I'm impressed: great questions! I'm going to break these into segments, since the answers are long. Here are the first three:
Two Kayaks asked:
1. Out of all of your wonderful travels, which is your favorite and why?
I have had many wonderful travels, but rather than pick an exotic location, I’m going to have to go with my desert roadtrips as my absolute favorites. The reasons are multiple: For one thing, I have an affinity for the desert. I’m not sure why, but I just feel right when I’m there. It’s a cleansing and purifying place for me. I like the quality of the air, the dryness, the cleanness of it. I like the lack of visual clutter and the sparseness and alienness of the vegetation. I like the tiny little ecosystems that you can find in a puddle. Also, desert road trips are among the most personal, because I’m either solo (which is always a good experience - getting back in touch with just myself and clearing my head) or with my husband, which is a very intimate and personal experience in its own way. And finally, I just plain LOVE sleeping under the stars. Particularly in bugless environments.
2. What is the best gift you have ever given?
I really like this question. And it’s a tough one: I’ve been trying to think back. Two come to mind. The first was to my mother when she and my father had recently split, and she had just moved to New Haven to study art history at Yale. I wasn’t quite sure what this time would feel like for her - whether she’d feel sad or happy, relieved or estranged. As it turned out, it was a great time of rebirth for her. It was like she was starting a brand new life. She hadn’t expected to be going “back to college” at that point in her life, and it was a thrilling time for her. I remember that I went out and bought her “accoutrements for a new life”...it was basically a big care package full of everything pretty, frivolous, artistic or just fun that I could find. I bought everything I picked up that I thought she might like - pencils and pens, pretty journals, fancy stationary, expensive chocolates, cosmetics or scented lotions that she wouldn’t have bought for herself... It was like a “send-off” into her new life. That felt really good.
The other gift I’m thinking of was actually kind of similar in nature, and it was a gift I gave my “now husband” before we were really going out. He had just bought a new house, and it was the first house that he’d owned. I knew that he liked modern home style (and he was a chef at the time, so I knew the kitchen was important to him), and I went and bought him a bunch of cool, funky kitchen implements, pop-art home accessories and the like. I put them all in a big cardboard storage box, and then collaged the entire box with frames from old comic books, graphic novels and kitschy ads from 1950s Life magazines. Then I took it to his office. He was so stunned to see me there in the middle of a work day, and that I’d brought him a housewarming gift, that he could barely speak and had to email me later to say how amazed he’d been.
What is our favorite stuffed animal you sleep with or is it a pillow or none of the above?
I do have a tendency to sleep with fuzzy things! For much of my early life, even into college, I slept with a spongy stuffed cat that my grandmother bought me at FAO Schwartz in NYC when I was about seven. His name was Squooshy Cat and he was pretty much my good-luck talisman. I couldn’t go anywhere without him. By the time he got “retired” he was half bald and even flatter than he had been to begin with. He still lives at my mom’s house and, yes, I still sleep with him when I visit her.
Now, I sleep with my fuzzy (real) dog Sam, who curls up against my belly at night. Yes, he sleeps under the covers. I get very hot with M. on one side and Sam on the other, but...I’m willing to suffer for it. Also recently M. and I have been sleeping with a “Sleep Sheep” that we bought for Flynn. It has a white noise machine in it which plays the most incredible rain-on-the-roof sound. We’re kind of addicted. Sleep Sheep is already a little the worse for wear, but I doubt Flynn will mind.
If you could do one thing differently that you regret from your past, what would it be and why?
This is a biggie, because actually there is a whole phase of my life (nearly five years) that I would like to erase. It was after college and I was living in Manhattan and basically going through a delayed adolescence. I’d gone away to college at 16 and worked my butt of all through school ...so I really had never had a chance to “cut loose”. When I finally did (at the age of 20), it wasn't pretty. I really went wild. I was not nice to the people in my life, and my lifestyle was extremely superficial and, frankly, not very fulfilling. I lived in the nightclubs. If I lived in NYC now, I would spend all my time in the museums and galleries and libraries, see opera and shows, take art classes...but at the time I wasn't interested in anything but social life. I was living in an F.Scott Fitzgerald novel of the mind. I was not a person that I’m proud of now.
But M. and I have talked about this a lot, because we both have phases that we “regret” from our past life. But the catch is, we are who we are now because of what we learned then. If we had not learned the lessons we learned, by trial and error, by making mistakes we needed to make, who knows where we’d be now? We would probably never have met. So...I’d have to say that while there are certainly things I regret, there is nothing in my past that I would change, because any change might have prevented me from ending up where I am now in life, and I am very, very happy with where I am now!
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