Posts Tagged ‘new york’

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.

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.

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.

Also located in Stockbridge is the Norman Rockwell Museum.

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.

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.

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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I was on one of my visits to New York City. This was a couple of years ago. Totally enjoyed it.

Happened to be outside the hotel one evening and a fellow strikes up a conversation. He was from England. First time in the States. Said that his fourteen year old daughter had wanted to see the 9/11 Memorial.

This guy had nothing good to say about his visit.

He talked plenty about his little garden in Leicestershire (or one of the ‘shires) and how peaceful it is. Also mentioned his work hours (an hour and a half for lunch and home by 4:30pm!)

Bemoaned the long lines (queues) and the expense of New York. He wondered how Donald Trump could have all that money when there are homeless folks in the city.

He said more than once, “How do people live here? How do they do it? It’s not for me.” And he apologized, “I’m sorry. This is just not for me.”

I told him there was no need to apologize to me.

He continued chatting. Said he did a lot of charity back home. His mother was giving and charitable. Had Diwali and Christmas celebrations where everyone was welcome.

He said, “But I guess we can’t change the world.”

I was quick to advise him that we can only do our part. That’s all you can do.

But I sort of felt bad for him. It did sound like he had a nice simple life (and schedule) back home. But he was on a holiday. No one was wanting him to give up his life in the garden or time at his Mom’s house. Cast it all away for a life in the Big Apple.

I kept trying to counter every negative (because there were so many) with a positive. “Well, did you see this? Did you go there? What about the food?”

No positive responses.

He was leaving at 6:00am the next morning.

Finally, I asked, “Did your daughter enjoy it?”

And he said, “Yes.”

So I said, “Well, alright then. There’s something.”

Hoping that everyone, as summer comes to a close, truly finds something to enjoy. It really is what you make of it.




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Today is my little brother’s 50th birthday. I sure wish I could be there to celebrate this momentous occasion. To give him a huge hug.

Last week my cousin Rosemary and her lovely family from Ireland were visiting New York. I wished that I could have been there for that fun family gathering.

But neither was a possibility.

I live so far from home and I also have a child in high school.

The following is written by my brother’s wife, Patty. It was sent to her email subscribers and associates. It’s about choice and destiny.

I already know the story because it’s a part of my family history. The priest at their wedding even mentioned the story of the two families being joined by marriage. But I loved reading it. It somehow made me feel happy and connected. Even though I am miles away.

It really is about choice and destiny.

My husband and I made a choice to move to Malaysia for a job opportunity. Knowing we would be far away from our loved ones. Would miss out on family gatherings and events.

And yet destiny allowed us to experience and meet so many wonderful people who we will never forget. People meant to be in our paths so that we could grow, flourish and see the world through different eyes.

From Patty:

This past weekend my children met their cousins from Ireland for the first time.   It was a pretty wild experience for me personally because seeing all their little faces side by side reminded me that part of our life is shaped by choice and part by destiny.

Let me explain.

These cousins are on my husband’s side of the family but I grew up believing they were my family.  

My husband’s grandmother and my grandmother were close friends in Ireland.   My grandmother came to the States, my husband’s grandmother stayed in Ireland.

My husband’s father and aunt later came to the States and remained good friends with my father so I grew up viewing them as family.  

I grew up knowing and loving many people in my husband’s family (but I didn’t meet my husband until I was much older.)

At least four times in the ten years prior to meeting my husband, different family members had talked about setting my husband and me up.  It never happened.   

Each time his cousin or mother would suggest we meet, I declined.  It felt weird to be set up.  I made a CHOICE not to pursue him, yet DESTINY intervened.

16 years ago this week we sat next to each other at a wedding and we’ve been together ever since.

My husband and I both pinpoint the moment we fell in love – it was about 4 hours after we met.  I know our grandmothers in heaven had something to do with it.  

And as they watch their great grandchildren sitting on this couch I wonder what they must be thinking.  They both grew up in a very small town in Northern Ireland.   And now their families, joined by blood and love, are connecting in Brooklyn, NY 100+ years later.

I truly believe that most of our life is shaped by CHOICE.  And certainly the WAY we experience life is shaped exclusively by the thoughts we choose.  But there are pieces of the puzzle that are shaped by DESTINY.  There are forces that guide us to key people we are meant to meet and experiences we contracted to have in this lifetime.

This knowledge gives me a deep sense of peace because it shows me that you and I can’t screw this lifetime up.  The stuff that really needs to happen, will happen no matter what.  And everything that happens in between is up to us to choose based on what we want to experience.

Doesn’t that make you feel better?!!!

In this week’s featured article I talk about taking small steps to make what you CHOOSE to happen come true.   Read below to make sure you are doing everything in your power to create what you choose!

In love and light,


Patty is a crowdfunding expert, business coach, author and speaker. If you want to learn more about her then please check out

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I remember when Rory was applying to colleges and writing the essays that had to shriek, “Pick me! Pick me! I am soooo unique! You want me!” Because that is what they are expected to do. Spend all their time trying to be unique as possible. And put it in writing. Come university application time.

NYU, a wonderful, happening school with a cool vibe in the middle of New York City, asked her to write about a famous New Yorker.

Well, that required a bit of thought. She asked her cousins in New York for some feedback on interesting characters. She also asked me.

And really, who comes to mind when we are asked a question like this? The usual writers? Glitterati? Intelligentsia? Artists? Politicians? Gangsters? Oops, I already said that when I mentioned politicians.

Anyway, in the end, she chose her own New Yorker.

Stuart Little. The tiny mouse from E.B. White’s beloved story.

I loved it. She ended the essay by stating that it just really doesn’t matter how little you might be. You can still do great things.  Or something to that effect.

True that.

But I found that the underlying message in this exercise was the importance of thinking outside the box. Don’t grab onto the first idea. Or other people’s ideas. The common thought. Allow for some different and creative thinking.

Because you might do great things.  You really could change the world. No matter how little you might be.

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Last week, Rory, my eldest and twenty-one years old, called me from a nearby Malaysian island. I asked how this was and how that was. Great conversation.

But then I blow it. Like I always do.

She said she was going to go for a swim before getting on the ferry that would head back to the mainland.

I immediately said, “Wait? What? Where are the other girls? Alone? You’re not going swimming alone? You can’t…………..”

She was like, “Mom, you always do this. It’s all going along great and then you……”

I guess the end of that sentence would be, “act like a mom?”

My entire family acts like a mom. Even my dad. Maybe it comes from his side of the family. Bunch of bosses. Not sure why she doesn’t get that after twenty-one years.


“Start moving into the left lane now. The exit’s coming up in fifty-four miles.”

“You’re going to stop in and see “insert any neighbor’s name”, right?”

“The gas tank is only 3/4 full? Fill it up. Better to be safe.”

“Put on the light if you are reading. You’ll go blind sitting over there in the dark!”

“Back the car in.”

“You can’t go out without a coat!”

“You have to stay to the left of the bike path when walking. Only the bikes are allowed in the right lane!”

“Eat your salad. It makes you pretty.”

“Eat your carrots. You never saw a bunny with glasses, did you?”

Dad’s sister, Auntie Rose Marie in New York speaking on the telephone to her adult daughter who is vacationing with me on Cape Cod  

“Everybody got their sunscreen on?”

Calcium and daily vitamin consumed?


“Helmets?” For the love of God, I’m walking!

“Sensible walking shoes?”

“Bottled water?” It was a stroll not a jungle trek.

“Don’t drink and drive.” On bicycles?

Cousins (daughters of Dad’s sister, Rose Marie, while we were spending time together this past summer)

“Everybody got their sunscreen on?”

Calcium and daily vitamin consumed?


“Helmets?” For the love of God, I’m walking!

“Sensible walking shoes?”

“Bottled water?” It was a stroll not a jungle trek.

“Wine anyone?”

Auntie Maureen in Ireland

“Just stay directly on the footpath.  All the way. Do not veer towards the right. Do not veer towards the left. Just stay directly on the path and you won’t get lost. Just stay on the path.”

“No, don’t set your handbag down there on the seat. Mind it.” During Sunday Mass in a suburban Dublin church.

“Do not look them directly in the eyes and watch your valuables.” Little tinker children loitering around us in the city. Okay, maybe she didn’t say anything about looking them directly in the eyes.

Dad’s youngest sister, Aideen, in Ireland calling her adult daughter (who I was staying with) after a week of suggestions on what we should be doing. 

“What’s on for today?”

My cousin answered, “How could I know? I haven’t been told yet!”

I was laughing. Sure, we are adults but we are so used to being bossed around by the Dads and the Mams that it is almost second nature to us. We take directions very well.

Why, oh why, did it skip my daughter’s generation? Why doesn’t she get this?

My dad has three more sisters that luckily escaped this posting. And I could go on but just wanted to give you a taste. An idea. What Rory needs to always remember. This “bossiness” only stems from a true love, a desire to protect, and a willingness to demonstrate the utmost caring.

But she might not realize it until she has one of her own. And starts to “blow it” or gets a bit “bossy.”

Sending thanks to every big bossy person in my family that blew it. The day you stop will be the day you don’t care.

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