towerinspring.jpg

(Lovely photo of the Eiffel Tower in spring taken by AZTransplant.)

The weather has been gorgeous here this week — sunny, warm, just the hint of a breeze, And instead of sitting back and drinking it all in, I've been dreaming of a vacation, of running away to some far off place and having an adventure. It's silly, because the thought of a 30-something momma with a four year old and loving husband in tow isn't exactly a recipe for exotic mystery…but there you are.

Actually, I suppose Mr. ReddHedd and I did have an adventure of sorts yesterday — for us, at least — when we suddenly found ourselves with a couple of hours open on our schedules on the same day at the same time, and with The Peanut still at preschool. So, we ran away for an hour to…Starbucks, for a cuppa and a little time to just relax and chat. It was a bit of a miracle, really, and I'm so happy we made the time for it.

It was awfully fun.

And a good reminder that, even in the best of worlds, there is always room for a little spontaneity — and a lot of incentive to carve out some space for even the most mundane of adventures when you can. Although, to be completely honest, the best part of the day was going to pick up The Peanut, her little piggy tails bobbing a bit as she ran up to give us both a hug, big smile on her face.  Some day, when I am old and gray and wrinkled, I can look back on that little moment — a cheery snapshot in my minds eye — and feel that love radiating from her beautiful, little smile. (Or maybe I'll just tuck it away for the teenage years. Just in case.)

But…back to the photo. I thought we could all go on a little adventure together this morning. A bit of travel through someone else's tales — or someone else's dreams.

Personally, I have always longed to go to Paris in the spring. I hear that it is beautiful, and the above photo captured that joie de vivre that I like to think permeates the Paris of my dreams — I'll be at the little cafe across the street, drinking in the scenery and enjoying the people-watching. To be honest, though, pretty much anywhere in Europe in the spring sounds lovely. London was beautiful the one time I was there in college, on my way back from a conference in Moscow. (Moscow is lovely, btw, but don't go in January if you can help it, unless you have really thick, warm clothing. Trust me on that one.) I hear that Provence is gorgeous, too, and I've always, always wanted to go to Florence, Italy — ever since I read Irving Stone's The Agony And The Ecstasy in junior high. Or a cruise of the islands of Greece? Lovely.

Although, honestly, a long plane ride to anywhere with a four-year-old isn't exactly tempting. But lovely stuff around North America within driving distance? Lots to see. I know RevDeb would recommend Quebec City. And, for me anyway, pretty much any destination with a beach is tempting. I love the Smithsonian museums in DC, but it will be a little while before The Peanut gets old enough to really appreciate the National Gallery. Ditto with the MMA and MOMA in NYC — but that doesn't mean we won't be trying anyway. (Anyone with some advice on beginning to introduce your kids to museums, please feel free to share. She already loves bookstores, but I'm not certain that we are quite ready for the next step of symphony performances and museums. But how do you know?)

So, there is lots to see in our own neck of the woods…and showing it to The Peanut does make it new. But not exactly an adventure, really. At least, not in the traditional exotic adventure sense.

And then I think of all the wonderful books that I've read about the nations along the Silk Road, and I long for a ride on the Orient Express or a trip down the Yangtze that no longer is after the dam (didn't make it there before the Three Gorges disappeared…if only…). Or…so many places. Guess I'm just having a vacation itch at the moment, but I don't have the time or the budget to take one…so I'll have to make do with just thinking about one.

One of my favorite pastimes is reading travel books — not the schlocky kind that give you sappy recitations and checklists of things to tic off your list, either. I'm talking about the sort that make you feel as though you are traveling along with the author. I love Paul Theroux's travel writing — despite the fact that he's a crabby, elitist curmudgeon (or maybe because of that fact, because he always seems to write the things that I'm thinking somewhere in my mind, but would never in a million years be able to say out loud). I adore Jason Elliot's book on Afghanistan, which may just be the perfect travel tome.

And the list goes on and on.  I thought everyone else might like a little vacation this morning as well — even if it is only a sort of mental vacation for a little while. What do you dream about when you have that wistful pack your bags and go somewhere feeling? Have you already been there and, if so, please share some of your best stories about it. Pour yourself another cuppa and then pull up a chair…

PS — A big hello to Jane and Jeralyn, who is hanging out with Jane this weekend. I hear Kobe may have found himself a new galpal, and I, for one, am awfully jealous.

PPS — Rep. Jerry McNerney will be Howie's guest for today's Blue America chat. It will be held at a slightly later time — 4:00 pm ET/1:00 pm PT — and I wanted to give everyone a heads up. And for some fun this morning, Bob Geiger has the Saturday cartoons.