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

Castles & Vows

Thursday, September 22, 2011 by  

Medieval castle, misty castleOn our anniversary we renewed our vows at the 14th century castle where we wed years ago (below). The weather was glorious, the English gardens in full bloom, our hearts were full.                                           Groom smiles at bride, knowing smile, romance, roses

This summer, we enjoyed more than 1,300 miles of pristine landscape in the United Kingdom from Edinburgh, Scotland to Lancashire, North Yorkshire, The Penines, Northumberland, and Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, England.
England & Scotland 2011   English countryside, Scottish countryside, waters edge
It brought back wonderful memories from years ago…
English wedding hats, English wedding attire  English wedding hats, wedding, hats

Wedding guests, hats at wedding, dress blowing in wind  Prince Ali, prince walks the bride down the aisle

Flower girl, flower girl getting ready, English flower girl, curler in little girls hair  Groom hugs bride, loving embrace, couple embrace, loving hug, groom and bride

English castle, boys playing ball, medieval castle, boys at a wedding Blowing bubbles, maid of honor, bubbles

Bride and groom dancing, 1st dance, couple dance, joy dancing as newlywedsWe were so pleased to celebrate our union with our family and friends

We married in the United Kingdom and again a month later in the United States. Our maid of honor, best man & bridesmaids flew back and forth for the weddings, both of which took place near sunset on the eves of full moons – that was just a pretty bonus from the Heavens!

I am also very grateful to my wonderful seamstress – who made sure every gown, dress, suit/outfit I wore at the Miss America years earlier was fitted to perfection. In England, she made sure the bustle was perfect! After all, she created it. And she made my gown glisten in candlelight and against the setting sun.
Seamstress, Seamstress dressing bride Seamstress helping bride, seamstress and bridesmaid helping bride

Castle, top of castle, castellation, couple on top of castle, battlement Moat, children playing by water, waters edge, castle moat, boys by river

On our anniversary this trip back, we really enjoyed seeing our daughter & Goddaughter running playfully along the centuries-old wall we walked up together as newlyweds.

Castle wall, children running, children run along castle wall  Castle wall, fortress wall, medieval wall

Best man, England, best friends, brothers, rings, wedding rings, holding wedding rings  England, horse and carriage, horse in window Bride and groom on a bridge, couple on bridge, smiling newlyweds on bridge, groom holds bouquet, groom holds roses

Viel blowing in wind, bride and maid of honor, child watches bride England, English medieval window, ivy covered window

English medieval castle, walking to the moat, wedding party walking together  England, English countryside

And although we enjoyed journeying throughout the Kingdom… (2000 years! Read the sign below:)

Red door on chapel, Scotland, red door   England, lion, tower, gates

Castle gates  Scotland, chapel, medieval chapel

…taking carriage rides & visiting local farms where our kids could grind wheat & hand-feed horses and little lambs…

England, watering horse, child gives horse water    English farm, farmhouse, flowers at farmhouse, flowers

…and enjoying quaint pubs, 500-year-old canons, Scottish castle ruins, England & Scotland 2011

family, friends & a romantic summer to remember…
…I must say my favorite part of this year’s anniversary was not the trip to Europe, but rather what we did on the “next wedding anniversary” a month later when we returned (yes, we celebrate both).

We took our little one and her friend to see the Winnie-the-Pooh animated classic in the movie theater. As we sat with the girls between us, Phillip reached over their seats to touch my arm. I smiled at him in the dark and whispered, “There’s no where else I’d rather be than celebrating today with our family and Winnie-the-Pooh.”

Later that evening, my mother watched Little Petal as we went out to dinner.

One-lane bridge, bridge, road over lake, one-lane road over lake No parking sign, no standing sign, no parking or standing sign Lake, lake at sunset, large lake, lake and trees

(These are photos by day/sunset are so you can see the roadway. It was pitch black when we were there. I’m sure we would have given our teen an earfull if he did this…)

On the ride home, Phillip turned onto a long single-lane road over a large lake. He turned off the engine and jumped out of the car, motioning me to follow him.

He put his arms around me and looked up, pulling me close. Stars pierced the pitch black sky; the only sound ~ the chirping of the summer crickets. The water was still, the air was warm. He kissed me and took my breath away. I felt like a teenager, blithe and carefree. With every beat of my heart, he kissed me more passionately.

Suddenly, car lights in the distance were heading our way. Our car blocked the entire single lane, and the oncoming driver would never suspect someone stopped on this quiet, dark roadway.

We scrambled as fast as we could to get into the car as the lights drew closer and closer. I grabbed my skirt around me and ran as quickly as I could to the passenger side of the car, heart pounding with excitement, fear, naughtiness.

We took off just in time and laughed giddily – I think from the nerves and the rush.

The Bright SpotTM – my husband, the love of my life! Go grab your Honey and smooch him/her! Take out some time and write down your special thoughts about why you love your wonderful someone. Renew your vows and commitment to one another. Castles and moats are great backdrops, but it’s the authenticity in your words and heart that make your relationship deep. Enjoy the little things like an afternoon movie with your kids or a romantic kiss by the lake. If you are single with kids, tell your kids how special they are to you and celebrate your commitment to each other. If you are an adult, tell your parents or grandparents how much they mean to you. A vow is a pledge or promise to the one(s) you love. Life’s so short, do it today.

Bride, groom, boys running with bride and groom through path    Romance, hug, loving couple, tophat  xo, b

And a double Bright SpotTM just for YOU!! Thank you to all of you who read this site. 2 million page views & counting in one year because of your support & interest in these stories, our albums, links, and the weekly interviews from our Live, call-in radio show “Let’s Talk!” archived on this site for your convenience. And thank you to everyone who commented/sent e-mails on the story that follows – about how the tragedy of 9-11 affected our family and how our young son unknowingly inspired many in this nation and abroad. Thank you all!!


Bianca