Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

A lot of people ask me if I like living in India.

The answer is absolutely.

Well, except for the air quality. 😦 No good.

Also the temps are starting to rise a bit. Today it is 102 degrees (F) or 30 degrees (C).

Despite those two things I do enjoy being here.

I love my neighborhood. Every day I discover something different, new or exciting. I’m totally learning.

We are getting ready to move. Again. LOL. But only a couple of blocks away. Same ‘hood.

Our house is in a lovely area. But the construction next door was/is driving us batty. It is like Chinese water torture. Every. Single. Minute. Drip. Drip. Drip.

We considered moving to a popular expat area across town.

Big skyscrapers in a gorgeous golf course setting. The apartments are ridiculously spacious-like 6000 square feet. The building boasts a movie theater on ground floor. Along with a gym, coffee shop and restaurant. Even a pub.

The outdoor pool would put you in mind of a Caribbean resort. Swimming through a labyrinth that’s shielded by towering palm trees.

Went to dinner there with my husband’s associate and his wife. They reside there and love it. Who wouldn’t? Very nice setup.

Couldn’t punch holes in it if I tried.

The wife of the associate was gracious. Explained how safe it was.

We totally figured that one out.

Had to register with guards to enter the gated community. Told them who we were visiting. Then we were on our way.

Came upon another gate at their actual building. Same drill. Security fellows allowed us entry.

Last line of defense against solar panel guys, Jehovah Witnesses and people like us who slipped past the first two gates? Yes, you guessed it.

One more smiling fellow on the ground floor of the building. Located near the elevators.

I was impressed with all of the amenities that the community offered. The woman told me about yoga classes, golfing, groups, etc.

She continued, “You’d never have to leave here.”

Ahhhh. And there it was. My hole punch.

I tried to hide my “deer in the headlights” look.

I’d never have to leave the grounds of this secure and closed community.

Which is totally fine for a four day stay at an island resort.

Okay, I understand that there are a lot of folks out there that would love this. Never have to worry about a thing. A pristine, sanitized, happy bubble.

I’m not knocking anyone. It’s just not me. At least, not the me I am today.

I know that no one stays in the community all of the time. They do leave the compound. LOL

We don’t drive here in India (company doesn’t allow) so I do a lot of walking. We have a driver but I have him drop me off at a park or I will just roam our neighborhood on foot. I always feel safe and I am careful.

You lose some independence by not driving. So I regain a bit of it by walking and exploring the dusty side streets. Never knowing what I will see. Monkeys, mongoose or sick bat stuck on a fence.

Strolling through the acres of the public parks with the funky birds and different sights.

I told my husband (we were waiting to hear on one last house in our current neighborhood) if the last house didn’t pan out then we needed to do what made the most sense financially, work transportation, etc. If that ended up being this expat spa resort then so be it.

I’d find friends and make the best of it. And leave the compound every now and again. 🙂

 

In the end, the house in our current neighborhood did pan out and we will move there in the next week or so.

Yay!

It really made me realize just how much I enjoy discovering something different, new or exciting. Each and every day in my wonderful host country. In my colorful neighborhood.

I look forward to sharing my discoveries with you.

 

 

 

 

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“A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.”

I’ve read that quote more than once and I believe this to be the absolute truth. You all know how I feel about family. If we share the same blood/family we are members of a very special club. Ain’t nobody getting kicked out of it. Even if we no longer see each other very often.

I have more than twenty-five first cousins. But when I was a kid most lived in Ireland and some in England.

So, sadly, I didn’t share a childhood with all of my cousins. But that was just reality.

The ones who I did share my childhood with consisted of three families who lived in the U.S. like me.

They were my Dad’s sister, Rose Marie and her family in New York. In Rhode Island we had the families of Mom’s sister, Patsy and her brother, Jimmy.

Summer holidays and other times during the year were spent with the New York cousins.

Christmas, Easter, cookouts and regular Sunday visits to the grandparents were spent with the Rhode Island cousins.

Oh, what fun we had when we were young.

There were the older cousins in our (my brothers and me) age range and then a few younger ones came along in the 1970s. That was pretty exciting for us. Everyone liked babies and they were just absorbed. Welcomed into the fold.

That’s the funny thing about babies. They are not like the future in-laws who take awhile to break into the family. To be a part of the club and inner circle. Going through the initiation and all.

But a baby? Born into the family? The bouncer just lets that little bundle of joy right into the club! Like a celebrity with status. No stopping at the door, stamping its hand or questioning their right to be there. They’re totally in!

One of my baby cousins died on March 18th. John was just shy of his forty-seventh birthday. He will be interred tomorrow with his beloved mother.

I last saw him when he made the trip to Rhode Island for my Dad’s funeral three years ago. Even though it was a sad time I was really happy to see him and so many family members. These days everyone lives in different places and reunions are not always easy or frequent. So weddings and funerals are the “go to” places for the big catch ups.

John was a beautiful child. An adorable kid with a mop of curly red hair. He was intelligent and good humored. He was a nice and decent boy who grew up to be a nice and decent man.

He died young. Too young.

For the record, I think all deaths under the age of eighty are sort of tragic.

Today is no different.

John died because he was a human being. Lest we forget -we are all afflicted with that title.

A death reminds us that we are all human. Some might dodge the bullets of life. Others aren’t so fortunate and get hit head on. But we all know, really, that sometimes we just have no say or control. Our expiration date, like a milk carton, might (I say might) have been printed long ago. Even if we argue or beg that it could have been/should have been different.

It’s still tragic. It’s heartbreaking and sad.

One of the benefits of being in the cousins’ club is that there is only love. No jealousy or judgement. We’re family and are grateful for the shared and special memories. We take joy in the success and happiness of each other. We are sympathetic when one is experiencing family problems, job loss, illness and other maladies of life.

There is profound and utter sadness when we lose one of our gang.

When John was a baby I was sleeping at his house one weekend. Poor little thing couldn’t pronounce my name (Mary Beth) but he tried. In the morning I heard a little voice coming from the crib, “Maybell?”

Since then it’s been “ours” and we didn’t ever let it go.

So every year on our birthdays and other Facebook messages we used Maybell instead of my real name. Now, I’m wondering if he actually ever knew what my real name was.

Anyway, it was like we were little kids. He in his forties and me in my fifties. In a way, a simple word brought us back in time and kept us young. Even if it was for a minute. It was a shared memory.

See, because a cousin is a little piece of childhood that can never be lost.

John will always and forever be a part of my childhood that can never be lost.

We will miss you, John. Rest in peace. Like one of your sisters said, “Rest is not so easy right now on this side of Heaven.”

The club will no longer be the same, little cousin.

With all my love,

Maybell

 

 

In memory of John J. Kelly

1971-2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is one more story about social media. And using it responsibly.

Maybe it’s more about responsible parenting.

I saw a posting/link on Facebook that someone shared.

About a father in Virginia teaching his ten-year-old son a lesson. The kid was kicked off the bus for bullying others.

Dad made his son run the mile to school each morning. Even in the rain. He filmed the kid’s punishment from the car.

It went viral.

His message to other parents?

Don’t be a friend. Be a parent. That’s what kids need these days.

He felt like filming his son’s punishment and sharing it with millions of strangers was a good parenting move. And I suppose some type of public service announcement for the world.

The father received a lot of positive feedback.

“Good for you!”

“Great parenting!”

“Yay!”

No one wants their kid to be a bully. I’m on the same page and I certainly appreciate his “no bullying” stance.

I don’t agree with anything else.

Good God, I hope he doesn’t run for elected office. Laugh out loud. You all know how crazy stuff can go down. Like a locomotive picking up steam.

I’m not into family shaming. At all.

Why on earth would I publicly shame my own kids? Or even my dog, Thumper?

I didn’t name any of them Hester Prynne.

They trust me. As their parent.

I’m not sure that kid is ever going to trust his old man. Any time that guy whips out a camera everyone is going to stop, drop and roll.

It’s our job, as parents, to determine why a child is bullying others or behaving inappropriately. What is the root cause?

Sure, punish the kid. Even make them walk everywhere because they lost the privilege of riding the bus.

But film it? And share it?

Sounds like something a bully might do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Many years ago read an article that I found quite interesting. It was about a literary pilgrimage of sorts.

It listed authors and the places they lived or wrote. Most located in upstate New York and some New England.

I wanted to go but never did. Then one day, nearly four years ago, I threw the thought out into the universe. My cousin, Joanne, was interested. A summer road trip was soon in the works.

It was really fun. Exploring places we never would have seen.

We left Brooklyn and our first stop was Washington Irving’s place, Sunnyside. A beautiful place on the Hudson in Westchester, New York.

Headed to Olana. Another gorgeous property. Also situated on the Hudson River. My cousin, Elizabeth, had recommended this stop. The home and studio of painter Frederic Edwin Church now a historic site and managed by the New York State Department of Parks.

Got there too late to take a tour. No amount of scheming on my part could get us in on the current tour. Not sure if they are just really strict about it or if that particular guy was just a schmoe. My charm was totally wasted on him.

But a fantastic site.

http://www.olana.org

Pedal to the metal and we were off again.

We drove to “The Mount” which is the name of Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, Massachusetts. Her book, Ethan Frome, written in 1911, still gives me the shivers.

This was a beautiful home and the surrounding gardens were lovely.

http://www.edithwharton.org

Had a very nice lunch at a cool place in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Food was really good.

Their gallery hosts story telling, spoken word, book launches and more.

http://www.sixdepot.com

Also located in Stockbridge is the Norman Rockwell Museum.

http://www.nrm.org

Crosssed the border and into New York State.

Headed to Austerlitz, in the woods, to visit Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Steepletop. I had read her life story in my Dallas book club years ago. She lived quite the colorful life. Edna was a poet and a feminist.

Love this poem of hers.

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—

It gives a lovely light!

Interesting that the author of a book I am currently reading now lives in Austerlitz.

http://www.millay.org/visitsteepletop/php

Next stop. Stayed at a neat and simple motel overlooking the lake in Guilderland, New York. This is near Cooperstown.

Browsed the nice shops of Cooperstown and strolled down historic Main Street.

Did not make it to the Fenimore Museum. It is built on the site of James Fenimore Cooper’s 19th century farmhouse. Must have been a time issue if we didn’t make it.

http://www.fenimoreartmuseum.org

Anyway, Cooperstown was our last stop. We sure did drive through some beautiful areas of New York and Massachusetts. Stopped at wonderful road side fruit and vegetable stands. Even ended up visiting with a dairy farmer when we drove by his farm.

It was a great road trip that might never have happened. Until I sent it into the universe.

What do you want to send into the universe? Where do you really want to go?

 

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Here is another long overdue posting. That I promised I would write.

Last summer I organized an outing with friends and family. There were twelve of us.

You know what they say about planning. Man plans and God laughs.

The plan was this. I signed our group up to ride the “Rail Explorers.” They are pedal powered (like a bike) and run on the railroad tracks along the water in Rhode Island. I chose “The Northern Ramble” which is six miles on the historic railroad between Portsmouth and the Sakonnet River. One way tour and a shuttle bus would bring us back.

rails3rails2For some reason, a shuttle bus breakdown or something, we were unable to take this particular tour. So we had to do “The Southern Circuit” which is along the waterfront also but three miles in and three miles back with a quick stop.

Okay, I was a little disappointed because that wasn’t the exact plan. And I was the organizer so I felt bad.

But we totally had fun. And a lot of laughs. It was a great group of people. Enjoying healthy outdoor time on a gorgeous day. By the water. I’m so glad we did it.rails1My peeps. All the way down to the guy in the green shirt.rails4Scenic views. rails6

Had some older folks in the group but also some young ones!

We then headed to a nearby waterfront restaurant chosen with the help of those who lived nearby. But when our caravan arrived it was closed.

Of course it was.

That whole planning thing again.

We persevered. And found another neat little restaurant on the water. Had fabulous food and enjoyed just a super pleasant evening with wonderful friends and family.

rails5                                Definitely deserved these bad boys after that workout!rails7        Is there anything better than ending a beautiful day with an evening like this?

Why am I writing about this now?

So, as stated earlier, I was a little disappointed. I expressed this feeling a few days later to the fellow in charge via email. Told him that I had organized this and felt like I didn’t deliver exactly as promised to my group. If he could provide future tickets (with the original Sakonnet River tour) for them I would be most grateful. I said I would gladly promote the company on Facebook, review on Tripadvisor and also on my personal blog.

He said he would provide vouchers. So I shared my fun photos on social media and with friends. But I never got around to blogging about it.

Here I am.

So, I was extremely satisfied with this company’s response. I enjoyed the experience. As did the members of our group. I think it’s a fantastic idea. Recycling-literally!

They have different locations. Same gig. Riding on a railroad. There is one in Las Vegas and a new one opening this Spring in the Catskills.

If you are looking for something fun to do and will be near any of these three locations I’d recommend it. It’s for everyone! All ages!

See website below.

www. railexplorers.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m not turning into a health nut. Honest.

But I was watching “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” on Netflix last month. It’s about an Australian man who juices his way across America. He is obese and not in good health. Focusing on turning his life around.

He’s successful. Ends up clearing up his afflictions and getting off all medications.

One sentence in his documentary sort of struck me. Was something like this.

“I wasn’t being kind to my body.”

It was in an Australian accent so it sounded like, “I wasn’t being coined to my bawdy.”

This sentence stuck with me.

We put garbage in our mouths every single day. Processed food. If we can’t pronounce the ingredients or even know what they are then why would we put it in our body?

Like we only get one body in this life time. And if it’s been kind to us shouldn’t we return the favor?

My brother (who recommended the film) and I were discussing it. He mentioned Diet Coke. Which I loved. It was the actual jolt I loved.

I eventually stopped drinking it in India. They have it here so I am not sure why I actually stopped buying it. But I did.

I’m glad I did. I had it in the States a few times but stopped drinking it by the end of my visit there also. It’s said that the combination of the caffeine and the aspartame is a deadly one. In so many ways. Possibly cancer. Damage to the brain. And more.

Now, I knew that aspartame was never my friend. Or a friend of lab rats. And yet, I welcomed it into my body every single day.

I smoked. I certainly knew that was bad for me but the addiction had me just hoping I dodged the bullets that come with it. So I kept smoking. Because I felt good and I didn’t have any coughs or other things ailing me as a result of it.

I invited cigarettes into my body every day. Numerous times a day. Glad I stopped.

No such thing as a perfect person. But we can be aware of how we treat our bodies. We need them to carry us for a few more years in good health. We probably should be conscious of the ways we can be kinder.

Shouldn’t we be kind to our bodies?

 

 

 

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Everyone loves a good story. I swear that people would give up food and drink to hear a good story.

Okay, maybe just me. But I totally would. I swear.

I LOVE a good story.

Just recently (over the summer holidays) at my cousin’s place, the Irish Social Club, we were told a story that had us on the edge of our seats. It included the East Side, a local restaurant, boxing, an angry young man and a finish with the Boston Marathon.

Jeepers. Okay, there’s that.

Then a more distant memory.

Mazing through the Christian section of Damascus and seeing a big man in a cafe regaling the tea/coffee crowd with old stories. I wished I could understand the Arabic language!

Not long ago.

When my daughter was in the Bay area during her college years, I had sent a birthday gift and list of different things to do in San Francisco. She checked off most on my list but was not able to attend the story telling venue “Fireside.”

Don’t get attached. It’s already a thing of the past. 😦

Here is where I diverge. Still relating to story telling.

I was watching/listening to a story on “The Moth.”

The Moth. It’s a cool thing.

Okay, it was a story about a middle aged woman so I could sort of identify with her. Listened to the podcast, filed away the story for another time and called it a day.

My girlfriend, Mary Ann, works at a book store in an unnamed state. Apparently book stores get loads of books that they cannot sell. For pre-read or not fully/properly edited.

Anyway, she gave me a bunch of free books. Because she’s my friend.

I’m looking at the titles and an author name sounds familiar. Like the same person that was telling a story on “The Moth.”

I google the situation. Yes, it’s her. She is an entertainer (home entertainment), author of a gazillion books, has a billion offspring and also farm animals.

Oh wait, the site directs you to her Amazon store. Because if you followed her blog, book club or page and were the least bit interested in any of her stuff you can buy it and be like her.

Where am I going with this?

Don’t fall for the Martha Stewart nonsense.

She’s written a lot of books. It takes me forever to write a single blog posting. And I don’t even have chickens. Don’t have kids at home. I’m not slow. I’m not quick, I’ll grant you that, but I’m not trailing behind.

Continued message to you. It’s not as easy as one would have you think. I’m not saying the world is full of imposters. I’m just saying take it easy on yourself when comparing with others.

My message to the author. I’m not sure if you have a little help with your writing but please don’t raise the bar too high for the rest of us. Thrilled that you are a go getter. Love that you have an on line store and animals but don’t present an image of “doing it with ease” to the every day woman. Because it’s not easy for many.

 

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