The World

Sunday, October 8, 2017 by  

A mother picking up her child from a playdate once said to me, “I just came across your website and didn’t know you had a long career on television or traveled anywhere. And here I thought you were some Fairfield County shut-in Mom because you’re always with the kids and bake & craft and they come back home with cookies & stuff.”

I seriously had no comeback.

I just politely ushered her and her sweet daughter out the door, brownies & artwork in hand. It’s important to note here that this woman is an executive whose nanny usually picks up the lovely little girl who’s been coming over for years. The Mom blurted her judgmental comment of which she certainly knew nothing about…ah, yes, one should never assume.

True, I’ve had an illustrious career distinguished by multiple journalism awards, blah, blah, blah. But being a mother has 

been & always will be my most important job. And true, I don’t send kids back home with their homemade goodies on a paper plate saying, “Susie was such a good girl and did you know I’ve been to more than 60 countries over 150 times on 5 continents? Have a nice night.”    

It riled me was that any Mom would think any other Mom was a “shut-in” just because she liked being home with the kids. All the kids, their friends and friends of their friends. Yeah, I like that! I like being home with my family & my pets. I’ve been fortunate enough to choose to stay home because I wish to. I’m grateful for it. I like that I only have to go to the radio station once a week & can write from home when the kids are in school. I don’t mind if a Mom works in an office, works from home, doesn’t have a job or doesn’t choose to keep working. Moms should not judge one another, they should support each other & their choices.  

That night, memories of my travels flitted through my mind… trains, ships & air on countless flights & logging tens of thousands of miles sailing through the Adriatic Sea, Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, Pacific Ocean, Andaman Sea, Denmark Strait, Red Sea, English Channel, Sea of Marmara, East & South China Seas, Gulf of Alaska, Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Aden, Suez Canal, Sea of Crete, Ionian Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Baltic Sea, crossing the International Date Line via ship, learning preventive pirate safety measures through the Suez Canal, giving a big thumbs up to our US Air Force pilots during a fly-by over our vessel in the Red SeaEnjoying cool places like Malaysia, Egypt, China, Russia, India, Japan, Ireland, Turkey, Venezuela, Scotland, the Philippines, Germany, former Yugoslavia, Taiwan, England, Mexico, Hong Kong, Denmark, Spain, Guatemala, Sweden, islands throughout the Caribbean, and most of our own beautiful States from the top of the Haleakala Volcano in Hawaii to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, to snowy Killington Peak in Vermont and sunny San Diego, California & most everything in between.  

Coming from a large multicultural family, I eagerly welcome different traditions, different people, different views, and my travel experiences are packed with wonderful memories & world lessons … with a handful I’d like to forget. Sure, those are the best stories but for another time…

I’ve been a dinner guest at Parliament, a special guest at a Royal wedding, and a Thanksgiving guest in Turkey. I’ve enjoyed divine spa treatment on the beaches of Malaysia and wretched at the sight of travel friends drinking snake blood in Taiwan for a dare. Ewww! (Yes, they became very ill!)

I’ve been to Tianamen Square before the ’89 crisis, to Berlin before the wall came down, to Sarajevo before the war, and to Cancun before President Reagan attended an economic summit there making that once-quiet getaway in Mexico a carousing hub for partying tourists. 

I’ve been stuck at the top of a pyramid in Chichen Itza & stuck in a remote beach bathroom in the dark in Marbella Costa del Sol when the door handle broke…and so did the light.

I’ve kissed the great-great-great-great-great…on-and-on direct descendant of Christopher Columbus, a duke, and a well-known European prince who kisses like a lizard. Yuck! Traveling can be good and not so good!

 

 

 

 

I purchased my 1st major piece of jewelry in Hong Kong along with 100 rolls of film. Yup, took a lot of pictures then, too!  I’ve been traveling to Europe & around the world since I was just a few weeks old. So let’s take a little photo journey throughout the years:                                 GERMANY with Mom

                       GIBRALTAR                                                                             BARBADOS

MALAYSIA – apparently I liked stripes!

 BERLIN WALL

JAPAN

INDIA

 

Stark contrasts in India, just a walk away

Beautiful Taj Mahal mausoleum on the Yamuna River, commissioned 1632. Sweet monkey.

And below is the Red Fort, Palace of the Mughal Emperors, AGRA, INDIA 

Great Wall of CHINA – Odd that we don’t notice these things when we’re younger but why am I standing over that mountainous edge just for a photo!?

Autumnal view through the Wall’s window, Graffiti on the Wall, and LOOK at those STEEP steps!!

 LONDON Summer Ball

HONG KONG                                                                BOMBAY

CALIFORNIA

TAIWAN

Kinsale, County Cork, IRELAND

        PHILIPPINES                                                  DUBROVNIK, YUGOSLAVIA (former)

    ST. MAARTEN                                                     ROYAL THEATRE LONDON

SOUTH CHINA SEA

SPAIN

    SEVILLA                                                                                 CADIZ

The GREAT EGYPTIAN PYRAMIDS at sunset…breathtaking

GREAT SPHINX OF GIZA, sitting on the steps in a PALACE IN EGYPT

BEIJING UNIVERSITY

MONTREAL

St. Basil’s Cathedral. MOSCOW, RUSSIA  

ST. PHILIP, ATLANTIC COAST

I was able to photograph the bride during their ceremony at CHIANG KAI-SHEK’s MEMORIAL

     VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA                              PENANG

                                                                          BARBADOS                                                                        

SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN

TURKEY

HUALIEN

JAMAICA

                             OSAKA                Great Pyramid – oldest of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World

GOETEBERG, SWEDEN

Beer from vending in KOBE….and 26 years later with my Hello Kitty backpack in SCOTLAND 

CHICAGO

My Dad getting us on the helicopter to see the Haleakala Volcano in HAWAII & later the waterfalls

KYOTO

        TAROKO GORGE, TAIWAN                                           LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND

ISTANBUL

 Getting stuck at the top of the CHICHEN ITZA Pyramid in MEXICO. Daddy saved me!    And we left the arena immediately in tears in VENEZUELA! 

            PUERTO VALLARTA                                                     TIANANMEN SQUARE

MARBELLA, COSTA del SOL

TURKS & CAICOS

CARIBBEAN ISLANDS (my Mom snapped these shots)

Attended Trinity College, DUBLIN, IRELAND… And visiting a hilltop monument in Ireland 

ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, Archipelago, Pacific Ocean

KIEL with my Granddad

NARA, JAPAN

  MT. KILLINGTON, VERMONT                                    THE GRAND CANYON

BERLIN

ASCOT, EAST BERKSHIRE, UK

ROYAL ASCOT

                             GUATEMALA                                                 DENMARK

BRANDENBURG GATE, EAST/WEST GERMANY age 9

DALLAS

LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH, WALES   Longest town name in the world!! This is the train station.

LANCASHIRE, ENGLAND

AMISH COUNTRY, PENNSYLVANIA

                   MARBELLA                                   A. EINSTEIN MEMORIAL, WASHINGTON, D.C.

                                  NEWPORT, R.I.                                                              ILLINOIS

WALES

                                 IOWA                                                            KEY WEST

   TEXAS

SOUTHEAST ASIA

         ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS                        OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA

6 bucks for this hostel in EAST ASIA

                               ENGLAND                                                                IRELAND

      KREMLIN, MOSCOW                          ADRIATIC SEA                                  SUEZ CANAL

SULTANAHMET CAMII Blue Mosque, circa 1609

            GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS, NYC                          PARK CITY, UTAH

If you know me, I’ve been snapping photos of kids or with kids for over 3 decades.

Look at these precious children from SARAJEVO & CHINA, simply beautiful!!!

               MONGOLIAN barbecue in ASIA                                  MILLENNIUM in EUROPE

NEW LONDON Cty.

                         NEW YORK CITY                                                    ANDALUSIA

          WESTERN ASIA with my Mom when I was 5.                     EAST GERMANY when I was 9.

MAUI

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC                 SNOWBIRD, UTAH                                BERMUDA

DUSSELDORF, GERMANY for GRAND DEPART of TOUR de FRANCE

More CARIBBEAN Island pics with Mom eons ago

           BEAR MOUNTAIN                                  MEDITERRANEAN SEA                       CATSKILLS

                          BERLIN Zoo                                              BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

                        SOUTH AMERICA                                                        NEW JERSEY

GREENWICH Polo

                           BALTIC SEA                                                                          BAY OF KIEL

                    ARABIAN SEA                                                       ATLANTIC OCEAN

FLORIDA

Flying to MARTHA’S VINEYARD – our 9-year-old daughter co-pilots 🙂

DUTCH WONDERLAND

MEDITERRANEAN

VALLEY FORGE

VICTORIA & AUSTIN, TEXAS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Reagan’s Procession

NEAR EAST around age 5

THE PENNINES

                                  LABOE                                                                        MALAGA

CHEYENNE SPRING, COLORADO                                                     CANCUN

                    HAMBURG                                  HADRIAN’S WALL built by the Romans 122 A.D. 

                   TURKS & CAICOS GRACE BAY                                          LANCASHIRE, UK

NEVADA

             CORPUS CHRISTI                          LIME ROCK                                    KIEL-WIK

                                  CONNECTICUT                                                          PHILADELPHIA

                            INDIAN OCEAN                                                                             NYC

               VALLARTA return                          THE HAMPTONS                            SAN DIEGO

              SUEZ CANAL, built circa 1860                                            YORK, ENGLAND

                      THE EVERGLADES                                       Elvis’ home, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

             NEW HAMPSHIRE                                                  SNOWBIRD in UTAH

Photo taken from our towel on a Caribbean beach, eeek

Chillin’ in OCHO RIOS

       Old Capitol Building, WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA                                       ILLINOIS

                            SCANDINAVIA                                                 SAN ANTONIO

THE KEYS, PROVIDENCIALES, KOBE & THE BAHAMAS

bright spot flowerThe Bright Spot  – Home Sweet Home ~ As I’ve stated many times on-air, online and in person, my very favorite place to be in the whole world is home with my family & furbabies, feet up in my little white socks, a pony tail, Greek salad & a good family movie.

There are certainly a gazillion more places & photos, but this pictorial refutation has clearly served its purpose. The real point here is don’t judge people especially if you’ve never gotten to know their background. As my friend, Sara, so succinctly put it regarding the woman’s comment – “Honestly, some nerve!!” We laugh because, seriously, one can only chuckle at the mother’s unapprised statement at this point. 

Let me just say to that mother who assumed I was a “shut-in” because I like to craft with the kids & make their day magical – there is no greater job than raising the next generation of kindly world citizens, travelers & defenders of Earth & her gifts. That’s my gift back to this planet that’s been a joy to traverse, study, explore & relish!!    


Bianca

The 1-Eyed Teddy Bear

Monday, May 2, 2016 by  

The point of this story need not identify of the owner of the 1-eyed teddy bear, but rather WHO this fellow is made all the difference in saving our son’s cuddly animals.

The man actually cannot be identified because he is a secret agent on a very significant level. He is close to our family and we all adore him but we keep conversation limited to family stuff, old friends, or school happenings. He signs his holiday envelopes as James Bond. It’s all very cool in a surreptitious kind of way, the “secret” in secret agent makes it sound so hush-hush, and the undercover missions we are never allowed to know about are wrapped in clandestine mystery. All very exciting, so what does this have to do with stuffed animals?  Proud of our son, strapping young man, England, Abercrombie & Fitch

Our eldest is a strapping 24-year-old dude with beer posters in his room and a steady girlfriend at the helm.

Siberian tiger, blue-eyed tiger, white tiger, little boy, stuffed animals, cuddly animals, The 1-Eyed Teddy BearRewind about 14 years and here was a kid with a ton of stuffed animals, some from babyhood, others won at the amusement park, many from the big glass box with the grabber handle thingie at the diner. An admirer of big cats, one of his favorite was a huge white tiger with sharp blue eyes.

For a long time, my husband felt our son needed to unload his cuddly animals. I’d protest seeing the quiet sadness in our child’s eyes. The subject came up at significant milestones, like award ceremonies, moving from elementary to middle school, etc. I understood my husband’s point of view: he wanted to make our son grow up, be a man, get tough. I understood my son’s point of view: at that time he was still an only child and he wasn’t ready.

Then one year we visited Washington, D.C. and James Bond invited us to stay in his homThe 1-Eyed Teddy Bear, Steiff, Steiff teddy bear, old bear, loved bear, teddy bear, James Bond, James Bond's bear, James Bond's teddy bear, teddy on the bed, revered bear, revered teddye. He was away, as usual, and he couldn’t say where he was, except that he would leave the key for us under the mat. Under the mat?!? He lives with all this enigmatic secrecy but leaves the house key under the mat!

It was very exciting to walk around his home. Medals, awards, Christmas cards from the presidents over the last 20 years, and as we walked upstairs to pick out our rooms for the night, there, in the middle of the master bedroom, sitting proudly atop the big bed, was a 1-eyed Steiff teddy bear with a worn nose, an untied yellow bow & fur so loved-off and cuddled, it was a treasure to behold.

It was also ammunition to ward off any more attempts to clear out stuffed animals from our son’s room. “If James Bond can keep his teddy bear, so can I!” 
Tiger, Siberian tiger, blue-eyed tiger, students, enrichment program, enrichment school program, teacher with students, teacher and students and tiger, centerpiece of classroom, buddy for reading
So that was that. More than a decade’s passed and on his own, our son has donated his stuffed animals along the way – but that’s the important part of this story – it was on his terms, his timing and his choice of where they went. The huge white tiger is now the centerpiece & reading buddy in a fantastic enrichment school.Toys, princess dresses, dresses, playroom, play room, donation, giving (4)
I never take anything from my children without asking them. Together we donate what they choose to give up when they choose to. It teaches them to let go, to give to others and to stay organized. (Little One sorting>>)

Toys, princess dresses, dresses, playroom, play room, donation, giving (2)There is a marvelous organization called YoungLives which helps teenage mothers. Every 3rd Wednesday, the young mothers meet at a church in Norwalk, CT to learn about God and their children, plus, they can choose items they need that people have donated.

When our daughter was ready to donate her toys or princess dresses, etc., we would bring them to the church and she would see firsthand the children light up with joy as they pickedBarbies, mermaids, singers, butterfly fairies, butterfly fairy, Barbie mermaid out what they would like. She saw a little     2-year-old boy dive into her Elmo chair exclaiming, “That’s mine, I love this chair!” And little girls picking out sparkly dresses. Or Barbies. Or unicorns.Toys, princess dresses, dresses, playroom, play room, donation, giving (1)

The children were happy and it made our child well up with joy to see the kids’ faces light up while new life was instantly breathed into her cherished pieces. It deeply linked giving to pleasure. You can check out organizations in your area like YoungLives, Birthright, Hopeline or any organization that benefits a cause you believe in. We’ve also donated her crib, baby furniture and Pack-n-Plays.

Child donating stuffed animals, child donating toys, Africa, orphans, FedEx, FedEx box for donation, kindness, thoughtfulness, readiness of a child, giving

Our daughter has given up lots of her cuddly animals, even packing & sending many huge boxes to Africa.

The Bright SpotTM bright spot flower – The exciting thing about the missionary we shipped her stuffed animals toOrphans, stuffed animals, given with love, children snuggling new animals, Africa, love, swells our hearts is that they sent back photos of orphan children cuddling her animals! A fine day, indeed. Again, on our children’s terms while reinforcing a life skill of giving as a pleasure.

 


Bianca