Adventures & Living Life with Love & Passion

Hello! It’s me, Leelee. I’m so happy to return to blog land. I am excited to catch up and pen my leelee moments as I feel and see them. Truly, I’ve missed you! Pandemically and poetically. Life seems to be returning to a new normal with far less restrictions and rules in the USA. Europe, is still extremely cautious, uber diligent about masks (surgical or N95)the only exception of No mask, but, only when eating! They are happy to oblige. Health is most important. Covid in this small quaint college town was very low. As the temperatures began to rise, the mask rule did not waiver! The rate of vaccination is much slower in Spain. No one ever complained or didn’t comply. It was quite humbling for a New Yorker!
I hope this beautiful, sunshiney day brings a peace and smile to your heart. I write this with so much oooomph! So much emotion and a bit of good ole jet lag. Hola, & Buenos Dias from Spain! I quite enjoyed learning a bit of Spanish prior to me living there for two months. I practiced everyday and felt confident that I could communicate my wants and needs, and find my way around in Santiago de Compostela. Well, I was wrong. Learning and speaking a new language takes years of practice. Also, living in that country helps and listening to the different dialects. Honestly, I was in southern Spain, close to Portugal and many are Galician. It’s a mix of Portuguese and Spanish. I was fascinated to learn about it and the history of St. James. Spiritually, learning about Santiago and it’s roots, moved me. It is said and believed that St. James is buried there. They certainly love and worship their God and their faith in him. Churches and church bells are everywhere. I tried to visit every one of them. I was again moved and in awe. Immaculate, clean and lovingly restored. History, wars and politics. Spain is full of it. Santiago certainly has amazing history and a story. It dates back to early 1700’s. The city center is one of the most clean, organic, historic and spiritually beautiful places I have explored and instantly fell in love with all of it. The Cathedral Santiago de Compostela is breathtaking, pristine. I couldn’t stop photographing it, over and over. I toured a few museums (for 1 or 2 Euro’s to enter). I simply couldn’t get enough. The artifacts, sculptures, tombs, saints and glowing, sparkling gold everywhere, many beautiful, sculpted angels in abundance! Just mesmerizing. I strolled around daily and walked the quaint blocks for hours and hours. I never grew tired. I absorbed the culture, the cafe’s, outdoor markets, I sampled all delicacies from Galicia & Spain. I found my favorite cafe’s and little bakeries with their famous Galician almond torte and portuguese custard pastries. I adapted to living in calmness easily. Peace.. was simply abundant, everyday. No horns blaring no yelling, fighting, no anger or hostility. I never saw any areas of sick and addicted. I was fascinated by that. I enjoyed the shopping and the authentic musicians, soloists, bagpipers and ancient horns serenating the squares and praza. I loved learning the history of this quaint, charming, peaceful town. I quickly learned what they value and live for. It’s simple traditions and caring & loving their family. The Galician’s know how to live. Many migrated from Portugal & set off to Santiago. Many of them walked across borders. They all paved a spiritual trail. So personal, brave and healing. Their authentic, private pilgrimage. I get it. I’m on the same wave and vibe myself. They sought to find a better life. To journey across the countries and find themselves, their beliefs, perhaps deepen their faith. Today, thousands of people, young and old still walk the El Camino, daily. They travel from all over Europe. Their final destination is Santiago de Compostela. Some trek a month, or several months on foot! Some peddle across countries. They all have one thing in common; It is their life long dream. To explore, to hike to walk to bike, and most importantly, to meet new people along the entire journey by walking the El Camino. The center square of Santiago, the Cathedral, is where everyone comes and celebrates their excursion. Hikers, trekkers, bikers, all scream & shout and cheer & chant! in pure delight. They have reached their destination. They have accomplished a life long dream and pilgrimage. I would sit and watch them arrive and celebrate with pure joy. All from different countries. Small or large Groups and families, young lovers and friends. The energy is uplifting and inspirational. Tired feet and bodies. Loving Life. Being in that moment of bliss! The lifestyle is admirable. Europeans value family and God above anything else. I could feel it all around me. I could see it daily, in their eyes, smiles and faces. It was a spiritual awakening for me…living there among the peaceful, quiet most humble people. Observing, taught me so much about simplicity and abundance. I left with a feeling of admiration. I made a sacred pact that I too would attempt to walk the El Camino one day. It also taught me something else. The journey inward is what most seek. To grow and expand our horizons. The final destination isn’t necessarily the goal. Most cherish the experience and knowledge you gain along the way. Priceless!
I also observed the culture daily. Socialization, walking, and strolling are part of daily life. The cafe’s are packed mid morning till late at night. They socialize with a cold Estrella beer daily, often before noon. They don’t rush or get up early. They eat late and stay up late. Everyday, in the late afternoon, everything and everyone stops. They close most stores at 3pm and reopen in the evening. A siesta perhaps for some. I thoroughly enjoyed my late day naps, after walking for hours and hours, I rested. Dinner, is a light fare, usually after 8:30 pm, often closer to 10pm. Seafood and fish are the staple. They enjoy simplicity. They love to chat, laugh and spend time outside. Children are welcome everywhere. I would stare all day at the adorable babies and children, dressed like they were going to a formal affair. I admired mothers and daughters all having matching outfits. The boys match too! Mucho adorable for sure. On Sunday, young and old dress up and play at the park and perhaps head to their favorite cafe. The elderly dress up in their Sunday best and they stroll. Slowly and quietly. They chat it up on plentiful park benches and absorb the sunshine and socialization. Of course, Sunday’s, holy day, Everything closes. They have mastered ” a day of rest” and nobody is mad about it. Those quaint streets in the city center have ice cold beer and wine and delicious espresso coffee! Addicting for sure. I noticed much love and laughter all around. I got a kick out of hearing American music often. I stared in awe of life in Santiago. Families together, sipping drinks and nibbling tapas. I quite enjoyed people watching and the art of doing absolutely nothing. Brilliant! I can’t wait to return to Spain and find new amazing places to visit and fill my heart with awe and joy. Ciao for now, Adios…amigo’s. I know I will see you again one day.


Winter moods

Hello! to all my snowed in friends! I hope you are staying warm and healthy. The foot of snow that beautifully landed on Long Island, actually lived up to the media Hype! I put up a big pot of soup and watched the flakes swirling around. I photographed some pretty moments. I felt gratitude for my warm and cozy home.

I figure with all this quarantining and a blast of super cold air, I would need a big project to propel me through the long, freezing February days. Honestly, and for the 100th time, I am ONCE again, errrrr.. DE cluttering all my stuff. None of it ever appears as “junk” to me! I think I secretly hoard things that spark sentimental vibes (not necessarily JOY! OK, so thank you Marie Kondo!) As many of you know, we tend to hold onto objects and “things” when a person dies. It’s a part of them and hard to part with. Over the last decade, I have parted with some things of my parents. I took on a huge project last March. I took months and months sorting through the family pictures. Bins and bins of photos, memories, our entire childhood. I just focused on organizing five bins for each sibling. Then I organized all my own photos and made albums and scrapbooks. I decorated my scrapbooks sorta like Martha would. My dream trips and all the memories that were made, labeled and all gussied up. Then I thought… who will want to schlep these around for the next 100 years? I still completed it. It was important to me. I sat alone and stared at 1000 photos of my son. We didn’t have cell phones when he was born. It was camcorders and cameras. He, my Michael, was a bright, happy, delicious child. His energy and enthusiasm, his love for life, his SMILE…it all jumped into my heart. He was the first grandchild in a large family. A prince for sure! He was a BIG deal. Adored by everyone. God, I miss him so, so much. Be grateful today for what you have and hold. I am grateful that love remains….even after they are gone from here.

My next project is super exciting. I am decorating and making a new nursery for my Granddaughter to be! My baby is having a baby! My beautiful daughter, who resides in Spain is having a baby girl. We are all over the moon and anxious at the same time. Spain, yep, Europe! All I know is, I have to get there by May! I have stayed positive and determined. We have been separated over a year. They frequently came home for long visits. UGH… Homesick is a real thing now. So, I allow myself to have a good pandemic cry every now and then. I highly recommend you let those emotions surface. It’s real, isolation and anti socialization effects all of us. Also, this “pandemic”, is nothing anyone EVER could have predicted. I also stand strong in remembering the most important part. This Pandemic will NOT last forever. With that being said, I need to acknowledge and send love, condolence and compassion for anyone that has lost their loved one due to COVID 19. As of late, 422,000 Americans have died due to COVID 19. I am so very sorry for your loss. I send you love and healing light as you mourn your loved one. Our world has changed, this is a fact. The vaccine will be helpful for so many essential/front line workers. Thank you for ALL you do, everyday for US. We have not forgotten YOU. I hope that by this summer we see the light and businesses and musicians can perform again and stay afloat. I pray we see a decline over time. Allow yourself to do your part. A little something. If everyone shows kindness and compassion, imagine how healing that can be!

Now, onto the nursery. I dream about it everyday. I love design and decor. I love transforming a room and repurposing items. I was feeling brave and decided to freshen up some plain old furniture pieces. I watched a ton of YouTube videos and decided to give it a shot. I am so glad I did! The painting process was much easier than I expected. A couple of coats later and it transformed into a beautiful piece! Easy peasy. I am totally enjoying myself. A new baby! What could be more exciting? She is already loved and I can’t wait to meet her.

Find the miracles in your world today. Even the tiniest ones matter. Take good care and stay safe.

Love & Peace


January thoughts 2021

So, it looks like WE made it. Through the 2020 uncertainty and this year of struggles, strife, eruptions, protests, violence, and a pandemic, chaotic, elections and an eruption of extreme emotions, making our world sometimes unstable, divided and unsafe. COVID 19 is not over. 2020 is, but, the virus is very much here. The vaccine has been approved and they are plugging along as best as they can. I sincerely hope we can thank Pfizer for eradicating and saving lives one day. I saw my town numbers quadruple in the last couple of months. I now know many families that have gotten COVID 19. I am just laying low. I really am avoiding contact and exposure. I cooked meals for a neighbor for two weeks while she recovered. I try and do my little part. Yesterday, I avoided taking down my twinkly Christmas tree…just a week more! and then I thought…Well…why NOT? I quickly went about my Saturday, cleaning, cooking and COVID crafting! It’s become a big favorite of mine. Occupy your mind for a few hours, focus on art and creating a new wreath or sign. It’s simple fun. It’s relaxing and therapeutic. I gathered all my hearts and Red and Pink bows, flowers, ribbons and went to town. I enjoy creating whimsical decor. Valentines day is inspiring and romantic and it also stirs up my serotonin! Bascially, I glue and attach shit together and I feel loved! Be good to yourself this year. Do things that Make you feel Happy. Try new projects and hobbies. We all have time to expand our horizons. I love baking for my neighbors and dropping off a special treat. Remember, it’s the little things that wind up being so Important. So many pantry’s need food items. Make a small donation to your local churches and food pantries. We all need to take care of one another. I believe, hope & kindness will see us through.

I take time to write. We tend to let the most important priorities fall off. Like, self love, self care rituals In 2021, these are so important, now more than ever before. It’s ok, we humans are easily distracted! What is important is that you get back to it. Writing is a HUGE release. It is a tool for healing, a tool for anger, grief, and it can also help you process and start to heal your pain or grief or trauma. Perhaps you have pushed down childhood trauma? abuse? Start to write it out. Burn it if you want! Just get it out. If you can spare ten minutes a day to journal your thoughts, what you’re feeling.. or not feeling, try it. Take a month to write about YOU. It can be a gift of releasing sadness and grief after a break up. It can motivate you to start that project, paint that room, tear up the rug, finish a floor or redecorate your living space. It can help you clear out feelings of loneliness, insecurities, self doubt, guilt, self loathing. If you are feeling depressed, writing can open up the soul. It hurts to write sometimes, it hurts to remember sometimes. What is important here is to just Write it OUT… get it out, release it. I promise you.. you will feel a lightness inside. Another act of self love, self improvement.

So, take small steps. This isn’t a race. Life isn’t a race. We hold many chapters of our lives deep in our soul. Peeling some of the layers exposes us to find our new self. Our authentic self. Our world is forever changing and evolving. So should we. You’re worth trying something different or new. It’s ok to change your course. You can heal pain and trauma. Small steps. Most importantly, remember that you matter. Get OUTSIDE in nature. Gods gifts allow us to appreciate simplicity. Fresh air, tall trees, trails and waterfalls. Gardens and places that make you smile and feel loved and supported. Finding your very own gratitude and nourishing your soul. Let that be your mantra and motivation for 2021. Our new 46th President, Joe Biden said; Our country is in desperate need of healing and hope. I think he “gets it”! For that, I am hopeful too. Peace and Love to all of you in 2021.

~ leelee

December thoughts….

I was hoping to open with… “We’re in the final stretch!” errr, meaning, we had the Pandemic COVID virus under control or something like that. Truth is, we don’t. Yet. I am hopeful that the new vaccines will eradicate a lot of the anxiety and worry and deaths that COVID-19 has caused. So, the “hoax” virus is estimated in total could be close 500,000 deaths! One half a million lives lost due to complications of COVID-19. No Hoax there folks! So, young, middle or old. There is no rhyme or reason to this virus. Since Thanksgiving, the CDC, WHO, President Elect, have all pleaded with our nation to not “mingle”. Do not gather in large groups, do not throw big house parties, or meet up with a crowd of people to celebrate with cocktails. I know, some break the rules. I know teens and college kids are invinsible. They are now ordered to virtual learning and home schooling and stay in orders per state. What a combination! Who can juggle that? Emotionally? Finacially. The world had to shut down. Did we have any other choice? Since March, COVID has devastated hundreds of thousands of people. Loss of job, 50% loss of sales, business. Who can truly survive? They certainly can’t thrive this winter. The liquor stores will. Congrats! Liquor was immediately deemed essential to survive the pandemic. If I see one more meme or TikTok video with day drinking Mom’s…not a good look Mama’s. AA is going to be super busy next year for sure. White Claw (spiked seltzer) are Billionaires now. I don’t get it! Churches were shut down! You could not go in and pray or sing. I’m still baffled and frightened by our President ignoring or not addressing this nation over the last 10 months! He mocked Masks and he and his family all had COVID. It’s a tragedy, truly. I was so happy when my church figured it out and our pastor held service outside every perfect Sunday all summer long in our vehicles. It saved my heart and soul. Praying for those less fortunate, volunteering and donating meals and clothing to the ones that need it so badly now. Prayer and hope, that is what church taught me. Everyone needs to help each other and take care of each other. So, when the local casino opened BEFORE churches were approved to open, well, I started to see the world differently. Priorities, humanity, homelessness, hungry families, unemployment…it’s A LOT. I see it everyday. I found immense gratitude, each day for my warm home and nourishing food. The least I can do is give. Donations, food, an ear to listen, baking, cooking, volunteering. Healing comes from the simple act of giving back. No matter how small the gesture is. It is appreciated and can make someone feel loved. I see hardworking people with two jobs not making the rent. Hungry children at our schools, domestic abuse and child abuse rise as people fall silently. A pandemic. A scary, unstable time in our world. It runs a vicious, deadly course. It does not discriminate or choose who will live or die. We live in America. We have the ability to heal the sick, just not all of them. The only saving grace is the world statistics. Less than 1% of the population will die from COVID-19. I pray for the less than 1%. I know what grief tastes and feels like. I can’t imagine, saying goodbye on an IPAD to your parent or grandparent. Emotionally, the medical healthcare workers are at risk 24/7. You rarely hear ANY of them complain. They are robots, numb and overworked and underpaid. Yet, they sacrifice everything to save lives. I’m in awe of all of you, truly.

I haven’t seen my daughter since 2019. It will be a year soon. I haven’t seen my Granddaughter in 18 months. I miss her terribly. She now resides in Greece. We gave her a beautiful wedding last year. Love is beautiful. She had an elegant reception with 100 people who love her. Joy and happiness were in abundance. I was thankful and overjoyed for her. Now! She is expecting a baby in May. They live abroad. I realized this Thanksgiving was the first time ever that I did not have my children with us. It’s hard. I get it! I haven’t hugged my daughter in almost a year. We spend hours on Face time. (Thank GOD for that miracle) and talk many times a day. OnThanksgiving morning. She cooked her entire meal while I was on Face time with her. Lessons learned. This is truly what Thanksgiving means. To be with the ones you love always. I felt close to her, proud of her and grateful to be her Mama. I am certainly missing her near me, next to me. I made a turkey for 2 this year. It was the first holiday in over 40 years that we were alone. IT was certainly….. Different. Not terrible. It’s just the reality of 2020 right now. I have learned to accept and make something GOOD out of it. I delivered the leftovers to our nephew who lives alone. I’m sure he enjoyed a hot meal. It’s the love we share. The love we are able to give without expectations. It’s the little things that still matter. A Christmas tree with sparkly lights. I awake everyday and smile. Some people have no tree, no presents, no home this year. It’s picking a child off the Angel tree at church and buying a special toy for them. It’s baking and delivering food with Love. It’s not hard. It’s not a fortune to cook a meal. It is important to spread that love and ask that everyone just do something. If you buy someone a hot tea and donut, or a happy meal or a sandwich, a pie…it doesn’t matter what it is. It matters that you care enough to help and give back. As our president elect so beautifully said. Our nation is in need of Hope again. Healing again. Let’s get there together.

I have taken advantage of all the extra stay at home time to do many projects. I took up photography and expanded my gardens with beautiful flowers and shrubs. I took little trips to photograph bridges, barns and flowers. I escaped the news and incessant political venom and hate. I, instead, watched the season ofspring roll into a beautiful summer. I noticed each bloom, bulb, leaf, birds nests and all that nature has to show and give to us. I was introduced to exotic birds and sweet sounds of nature flowing and buzzing. If or when I felt smothered, I would drive out to the east end of Long Island and gather shells and rocks to paint and hide. Gratitude, just kept blooming inside my soul. I finally finished a project or read book that I just kept putting off. I wrote my story and hope someday it helps someone. My Mama left me a check once. It was written to herself for “Simple Abundance”. Thank you Mom for reminding me. Lately, my most fun and exciting projects is that I pretend to be an artist. I make crafts and repurpose stuff and relish in the simplicity of creativity and imagination. I redecorated with the things I already have and organized closets, basement, etc. and then I donated my “stuff”. We all can clean out the attic and basement and garage and donate things we don’t use or need. One man’s junk is another’s treasure. I donated half of all my Christmas decorations to a family that had a house fire. I just felt that the children would appreciate a touch of home for the holidays. Again, it’s the little things. I think I may sound a bit like the Coca Cola song. I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony. Harmony is not such a bad thing. I miss music outside, concerts, hugging and laughing with no mask. I zoom weekly with my support groups, it helps so much. I yearn to read and learn about humanity and how Kindness is spreading. I also acknowledge that many are suffering. Depression, addiction, alcoholism, suicide all on the rise because of life, and our current circumstances. Many have no tools, no therapy, no insurance, no contact, no love. I urge anyone suffering in silence to find online support (if possible). The 12 step recovery meetings are free. They work. Just make the call. Toll free Hotlines are still working. Reach out and seek help. Everyone deserves to NOT Suffer. I have also had to face and accept that our own family members are suffering and dealing with all of the above. They are hurting. They are sick and addicted. They are angry and emotionless. To be honest, I had to accept and let them go, gently. They don’t want any help because they are unwell. I cried many times for them, for me, and accepting where they are right now. I cried for us.I miss “us” the most. I told them all how thankful I am that they are all alive and we didn’t lose anyone to COVID. I recall my youngest brother on our one and only Zoom call in March. He said, he was sick and tired of the BS and hoax and honestly, he said.. I think we should just all get it and get it over with. I was in shock, really? He was angry at the Pandemic Hoax and forced to shelter in. After all, it was fucking up his social life and his ability to earn money, blah blah blah. I wasn’t being honest with myself or with him. For years, I watched addiction change someone completely and what was once fun is now non existent. No wonder they had no ability to love and support me over the last few years. It cut deep and I let it torture me in my darkest days. You shouldn’t have to beg for support or love. Today, I just have to remember.. I can’t control, fix or save anyone. I can only live and control how I live and who I choose to spend my time with. Lessons learned and some are harsh.

I know who I am. Where my heart is. I figured out what heals me and propels me to keep on. It doesn’t appear or happen overnight. Grief takes work and patience. Time is a great healer…it is true. I am guilty of wanting to share it with the ones I love. I wanted to make a difference in their lives. I wanted to share my story and how I recovered. I tried many times. Years later, I finally had to let go and move on. Painful still. What I do know is you must find your tribe! Seek out support and love. What I found along the way is Faith and Gratitude. Finding your own inner peace. Priceless. Planting your own seeds and taking the time to love yourself in whatever state of being you are in currently. I still chase waterfalls and flower gardens and oceans and shells and rocks. I know what matters. I try and be a loving, kind, human. I’m a work in progress, finding my path and my purpose here. My sister calls it, “God’s work”. Perhaps she is right. I am so grateful and thankful for her love & support. I am constantly trying to be understanding and supportive. Sometimes, that is all someone needs, just to be heard. I learned, some lessons can’t be taught. I do know a few things. I chose not to suffer anymore.

As we head into 2021, I am filled with hope. I am excited about a new life entering our world and hearts. She will be loved beyond the moon and the stars. I see my cup is full, brimming over with limitless possibilities! Just take it all one day at a time.

Love, & Peace, stay safe!