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Paraphrasing Oscar Wilde: I never travel without my blog. One should always have something sensational to write in the train.

Four a.m. is not the hour I’d pick to start my day. Let’s just say that I’m less a morning person than, oh, a mid-to-late-morning-after-coffee-and-breakfast-and-newspaper person. But how could I possibly complain? Three hours ago, John and I boarded the 7 a.m. train to New York City, solely because something that has only ever occurred in my dreams is really and truly happening. I wrote an essay and submitted it to a Facebook contest sponsored by the actress Marlo Thomas. And I won. Tonight we will pick up my prize: two free tickets at the box office of the Brooks Atkinson Theatre to see Ms. Thomas perform in Elaine May’s play, George is Dead, one-third of Relatively Speaking, a triad of one-act comedies directed by John Turturro.

I planned for our departure with such scrupulous attention to detail as to make a Broadway producer proud. Pet care? Check. Our good friends and neighbors, Jerry and Amy, would watch our dog, Sandy. (Zorro, their Shih-Tzu, is Sandy’s love interest.)

Sandy, on the right, with her love interest Zorro. Sandy is nearly five; Zorro is one. Sandy is a cougar.

Amy will also feed our cat, Nellie. Clean clothes? Check. I picked up John’s shirts from the laundry and did one last load of laundry. Vehicle transport? Check. I put gas in the car so we could make it to the train station without incident, and printed out our AmTrak confirmation vouchers. Lodging? Check. I printed out the confirmed reservation for our hotel. Nourishment? Check and check. I picked up pastries at Can Can (a cranberry scone for John, a cherry and mascarpone cheese croissant for me) for our train breakfast. At Jean-Jacques Bakery I ordered two roast beef and Havarti cheese sandwiches (sides of fruit and green bean salad) to secure our train-picnic lunch. Coffee? Ah…This required a trip to Target to purchase a thermos. I set up the coffee maker last night. Apparel and necessities? Check. Telecommunications devices and photographic equipment? Check, check, and check. Laptop and iPhone fully-charged (but power cords packed) and ready to go; ditto camera and batteries.

Did I say scrupulous attention to detail? I forgot to pack an extra pair of socks.

We are now stopped for about an hour or so at Union Station in Washington, D.C., and I want to post this while I still have battery power (the electricity apparently gets shut down during layovers).

So here’s to John, who tucked a sweet card into the pile of clothes to be packed and arranged for time off work to accompany me; here’s to Marlo Thomas for her generosity, and her support for writers; here’s to Amy and Jerry (and Sandy and Zorro! and Nellie!); and here’s to old Broadway!

—My thanks to AmTrak for having free wi-fi, and to Can Can for their incredible pastries.