Aspiration, Garden, Hospitality, Ideals, Lifestyle


Juliet Rome Lifestyle A River Runs Through It

It has been some time since we put miles and several days’ distance between us and home. Hard to leave family, work, home, the call of spring planting and all the worries and what ifs in the rearview mirror. Complicated with a rescue pup, whose home is the two of us, who jumps into my arms the moment we bring out a travel bag (little known fact from a search of proper English: animals with names should be referred to as who and those without names should not). From nearly a month away, this is my reflection on what I “remembered” to see.

Extraordinary hospitality is personal

Welcomed with tickets to botanical gardens. Tour of a community so we could draw a tighter circle around them and be immersed in their experience. A complete bent on what we might enjoy while we were near them. Plein air dining again and again. Foods we love. Cocktails across an enormous island while we devoured all the candied pecans meant for the salad. Chimichurri for marinated pork they said took only 5 minutes to make … so good our palates traveled 6,000 miles beyond their table. What a reminder to open our homes in a way that shows our guests are known, that says, we’re so glad you’re here. We’ve been waiting for you.

Capsule living is a thing

Small Airbnb. All the room we needed to live and work remotely on a budget. Flow of space is everything, especially when everything in the space is curated like a capsule wardrobe. This wasn’t.

Small appointments matter

We were once aspiring innkeepers. While I can’t find my copy of it, Gail Greco’s “Secrets of Entertaining from America’s Best Innkeepers” is here somewhere. It prompted a lifelong pursuit of a heavenly bed. We packed an egg crate mattress topper, sheets and our pillows, and a good thing too. The head of the bed nosed down and, with too much tossing and turning, the slats fell out. For lack of a bedside table, I found a wicker basket to collect phone, kindle, reading glasses and slippers, wondering every morning if a second lizard would visit in the night and fall asleep in my Uggs. Everything lacking was overcome by modern coffee apparatus and morning sunshine on a lovely balcony.

Important to look up

Our daughter laughs that I am a dog with a bone, fixating on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. If not for J’s reminder to pause checking my inbox for client email while we traveled, I would have missed the nuances of the beauty around me …  high canyon walls, red rock to limestone, high desert flora, the gold-gilded red bottlebrush that had more of my Google search minutes against it than anything else while we were away. Our natural world is majestic. No material object has its power to inspire. And, added reflection, the bottlebrush I coveted (not meant for zone 6) reminds me we’re planted where we are in life for a reason.

The river of summum bonum

I am always waiting for that space when we travel or experience something new when everything inside me quiets. Mind and heart open like a vast landscape with a river of reflection running through it. Future and past are contemplated and examined for whether we are using our time, talent and treasure for the highest good. This brings something like a new current of purpose to edit those things that just don’t matter enough or do those things I’ve put off too long for another day or lean a little more into the places that take time, courage, intention, discipline.

Enough is only truly measured in minutes

J. and I, over a meatball (followed by a cannoli) epicurean adventure (which is to say six craft meatballs traveling in ramekins in a circular rotation on a 2’ tall iron Ferris wheel), talked about how the greatest possessions, satisfactions, in life are the experiences we collect from people and place.

There’s no place like home

Beau, closing in on 4, asked every day, where are you now, what are you doing, are you home? Daily, we’re told, he’s added toys and snacks to his travel bag for his next visit to us. Henley, after we Facetimed her from a French boutique with the choice of her requested unicorn or a new twirly dress, chose the fluffy pink tulle number under 5 seconds. Fun that at just past 4 she is confident this will travel from Forever French Baby through the screen of an iphone to materialize in her lap (evidenced by her request to her mommy to write a note to Tootsie and Pops, and the photo and video that arrived within minutes of hanging up). There are the good neighbors who become cherished friends, showing up to make sure home looks like it did when you left. And parents who tell you they missed you even though you’re grown.

About Laurie

Laurie Carney is a strategist, writer, editor and account executive in her professional life. She is at home with her husband Jeffrey, also a strategist and creative director/writer, and silly rescue Poshie, Bonnie (aka Golden Bear). She has four beautiful children now that her son and daughter are happily married and three tiny grands playing starring roles.
View all posts by Laurie →