Me in the Middle Traveling with My Baggalini 4th Week

This past Wednesday was the fourth and last class of the Memories to Memoirs  writing course that I’m taking with OLLI ~ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute @ UVA.   The assignment was to write about ‘an item in my closet that I still use and that holds lots of memories for me’.  Here’s the link to the third class ….. (Me in the Middle of Memories of Opening the Door)


My Travel Companion

DSCN3582 (2)

 In 1995, two flight attendants looking for a travel companion that would be stylish with many pockets, founded Baggalini.  Baggalini Crossbody Travel Bags make it easier to move from place to place with a sense of safety and security while keeping everything you need at your fingertips and in its place.  Just what I was looking for when I set out on my first foreign trip to England in 2001.

This bag, tucked away on the top shelf in my closet, has since been my travel companion on many exciting and happy memories.  It seemed to be the perfect choice for this week’s writing assignment ~ ‘Write about an item in your closet that you still use and holds many memories.’  Foreign travel to the Middle East and Ireland were trips of a lifetime.  Air travel to see family in Arizona, Ohio and Vermont were made easier with this little bag, especially when I had mobility issues with the onset of age-related medical problems. 

There was a time when I thought the opportunity to travel by air would never happen for me and my Baggalini reminds me that dreams do come true no matter how old you are.  It will remain on the top shelf of my closet, within my reach, for those spontaneous moments when the chance to travel becomes a reality once again.  Life is a Journey! 

Me in the Middle of Ireland

A Guinness A Day Oct 1

Shamrock, Clover, Saint Patrick, Luck

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!


What finer day than Saint Patrick’s Day to recall the year that I came home to the land of my ancestors?   Other than ‘the wearing of the green’, I haven’t gotten into too much of the American Celebration of the Day.  I lived across the GW Bridge in NJ all my growing-up years and can’t recall ever going into the big parade in NYC!  I don’t remember ever drinking green beer!  I’ve enjoyed Irish Soda Bread and Corn Beef & Cabbage off and on.  Loved watching the Irish Dancers and even attempted to do the Irish Jig!  All these things helped me feel a part of the tribe …..  though nothing can compare to going Home to Ireland. 

Setting foot on Ireland’s soil touched me in such a deep, primal way that I truly felt I was coming home even though I’d never been there before!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Photos include:  Cong farmland, Atlantic Ocean,  Cobh Port of Cork, Kennedy Park,  Rock of Cashel, Atlantic Ocean, Ha’Penny Bridge


Some watercolor sketches I did along the way.


“Above all else, deep in my soul, I’m a tough Irishwoman.”

~ Maureen O’Hara ~

Sláinte! ☘


Beautiful Music of Ireland

Me In The Middle of Life

114 - White Water Rafting


I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

(Dawna Markova, b. 1942)


Nelson County Sketch #5

(c) mlq


Me In The Middle of Being a Single Mom


DSCN3199 (6)

© Mary Lou Q


I feel like I’m standing on top of a tall mountain as I anticipate the coming of this new year ~ 2016.

“Everything comes to us that belongs to us, if we create the capacity to receive it.”

~ Rabindranath Tagore ~

This path of mine has brought me to and through so much, and here I am entering into another year to apply all that I’ve learned ~ through all that has given my life meaning, richness and purpose.  I want to create within myself the capacity to receive all that belongs to me with open arms and heart, and to be ready to take that leap when the timing is right.


Over the Christmas holiday, one of my sons shared with me a memory of when he was a teenager.  He told me that when he saw the movie ~ E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, ‘the Mom from E.T.’ reminded him of me.

Continue reading

Arrival! ~ 2012 ~ At Abu Dhabi Airport

0061 Emirate with Falcon at Abu Dhabi Corniche

(c) Photo mlq


As 2016 Campaign Season comes into full swing, I resolve to remember my visit to the UAE in 2012 and the lessons learned there.  Cable News 24×7 spews out fear of terrorist concerns about the Middle East and Muslims.  While I know there are genuine concerns about extremists, no matter where they spring up, I resolve to remember my arrival to a place in my awareness where I recognized that we all have so much in common as human beings and I refuse to let the media hype up divisions among us in the name of ratings.


 My first introduction to the United Arab Emirates was through the Abu Dhabi Airport. This was the moment when I put aside all the preconceived notions and inner messages of fear of the unknown and of threat about the Middle East.  As I departed the plane and entered into the Abu Dhabi airport, I felt an inner peace and feeling of trust that enabled me to meet this new world with new eyes.

When I arrived I received a warm welcome from an Emirati dressed in the clothing worn by the UAE nationals; a Gothra (white headscarf) and Kandura (long white cloak).   He asked me where I was from  and what brought me to Abu Dhabi.   Being greeted by an Emirati who was dressed in traditional clothing and who spoke in English was my first step towards embracing a whole new outlook.

The atmosphere was calm, not chaotic, and the airport was bright and clean.  It was hard to believe I was in a foreign land arriving from half way around the world.  Security didn’t seem as heightened and frenzied as it was in the Chicago Airport where I had departed from.   Continue reading