Christmas 2017

I’m posting my annual Christmas letter online - so here goes!

Dearest Family, Friends and Readers,

2017 was a really great year but boy did it fly by! I just turned 62 (gulp!), but don’t they say 60 is the new 40?? I’m going with that! My family is all fine - healthy, busy and happy. Tom continues to live in Brooklyn and enjoy New York City. He works in Manhattan and it’s an easy commute. He has a nice spacious (for NYC) apartment on a pretty quiet street but close to lots of great restaurants and coffee shops. Keeley and Matt are in Seattle and enjoying all that great city has to offer. Matt went back to school full time this fall to become a computer coder and it’s intense! But the end is in sight and he should be able to get a great job with his new skills. Keeley is heading up the accounting department at Offer Up and that has given her lots of opportunities in areas she wouldn’t get at a bigger company. I’ve been fortunate this year to see them all quite a few times - either me visiting or them back here for various things. One of those things was the passing away of my dear Dad on Sept 29th. He almost made it to 91. We are so fortunate to have had him all these years but that doesn’t make it easier. I miss him everyday, but know he’s with mom in a better place. 

There were lots of fun trips this year. Running trips with fellow running friends to Phoenix in January and Indianapolis in November. Girlfriend trips to Asheville, NC and Lake Tahoe, two places that I had never been. I loved them both! Big trip to the island of Kauai via a few days in Seattle with Keeley & Matt, Tom and his girlfriend Anna, my niece Angela and myself. What a gorgeous slice of heaven that was!! We had a blast and will never forget the great memories made there.

Anna, Tom, me, Keeley, Angela and Matt. 

Anna, Tom, me, Keeley, Angela and Matt. 

My adventure of the year was a 7 day hike to Machu Picchu on the Salkantay Trail in Peru with my good friend Julie Sullivan. We were in Peru for a total of 12 days so spent a few days prior to starting the hike in Cuzco to acclimate to the altitude. It was fantastic and the most challenging physical thing I have ever done. If you are interested in reading more detail about the trip just scroll back on the blog. I would go back and do it again if there weren’t so many other places I wanted to see!

We made it!!!  Spectacular!!

We made it!!!  Spectacular!!

My nephew Cam Brate plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers so a group of family headed to Tampa for the last weekend of October to watch him play the Carolina Panthers. He pulled strings to give us all VIP treatment from start to finish - pregame field passes, great Club seats and the VIP area post game - thanks Cam! 

Back row left to right - cousins Jack, Susan and John Brate. Brothers Tom and Dave, sister-in-law Pat and brother Phil. Middle - sister-in-law Tracy. Front row - Keeley, niece Angela and me. Lots of #84 Brate jerseys!

Back row left to right - cousins Jack, Susan and John Brate. Brothers Tom and Dave, sister-in-law Pat and brother Phil. Middle - sister-in-law Tracy. Front row - Keeley, niece Angela and me. Lots of #84 Brate jerseys!

Last trip of the year was New York City for me over Thanksgiving to visit Tom. We had a blast and even took in the Macy’s Day Parade. I was a lot more excited then Tom about that but he was a good sport. Anna’s mom Kim was visiting as well so the four of us had a great time. More info on the blog if you want to read more detail. 

Radio City Music Hall with Kim, Anna and Tom. 

Radio City Music Hall with Kim, Anna and Tom. 

There is lots more travel planned for me in 2018 since I will be retiring on January 1st and taking a Gap year. A Gap year you ask??? I thought that was what 18 years old did before heading to college. Correct and since I didn’t do it then why not now? I’ll be blogging about every adventure so check back in or be notified when I post by clicking on the Subscribe link at the top and entering your email. Patti Part Two or Where in the world is Patti?? The journey continues! I hope 2017 has been a great year for you as well, and wishing you continued happiness in 2018!! 

FullSizeRender.jpg

NYC - One More Day!

One last post from my recent trip to New York City. I only had about half a day and then needed to head to the airport for the return flight home - but managed to squeeze in quite a few fun stops. Tom was working so I left my suitcase at his office and headed right to Rockefeller Center. I’m a Today show fan so wanted to see if I could catch a glimpse of Matt, Savannah and Hoda. To my surprise there was hardly anyone standing outside so I was able to get as close as possible to the glass right outside their studio. I have been there in the past but what has really changed is the security you need to go through just to even stand outside. Almost like going to the airport - metal detector and bag search but it’s just the times we live in now. That was on Monday morning and unless you’ve been in outer space you know that Matt is no longer on the Today show - so all that went down starting Monday night. Pretty crazy and also sad. He really let us down! Savannah is tall and both she and Hoda are really thin - but otherwise look pretty much the same as on TV. They didn’t come outside since there were hardly any people there, but they did smile and wave a lot. I didn’t stay long but it was fun to see the ice rink and big tree - although it wasn’t lit till Weds night. 

IMG_0888.JPG

Next I walked over to 5th Avenue to see some of the amazing store window decorations. They did not disappoint. My favorite was Saks Fifth Ave. They had a Snow White theme for their windows and it was animated and very cool.  

The Seven Dwarfs were so cute and were jumping up and down. Lots of great animation and not crowded at all!

The Seven Dwarfs were so cute and were jumping up and down. Lots of great animation and not crowded at all!

Also Cartier looked awesome! 

7EA19DFB-9E01-42B3-BBED-971E863CAFDB.JPG

Right across the street from Saks is St. Patrick’s  Cathedral so I decided to stop and make a visit. The last few times I was in New York there has been a lot of restoration going on there with scaffolding covering the entire facade. Well that is all complete and it is spectacular. I have been to many beautiful historic churches in Europe and I would put St. Patrick’s right up there with them in terms of beauty. The stained glass inside is magnificent and worth a stop. 

IMG_0887.JPG
St Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Ave. NYC

St Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Ave. NYC

My last stop before grabbing a bowl of soup for lunch was Moma - The Museum of Modern Art. I only had about an hour so had to make some important choices as to what to see. Since I have been there quite a few times I opted for a special exhibit entitled Items: Is Fashion Modern. I’m glad I did because it turned out to be very interesting and a lot more then just showing clothing. Here is the description of the exhibit - “Among all objects of design, the ones we wear are the most universal and the most intimate. Every day, everywhere, everyone wears something, whether a full outfit or nothing more than a tattoo. Like other kinds of design, fashion thrives on productive tensions between form and function, automation and craftsmanship, standardization and customization, universality and self-expression, and pragmatism and utopian vision. Fashion ranges from mass production to precious, hand-crafted uniqueness. Like all design, it exists in the service of others (sometimes many, many others) and it can have profound consequences-social, political, cultural, economic, and environmental. Of the various design fields, none has, or has had, greater impact.” Ok I couldn’t have put that into my own words!! It was awesome!

I loved ALL the little black dresses - the red shoes - not so much.  

I loved ALL the little black dresses - the red shoes - not so much.  

In my remaining time just a quick walk through a few of my favorite galleries.

They have 3 of Monet’s Water Lilies! 

They have 3 of Monet’s Water Lilies! 

A quick bowl of delicious soup and I was off to the airport to return to KC. Another great trip! I never get tired of New York and am planning another trip in 2018.  I’ve had a few questions as to who the two pretty ladies are with Tom and I. That would be Tom’s wonderful girlfriend Anna and her lovely mom Kim. We had so much fun spending time with them! 

FullSizeRender.jpg

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season. Find what gives you the most JOY and do more of that! 

Live from New York!!!

I’m still here!! Having fun! The weather continues to be spectacular which makes walking around pleasant and entertaining. I love the different neighborhoods and how each one has a unique feel to it. And over the past two days have explored quite a few of them. So I will just run through some of the things we did and places we ate.  

Yesterday started with an amazing brunch at Mason Kayser in the West Village. You definitely feel like you are in France - and the food was wonderful. There are 80 locations around the world but the 3 in NYC are the first on American soil. Started by Parisian master baker Eric Kayser this is the real deal! It was hard to decide so we just ordered some things and passed them around the table. 

The almond croissant was perfection!  

The almond croissant was perfection!  

Then some shopping/browsing at the unique shops in the area. I am obsessed with paper products - especially journals and notebooks of any kind. Tom took me to this amazing shop called Goods for the Study and I bought a few things.  

They had really cool erasable pens! 

They had really cool erasable pens! 

On Thanksgiving we had eaten at a restaurant called Little Owl and it was too dark when we arrived to get a picture of the building. I walked back to it because the building is actually where the famous TV show “Friends” apartment was supposedly set. Look familiar? Tom said people are always out there taking pictures of it and that was the case when I took pictures too - so it must be true!

66D8366A-FA4A-4D30-9F20-6E44EEABB630.JPG

Here’s another really cool street in the West Village. The brownstone directly behind the Rough Road orange sign is the most narrow home in all of NYC. If you stand in front of it your arms can literally touch both ends.  

4ED8325F-ADEF-4B60-8921-CD9C87E665F0.JPG

I took a walk around Greenwich Village and I always love stopping at Washington Square. It has the beautiful arch and currently there is an art exhibit right in the archway. On a gorgeous day there are entertainers in abundance and this was no exception. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

Today Tom and I headed to the upper east side to see a very special exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  

C46913F4-3378-40F8-9040-5929C5A6DEE2.JPG

The exhibit is 133 drawings by the master as well as works in other media. The show is arranged chronologically and thematically showing the progression of Michelangelo as an apprentice, collaborator, teacher and artist. It was really incredible and worth a trip to see. 

Includes a digital reproduction of the Sistine Chapel.  Did you know Michelangelo designed St Peter’s in Rome? The wooden model lower right is an original he built while designing it. 

Includes a digital reproduction of the Sistine Chapel.  Did you know Michelangelo designed St Peter’s in Rome? The wooden model lower right is an original he built while designing it. 

More food pictures of what I consumed today! So many great choices here always. 

Breakfast was a Sunday Bunday Cinnamon roll and Apple streusel cake. Lunch a turkey and Swiss cheese from Lenny’s. 

Breakfast was a Sunday Bunday Cinnamon roll and Apple streusel cake. Lunch a turkey and Swiss cheese from Lenny’s. 

And it’s never a trip to NYC without a stop at Rice to Riches - the only place in the country that serves rice pudding as if it were ice cream. And they will let you try as many flavors as you want!  

Tom went with chocolate chip with cherries mixed in. Anna approves!  

Tom went with chocolate chip with cherries mixed in. Anna approves!  

Tomorrow I am off to Rockefeller Center and MOMA before heading back to KC. It’s been a fabulous trip - thanks Tom and Anna! I already can’t wait to return! I hope your Thanksgiving weekend has been fantastic as well and enjoy the holiday season! 

Soho & Times Square

The weather has been spectacular this entire trip - that has been a real blessing. We had another action packed fun day! We slept in a bit after having to get up so early for the parade and then headed over to meet Anna and Kim in Soho for a light lunch. We were all still feeling pretty full from the big and delicious Thanksgiving meal - so opted for healthy to start the day. The only Chobani restaurant exists in Soho and it is awesome in my opinion.  Great yogurt combinations all with fresh ingredients, soup, salad and sandwiches.

Arugula, beet and pumpkin seed salad for Kim and I and Anna and Tom had yogurt with pineapple, hazelnuts and toasted coconut - Yumm! 

Arugula, beet and pumpkin seed salad for Kim and I and Anna and Tom had yogurt with pineapple, hazelnuts and toasted coconut - Yumm! 

We had tickets for a Broadway matinee so headed up to Times Square. 

060095D9-E9D6-4DF4-AC4D-125FFCE83A8E.JPG

We all LOVED it!!!  Anna had gotten amazing seats and the cast was incredible. Kinky Boots won the Tony in 2013 for best musical and the lead Billy Porter also won for best actor in a musical that year and he is still in it. It actually won 6 Tony’s so everything was amazing - the sets, choreography, Cyndi Lauper music and lyrics etc. The closing scene in the first act is done with treadmills and my mind was blown by it. One misstep and the entire cast goes down!!!

It’s not a trip to NYC if you don’t eat at Shake Shack at least once - so that’s where we headed for an early dinner. Shake Shack started in NYC and has locations all over the city. And expanding to other cities as well - Washington DC and Chicago for sure - and maybe to your neighborhood soon. They started with burgers, fries and shakes but have now added hot dogs and chicken sandwiches which Tom had one of each. He said they are great but I stuck with the tired and true burger. 

Black and white shake? Yes please! It never disappoints! 

Black and white shake? Yes please! It never disappoints! 

Since it was still Black Friday we headed into Soho for a little shopping. It was early evening so I thought the street would have quieted by then but not the case. The second wave of shoppers must have been out so it was crazy. We made it to my favorite NY shopping stop - Uniqlo. It’s a huge store for men, women and kids and has great prices on basics and some trendy items too. Cashmere sweater for $59.90 in 20 colors - here’s where you go! We did a little power shopping there and then headed to Bloomies for a new pair of jeans. Scored the ones I wanted on sale - yeah!!! 

Another fun day in the Big Apple!!! The holiday season has officially begun and I hope you are enjoying it with family, friends and doing what you love!! 

Thanksgiving in New York City!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Big Apple! I will get back to writing about my trip to Tampa - but since I’m here in New York for the Thanksgiving weekend I wanted to go ahead and update the blog with the fun I’m having here. Not only is it Thanksgiving weekend - but Tom’s birthday! So when he invited me to come spend it here I jumped at the chance. Bonus - Anna’s mom is here too! I’ve been to NYC over Christmas but this is my first time for Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you - but when I think of Thanksgiving AND NYC - I think of the Macy’s Day Parade! One of my favorite movies is “Miracle on 34th Street.” The original - with Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood. When I suggested it to Tom he told me repeatedly that New Yorkers NEVER go to the parade - only for tourists. Well that did not deter me for a second - because after all - I am a tourist! And then when Anna’s mom Kim also begged to attend Tom and Anna pretty much knew it was a done deal - so the parade was added to the agenda of fun things. And it turned out to be a blast!!!  

4 happy parade goers at Rockefeller Center! 

4 happy parade goers at Rockefeller Center! 

We lucked out on the weather - sunny and crisp - perfect to put you in the mood to see Santa! We had to start out early - Tom and I left Brooklyn at 6:30 AM and headed to Manhattan to meet Anna and Kim in the West Village. A quick stop to pick up coffee and delicious breakfast treats at Amy’s before heading to the parade.

Amy knows how to bake!! Lots of great choices even on Thanksgiving! 

Amy knows how to bake!! Lots of great choices even on Thanksgiving! 

Anna’s office overlooks Radio City Music Hall so we took the subway there and were able to stay warm and toasty in her office overlooking the parade route and enjoy our breakfast while waiting for the parade to work it’s way to us. Once we heard the first band we headed down to the street and managed to work our way up to the front railing and have a perfect view of the parade! It was awesome! Floats, bands, celebrities and the huge balloons!! We saw Jimmy Fallon, Flo Rider, Nick Lachey, Miss America and more - some of who I had no idea who they were but people cheered loudly for them. I was impressed with the civil atmosphere filled with nice people and families out enjoying a wonderful event. 

Jimmy Fallon bottom middle - he was having a great time!  

Jimmy Fallon bottom middle - he was having a great time!  

There was a beautiful float with you guessed it - SANTA - to end the parade! 

404B0FAA-51F2-4449-9F6A-B4FB831D18B9.JPG

After the parade we headed back up to Anna’s office to warm up and let the crowd clear out before we headed back to the West Village. Bucket list item for me - check!! 

We watched a little bit of football and relaxed and then headed to our dinner reservation at Little Owl close to where Anna lives. In order to get in for Thanksgiving we had to make a reservation exactly one month in advance at 9 AM. It has been touted as one of the best places in NYC for Thanksgiving and we were successful in getting a spot. The chef is Joey Campanaro and he is amazing! It’s a tiny place - has seating for about 30 people. The Thanksgiving menu gives each person a choice of appetizer, entree and dessert - with shared sides. There are 5 or 6 choices in each category. 

My dinner companions and my meal! All were excellent! Risotto to start followed by turkey with stuffing and cranberries. Shared sides of brussel sprouts, green beans, butternut squash and sweet potatoes. I selected pumpkin pie panna cotta for dessert.   

My dinner companions and my meal! All were excellent! Risotto to start followed by turkey with stuffing and cranberries. Shared sides of brussel sprouts, green beans, butternut squash and sweet potatoes. I selected pumpkin pie panna cotta for dessert.   

It was a wonderful day and I have so much to be thankful for! Now we are officially into the holiday season. Wishing each of you many blessings and joys!