Yes, I’m packing again.  I’m off to LA for a grand total of three days, including travel time.   It’s actually harder to pack for a short trip than a long one, since you don’t want to weigh yourself down with luggage, so outfit options tend to be reduced.  So far, I’ve got slippers, yoga clothes, my travel yoga mat, PJs, my mini MagLite (which I travel with since being stuck in Canada’s Hotel Hell during the big blackout) and that’s really about it.   Sigh…

I do love my hotel, though – the Renaissance Hollywood.  It’s right around the corner from our office, and connected to the Hollywood and Highland Complex, which has some great restaurants – and shopping!  Plus, it’s a Marriot, and I have “status” there, so before each arrival, I get an email:

Your stay at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa begins in just a few days and we are preparing to give you the red carpet treatment!

I appreciate your loyalty as a Silver Elite Marriott Rewards Member!…In anticipation of your arrival, I am thrilled to offer a specialized registration process designed just for you.

Between 3pm and 7pm, your Elite Loyalty Ambassador will be in lobby to assist you. We will have your guest room keys prepared for you according to your preferences. Your Ambassador will be available for any additional needs or requests you may have upon arrival and throughout your stay.

Please feel free to email me any special needs or requests and your anticipated arrival time.

…I appreciate your loyalty to Marriott and look forward to your arrival!

I’m a sucker for stuff like that.  I always write back, and make my usual requests for a fridge and lots of extra towels (which I take to yoga rather than renting theirs).   They always come through.  And even though I know it’s illogical, they always seem to recognize me the minute I walk in.  I’m not surprised I recognize some of them, but really?  The idea that they would remember me is crazy…but I still let myself think it.  I’m the walking poster child for good customer service and loyalty programs.  They could hire me to tell all my friends about how much I really like their hotel (even though I do that for free).

So, after the drama of packing and the hell that is air travel, I will arrive at the Renaissance and be greeted by my “Elite Loyalty Ambassador”, and I’ll feel right at home.

Except, of course, I’m not taking the cats.


Wine, Cheese, Nuts, And New Beginnings

I live in New York.  Upstate Manhattan, actually.  Since before it was cool and they began writing musicals about my nabe… And I travel a lot, both for work and for fun.  When I travel, I always take slippers.  One of my sisters recently laughed at this habit, even though she also travels…a lot.  Well, you’ve stayed in hotels.  You know that while you see those vacuums in the hall, you never see the hall being vacuumed.  It’s the same theory that reminds you to take off that old quilted bedcover before climbing into your hotel bed.

Traveling as much as I do is both a joy and a chore.  Obviously, there’s the packing thing, which I do in two ways.  The first is a lengthy process, involving taking many outfits out, trying them all on, and planning each ensemble.  The second is “day of” panic packing, which is becoming the trend as I travel even more.  The panic packing seems to suit the person I am right now, while the planned packing was mostly a reflection of my (continued) fear of flying.  After the packing thing, there is the pet care thing, the leaving a clean apartment thing, and worst of all… the airport thing.

Each trip becomes a time capsule of its particular experience.  I’m not even sure what that means, or why it happens, just that it does.

I have been in the process of re-inventing myself for the last 12 months or so. I feel like for the first time, I am allowing myself to be the person I was always meant to be.  I’m being much more social in my own particularly odd way (this will be detailed in future entries about the life of a single-by-choice woman); claiming my place at work; asserting myself with my family; and through it all, wearing slippers.  As I change, the one constant has been those slippers.  The travel pair, and of course, the stay-at-home pair.  They are a touchstone of normality in a life that, despite my best efforts, sometimes seems to spiral out of control.  When I’m feeling a little too on edge, I can curl up with a book, the computer, the iPad, even just my iPhone, wearing my slippers, and find a calmness that otherwise I only find in savasana.  (Yes, I’m also an avid Bikram yogini – the other constant in my work and travel lives.)

So tonight, as I shared wine, cheese and mixed nuts with a dear friend, and after some weeks  of having my life dissected with disapproval, I decided to tell my story.  I have yet to find the book, blog, or column that acknowledges the existence of a woman like me (and Candace Bushnell, you got it wrong), so please join me as I pontificate, ramble, whine, celebrate, and of course, travel with slippers.

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