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Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28

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3:40 p.m. - 2013-05-26
Happy Plans!

Train schedules checked, boldly invited myself down to Deb's. Well, she offered but I forwent the polite demurs of waiting to be asked again and said I'd be there Friday. I could probably manage the drive to Maryland, especially if I took Mick's car (my elderly Escort gets upset when put to highway speed, she's used to putt-putting around on back roads), but the train is part of the adventure. By my best reckoning I have a 2 hour layover in NYC and if the day's not too hot I'll go upstairs and out onto the sidewalk, buy a dirty water hotdog from a cart and enjoy the people watching in my favorite city. And if the weather's beastly there's still plenty to see in Penn Station. On the train I'll sit in the quiet car. I'll read and let my thoughts drift. Look out the window at places that aren't Mini-dunk and its lovely but overly-familiar scenery. And just be. Knowing me I'll get into a conversation or two. Never know who you'll meet on a train. Then best of all once I get to Baltimore I'll disembark and go into the cavernous waiting room and find my friend. Wrap her in a huge squeezy hug and start the hilarious chatter fest that'll go for the next 53 hours or so (with grudging time given to sleeping) and know myself welcome and loved.

If the scheduling gods are kind we'll hook up with Mary and possibly the Best Babe somewhere in there and it'll be all kinds of fine, but honestly? As Deb does when she comes here and we stay up all night yakking our heads off on the Couch of Infinite Time-Suck, just being at Deb's will be plenty. Sitting in her calming book-lined living room, possibly with Tini coming over to me for some pats, but he's really a one-woman dog and he'd be on her lap 99% of the time. Going with them for walkies through Deb's tidy neighborhood, especially after dark when the sidewalks alternate between leafy shadows and glowing pools of light from the streetlamps. Hearing about her adventures at work and catching up on the gossip about folk I've never met but know well enough from her stories. Swapping kid tales and eye-rolling snarks about ex-husbands and seeing the improvements to her place since I was there last. The new paint. The nifty downstairs bathroom. The now-grown out bushes beneath her living room windows (home to the infamous plaster snake). I'm a pretty easy guest. Always up for any sort of plans and grateful for the effort, on one of these visits we'll get around to going to Charm City Cakes and taking pics of Duff Goldman's empire or possibly the Poe House or even an Oriole's game for the hell of it, but mostly I'm good with just being with my friend(s) and sharing some food and a lot of laughs.

Should the day ever come and I cross the big pond and get to Anna I know it'll be much the same. Sure, considering the distance I'll feel obligated to do some sight-seeing. Stonehenge, Harrods, hokey stuff like the Changing of the Guard. Of course she doesn't live in London or Wiltshire but England is a teeny country and things are accessible enough. Then again when Anna was here we hardly budged from my office. This with the Hudson Valley all lousy with historical sites and NYC only 45 miles thataway. Visits are about the people. Being with my friends, hanging around in their homes, melting into the everyday parts of their lives. I'd be far more dorked out to go to Chigley and see Stepfie than I would about spending the day in the British Museum.

Mind you, I am only speaking for myself. There's a lot to be said for guided tours or the intensive delving into archives and the visiting of monuments. As an American with our lousy 400 years of white people's time here in the New World being somewhere like the Western Wall or walking a piece of road laid by the Romans would give me the shivering willies of history nerd glee. Castles, ruins, hell, even a shop that's been doing business since the Middle Ages would be brain-bendingly cool. And someday I do want to do that kind of traveling. Go to Important Places and rack up the 'I Was There' badges. Take pics and buy souvenirs and make all those fantastical places a physical reality.

In the meantime though, with my limited time and even more limited funds, what I like more than anything is to be with my friends. I want to gather up my courage, cross the Mason-Dixon and dare to take on the Deep South with its reward of the fabulous K. Or head west into the Northern Plains and the Big Sky country and catch up with so many pals, Alison, Holly, Greta, Jo-Anne, just to name a few. Or to finally get my stuff together and go to Philly. Not far in miles, but so far imposs in the technicalities. Or back to Boston and the good'uns who live there and love me lots.

However this weekend it'll be the Old Line State and the warm embrace of my darling Deb (and *fingers crossed!* a couple other best beloved friends) with the delights of pulled pork sandwiches, ice cream sundaes for breakfast, a ton of laughs, talking until my jaw is tired, and some lick kisses from a wiggly terrier named Tini.

Happy with anticipation, ~LA

The lyrics don't quite fit but this song captures the essence of my upcoming trip.

8 Wanna talk about it!

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