Yoga-tude-a-thon day 1055: The Goddess Sonia

 

So, about a year and a half ago, I got up the courage to go to a beginner yoga class. For most people, this is not CNN breaking news, but for me, with back problems since senior year of college, that have forced me to quit jobs and spend a lot of my 20’s-40’s in physical therapy, not to mention pain, it was a little like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. NO PARACHUTE.

The thing is, I was infatuated with yoga for a long time. The beautiful poses, the control, grace and meditative quality of the practice seemed like a perfect meal for the body.

 

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Like, a typical pose I could see myself getting stuck in!

But to do yoga, seemed on the provocative to terrifying scale. I pictured myself getting stuck in a pose like a cartoon character and having to live in that pose for the rest of my life. (Yes, welcome to my head.) But when my trainer (yes, if you can, you have a trainer when you have a bad back so that you can keep moving around the world and having a life) moved to California, I needed to find a way to keep my back healthy. So I mustered up my courage, heard about a beginner yoga class, and stuck my big toe in the Iyengar pool.

Enter Sonia, a 27-year-old yoga teacher with an infectious and gigantic smile, who studied yoga in India, was getting her masters in culinary arts at B.U. (check out her blog Bake with Sonia) who loves to travel, cook, and could not have a warmer or more lovely personality.

At first, I was stiff and scared (the opposite of Sonia, whose poses look like a poem)  and moved slowly and rigidly. But as the classes piled up, Sonia’s nurturing allowed me to feel more able-bodied. Each week, I became more still in my tree pose, more balanced in my triangle, more composed in the pre-cursor poses to getting up there in a shoulder stand. And when I would leave class, I would leave with a calm, and a little more confidence in a body who has not allowed me to do the physical things I have wanted to do.

Pretty soon, I realized I was actually doing something physical that I’d wanted to do for decades–I was doing fucking yoga!

But as all things must end (and I don’t know why they must), it was announced a few weeks ago that Sonia was moving to be with her fiance in D.C. I cried. In the class. I almost left because really who wants to sob during downward dog.

 

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After we had our coffee, Sonia brought me across the street to meet a yoga teacher she thought would be good for me. C’mon, who does that?

See, Sonia gave me something that has been hard won in my life–a way to be physical that wouldn’t hurt my body, and in fact, helped it, along with settling my busy–SQUIRREL–mind. This, for me, is like a potato chip without calories.

I had coffee with Sonia yesterday to say goodbye. I so much wanted her to know what her teaching did for me and how much I would miss her. When you have chronic problems with your body, the people who can show you a path to wellness become mythic Goddesses. You are more than grateful when you find one.

Love you, Sonia. Thank you from the bottom of my asana!

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1054: the elements (jillschwartz) of style

 

Some people collect sneakers (my son has enough for a few sports teams). Some people collect insulators (my husband used to when he was a kid. And by the way, they’re those things that are glass on the top of a telephone poll and I don’t know why anybody would collect them), and some collect sunglasses (my daughter could open a Sunglass Hut).

I collect jewelry.

I can’t help it.

I didn’t grow up in a jewelry-crazed home, where my mom was mad for bling. Still, I was crazy for vintage silver rings and big colorful earrings and dangly bracelets. I wore earrings that matched my barrettes for a bunch of years (ok, I can’t believe I did that, but let’s discuss the ridiculous things you did back then, shall we).

I longed for diamond stud earrings when I was in high school. Just the perfect little sparkle at my ears that I would never take out. My parents were like, that is so not happening.

While waitressing during college, I finally bought myself a teeny tiny pair, and then when I did advertising for a jewelry company, another, bigger pair. And then my husband bought me another even nicer pair as a surprise, and I did just as I thought I would, I wear them a lot. And I love them like a small child. Because when I wear them I see that little starry shine next to my face and it makes me happy. Do. Not. Judge. Non-Jewelry. Lovers.

For years, I have been obsessed with different necklaces and bracelets and earrings dangling and shining and hanging around my neck, from my wrists and ears. I mix and match and layer like I was dressing my Barbie dolls when I was little (and by the way, I used to cut their hair and style it, too and can I tell you that it’s a good thing I didn’t go into that profession–those poor dolls….). When I was in Tanzania last summer, I was mad for all the beaded jewelry the Masai women wore. Big necklaces and long earrings. Maybe they are my people?

 

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Here’s a little bit of my obsession in my very old Brimfield armoire (it was a steal!)  Lots of Elements pieces here. Aren’t they awesomeness?!

 

Recently, a fabulous jewelry company tapped me to be an ambassador for them (I would rather have been a queen or princess, but I had to settle for ambassador).  All I have to do is post a picture wearing their jewelry, which I have been wearing and collecting for almost 30 years! What’s not fun about that? 

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Elementsjillschwartz is a little bit vintage, a little bit modern. It has seen me through trips and dinners and work meetings. I’ve worn it on dates and boats and beaches, at concerts, museums, and lunches. I give it as gifts (if I can tear it out of my own hands), I mix it with other jewelry, I wear it alone. It’s versatile, but it packs a nice style punch.

 

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Jill, the designer, is adorable times  245,934,776. She just has that style thing. She knows how to put stuff together in the totally best way.

 

And the company is great. They are 100% behind their jewels, and will always try and make you happy, like if for instance, if you lose an earring (and how many times have i done that), or something should break. I love any retailer that puts your experience first.

Gratitude for Elementsjillschwarts–feeding my obsession, and jewelry in general, making the world a prettier place (and taking the emphasis off of my wrinkles).

 

 

dad-a-tude-a-thon: the best dad

 

Turning it over to the dad of dad’s–my husband Peter. Trumpets, drumroll, confetti.

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This guy, an accomplished biochemist and rock star research dude would rather be a father than really anything else (except maybe a baseball player, or like the star of a Broadway musical (except he can’t sing or dance, and btw, can you even do a parentheses within a parentheses) or maybe like, Larry Bird) This one is for you, Peter.

From the start, I knew we both wanted a family. After all, we went to the Children’s Museum as our first Boston date. Who does that?

At first we weren’t in any rush, and then when I found out I had major infertility, like “you will never have a baby” infertility when I was already 32, we were then in a very big rush, a major rush to get that egg and sperm together. It was three years. And after a miscarriage and a lot of pain I won’t drone on about, because you were there. But then and again, trumpets, drumroll, confetti–that boy–our boy–Jackson Robert Gabriel came into our world and you had a brand new name–Dada.

Three years later, that girl with enough hair to be a shampoo model, Alexandra Louise Christina rolled in, and you were done for.

When given a choice, you always choose your kids. You are, and I don’t exaggerate here, ALWAYS there for your offspring. You’re like the postman of fathers, the internet–available 24/7, 365 days a year. There isn’t a way that they could have won a bigger lottery than getting you as their dad.

Your patience is endless, your devotion is thorough, and your love for you children is selfless (sometimes too selfless). Yeah, you might be a little bit over the top, but damn, I envy those kids who have a father who is so totally and completely theirs.

Happy Father’s Day to the best guy who ever papa-ed kids. You’re it.

 

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Love you, Rama, best dad, ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1053: bad movie alert

 

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You’re fucking kidding me. Scarelett Johansson, did you  watch this movie? Yeah, didn’t think so. 

 

This is a public service announcement: Do not go to the movie Rough Night. Wonder Woman was sold out and my daughter, sick all week with a painful kidney infection, had to get out of the house, and so we thought maybe Elle Magazine’s quote in the commercial might be right–“Funnier than Bridesmaids.” Cancel your subscription to that fashion rag,  because those beauty queens LIED. Worst movie I’ve ever seen in a theater (I’ve seen a few doozies on Netflix and On Demand, but this one takes the popcorn for a theater). Not exaggerating even the tiniest bit. It’s just a good thing we were at the Superlux in barcaloungers. Thank God I had a blanket, a glass of wine and a turkey club. I wish I’d had an Ambien.

This is my question. Did ANYBODY watch this movie before it was released? Were they banking on lots of people being sequestered in their homes with illness, like my daughter, scratching to get out, and that being their audience–desperate sick folk? I mean, I wouldn’t make Trump watch this movie (that’s a lie, I would). And there were big people in this film–Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Kravitz, Kate MacKinnon. Demi Moore (looking all of 25) and Phil from Modern Family (pantless, giving me a tiny giggle) showed up, but they were only onscreen for less than five minutes. I promise on my children and my dog that I could have written a better script. That’s how bad it was, that I would say that. And promise on my most prized people (and yes my dog is a people). Everyone who sees this movie should be compensated for time lost.

Rough night? Yeah, it was.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1052 (DD) good news for “the girls”

 

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I love this logo and tagline. It would be something I would do, but didn’t!

 

Attention women with boobs: to be specific those on the bigger side. I have found the mecca of mammaries, and it’s right here in Brookline!

When I hit menopause (and I say hit because that’s what I did–like it was a wall–boom) I didn’t just get cranky, have a period of chin acne, two years practically straight of migraines and my own version of climate change in the form of hot flashes that could heat a small Italian village, I got bigger boobs.

Now before you get all, “oh, she’s writing a humble brag post,” NO, I am not. See, I’ve always been a perfectly ordinary 34 B (except for when I was pregnant and my breasts became floats in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade) and I was very happy with that. I have always found breasts to be sort of cumbersome and uncomfortable. It’s always been difficult to find a place for them when I  exercised and I hated how painful they got during menstrual periods. I was not ever the girl who longed for Real Housewives of Orange County breast implants. Nuh uh. In my dreams, the smaller, the better.

So, when the hormones left the building and I was suddenly a 34 DD, I did not have the faintest idea what to do with those things on my chest. Wear them as a scarf? I was mystified, couldn’t wear the clothes I’d always worn, and couldn’t find a bra I felt good in.

Now I should note here, I am grateful that I have healthy breasts. I have had many breast  cancer scares and believe me when I say, I have some major gratitude that they were only scares.

I have been to all the good places for bra fittings. Sometimes I’d come out looking like I had torpedoes on my chest, ready to launch at enemy territory, or minimized, but three times wider, or just plain squished. I often find myself looking at before and after pics of breast reductions. I would never, but…..

Are you still with me? I hope so, because here’s the money shot. Donna Morton and Lulabelle. Almost a year ago, I read this article in The Globe, and immediately thought, I need to see that woman, stat. Because of the appointment factor, I kept putting it off. Until last week (when I realized it had been almost a year and almost choked on my sense of time–or that I no longer have one).

Well, girls, here’s the deal. First of all, Donna is great. She’s funny and approachable and easy to take your top off in front of. She’s also a bra whisperer. Not even exaggerating. She barely had to look at me before whipping out a gorgeous bra in just the right size to make me look good and supported, but also like, laying in a hammcok with a fruity cocktail and a cool summer breeze COMFORTABLE. And the bra was pretty! Yes, cup runneth over ladies, who generally don’t get pretty bras, PRETTY.

 

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I caught poor Donna unaware when I snapped this, but she is a good sport and said I could use the photo. I wanted to show you how much fun we had, becuase we did (she’s much cuter than this–me too, or Jesus, I hope I am)!

 

She also had all sorts of educational tips on the right fit and sizing, and why I shouldn’t get hung up on the cup size (which she didn’t mention, but turned out to be an E–don’t even start me on the fact that I am a fucking E cup, because I cannot even). This particular bra had to be ordered, so I still don’t have it, but I can tell you that from my brief foray with it, I was more comfortable in it than out of it. And that’s saying something.

Donna Morton, Lullabelle. 30 A to 46 H. You’re welcome.

 

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1051: TONY ROBBINS, I FINALLY GET IT

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When my mom was dying, I would visit home and sometimes wake up in the middle of the night filled with terror about what was happening. I would walk down the creaky stairs of the only house I’d ever lived in and plop myself on the couch in the den and try and find something on tv to take my mind off the brutal reality of watching my mother die of lung cancer. Back then, there was nothing on at 2:30 in the morning, except QVC. And for some reason, those fast talking hosts, no matter what they were selling, always put me in a trance. Still, today, with seven bajillion cable channels, if I am flipping around and hit a QVC or an HSN, I will stare at the tv unable to move, lulled into a coma by the host’s enthusiastic cadence.

One night, up like an owl, filled with fear over my losing my mom, Tony Robbins was selling audio tapes (yes, it was the dark ages). The guy intrigued me. The next night, the same drill, and there was Tony again. Like I said, there was not a lot of original programming back then. Night three, you guessed it–Tony.

The more I watched, the more I was convinced that my sister Joan and I needed this program to “unleash the power within.” Not considering myself someone who would ever purchase something from tv, but after watching Tony three nights in a row, I was hooked, and actually picked up the phone, in the middle of the night, and ordered $150.00 of Tony’s tapes (which, by the way, was like $400.00 today, and P.S. this was A LOT of moola for me at that point).

I listened to a few. But this guy wanted me to do stuff I wasn’t yet able to follow through on. I shoved the tapes in the back of a closet. Years later I bought one of his books, and again, I was pumped up and inspired……..until the part where I had to take action.

My sister Joan and I have had lots of laughs about Tony, who we’ve followed over the past 25 years. Yesterday, the two of us went to see him live and I gotta tell you, it was insanely and incredibly moving.  This guy’s energy is super hero stuff. You can’t ignore him. He takes you over. I am still high from his hijinks.

And guess what? He talked a lot about gratitude. Yes, gratitude-a-thoners, he thinks gratitude is the fucking money shot. You can only imagine how much I loved that.

Some people think he’s crap. And that’s just fine with me. I love the guy and the full circle-ness of getting to see him with my sister was everything. Every. Fucking. Thing.

And I think this time, I can take the action he’s talking about. Sometimes you have to hear things more than once to get them (some of us need twenty five years!)  I think yesterday might have been my day.

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1050: crimson crushes it

Harvard has rescinded their offer to 10 freshman who made racist and sexually explicit posts on Facebook. Way to go big maroon H.

From the Harvard Crimson:

“A handful of admitted students formed the messaging group—titled, at one point, “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens”—on Facebook in late December, according to two incoming freshmen.

In the group, students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups. One called the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child “piñata time.”

These students, while academically intelligent enough to make the grade at Harvard, were not socially intelligent enough to become part of any college’s freshmen class. However, I wonder if this kind of thing will happen even more since our president “grabs ’em by the pussy,” and has essentially insulted every ethnicity there is. In fact, here is a roundup the New York Times did of 332 people places and things he has insulted on Twitter. How do you raise a generation of kids to be moral and ethical when Donald Trump has gone unpunished for his racist, sexist, downright rude public rants, and in fact, seems to have been rewarded for this behavior with his election to the highest political office in the land.

Grateful that someone is holding the line on what’s acceptable behavior.

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1049: the college parenting chronicles, cont.

He came home.

He left again.

My heart feels like the board in a dart game. I am both happy and sad because I love to wrap my arms around him when he arrives. The angels sing and I hear harps.  But I hate to do the same when he leaves because I think one of these times I might not let him go, Just. Not. Let. Him. Go. I want to scream “Stay” the entire time he is here.  I never do. I never tell him to stay. I might, maybe tell him how much I miss him. But I never tell him to stay.

I say goodbye an hour before he heads to the airport because I have to sleep through the actual farewell. I have to, or I will bust wide open and c’mon, who wants to clean up that mess?

If you think it’s hard to say goodbye when they’re little, and you leave them at pre-school, you will not like this part of parenting much. It’s like the first sip of a cold lemonade on a hot day, but also tending to that bitch of a burn you got drinking that stuff in the sun. It’s the start of a great novel, but the sadness you feel when you get to the last page, too. It’s a day at the beach, but all that sand in your ass when you shower at home.

California is much further away than it should be. Like, is it possible for it to be a little closer? Can someone arrange this? Just like three hours closer. I’m not asking for that much. It’s pretty simple. Anyone? Anyone cover that for me?

They can’t live with you when they’re adults. I know this. They have to grow up. But like, maybe just on this coast? Will he ever come back to this coast? I just wish we were able to shove some food in our mouths together once a week, without having to travel seven hours. You know?

Must be something in my eye. Have to stop writing because of it. Maybe something in both eyes. Something they didn’t tell me about when I was pregnant.

gratitude-a-thon day 1048: Mayor Marty Walsh

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Who knew that ‘covfefe” meant “I’m going to murder the planet and piss off the rest of the world” when Trump wrote it the other day on Twitter. The current president of the United States not only doesn’t care about my family and yours, he clearly doesn’t care about his own. I mean, is he building a Trump Tower on another planet to escape to when he helps to destroy this one?

Here’s the thing, Trump is acting against hard scientific facts, people with about 100 more IQ points than he has, world leaders and industry giants who all know that climate change is real and cannot be ignored without dire consequences. We’re going to need that birth control he’s pulling, because the planet won’t be healthy enough for future generations to live on.

Gratitude to the progressive and awesome Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh (not to mention the mayor of Pittsburgh who is with Paris, not with Trump) who responded to Trump’s bonehead move with this:

“Withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement isn’t just a setback, it’s irresponsible. This damages our nation’s reputation as an international leader and puts future generations at risk to the threat of climate change. Boston will not standby given what’s at stake.

We are committed to addressing climate change head on and will accelerate Boston’s efforts to become carbon neutral by 2050. Fighting climate change means fighting for all those affected by worsening air quality, extreme heat, eroding coastlines — issues that will continue to impact residents for generations to come.

As Mayor, I will continue to work with U.S. Mayors and cities around the world to uphold the tenets of the Paris climate agreement and protect Boston against the very real impacts of climate change.”

I love that dirty water, but I hope Trump loves it too. Because it’s going to be everywhere, and not just in a song about Boston.

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1046: they grow up, they do

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There are (NOT EVEN KIDDING) about 18 pairs of shoes in the hallway. My kids are both home. And while I love that they are here, their shoes, not so much. I have raised shoe whores. They are the Imelda Marcos of young adults.

My son cooked last night after grocery shopping with me, and insisting on buying a cast iron pan. He has been extolling its virtues for days, not hearing me when I tell him that  my parents only cooked with cast iron, multiple frying pans hanging on a large butcher’s meat hook next to the stove. He seemed to turn a deaf ear to my knowledge, wanting to teach me, and although I have not used one since I was in high school, the taste of the meat last night was the same as if I was sitting in my parent’s kitchen. I missed that deep, intense flavor those pans can bring. I had to give it to him.

My daughter got herself a job! She is working for a landscaper, and on Friday, she got a terrible stomachache and had to come home before she was done with her work. She has felt horribly guilty about not finishing the day off. That’s a good sign–that she wanted to finish her work. I hate that she was so sick and was in the bathroom half the night, but I like that she felt responsible to her job.

 

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Ally loved helping with this amazing window box. (by Faithful Flowers).

 

Cooking and working. There is some real progress happening with those people my husband and I made. They are undeniably becoming adults. They are even teaching me stuff now. My mom used to say, “If you live long enough, you see everything.” It’s funny how I could never have imagined when my kids were toddling around in diapers that one day they’d really be people walking around wth jobs and pan obsessions. But here we are. Grateful.