Vacation is over and we’re heading home to New York today. I’ve been gone from my home for an entire month, and alone for the past two weeks.
Some things I enjoyed most:
— Watching a minor-league baseball game. My ticket was $8, for one of the best seats in the stadium.
— Attending the 9:30 a.m. service at the local Episcopal church. It was a tiny A-frame, whose screened windows faced the grass of the Champlain exhibition grounds. Seagulls squawked. A man played banjo for Amazing Grace. The peace — the part of the service when everyone greets one another — went on, charmingly, forever.
— Eating at the bar of a dive-y pub a very good cup of home-made corn chowder and a cold local ale. Watching the NBA draft and a baseball game on two TVs at the same time.
— Not turning on the television once in two weeks of house-sitting. Didn’t miss it a bit.
— Reading fiction, which I almost never do. Loved “The Art of Fielding”, a new first novel by Chad Harbach and “Cannery Row”, the 1945 classic by John Steinbeck. Harbach’s book has sold 250,000 copies and he was paid $650,000 for it, after a decade working on it in broke obscurity. I really liked his book, despite the hype.
— A phenomenal blood orange martini and salmon with chive risotto on a splurge night.
— Washing my car with a hose in the driveway, (forbidden at our co-op.)
— Watching two hot-air balloons soaring over my head at dusk, the roaring of the gas flames audible and mysterious. Even the little dog was impressed.
— Meeting someone at a party on a farm in Vermont whose grandparents came from the same small tiny Breton town, Concarneau, where my mentor is buried.
— Having a small, playful, cuddly dog to accompany me on road trips, to hog the bed at night and whose silky ears I will miss terribly. On the car trip home from Montpelier, in the dark, she laid her head on my shoulder.
— Lying in the sunshine reading.
— My first few Zumba classes. Ouch! Now I get why people so enjoy it. Planning to continue them at home.
— Playing endless games of Scrabble on the Ipad.
— Missing the hell out of my husband, with three weeks apart to remember all the things I love and none of the stuff that annoys me.
— Driving up to the ice-cream stand for a huge cup of very good ice cream, for $2.60.
— The Friday farmer’s market, with wood-oven-fired pizza, luscious tomatoes, crusty baguettes and live music.
— The astonishing mist and cloud over the green hills as I drove southeast through rain to an outdoor party.
— Meeting new people who were welcoming and kind and offered amazing barbecue ribs at that party.
— Scoring some great, cheap-o antique finds, like four silver-plate knives for $7 and a lovely transferware cup for $10.
— Snagging some CDs, including the new Patti Smith.
— Introducing myself to local indie book-sellers and asking if they’d stock my book.
— Seeing the Camel’s Hump, a 4,800-foot high mountain southeast of where I stayed, in all sorts of light and weather conditions.
— The river at the end of our street. When I went to its edge, I found a tarp/tent and a very deep large hole dug at the edge of a cornfield. Shriek. Fled…quickly.
— Taking lots of cellphone photos for future visual reference, mostly of anything with patina.
— Going dancing with Jose, shaking my tail feather for 90 minutes, with kids half our age coming up to say “You’re a terrific dancer!” That new left hip works just fine.
I love glam trips to Paris and London, but the past month, doing the rural/small town thing, has been a wonderful and relaxing change. I’ve really enjoyed it.
What are some of the simple pleasures you’ve been enjoying lately?