Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Summer of Our Content

I'm writing this from the Library Lounge in the Renaissance Syracuse Hotel
in New York.

How did you happen to be there, you ask as you scratch your head.
You live in Michigan, Happyville to be precise. How came you to be so far from
hearth and home?

I had the great good fortune to fall in love with, and subsequently marry a man whose career
involves a certain amount of travel during the warmer months. This is one of those trips. And I was invited along. It meant six days and five nights of peace and escapism.

I'm big on escapism. And so here I am in New York.

I am surrounded by opulence of a sort, if you're impressed by over-sized club chairs
that gather you in their soft leatheriness and whisper relaxing nothings in your ear; and plush earth-toned carpet lined with bookshelves. Who wouldn't want to write in this place?

One other patron slaving away on a laptop--otherwise, it's just me and a discreetly hovering
bartender, watching but not watching, in case I should suddenly find my muse
dried up and in need of that next vodka and cranberry.

No household tasks, no children, no worries, no cares,

As a teenaged American girl, our rotary dial phone was practically an
appendage. I had that thing sticking up against the side of my head constantly.
I'm not sure why or when it changed, but I despise the thing now.
I cannot stand talking on the phone. What a time-waster. I could be perfecting my Solitaire skills or winning copious amounts of make-belive cash in online Jeopardy, where my every answer is applauded by a studio audience.

I'd much rather e-mail or drive the distance it takes to have a conversation in person.
Of course, the phone, especially the cell type, is very, very practical and useful.
But...once I'm at home for the evening, I tend to guard my time jealously, and I
hate to share it with some little appliance, as if it's the boss of me or something.

At their advanced ages, my kids still fly toward the land line when it shrills, but I
refuse to be its slave. When I keep sitting and let it just ring repeatedly, they look at
me as if I've taken one too many punches to the head.

I guess I've learned that short of a national emergency in which President Obama
desperately needs my unique and skewed point of view on the nation's current problems
(one of my current fantasies, btw) it'll keep.

We have an answering machine, after all.
I fully doubt that any incoming call could be that important that it couldn't keep until
morning, or whenever I feel like checking the voice mail.

This, however, is a long way away from Syracuse. We arrived Wednesday and will
be leaving on Sunday, breaking our journey in Pennsylvania somewhere.

But until then, I have almost every day free to...well, do anything I please.
True, I have no transportation, but I am a resourceful person and don't need wheels
to amuse myself. There's a great little bistro within even my walking distance for
sustenance that I frequent so my nourishment is taken care of.
What else could any girl want?

Just give me free WiFi and I'm happy as a clam.

When's the last time you had several hours to surf, research, or just play on
your computer, with no distractions to pull you away?
See, to me that is heaven. That may not hold true for you. (If not, you're strange and I
don't understand you.)

And reading.

Accompanying me on this trip are many magazines, books, and
reams and reams of paper on which I printed out all those things that I didn't have time
to investigate further in my real world. This is vastly different from JaneWorld,
in which investigating further is a high priority and must be pursued right then and there.
In JaneWorld, reading rates bigger than baseball, the Pope's fractured wrist, and the disposition
of Michael Jackson's will.

(I see I'm terribly off-task, as they say of first-graders. Back to the subject, my girl.)

So I'm here in Syracuse. What I want to post about, however, is

How I Spent This July Fourth Holiday, by Jane.

My husband and I managed to eke out several days to travel to my favorite place
in the state of Michigan: the Leelanau Peninsula.
It borders Little Traverse Bay and is lush, hilly vineyard country.
We had been there last year over the Fourth, and were lucky enough to score

a room at a wonderful bed and breakfast this year that was so lovely that I don't know
how it's managed to escape attention of the Mongol hordes, but I fervently
hope it continues flying under the radar so we can keep it as our own secret.

I am posting a few pictures (I took millions over the weekend) but will not
tell you the name of the inn for obvious national security reasons. If you can recognize
the place by the photographs, you truly deserve to know about this nirvana,
and I will gladly alternate weekends with you.

But only if you enjoy many flower beds planted in the English cottage-style.
I couldn't do justice to the beautiful pinks and purples with my poor little Canon
and slowly emerging camera skills.
And if you don't like strange innkeepers depositing creative, fresh, and delicious hot breakfasts
outside your door, this place is not for you.

The picture at the beginning of this post is the view from the front lawn of the inn.
You can see Little Traverse Bay peeking through the trees at you. Very enticing.

We spent our few days lazily winding through the Leelanau area, up hill and down
dale, drinking in the beauty of the vineyards and orchards and hamlets
full of --dare I say it lest it sound too vapid?-- local charm.
Friendly people abound who are always glad to steer you toward the best little restaurants
(and ice cream places--Moomers, anyone?).

And of course we were in Traverse City for the Fourth. We shopped, ate, shopped, drank,
and ate some more before it was time to gather on the Bay for the spectacular
fireworks display. I have developed a serious addiction to The Cherry Republic's Boom Chugga
Lugga Cherry Cola. It's only distributed locally which is the pits (sorry) so I hauled
some of this nectar home with me. If you ever get the opportunity to get your hot little
hands on a bottle of this stuff, hang on with all your might and DO NOT SHARE.
You'll thank me later.

Not to change the subject but...

Did you know that some point-and-shoot cameras have a 'fireworks' setting?

Neither did I.

But it didn't stop me from clicking furiously away at the bursts of fire gleaming over the water.

No, that's not my husband. He insists I tell you that. Marty has hair.
We got very fond of this guy, though, and a good thing, too, since he appears in
every bloody shot I took that night.

I am such a doofus.

(Disclaimer: If the aforewritten seems a little manic, please excuse. I am high on escapism and much, much Mountain Dew.)

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