a vacation I’m still unpacking from.

Where I’ve been the last eight years wasn’t exactly a restful, rejuvenating sojourn, but it was definitely a motherfucking trip. Not all vacations are about having “a blue drink on the white sand” (that’s another fine “Mad Men” quote right there. Season Six, Episode One. John Slattery in his role as “Roger Sterling” said that and I think we can all agree he pretty much got the best lines in that gorgeous series. This is a fine example. In fact, that’s why this happened:  http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/mad-men-complete-quips-of-roger-sterling.html).

I digressed. That will happen on certain subjects, “Mad Men” being chief among them. And books. And how much I love “Vanity Fair” magazine.  And also do not get me going on Harley-Davidsons, New Orleans’ Cafe du Monde and how feminist rhetoric over the past 45 years has, ironically, more than any other single factor, contributed to the devaluation of women and the breakdown of the family structure in America.

“Happy” and “Home” are still two words, individually and when put together, that are still relatively new to me in my recovery from The Empty Nest Syndrome. This life I have to make feels very much like a wonderful vacation to me after the past eight years and all the unhappy places I visited, the unpleasant things I saw, the bitter pills I tasted, the awful experiences I, and as a result, those I traveled with, experienced.

And while it’s true that I’m still unpacking, I can finally see the bottom of the suitcase.

I’m fine with my terrace and my mailbox and the occasional outing to the library or Whole Foods Market.

And I love when my family and friends travel and I get to hear about their adventures. Recently some friends sent me photographs from a very solitary and quiet vacation they’re taking at a desert casita in Arizona. Breathtaking, they were. My friend George shared in his email that there were colors in a sunset he and his wife saw one evening that they’d never even seen, shades and hues of pinks, purples and oranges that they never even knew existed.

I think that’s what I love most about travel. Discovery. That feeling of awe and wonder and expansion that comes when you get to experience something new. You just feel a little…bigger…in what you know about the world. Then you did the moment before.

I feel that way here, at home, on my terrace. That there is so much more I get to discover and know, right here, in this life I have to make.

Fifth and Final Reason I’m not complaining? Bandit the cat is very soft and fluffy.



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