gratitude-a-thon day 1011: small bites friday

How long’s it been since a Small Bites Friday? And now, some little things to be grateful for.

Yesterday was 64. It is February 24 in New England. Today is headed for the same unseasonably warm temps. I know this can’t mean anything good, but GOD, I love it.

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Major Red Carpet Fashion Alert! Sunday is the Academy Awards. Monday morning review, right here. Yippee!

“And you get a college education, and you get a college education, and YOU GET A COLLEGE EDUCATION.” Taking a page from Oprah, Ellen Degeneres gets an A+ for this move.

Same sex marriage has helped to reduce teen suicide. (Will taking away Trans bathroom use increase it? I hope not).

Booya for Melinda Gates and her commitment to contraception. 

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When we are there for each other, we are at our best. Muslims help Jews.

98 year old yoga teacher? Namaste.

The Department of “How ya like me now?” 

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Hey, I’m loving the way Mayor Marty Walsh is standing up to this administration. Yup, living in a bubble is good.

Best app–Five Calls. Everything you need to know to call your state reps about the things you care about that are being threatened.

gratitude-a-thon day 1010: kindness exists, even when it’s dark out

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If there were a twelve step program to shun yourself of the dark ugliness that is this presidency, I would go to meetings on the hour.

This man will never represent me. I will never support him or his demeaning and bigoted ideas. I won’t ever believe in his dismantling of democracy, or his 10 word vocabulary, or his fucking Twitter obsession.

Yesterday I brought my daughter to the Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who is in a nearby building that has been there since before she was born, and is currently in the center of a major construction site. As we sat in the waiting room, the building began to shake. I dismissed it as some particularly close digging, but as we sat there and it continued, I asked the receptionists about it and they told me that it goes on like that all day long. They said they have the feelings of movement when they’re home, like a form of PTSD. The ground beneath us was literally moving, and it gave me the feeling that the world was shifting below me, that all that had been sturdy and logical was no more.

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This sturdy building was shaking like an earthquake was hitting it.

Which is, I realize, how I feel since this president was elected. There is a seismic shift in the house of white that I cannot swallow, I cannot believe and I cannot tolerate. I constantly feel like I am in a war zone, that there is an instability of all I’ve ever known. Make no mistake about it, this is not Republican. Trump rules a new party called the Disgusticgans.

Anyway, I know this is not my malady alone. I share this sick feeling with millions. They are the world citizens that give me hope. Just yesterday, I was buoyed by the Muslims who are helping to repair the Jewish cemeteries that are being desecrated. They give me hope. They are like medicine for this ache I have deep in my heart.

Last night, my friend, who is equally as disturbed by our current state of affairs, told me to watch this: The Kindness Diaries on Netflix. I did, and I felt a little better.

For like a full 30 minutes.

Gratitude for those resisters and those people in the world that are trying to fight for what is just and right and human. They are the RX for what ails me.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 9009: the perfectly timed vacation

 

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The Delano is a perfect hotel. Perfect.

For the first time ever, I planned a vacation that allowed me to miss major snow! Not only that, the weather in South Beach was spectacular. To get those two things to coincide is like getting Trump to speak a grammatical sentence–impossible.

So, gratitude to Mother Nature for this tiny miracle.

A mere four days (we missed our first day because we sat on the tarmac waiting to de-ice, but hell, better to de-ice than be in ice) and boom, your frigid soul melts, and the icy stairs, the weight of the down coats, hats and scarves become a distant annoyance.

I never can quite understand how you can be in one place and get on a giant mechanical bird and wind up in another. I mean, yes, I know it’s technological engineering I could never comprehend to begin with, but beyond that, it’s just stunning to me to be walking in snow up to my knees and than in less than four hours have sand at my feet. Or to be in an english speaking country and then find yourself in a location that doesn’t speak your language, where the color of people’s skin is not that of your own. It’s a magic show that never gets old for me.

We  did some great eating–namely one of my favorite restaurants ever anywhere–Mandolin, a small Agean bistro in the art district that has a romantic outdoor patio and the best Greek food. Juvia, a rooftop place that overlooks Miami’s downtown was incredible, and Cibo, a cavernous Italian place with homemade pasta that was genuinely homemade, not to mention a “wine ninja” doing acrobatics in the glass wine cellar. And of course, Bianca at the hotel was also beautifully made food in a spectacular atmosphere.

Couldn’t be happier to have gotten a break from`New England’s longest and worst season. And now I need to pile on the clothes to walk the dog.

gratitude-a-thon day 9006: an apple for the teachers

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My sister was a teacher. And my cousin, and my aunt and my uncle. In fact, there were 14 teachers in my family when I was growing up. They were all committed to their kids and to public school. They all worked second jobs in the summer to make up for the money they weren’t making teaching. These people gave it all to their students.

Betsey Devos, our new Education Secretary has almost no experience with public education, and is an insult to the years of blood, sweat and tears every public school teacher out there has given to their profession.

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The work is rewarding, but make no mistake about it, this is not a an cushy gig. Teachers are dealing with overflowing classes of students–each with differing abilities, emotional and academic challenges. They have requirements they must teach to. Additionally, it’s more and more common to have to worry about whether kids have been fed, whether they have slept, whether they feel safe. And the job doesn’t end when the bell rings, teachers have enormous amounts of preparation and homework themselves. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly awesome hours. Teaching is a full time job, and a low paying one at that.

My gratitude today goes to all the teachers in my family (Susan, Barbara, Aunt Chris, Uncle Louie, Aunt Theresa, Nancy, Andy, Gene, Connie, Mary, Phil, Tina, Anthony & Fran,  GOD I HOPE I DIDN’T MISS ANYBODY!) who I watched, year after year, make learning something interesting for their students.  Thanks to them. Thanks to all the teachers I’ve had, and know (Ginny, Cathy, Jennifer, Sally, Barry, Mirelle, Sandra, Ellen & Maura to name a few). Your life’s work deserves better than this horrible FAIL.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1005: BRADY

It probably started when I was a kid and we were a one tv household and my football obsessed dad watched the NFL all day Sunday. And I mean the WHOLE DAY. “There’s only 15 minutes left,” he’d say, but as I later learned, that could mean an hour. I sat hostage to that stupid game until I got my own tv when I was 12. But the damage was already done. I hated football.

As a high school cheerleader, truth be known, I only knew when to yell and scream by watching the crowd during a game because I had no technical understanding of the game. And to this day, I still don’t. And I don’t care. I am known among my friends as a hater. My son was informed early on that he would not be allowed to play a game that can later cause  dementia and leave your joints howling.

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This was going to be the exclamation point after the first touchdown, only then it never happened, and he had to reveal it when everyone was suicidal and it barely got a laugh.

Fast forward to yesterday, my good friend invited us to watch the game and when I asked her what we could bring, she replied, “a good attitude.” My husband, a lifelong Buffalo Bill’s fan, who despises the Patriots, is my perfect companion when it comes to being the whiney haters at a Super Bowl Party. So, having been warned, we decided to go in the other direction, using my daughter’s gift to her brother, of fathead stickers of the Pats. We decided to show up as the ultimate fans, screaming and yelling the minute we walked in the door.

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My new logo.

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This sticker said “Tom Brady.” I thought it was appropriate to put on my ass, but that was BEFORE the miracle.

It wasn’t long before the air in the room was all doom and gloom. While I was chatting it up with another non-football loving guest, the Falcons (yes, I did know who they were playing, but only as of yesterday morning), were killing it. Good cheer turned to beer, and after Gaga’s show, it wasn’t long before people started to leave.

We were the stragglers, still watching, just to finish it out. I was texting my die-hard fan son in  L.A., with $400 worth of ribs at his house party, pumped out of his mind,  and the only New Englander cheering for his hometown team, and his less PAT-riotic sister.

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And then the tide turned. And even I was under the spell. On the edge of our seats,  I suddenly got it. BRADY IS SUPER HUMAN. The guy is not of this world. The game turned around and freaking history was made. I have to admit, it was fun to be part of Patriot’s Nation last night. I might, MIGHT finally be a football fan.

gratitude-a-thon day 1002: get grounded

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I have had a relationship with a trainer (turned friend/family) for the past nine years. Having a seriously troubled back since post-college, she has helped me keep my body working. She’s gifted and she knows my body like it was hers.

A few days ago, we were talking before our Skype session (she moved to Cali) and I told her how I was waking up in the night, grabbing my phone to make sure we were still here, and couldn’t seem to drag myself away from the news. She and I are similarly tempered, and she said she’d put herself on a limited news diet, and that it had helped. She could feel my frantic, crazy vibe from 3,000 miles away.

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So, she made me do a grounding exercise for like 50 minutes, and all I could think of was how I wasn’t exercising, and that my abs needed attention! I wanted to scream, “I get it, I get it, let’s do a plank,” but I kept grounding and listening and trusting. She was talking me through the areas in my body that were my stability, power and sense of self. Blah, blah, blah. My mind was still working on how soon I could get back to the news. But I remained plugged into her instruction, although I was feeling like I wanted to move on.

The hour was up and she said, “All you have to do is get yourself grounded when you think you have to see the news every two minutes. Reach for your stability and power,”she said.

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!

That afternoon, interestingly, I didn’t feel the need to douse myself in news. That night I felt more energized. Yesterday morning, I woke up PERKY! And I only ingested the news a few times.

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It was like a 12-step program in one afternoon! SO DAMN MUCH GRATITUDE for being lucky enough to have someone in my life who knows me better than I sometimes know myself. It will be tricky to stay sober, but I realize that if I continue to go down the rabbit hole, I won’t be able to work on the  things that need my attention. I need the energy to fight on. We all do. So ground and power up however you need to. There’s work to do.

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1001:shoes: pleasure and pain

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This was my favorite shoe of the 300 on display. So detailed, with all that beautiful ribbon. But look at the bottom, how do you walk in these? Maybe you just sit. They were from the late 1800’s.

If you’re looking for something to take your mind off politics, or your messy closet, or your whiney kids, or you have the winter doldrums, and you live in the Boston area, and you kind of love shoes, or you don’t, or you just like a good outing, or you don’t feel like doing your work today, and want to play hooky, or you like to pretend you’re Carrie in Sex and the City, you should go to the Peabody Essex Museum and see their fabulous exhibit–Shoes: Pleasure and Pain.

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For bound feet, these delicate looking shoes were not meant for walking.

Sadly, I had never been to the PEM before and I am putting myself in the naughty chair for that, because it’s a really great place, with an unbelievably good gift shop, which happened to be closed on the day we were there, which happened to be my birthday, which was an unfortunate gift to me, because they were actually selling SHOES!

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I was blown away by the detailed etching on the toe of these shoes.

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So many of the shoes were intricate.  These boasted  real parakeet wings and at the toe, silver parakeet claws. They sort of made me want to vomit.

Anyway, this exhibit, which I thought might just be a room or two is like, four or five rooms, filled with the history of those things we wear on our feet. Anyone who knows me knows I have difficult feet to say the least, and that it is a part time job trying to find shoes that are cute, fit and don’t exacerbate my foot issues. There were a plethora of “only in my dreams” shoes for me here, but I decided to just let go and enjoy.

Aside from being beautiful pieces of art, this exhibit talks about the historical significance and transformative power of shoes. It’s beautifully done and fabulously interesting. It’s both fun and educational. But just make sure the gift shop is open when you go! There are shoes in there (and yes, some that looked like even I could wear them).

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Cinderella’s glass slipper. Yup, it was actually glass.

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Louboutin party shoes. Ah, a girl can dream.

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The Chanel mary jane. I love a mary.

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The bane of my existence, the desire of my heart: the heel.

gratitude-a-thon day 1,000: we are all we’ve got

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I know I am not alone in the middle of the night when I wake up and grab for my phone to make sure we’re still here.  I know there are so many others who share my fear and anxiety. They’re up, too. I know many I could probably text,  because their minds would be spinning in the same way mine is, worrying, wondering, freaking the fuck out about what will be next.

I know that my lack of concentration on anything but what is happening in our country is diminishing my ability to enjoy all the good stuff.

I just can’t allow that.

Because it will mean that Trump not only won the election, but won too much of my attention. He’s the last person I want taking up residence in my head and yet, I can’t stop myself from ingesting too much news. Has he made me an addict? Do I need a 12-step program to get clean of his filth?

I am looking at the sunrise over the trees right now, the frozen earth on a 20 degree day, and my dog snuggled up on top of folded laundry like the star on a Christmas tree, and I think, stop the madness, girl, get hold of yourself. Today you will get clean.

But I can’t, because there is too much at stake, and if we ignore it, or try and block it out, the worst could happen (hell, it’s already happening). We all have to be watch dogs, we all have to be prison guards protecting our constitution, our rights, each other. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, and it’s never been more true–we are all we’ve got.

gratitude-a-thon day 999: sag awards red carpet review to take my mind off politics for one second

I’ve been so obsessed with what’s happening in our country, I didn’t even know the SAG awards were on last night, and only conveniently found out, while on Twitter, at 7:00.

Even thinking of things so frivolous as the red carpet seems silly with all that’s going on politically, but I can’t let the president (not my president, mind you) take everything away, so here we go, damn it.

The Worst, no good, very bad dresses.

Nicole Kidman. Eyes Wide Shut.

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Let’s just begin with, there are parrots on her shoulders. Why those parrots did not say to her, in unison, or separately, “you are going to get panned if you bring us with you, we will be waiting here when you get back and you can tell us everything,”  I do not know, but this dress was an unmitigated disaster, the likes of the Trump presidency. Yup, that bad.

Salma Hayek. Martha Stewart, there is a prize winning rose missing from the garden in your Connecticut home.

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Sometimes when you’re beautiful, as beautiful as Salma, you think, “I can pull off anything,” and pull off that fake-o flower, velvet ribbon and lavender lace ruffle is what Salma should have done before she left the house. This is one ugly dress. This is the kind of thing that should be detained at the airport.

Thandie Newton. When the circus comes to town and you decide to wear it.

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So, yes, we know you’re on a super cool hit show called Westworld, and that you thought it was cute to wear a theme dress that would remind everybody of that. But unless HBO is paying you mucho buckos to advertise, this train should have left the station without you on it. (BTW, I almost, ALMOST could live with the whole thing without that Mr. Spock moment on the shoulder. Seriously, is there another Star Trek movie coming out? Did  Klingon Nation pay you to promote that, too?)

Did Sofia Vergara go shop the sale rack  in the Junior Department at Macy’s?

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I think if this dress weren’t tea length and hit the ground, it would be a whole different story, but as it is, it looks like a disastrous tween look. And a cheap one at that. Everybody is all like, “I love that she is giving us something new.” I say, wear what looks good on you.  And this doesn’t.

Amy Landecker. Are you high?

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As if this mess wasn’t bad enough on Amy, there was someone else wearing it, too! This girl has a totally off-the-charts bod, but this suit is not doing it any good. It looks sloppy, and cheap. It’s too tight and doesn’t look fun, or different, just ugly. I would, however not be surprised to see Sean Spicer in this at some point. He’s got an, um, style all his own.16295813_10211970966057892_1474595672_n

 

And the red carpet A-listers.

Kaley Cuoco. Oh. My. God. I died and had to be revived when I saw how beautiful this dress was.

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This gorgeous confection is everything. EVERYTHING. If I owned it, I would wear it everyday for the rest of my life.

Natalie Portman is in a class by herself.

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Natalie is beautiful and young, but she is pregnant and instead of flaunting her bump, which is the au courant way of handling the red carpet when you’re with child, she is covering up and channeling the style star she plays in the movie Jackie. She looks just lovely. And BTW, I have a 90% accuracy rate in guessing what flavor baby a woman is having, and I vote Nat’s having a girl.

Gina Rodriguez. Virgin rounds the bases.

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I just love this dress. It’s flirty and easy. It fits in a seriously flattering way. She looks comfortable and natural. Score, Gina.

Kerry Washington. Scandalously gorgeous.

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This dress is white hot. Fabric is fabulous. The sleeves hit at a perfect place. Hair is simple and accents the off-the-shoulderness in just the right way. And there is a safety pin on her shoulder. Here’s what she said about that on Instagram: “I’ll be wearing one of these tonight. On my arm. To show solidarity. We will not stop fighting for our safety & the safety of our fellow citizens and human beings”. #NoBanNoWall #safetypin  That’s what I call really beautiful.

sad-a-tude-a-thon day 998:no more huddled masses, that’s how it starts

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My mother’s parents came here from Calabria, Italy. They opened a grocery store in Connecticut. My father’s Jewish parents came here from Russia and Austria. My grandfather worked in the hat industry in New York, and then Connecticut. My husband’s father came here from Vienna, after his father escaped from a concentration camp, a rich lawyer back home, he worked as a janitor once he arrived and became an accountant once he learned the language. My husband’s mother’s family came from England.

We are all immigrants. That’s what this country is made of. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…..” I’m proud of my ancestors. I’m proud to be of immigrant stock.

What are we doing right now? WHAT ARE WE BECOMING?

I’m only happy that my parents are dead, because this would kill them, like it’s killing me.