Category Archives: Things To Do

Cooking in Self Isolation

Just before everything closed down, most of us received a heads up that we were going to be very restricted during the “stay at home” order. This meant that stocking up on food for the duration, as best you could. Many store shelves were emptied quickly. So improvisation came into play for both food types and cooking ideas. If you couldn’t acquire the things you usually look for, it was time to make new selections.

“Julia Child came to my house and wanted a lesson in making risotto”

Lidia Bastianich

I love the idea that an expert chef like Julia Child realized that she could learn to cook new meals from other colleagues. This is a time to take out your cook books and or recipes online and get going with some new ideas. For example, I bought fresh crab cakes to freeze and tried one the other night. I realized I didn’t have tartar sauce but thought, it can’t be all that hard to make and it would be worth trying.

The results were wonderful. I improvised by mixing mayonnaise, dijon mustard, cornichons, capers and fresh lemon together. Having never made it before, I had no pre-set amounts for the ingredients so I just made it to taste. Some of these things were already in my pantry, some were things I had picked up. Truth be told, it was so good that I decided I wouldn’t buy store bought tartar sauce anymore! Small part of the meal, but an important one to brighten up the evening’s offering.

I’ll be experimenting over the next few weeks as many people will be. As I find good results, I’ll share them. The point is to give things a try. Tweak old recipes. Experiment. Have some fun. During times of stress, it’s important to make small things count. You’ll feel accomplished and may take some ideas forward when things resolve. That’s A Table for One.

Copyright 2020 Marion M. O’Grady

Design Your Own Spa Day

Somethings we’ll all be missing during these days of self isolation are those appointments we make to attend to our beauty and/or grooming rituals. These can be both restorative and lovely ways to relax and exhale, even during normal times. So why not focus on this aspect of our lives and use these days to design your own spa days at home?

“You exist only in what you do”.

Federico Fellini

First, look around your house or apartment for all the things you already have stocked but haven’t thought of using for self-pampering . Things like bath salts, fragrant candles, a great CD for background music. If you’re in the mood for a manicure, look for polish you may not have used recently. Never given yourself a manicure with polish? Now is the time to try! Pedicure too. If you’re a man who likes a good shave, try giving yourself a nice hot towel wrap before shaving. Try a sample cologne you haven’t used before. Sample a new perfume. Most of us have plenty of samples we haven’t tried. Find them and have fun experimenting!

I’m sure you’ve also got cosmetics that you haven’t used in a while. These could include fragrant moisturizers, creams and even makeup. Now is the time to try experimenting with different colors. Perhaps an eye shadow, lipstick or lipgloss that you have on hand but haven’t used.. You can even experiment with a different hairstyle. If you always blow dry your hair, try letting your hair air-dry for example. If you have longer hair, tie it back or try making a messy bun or a braid.

Then enjoy your favorite beverage in front of the TV or computer this evening. Put your feet up, put on a snuggly robe and slippers. Sip some tea, have a beer, cocktail or glass of bubbly. Try some wine that you haven’t had before. The point is to create a really relaxing environment, enjoy doing something good for yourself and don’t hold back. That’s A Table For One.

Copyright 2020 Marion M. O’Grady

Self Isolation

Being on your own can sometimes appear to be a form of self isolation, but it usually happens by choice or happenstance. Which is entirely different than the “self isolation” we’ve been told to practice during this pandemic. In these days of trying to tamp down the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, I know that many of you will be confining yourselves to “self isolation”. And that you might find it daunting. So I’m going to try and share some ideas during this time, that you may find helpful.

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’re at a moment in time that is extremely troubling and unsettling. Add to that the worry for loved ones along with ourselves and it’s a real recipe for anxiety. I’d like to share some ideas on things to do that might help. I’m not a medical expert, but I have spent lots of time exploring and discovering ways to enjoy life when you find yourself on your own. Things that might also help dispel cabin fever, even if you’re inside with another person.

Listening to music comes to mind as a way to sooth anxiety . Listening to old favorites can bring back happy memories of times you spent with friends. “Oldies but Goodies” is one category that never seems to fail. Or, go on an exploration of artists and types of music you’ve never had time to tune into.

For example, The Metropolitan Opera is streaming past programming for free. If you’ve never been to an opera, now’s the time to try it! I’m a life-long fan, having been to The Met in NYC, as well as the magnificent Opera House in Vienna. The stories, the music, the incredible talent will transport you. It’s also a wonderful way to spend a few hours away from the chatter about this pandemic. You may find you enjoy it and become a fan too! Visit to find their offerings.

Be sure to experiment with the time you have, to explore new avenues of musical entertainment. It will help occupy your mind to concentrate on other things. I’m going to post more ideas as well. This is one of many. Take care, hunker down and enjoy some new as well as familiar music! That’s A Table For One!

Copyright 2020 Marion M. O’Grady

Chalk Art

Spring has been far too slow in coming.  Winter coats are beginning to look drab and the folks wearing them look weary.  So it’s no surprise that going out for a walk today wasn’t something I was expecting to be terribly uplifting.  That is, until I ran into the Chalk Art man.

“Art is beautiful.  It makes you happy”    Honschar, the NYC Chalk Artist                                                                                  

So when I came upon this artist, hard at work lighting up an otherwise gray and dreary sidewalk with cheerful messages of birthday greetings and custom crafted salutes to brothers and sisters, I had to stop.

City Chalk Artists

Chalk Art!

He was happily calling upon the growing crowd to be good to their moms and dads.  Encouraging children to be good.  Reminding adults to “call your mother”.  Who doesn’t find that chant delightful and valuable?

Reminder to call

Call to action!

We spoke and I told him I’d like to include him in my blog, would he mind?  He seemed thrilled and then graciously offered to create a bit of street chalk art for me.  Here it is!  I just loved his enthusiasm and I told him with gratitude how much joy he brings to others.



Honschar The Chalk Artist

Unexpected things happen when you push yourself to explore and engage when you see something inspirational.  I’m so happy I decided to speak to this talented and generous sidewalk chalk artist today.

Celebrating Chalk Art

Art to make you happy!

And that’s a great and unexpected “A Table for One” adventure!

Copyright 2018 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved

Winter Blues

Of course, winter weather varies, depending on where you live.  But I have found that, generally speaking, this particular season tends to feel longer than any other!  Perhaps it’s that the daylight hours are shortened and so the feeling of darkness prevails.  Or maybe that we spend more time indoors?

“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.”  Paul Theroux

Daffodils and snow

Daffodils and snow

I love this quote from Paul Theroux.  For me, it expresses a beautiful reason to dig deeper and explore more positive rationales to enjoy what can otherwise seem to be a dreary and endless march of cold days and longer months.  I find it so inspiring to think of winter as a season of recovery.  Hibernating can be so restorative.  It requires some planning, however.

Even if I’m not entertaining, in the winter, I’ll take time to shop for a special dinner of fresh fish and vegetables to cook up for myself.  It’s soothing to prepare a cup of tea and put on some music you haven’t listened to in a while.  Or to treat yourself to a special dessert.

The notion that winter is also a time to prepare is a great idea too!  Looking ahead to spring, when it comes, can include some wonderful ideas for re-organizing at home.  Changing up your decor, introducing a new painting or object d’art to refresh your space.

Winter is definitely a long season.  Finding ways to enjoy it is so important.  Celebrate by finding new things to do and enjoy “A Table for One”.

Copyright 2018 Marion M. O’Grady




Write a Poem

There are days when you may feel as I do…moved to express your feelings in a different way.  I think poetry can be so inspirational and transporting.  Why not try it yourself?

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”              Robert Frost

Even if you don’t feel you can write a poem, I highly recommend trying it.  You can read a book of poetry, even if it’s a small collection, as a guide.  When I don’t have time to read an entire book, I keep a book of poetry nearby.  It’s a great way to take a mental break and let yourself go wherever the poem takes you.  I keep one by my bedside and carry one when I travel.

Here’s one I wrote that was inspired by thinking about a loved one:


As on a ruler,

Notched lines lie

Neatly numbered on your face.

I look and I see

In their sequence, a beauty,

I have forgotten how to count.

I think that poetry makes you stop, or at the very least, pause in a world that is always running at top speed.  Poetry is all about putting thought into words that move the emotions.  It has to touch on one of the most persuasive emotions…love, pain, anger, awe, etc.  Sometimes I find it really hard to get out of “drive”.  That’s when reading some poetry and taking time to write a poem of my own is wonderfully effective.  It makes for a great time out!

It’s a pleasure.  Something you can read or write, that is complete in its brevity.  Something that Give it a try.  You may surprise yourself.  Get inspired.  And that’s A Table for One moment to keep.

Copyright 2017 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved




Reading and Roses

Second step towards Valentine’s Day on your own.  Explore things you love to do.  Expand the meaning of the day, to include some of the activities you enjoy most.  I love flowers and the way they brighten the environment, even at the many stalls throughout the city.  Particularly in winter, I notice them even more, as they burst out against the grey backdrop of the streets and sky.  Why not treat yourself to a bouquet on Valentine’s Day?  Don’t wait for someone else to give you roses!   Challenge yourself to look at things differently.

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns.  I am thankful that thorns have roses.”  Alphonse Karr

Valentine's Day flowers

Roses, roses, roses

While roses give such pleasure, so do books!  Grab your favorite books on the topic of love and tuck into one, in celebration of the holiday. Enjoy a “refresh” on the subject of love. I keep some of my favorite books nearby at all times. A recent addition to my collection is “A Breviary of Psalms, Pictures & Poems”, written by my friend, Father Timothy Brown, S.J. Filled with beautiful reflections, it’s another inspirational and thought provoking book of his that illuminates new ways to understand love and life.  Here’s one of his selected poems:

Valentine's Day read

Reading and roses

The Early Morning 

The moon on the one hand, the dawn on the other:                                                                              The moon is my sister, the dawn is my brother.                                                                                      The moon on my left and the dawn on my right.                                                                                       My brother, good morning: my sister, good night.

Hilare Belloc

 Incorporate the notion that the world around us offers endless beauty everyday and it’s easy to find ways to celebrate love in many forms.  Not just through the people we love, but through the beauty of art, books, music, poetry, prayer, food, even nature itself.   Love encompasses all things.

A simply wonderful way to approach Valentine’s Day as it arrives as “A Table For One.”

Copyright 2017 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved








Adieu 2016

I think we can all say that 2016 shaped up to be a very challenging year.  As we’re coming to a close, friends are posting lists of all the many shining stars across all spectrums of industry, arts, media that have been lost.

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year”.                                               Ralph Waldo Emerson

This year included the very personal and profound loss of my mother.  This holiday season has been difficult, as it is the first without her.  She was the inspiration for this blog, as noted in my introduction.  Indeed, she was a remarkable role model for me, throughout my life.  A true pioneer, she ran her father’s factory in Brooklyn, NY during WWII.  She was a thirty-something, when she met my father. A force of love, intellect and immense accomplishments, I don’t think she ever met anyone who didn’t fall immediately in love with her.

Love, love, love

My Mother Marion

There wasn’t a topic she didn’t master, an experience she refused, or a single thing she wasn’t willing to try.  She is deeply missed and always will be.  I am so grateful to have had her in my life for so long.  2016 has been a difficult year, indeed.  But her lively spirit, joie de vivre and courage to over come life’s obstacles and find joy in every day and every moment will always inspire me to do the same.  And I hope that this blog helps each and everyone of you who reads it.  She would love that we are all willing to celebrate our lives too…even when on your own!

Copyright 2016 Marion M. O’Grady


Current Events

Here in the good old USA, 2016 is a big election year!  A new President will be elected next month.  The choices are a bit daunting and unusual this time around.  Perhaps there is no more important individual activity than voting!

“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.”

Winston Churchill

I think a large part of what makes a healthy citizen is balance and a really good sense of humor. While taking a walk the other day, I came upon an inspired window display.

Hillary and The Donald

Presidential Candidates with Humor

It’s almost Halloween and this is such an eye-catching display for both the holiday and the upcoming election.   I had to laugh.  I don’t typically take public political stands, but I do consider my vote to be impactful and every citizen’s to be so as well.

Voting 2016

Solo obligations

I loved these pet toys on display in a New York City pet store window.  They’re fun and I thought they put the dilemma of the 2016 Presidential Election into a different perspective that includes some good humor and relief.

Go and Vote

2016 Your Own Vote Counts!

An important aspect of being on your own is remaining open and aware.  This is a great example of discovering the unusual by remaining aware to what’s around you.  Such fun and so rewarding.  Keep your eyes open and your sense of humor close at hand!  That’s a great “A Table For One” experience.

Copyright 2016 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved

Make the Familiar New!

I have come to believe that there’s always something fun going on somewhere nearby.  Something you may not necessarily think of doing, if you’re on your own.  This very unique antique car show on Nantucket happens every spring.

“Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.”                                John Barrymore

It’s a great celebration and lots of friends, families and tourists come out to celebrate it.  This year, I found myself on island alone.  Friends weren’t able to join me.  And so I debated on whether I would go.  There are always so many things to get done on the “to-do” list.

Daffodil weekend

I love a parade!

If you’re like me, you’ll sometimes use the fact that you’re alone, to pass on an opportunity to enjoy an event anyway.   This time, something drew me to put down my work and go explore the show on Main Street.  Take a break and explore.  And so off I went.

Antique cars

Surprise yourself!

I’ve always enjoyed this particular spring ritual.  But I’m usually with friends.  It still surprises me when I discover that I can experience just as much pleasure on my own at an event I’m accustomed to attending with friends.  This is why I recommend pushing yourself a bit, to get out and try it.  …although in a very different way.


Happy cars!

When you’re on your own, you may miss having someone to share your observations at first.  But, on the other hand, I think you’re also likely to see things differently.   And enjoy them in an entirely unique way.  The familiar suddenly is new!  Being free to linger where I want, respond to my own timeline, drink in the surroundings and thoroughly enjoy myself without worrying about others is fun.  Try it.  Seek out events in your own backyard and venture out and about on your own.  You may just discover it’s uplifting and will make you feel happy!  And that’s what “A Table For One” is all about.

Copyright 2016 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved.