gratitude-a-thon day 1097: jakey light

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Instagram should have a filter called “Jakey Light.”

My son was born on October 22 and I vividly remember the next morning’s sunrise as being the most extraordinary blend of pink and deep red with yellow borders. I couldn’t take my eyes off the picture window in my hospital room because its beauty was so overpowering, but  I figured I was probably viewing it through the elation, fatique and surrealness of the moment. But then I began to really put my eyeballs on October’s lens and came to realize that it had the best color sense of any month of the year.

And it’s not just sunrise and sunset, by the way. There is something about the angle of that ball in the sky that turns the whole day into the kind of atmosphere you want to have a photo shoot in.

Forget the oooohs and ahhhhs of summer sunsets in Menemsha or the picture perfect Hawaiian sundowns. Even rainbows are no contest for what the sky cooks up in October.

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It’s perfect that my boy was born during a month with this kind of magical light. It represents him so succinctly to me–his miraculous birth, the way he sparkles from inside, his wit, charm, warmth and smarts. I’m grateful for it every October. And for him, every day of my life.

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1095: the girl with the ball(s)

 

22050128_1483625071722574_971191049338250229_nIt’s soccer season right now and we have traveled to Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, twice a week, to night games, morning games, tailgates with so much food, a small Italian village could show up and we could feed them.

I have a Grand Canyon of gratitude watching Ally play soccer. It makes me feel like I  could literally burst wide open and need an ambulance to bring me to Grace Memorial on Grey’s Anatomy. It’s not the usual pride a parent feels watching their kid on a field. This has to do with watching my kid on a field after not being on a field for two years. It has to do with the crushing blow of tearing her ACL senior year and the deep sadness that followed that event, the confusion, the pain, the surgery, the mental anguish, the endless rehab, the scar tissue, the wondering if she’d ever again play the sport she’d put enormous chunks of her life into, that she’d given up so much for, that she’d loved like a boyfriend. Nobody knew if she’d really make it back.

So, she worked. She battled. She pushed.

Still, she came up short freshman year and didn’t play during the season. Too much scar tissue dogged her with pain. Still we went to every game just to see her warm-up because seeing her run on a field is better than Caribbean blue water and if you know me for one second, you know  I want to marry Caribbean blue water. Seeing Ally run with the ball at her feet lit us up, since we so intimately knew what it meant for her to be doing so. It mattered little that she wasn’t playing. She had fought. She was still fighting. It wasn’t her cleats we loved, it was her spirit.

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And this year she plays. Her strong powerful legs run back and forth, and her eyes dart up and down the field assessing and strategizing. Her passes can look effortless, leaving me to wonder how they can make it across a field of opponents and find her teammates feet. Her mistakes cause us to gasp, but really, we just feel punch drunk that she is is out on that field, the place she has run a million physical and mental miles to get back to. Never matters whether she wins or loses. She’s already won.

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gratitude-a-thon day 1093: I was born in a small town: the reunion

The last and only time I went to a high school reunion, it was my 20th and I was pregnant (yes, I double as my children’s mother and grandmother). I did not even let a sip of wine cross my lips (note to self for next life: DO NOT ATTEND A HIGH SCHOOL REUNION UNDER THESE CONDITIONS. You don’t need a lot, but a little social lubricant at an event like this is um, money in the bank). Anyway, I felt like it was a little bit wierd and that I just went from person to person asking the same couple questions: Where do you live? What do you do? Married? Kids? And I did that, like, 30 times. Very impersonal. I’m more of a one-on-one person. I prefer to have one deep conversation than many surface ones. I left feeling unsatisfied and empty.

 

 

I decided a few months ago, I’d attend my 40th and just see what might happen. And you know what, the best happened. First of all, there were a few more intimate gatherings before and after the reunion where I was able to connect in deeper ways, which felt really good. I did have a bunch of those more surface conversations, but somehow they were better than last time, but what was really amazing and made this event worth missing a Bruno Mars concert for (I felt awful when I got home and had to give the tickets I’d had since last Christmas, away–DAMN IT), was getting to know people I grew up with, but really didn’t know. Because of Facebook and the overlapping of friend groups, I hung out with a bunch of people I’d not been good friends with in high school, but now had a lot in common with.  And how fun is that? New friends, but who know everything about that little place I grew up, who have knowledge of the crazy teachers and bizarre tales of our small town.

And of course, there were the friends who I love deeply, who I was close to then, some still close to, and some I am now reconnected to, after being disconnected for who even knows why, over the years. These are people I carry with me always. This one’s laugh, that one’s thoughtful observations, all of them, deeply embedded inside of me, each one a part of my  DNA.

The now, the present, the right this minute is the place to be. But the past is a lovely place to visit, especially when it influences your present and future. Gratitude for the BHS reunion. I was born in a small town. Yup, I was. French fries!

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1091: shots heard

 

IMG_4424I was in the kitchen unpacking groceries, where I spend half my life, I swear. The sound on my phone was turned off. After I unpacked the groceries, I stuffed a big plate of food in my fat mouth, while reading the paper. Then I grabbed my phone to head up to my office to do some work. That’s when I saw the five way text that was discussing the active shooter at USC. WHAT? I was in a panic as I dialed my son’s phone. The first thing he said was that he was at home and safe. I was relieved, but what the hell was going on?

We were all googling and going on Twitter to figure out what was happening. Jake was getting texts from the school telling him to shelter in place, and friends were texting to let him know it was in the building next to where the class he was on his way to, was. We kept texting. I tweeted to see if USC could confirm for a freaked out mom in Boston, but only got an answer from an L.A. woman saying that there had been gunshots, but police had yet to find a shooter and kids were out of harm’s way. We kept actively texting with Jake for the next 15 minutes. I saw video on Twitter of kids running through the quad where the Tommy Trojan statue stand loud and proud. Was this the next mass shooting, I wondered?

Jake got the all clear from the school and a message that there had been no shooting. His friend told him that he’d heard (AND WHO KNOWS IF THIS IS ACCURATE) a teacher who’d lost several friends in Las Vegas the previous night (and might not have been entirely stable) thought she’d heard shots and called police during a class.

These are the times we’re living in. Nothing happened here. But the sad thing is that it could have. And lawmakers are doing nothing to stop this scenario from happening anywhere, anytime. Nobody needs an automatic weapon to feel safe or to hunt. Let’s start there. This Tweet couldn’t be anymore true:

Retweeted Patrick Galey (@patrickgaley):

Sandy Hook was the point of no return. As soon as legislators signal no opposition to mass child murder, anything goes. #LasVegas

Is this who we are? Will it be my kid next time? Will it be yours?

gratitude-a-thon day 1090: change the world, say hello

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Yesterday I realized that while I was driving, I was waving people to go ahead of me. I was trying to be extra polite in the grocery store, saying big thank you’s and smiling at people. No, I don’t think anybody had come into my house and switched my vitamins for Ecstasy. But what I do think is that the world seems out of its ever loving mind right now, and it feels intuitively right to try and sweeten up my immediate surroundings. I don’t have to fall for the president’s tweets. I don’t have to tangle with Mother Nature’s fury. I don’t have to bow to the crazy of a man in a hotel room shooting down at a people grooving to a country concert.

I implore you to try and be a little nicer to your fellow strangers today (and tomorrow and the next day). I think it’s the very least we can all do for each other. The violence and out of control wackiness that is politics and weather right now is out of our control. But our own actions, our own way of being out there, it’s all ours.

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1089: what i’m grateful for right now

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Summer in September.

Watching my daughter play soccer after recovering from ACL surgery.

My dog. In a chair, on a walk, in my face.

Babies.

An unexpectedly sweet text.

That first sip of coffee.

Anytime the president makes an ass of himself (this is an everyday occurrence).

Bare Sparkle Bobbi Brown lip gloss.

Sneakers.

The last gasp–fall flowers.

Dental floss.

Yoga.

Anytime I get to talk to my kids.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1088: take a knee

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Take a stand. Take a moment to reflect on what you believe. Take a shot at being the change you want to see going viral. Take a minute to remember we are all the same underneath, that we all have massive dreams and giant hopes. Take a look at how tiny we are, but how big our ideas can be. Take a break. Take a walk and consider that our country has been built on the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Take a minute to be in nature and remember that we, together, are all we have. Take a breath. Take a step. Take a knee.

 

Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers

gratitude-a-thon day 1086: dear sean spicer, NO

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Dear Sean Spicer,

No. Just no. You do not get to lie to the American people, blatantly, like a high school freshman caught replacing the stolen Grey Goose with water in their parent’s liquor cabinet, and then expect those same people to laugh, haha, when you try and pass it off as no biggie.

No. Just no. You do not get to work for a man who lies regularly, spits venomous hate at nearly all groups, who is making our country look like the Mickey Mouse Club, if the Mickey Mouse Club regularly lied and promoted hate. Not on my watch.

Nope. No way are you going to try and pretend like your tenure at the White House was some sort of drug-addled, golden handcuff situation where you just couldn’t leave. Not buying your lack of character or patriotism, man. You made our president’s lies seem like truth, degraded our press and pretended you were just doing your job.

No. Nonono. You can’t know go on your apology tour and position yourself as having a great sense of humor about yourself to get on our good side. “Oh that Sean Spicer, he’s a good egg.” NO. This is not happening. You are an accomplice, dude, and NO.

You can keep trying to get us to believe there was some sort of coercion, or blackmail that made you remain Press Secretary for a full six months, throwing your childish tantrums and lying like a corpse, but no deal. There are no alternate facts, only facts. There is no confeve, you idiot. You are complicit. The end.

Gratitude goes to those whose eyes remain open to the sleight of hand this administration continues to try and pass off. No. Just no.

fashion trashin’ day 1084: the emmys, (plus ann dowd won!)

 

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Beautiful inside and out, my friend Ann. She won! She won!

 

I just have to tell you before I begin that last night’s Emmy’s was a thrill over here at casa de trashin’ de fashion’. My besties sister is Ann Dowd, and I have hung out with her many times. She is nothing short of the nicest person you have ever met in the entire world, including your mother. Seriously, this is a stellar human being, which tells you what an A-list actress she really is, because she is nothing like the parts she has become known for. Anywho, Deb and her family came over to watch and Ann, who’d been nominated for two Emmys, one for a guest appearance on the Leftovers, and one for The Handmaid’s Tale, had already found out in an earlier off-air Emmys that she had not won for The Leftovers, which is hard to swallow, because Patti Levin–seriously. Anyway, we were thrilled just to see her on tv, although we had zero expectations of her winning because the press had not even given her any odds at all, but then, well you know what happened, and my house erupted into an outburst of screaming that must have made my neighbors think Peter was murdering me dead. My dog practically dialed 911. We watched it over and over again. We just could not believe what was happening. And neither could Ann, apparently, who gave the loveliest speech. Ann has been a working actress for decades and she has a body of work, which would impress a curmudgeon, plus she has three kids, including a son who is just 12. And I’m telling you, there is not a nicer, more modest, or warm person anywhere. Ok, that’s enough, but seriously, it was an epic night. And fucking yay for Ann.

And now for the worst, how could you, get a mirror, or a new stylist list of those who might have some regrets this morning.

Ariel Winter. Modern Mess.

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Hailey, how could you have let your tv sister out in this disaster? One too many slits is just not working in her favor. A little desperate, a little trashy, a lot wrong.

Claire Foy. You’re not really the Queen.

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I love this young, fresh face, but what’s with the stupid royal train coming off her shoulder? Thinking how cute this would be without that piece of fabric to have to worry about. No crown for this look.

Carrie Coons. Wish this dress had disappeared with her Leftover’s family.

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Oh no. As a girl who loves tulle and Carrie Coons, it pains me to tell you how much I hate this dress, not to mention this hair. She looks like she has a billowy uniboob. It’s like a Valentine’s day disaster. Nothing I like here. I’m going to avert my eyes now.

Samantha Bee gets an F.

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This is a hard color, but in addition am I wrong or do all arrows point to her vajayjay? We got it, you’re a woman, but I am not green with envy.

Debra Messing-ed up.

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How did this happen? Usually on fleek, this fashion girl normally gets it perfectly right, but this year she looks she got caught up in some shiny wrapping paper and couldn’t get out of it.

Unidentified Ugliness.

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This is not a color anybody should be wearing anywhere anyhow. But if you’re going to wear it, do not wear pink shoes. I don’t know who this is, and I don’t want to know.

How can it be wrong if it’s Michelle Pfeiffer.

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Michelle is so gorgeous it hurts my eyes, but the cut of this dress was so off. I felt like her boobs should be above the seam, or below the seam, but instead, they just seemed to be nowhere.

Big Little Mistake.

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I love the cut of this dress, but in a fabric that didn’t appear to move at all, she seemed overwhelmed by it. I, however, was not.

Heidi Klum. Project Ugly.

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She looks a little hunched over here. Could it be her earrings, which are the size of the world? And let’s discuss, do her boobs look good here? I know four kids, but can’t we help those girls stand up for themselves?

And the less fun, but damn it, the best.

Jessica Biel-utiful.

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Easy, breezy, wowza. This dress is the definition of effortless. Soft and flowy, this number slayed. And the hair was perfection, too.

No stranger to fashion.

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She’s 13, but she knows how to dress. I am a sucker for tulle, so this spoke to me, but she just looks adorable.

Kiernan Shipka grows up and sparkles.

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This girl has grown up before our eyes on Mad Men, and so has her fashion sense. What a gorgeous dress–young and easy, and as fresh as her 17-year old face.

Kathryn Haan. I have never met a polka dot I didn’t love.

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The dots make it fun, but the fabric makes it formal.  And it’s transparent how comfortable she is.

 

Hillaria Baldwin. Everything’s coming up roses (or you know, some kind of flower).

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I’m not even a flower print kind of girl, but there was something about the ease of this dress that made me swoon. Nice movement and lovely flow. And hair is on point.

 

Jane Fonda. I’ll have what she’s having.

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Glam slam! Seriously, she is 79. Yes, she’s had work, but it’s good work–she looks like herself. I loved this whole thing. I know the pony is a bit adolescent, but she got me.

Viola Davis gets it right AGAIN.

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Damn it, she never misses. She has been killing the carpet for years now. She always has a body con dress that hugs her like a BMW hugs a turn, and makes her look like modern Hollywood queen. A+.

gratitude-a-thon day 1082: allandale farm’s outstanding in the field

So, last night, amidst the news of hurricanes, wild fires and earthquakes, I got the other end of Mother Nature–a farm to table dinner at the oldest working farm in Boston, Allandale.

A dinner like this has always been on my bucket list, but one of those things that I never seem to get tickets to. My friend flagged me months ago, when September seemed too distant to actually plan for, but I was happy to click on “buy” and have something to look forward to throughout the summer. And last night, the crew from Outstanding in the Field and the Chef Tony Maws from Craigie on Main created a dinner I’d like to have every night for the rest of my life.

This is the super cool bus the team at Outstanding in the Field travels around the country in, leaving happy eaters and farms in its wake.

We were told that it’s a tradition that each person bring their own plate so that each place setting would be unique. They washed your plate after dinner and you retrieved it on your way out. (I wish this happened in my house after dinner.)

Our plates.

First appetizers, beer and wine in a grove of pine trees. Then a little walk around the farm to learn about its crops with John who has been farming the land for the last 35 years and had retired only the day before. And then, we were lead to a long table for all of us to sit, all 175 of us, in a field that was as promised, outstanding.

I hate fish, but my husband loves it, although doesn’t like oysters, however, these–he wanted to marry.

 

Good friends, good food, out on a farm. C’mon, what could be better?

 

 

 

 

John, who has been farming this land for the past 35 years tells us about the farm. He retired the day before!

From the onion dip that I wanted to bathe in, served with baby tomatoes and Iggy’s crusty bread to the spectacular everything-in-the-garden salad with tomatoes the size of my head and feta dressing,  to the special spicy tomato soup I had in place of the Portuguese Stew everyone else was served, on account of fish makes me vomit, to the main course of short ribs rubbed in a myriad of spices with a kick-ass sauce and onions and eggplant and carrots to the grilled carrot cake, all paired with beautiful wines, we were all dizzy with delight and satiated not only by the beautiful food, but also by the gorgeous nature that surrounded us.

This salad was out of this world.

Short ribs jam-packed with flavor.

Yeah, I didn’t like it much.

The servers were friendly, gracious, knowledgeable and solicitous. The setting was out of a Pinterest board. The weather was perfection.

I didn’t think it could be more beautiful, but when the candles came out, it was.

Magical. It really was.

 

Darkness finally came and we were lead back to our cars by a path of candles. To say it was a perfect evening wouldn’t even come close. Gratitude for Mother Nature’s good mood, good friends and good food. Oustanding. Really.