Tag Archives: inspiration

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

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




Here Comes Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I’m reminded that this can be a difficult holiday, if you’re not able to celebrate it with someone special.  This year, I’ll be on my own, so I thought I’d do something different that I can share with you.  I created a plan to incorporate some pre and post Valentine’s Day activities to try out a new way of celebrating being on my own!

“Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer.”  Jean de La Fontaine

Celebrate with cards

Valentine’s Day friends

Strange as it may seem, this strategy, to extend the holiday over several days, is turning out to be very uplifting!  On Saturday morning, I set out to buy cards to send to friends.  Thinking about reinforcing my friendships by sending messages opened up my mind to the fact that others may be facing the upcoming holiday as well.  And I saw an opportunity to touch them with a reminder that their friendship inspires me and makes me feel grateful.


Cards, cards, cards!

Emails and text messages, FaceBook and other social media are great ways to communicate with friends.  But sending cards, through what has become known as “snail mail” is more fun on this particular holiday.  I think it creates a different impact on the receiver.

Send a note!

Snail mail!

And it caused me to think about my friends, as I wrote notes to them.   Getting all of the cards out in the mail shifted my attention from how the holiday will affect me, onto how it will affect them.  And it gives me something to look forward to…their surprise when they receive the cards on Tuesday!   That’s a great way to approach Valentine’s Day at “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


Go To The Beach!

Why not treat yourself to a day at the beach alone?  Beach days shared with good friends and family are wonderful.  But it’s easy to forget how enjoyable a beach day can be, even when you’re on your own.  Give yourself the chance to connect with your soul and take a rest from the formal activities that fill most of your days.  Go!

“I have the world’s largest collection of seashells.  I keep it on all the beaches of the world…perhaps you’ve seen it.”  Steven Wright

Going solo to the beach is a miraculous experience.  A day well spent on the beach, can be filled with wonder, relaxation and discovery.  It’s like a week of vacation when you’re out there on your own!  Unplug.  Leave your devices at home.


Toes in the sand!

The first step is to go early, before the hot afternoon sun bakes down, creating a fiery, scorching bed of sand against your bare feet.  Drop the sandals, opt for a really great foot scrub of sand and shells and just feel the sand in your toes.  Feet feel happy, when freed up and let loose.  And one of the only places left where bare feet can still happen safely, is on a beach!

Choose your spot!

Choose your sweet spot!

Next, carve out a spot that’s yours.  Claim your space and set yourself up with a beach chair and umbrella, big towels, a floppy hat,  great book, a sandwich, fruit and a large bottle of ice cold water to last the day.  Plan to spend your time slipping the day well into a late afternoon of total rest and relaxation.  Listen closely to the sound of waves crashing on the shore.  Bring along a notebook and pen, to write your thoughts.  No devices here.

Take a swim as frequently as possible.  Enjoy drying off by taking a nice walk along the shore.  Pick up a few shells and colorful rocks to display on a shelf when you get home.  It will help to remind you how delicious a day at the beach alone can be.  Next time you find yourself with a free day in spring, summer or fall, consider gifting yourself with the super indulgence of a beautiful day at the beach!  That’s A Table For One!

Copyright 2016 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved.



Memorial Day

Remembering the fallen and also those who fought and continue to fight in defense of freedom.  I think that Memorial Day is a unique holiday of patriotic celebration.  It’s even more poignant than the Fourth of July which is so exciting and celebratory.

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”       Edith Wharton

I like to think of those who put their lives in harm’s way for our freedom as having had a calling and extraordinary vision.  Our present was their future and so I think it’s very important to understand the depth and meaning of their sacrifice.  Sometimes, this calls on some quiet time “alone” to meditate and connect to their heroic acts of bravery.


Memorial Day

This year, I was on my own for Memorial Day weekend.  And so, I went in search of the largest American flag I could find, to photograph it and express gratitude to those who made the supreme sacrifice.  It felt right.

Memorial Day sunset

Memorial Day sunset

And a moody sunset goes a long way to a heartfelt salute of the day’s end.  If you find yourself alone on any holiday, be sure to find a way to celebrate it and honor it in your own way.  It makes for a really memorable moment to treasure!  And that’s “A Table For One”.

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.




The Sunday Drive

Sundays are a great day to indulge in a whim.  Growing up, we frequently went on a “Sunday Drive”.   My father would announce the recurring event as a question:  “who’d like to go for a Sunday Drive?”  Of course we all wanted to!

“Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week”.  Joseph Addison

The Sunday Drive was an exercise in meandering and discovery.  The whole point was to simply get in the car, go out on the road, enjoy the scenery and find yourself wherever the day’s whimsy took you.  There was no plan.  No calculated purpose.  That was the whole point.

My Sunday Driver Auto machine!

My Sunday Driver Chariot!

I love to name things.  It all started with my first car, a Volkswagen square back which I named “Pod” after the Dad in a book called “The Borrowers”.  Now, I’ve got a lovely old 2003 Audi station wagon that I call “My Audee”.  Since my family nickname is Dee, it’s a perfect play on the brand name.  I love my license plate and it’s a real conversation starter wherever I go.  I was never a fan of “vanity plates” until I imagined this one.  It creates a lot of fun interactions!

This way to Island Drive!

This way to Island Drive!

So on a recent Sunday, I took “My Audee” out for a drive.  Inspired by my Dad’s wonderful inspiration to just go for a drive and see where it takes you.  I ended up in Rye, N.Y. where I grew up, on Island Drive, North Manuring Island.  It was a fabulously beautiful day.  Perfect for wandering.

The rewards of a """Sunday Drive"

The rewards of a “Sunday Drive”

Just down the road from the island is another breathtaking setting.  “Jake’s Boatyard”.  On the inlet side of North Manursing Island, Jake’s factors in as the gateway to what was once home.  Just a wonderful setting and perfect for a spontaneous “Sunday Drive”.  So fulfilling, inspirational and charming.

When you wake up alone on a beautiful Sunday morning, take a “Sunday Drive”. You may discover a place, a memory, an inspiration you didn’t even know you were looking for.  Just wander and see where it takes you.  That’s “A Table For One” moment.

Copyright 2016 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved






Easter NYC

With all the years I’ve lived in New York City, I’ve never attended the Saturday evening Easter Vigil mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  For the most part, it’s because I’m usually somewhere else with friends.  But this year, with Easter coming so early, I decided to stay in the city.

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”              Edith Wharton

Then came the inspiration, to walk down to the Cathedral for the Saturday Easter service.  A spectacular celebration of The Resurrection of Christ.  Renewed life.  Joy.  Light.  In churches around the world, Easter begins with this most stunning of services on Saturday evening.

Ceremony of Light, St. Patrick's Cathedral NYC

Ceremony of Light, St. Patrick’s Cathedral NYC

Since New York is a magnet for tourists, our midtown iconic destinations, like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, just across from Rockefeller Center, is constantly buzzing with people, cameras, flash bulbs and excitement.  But it’s also a parish church and NY’s local citizens frequently attend mass there, as well.

My maternal grandmother attended daily mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  She was a true matriarch and lived an exciting city life at The Biltmore Hotel on East 43td St.   We frequently went with her, to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for mass, so although it’s a real tourist attraction, for me it’s also home.

The celebration of light begins in darkness...

The celebration of light begins in darkness…

The mass begins with the cathedral cloaked in total darkness.  Then, a blazing fire is ignited at the back of the church.  The Cardinal begins the ceremony with readings.  All of the people hold candles which are subsequently lit from the same fire.  It’s breathtaking, as the church slowly illuminates by candle light and then finally the full-on brightness of every chandelier.  It’s so moving and takes your breath away.  I find that the pomp and circumstance of rituals like these are so stirring and special.  They’re perfect too, if you’re alone on a holiday.

Blessings from the Cardinal

Easter blessings from the Cardinal

Plan your holidays, but if you find yourself alone on one, I recommend looking at your surroundings as a tourist would.  Get out and explore.  Do something you’ve never thought of before.  Thinking like a tourist wherever you are will give you wonderful experiences to treasure.  And that’s “A Table For One”.

Copyright 2016 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved





St. Patrick’s Day NYC

I’ve come to think that New York City is one of the most exciting and accommodating cities in the world for Parades.  New York puts its rich diversity on display every year, with a host of parades honoring many different nationalities.  The St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of them and its said that on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish.  Certainly, in New York this is true!

“I’m Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.  I’m Italian on Columbus Day.  I’m a New Yorker every day”.  Tamara Tunie

New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade!

New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

The Parade participants march their way up Fifth Avenue from midtown all the way up to 86th St.  On display are the many counties of Ireland represented by flags, banners and people whose heritage dates back to these specific geographic areas in Ireland.  Many of those observing the parade happily cheer the counties their ancestors hail from too.

Bagpipers and their stirring aires!

Bagpipers and their stirring aires!

One of my absolute favorite things about St. Patrick’s Day is the number of bagpipers that come out in full regalia to march in the parade.  All along Fifth Ave., the stirring sounds of blaring bagpipes, drums and flutes fill the air.  It’s a truly unique and moving sight to see!

"Up Mayo!"

“Up Mayo!”

You can imagine that, with a last name of “O’Grady”, I definitely have Irish heritage.  My lineage also includes ancestors from France and England as well.  But I have to admit that I get a huge kick out of observing St. Patrick’s Day and attending the parade whenever possible.  I especially love seeing the County Mayo contingent marching.  That’s the county where my last name comes from.  In Ireland, if you said you were from Mayo, the response apparently was “God Help You”, because the soil was so rocky, it was nearly impossible to grow food there.

I like to think that some of my good traits can be traced back to this wonderful county that challenged my ancestors who learned to prevail and overcome any obstacles in their way.  As they say in Ireland “Up Mayo!”  Take “A Table For One” moment to enjoy a parade!

Copyright 2016 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved