gratitide-a-thon day 1074: the empty nest chronicles: part 2

 

 

 

 

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That was then. Us, with the famous Halloween Spider Cupcakes.

 

My husband tried to fix one of the shelves of the cabinet that contains some of our heavier cookware, and which seemed to be going through a middle aged slump. Further investigation revealed a crack in the side of said cabinet, making the shelf tilt. My husband, being the unhandyman he is (good at many things, house stuff not being one of them) took the shelf out and piled all the stuff on the lower shelf.

This morning I went down and while microwaving the milk for my coffee, I saw that the shelf has, like six cupcake/muffin pans on it. I have not made cupcakes/muffins since my famous spider Halloween cupcakes back in 1999. AND THAT’S WHEN IT HIT ME, I COULD ACTUALLY GET RID OF ALL BUT ONE OF THOSE CUPCAKE/MUFFIN PANS, BECAUSE I NO LONGER HAVE HALLOWEEN SPIDER CUPCAKES TO MAKE BECAUSE NO  HALLOWEEN SPIDER CUPCAKE EATERS LIVE HERE ANY LONGER.

And I got a funny feeling in my stomach, which goddamn it, I realized was yet another moment of the kind of reality that hits like a solar eclipse–and that I would rather not look straight at, because I could burn out my eyes, or in this case, soul.

This is what I observe every once in a while–something in the house that I’ve been saving, or leaving out, or holding onto no longer needs to reside here, because it’s really a remnant of another time. A time which has passed, and is, in fact, long gone. Noticing is like a left hook to the gut. It takes my breath away. Because you cannot stop time or reverse it, and these moments of realization put me square inside that fact, and it hurts like having a root canal without novacaine, which you should never do, and I have never done, but I would imagine would hurt as much as having Trump as president.

The transition is happening AGAIN. Jake, home for a visit for the past week, left yesterday morning to fly back to L.A. and do his last semester at USC (that damn first semester at University of Barcelona did not count, thank you so much). I bring Ally to pre-season at Trinity on Wednesday. While their rooms were disgusting displays of all I failed to teach them about orderliness, I am once again going through the upheaval of having them leave again.

Again. Again. Again.

I thought once I adjusted to them being gone, I would be able to check that off my list. But it’s like Groundhog Day, the movie, it just happens over and over again. The shock, the melancholy, the terror that a part of your life has simply gone missing, and that no matter how many you appear on America’s Most Wanted, you will never find it again.

Again.

 

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This is now. Us, a few days ago,  visiting my sister.

 

I am grateful for the summer I had with my daughter, who grew up a lot last year, and with who I have never had a better time than these last few months. I am grateful for my son, who although lives in L.A. comes home to see us and spend time with us, and who I believe always will love his hometown.

Today I throw out the cupcake/muffin pans and make more room on the shelf for something new.

 

 

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1072: more scared to stay home

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People care. They do. And yesterday they showed their peaceful faces in Boston.

I’ll admit it, I was scared to go to the Free Speech Rally yesterday in Boston. I was, like scared, bordering on terrified (I know–what a wimp). I woke up with a pit of unsettled doom in my stomach–butterflies doing the death march.

My kids thought it was too dangerous for me to attend, so there was no support there. I kept making jokes about having my sister and daughter fight over my jewelry and clothes if I didn’t come back. My husband hopped on the “don’t go” bandwagon too, but I figured he was thinking about the potential of not having to get me a 30th anniversary gift next month.

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These were our tame signs, honoring our mayor’s words. I really love him. He’s kind of nailing it.

I was scared to go stand in the middle of a large crowd that could possibly turn violent, but the truth is, I was more scared not to.

I am half Jewish. I am half Italian. I am a woman. I am a mom. I am a liberal Democrat. I am a human being. I believe in everybody until they give me a reason not to. I was raised to be fair, to take care of the underdog, to live by the golden rule. I would not mind having less, to give everybody some. I believe fervently in love, in equality, in marrying and/or committing to whoever the hell you want.

 

And I believe that you stand up and speak out when inequality and hate begins to permeate the air, no matter how scared you are. And make no mistake, it is polluting our country right now.

So, yeah, I was feeling a lot of fear,  and would have preferred not to drag my privileged white old lady ass to the middle of a potentially deadly rally yesterday and instead sit myself down at the nail salon for a nice mani and pedi, and accompanying massage, but I persisted (not that I should get any kind of medal for this, but just sharing my little story). BECAUSE IF NOT ME, WHO? AND IF NOT NOW, WHEN? AND IF WE DON’T STAND UP AND BE COUNTED AT THIS MOMENT, WE WILL SHIFT INTO REVERSE LIKE FUCKING MARTY MCFLY IN BACK TO THE FUTURE.

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Yup.

 

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Winner of the MY FAVORITE SIGN contest.

 

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Yes. What she said.

Anywho, I had nothing to be afraid of. The rally was incredibly peaceful, the Boston Police were out in force and keeping it all orderly. Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh and Police Commish William Evans, were in alignment and had on their leadership hats (and I thank them profusely). The people I met and interacted with were there to say no to Nazis and white supremacists, and not to make trouble. I witnessed no violence whatsoever, and even saw a bevy of BP quietly walk over to a man, check his pockets, find a knife and silently handcuff him and walk him out of the proceedings without incident.

 

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This couple really had their fashion shit together.

The crowd was a mixture of race, gender, age and sexual orientation. I even saw a few dogs. The signage was epic.

I will keep attending these rallies, no matter how terrified they make me, keep yelling and writing and tweeting and posting and screaming until I don’t have a voice. Because I believe as flawed as we are, we are better than our president and our administration. I believe it’s our responsibility to help one another get through this time that’s unprecedented in modern history.

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P.S. My friend Jocelyin made me crop her out of this picture. but she was right there by my scaredy cat side.

Gratitude for the peaceful assembly of my city. Gratitude to my friend Jocelyn. Gratitude for all those who will not sit quietly. Peace.

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Loved this sign.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1071: best answer wins!

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I am once again obsessed with the news, a little bit afraid if I miss something I might not be prepared for a nuclear attack (dye hair, stock up on mascara), or the next civil war (buy markers, poster board and lip gloss–no reason not to look your best while fighting white supremacists and Nazis).

It’s a dismal state of affairs.

I must pull from history to see light. People have lived through times like these in the past. I am grateful for their fortitude and pain in a way I wasn’t able to connect with before. I understand it better now. But what I want to understand is the mind of the other side. Is that just an impossibility, that someone with my ethics, morals and politics would ever be able to understand someone like a white supremacist, a Nazi, Trump?

I told my family I wanted to go to the Free Speech rally in Boston on Saturday. They were aghast that I would put myself in such a dangerous situation. But if not me, who? And if not now, WHEN? And if none of us are willing to stand up to this moment in time, what kind of moments in time will be left?

I could just emerge myself in work, turn a blind eye to what’s happening, watch movies, dog, goats, baby, things that are knitted that shouldn’t be knitted videos. But who would I be if I did that? What would I be? And what would we become?

Tell me what you’re doing? Give me your secrets to getting through such uncertainty and insanity. More than gratitude to those who answer. In fact, my favorite answer gets a prize, for real! I will mail it or bring it to you (proximity permitting). Go!

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1070: “if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”

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If you do not stand up against Trump now, you are complicit in the breakdown of this country’s moral values. If you do not speak, your silence will drown our democracy. We are all we have left.

And we are a lot.

Heather Heyer’s mother spoke at her daughter’s memorial service yesterday asking all of us to do something, to make sure that the loss of her daughter would mean something. “They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her,” said Susan Bro.

It has become obvious to anyone who is not currently living in a cave (and maybe to those who are, as well) that the president of our country not only hates women, the LGBQT community and Muslims, but he is, plain and simple, a white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer. Really try and take that in. It’s hard. His actions this past week, in response to Charlottesville, are immoral, unethical and un-fucking-american. His impulsive nature is dangerous. Just two weeks ago he got into a pissing match with another impulsive politician and the stakes were high–nuclear war. This is not a sane man. This is not someone who should be the president of a condo association, let alone the United States.

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The United States. Never has a politician done more to un-unite us, to encourage divisiveness. Don’t fall for it. Remember who we are. Remember what our ancestors lost their lives for and keep in mind that we are not who he is, we are love. Trite, you say? No. True.

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On my knees with gratitude to the people, and there are many, like Heather Heyer, who are brave enough to fight against groups who divide us, who offend us all with their intolerance. Their message is not welcome here. This president is not welcome here, either.  I will speak up and keep speaking up. I will not be silenced by ignorance or intolerance. Fuck, no. What will you do?

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DISGUSTED: day 1069: the klan and the man

 

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I was deeply disturbed and nauseous about the Charlottesville rally yesterday, walking around in a daze, wondering how we find ourselves here, where we have a president so bigoted and racist and insulting to practically every group, that white supremacists and Nazis are now bold enough to forego the hoods, and blatantly  show their faces loud and proud. This is what happens when you elect a president who models intolerance, who has deemed it ok to fly your Confederate flags and swastikas out in public and ram a car into a rally of people who don’t believe what you believe (killing a young girl, injuring more than 19 people).

And what did Trump have to say about this grotesque fiasco, this unamerican little get together? Quoting the NYT, “During a brief and uncomfortable address to reporters at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., he called for an end to the violence. But he was the only national political figure to spread blame for the “hatred, bigotry and violence” that resulted in the death of one person to “many sides.” MANY SIDES. There you go, the 34% of you who still support Trump. Here’s your country. Here’s your president, a man who cannot call it as it is. Why? Because white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers and the alt. right ARE A BIG PART OF HIS BASE. Remember, it’s all about the votes, not the people.

MANY SIDES. There you go, and still 34% of the public still supports Trump. I say to that 34%, here’s your country. Here’s your president, a man who cannot call it as it is. Why? Because white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers and the alt. right ARE A BIG PART OF HIS BASE. Remember, it’s all about the votes, not the people.

And make no mistake, David Duke, grand poobah of the Klan said of the Charlottesville rally, “This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back,” Duke said. “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”

Back from? Back to?

We fought a war against Nazis once and we won. People gave their lives to protect us from wiping out the whole population of Jews. This is how it begins. Free speech is a tenet of this country, but people with hate running through their bodies instead of blood, that is not.

My gratitude goes to the man who is calling it what it is and saying it straight, Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, who said,

“I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today. Our message is plain and simple. Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.

You came here today to hurt people, and you did hurt people. But my message is clear. We are stronger than you. You have made our Commonwealth stronger. You will not succeed.

There is no place for you here, there is no place for you in America.”

If only our president could have such clarity and humanity.

gratitude-a-thon day 1068: the beach for the win

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I’ve had an unusual summer in that I haven’t spent almost any time with my very good, close and personal friend, the beach. It’s just sort of worked out that way, but I see that with August pretending to be a contender in the Indie 500, I better get my bathing suit on, or I’m going to be laying in a pile of yellow and red leaves with snow in the forecast.

I did manage to have a few hours on Sunday at Nantasket Beach, but it was high tide, making a very crowded day hard to find a spot of your own, so we were forced to settle on some rocks, which were not the most comfortable, near water that seemed to be holding all of the ice cubes in the freaking world. Gah. Not my idea of a day at the beach, but still, the smell of sunscreen, the sound of the waves, the eventual emptying of the shore still spoke to me personally, telling me all the reasons it loves me as much as I love it.

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The beach has always put me in a coma of calm, always put my anxiety in the naughty chair, allowing me to be my most relaxed self. Grateful to have somewhere that knows me so intimately and accepts me so thoroughly.

gratitude-a-thon day 1066: babies

 

When I walk my dog around the neighborhood, I see a lot of babies. There seem to be more babies than when I struggled through infertility and the entire world was made of babies (I swear there were no adults back then, ONLY BABIES).

I just saw a tiny Japanise girl with a mini pink bow in her hair and little teeny socks. She was with her grandmother. Her face made me gasp. I just wanted to stare at her and all her brand newness and possiblity. I managed to tell her grandmother how beautiful she was before she scurried off with that adorable bundle to the water sprinkler.

I love babies because, well of course they’re cute, but also because when I see a baby, I think maybe, just maybe he or she will get it right. Just the hope that somebody, someday will get it more right than the next person makes me hella grateful.

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1065: perfect weather

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Yesterday was the perfect weather day that we Bostonians literally wait for just like a dog waits at the door for his owner to come home. Pant, pant, pant, we pull out waterproof boots (and hope they’re really waterproof), zip up the down sleeping bag coat and put a hat on that covers our ears and slips too easily over our eyes in preparation for a day like yesterday. We suffer through flash flooding, our phones going off to let us know we might soon need to get our scuba gear on. We brave cold temps, frozen roads and wind that could remove our eyelashes from our lids (and I’m talking our real eyelashes) just to get a day like yesterday (and it looks like today, too).

The clear air (humidity on vacay down South), the Caribbean blue water sky, the sun hitting everything at just the right angle. This is why we stand the rest of it, for this day, these days, where the weather is so sublime, it nourishes our souls in preparation for the other 362 days a year.

Yes, it would be nice to live somewhere the weather was more like this everyday, but then a day like yesterday wouldn’t stand out, rule the world, glitter like 1,988,210,934  disco balls, would it?

gratitude-a-thon day 1064: the ACA lives!

Today I woke up at 4:30. I tried to go back to sleep, but you know what happens–you start thinking about what you have to do, ticking off each thing and how you will accomplish it, then you start worrying about being up so early and how it will affect your day, and then the birds start chirping and before you know it, you’re making coffee.

BUT, when I reached for my phone, it seemed getting up early today was a good thing, because I could start the par-tay– there on the front page of the New York Times was  unlikely breaking news–a bloodied Obamacare repeal laying on the senate floor. Yip–to the ee–vote DOA, thanks to Senators John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.

GRATITUDE to those who care enough about the people of this country to vote no. And in particular, John McCain, who has sealed his legacy as being a genuine hero, for real. These three proved today that they are not Republicans, they are human beings. Let’s all sing the hallelujah chorus together, shall we?

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1062: might just be a bath

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Sometimes it’s just a hot bath. I sink down in, inch by inch and it reminds me that after a long day, I’m human. I let myself go, and my muscles start singing the Hallelujah chorus which morphs into James Brown’s I Feel Good (which is really called I Got You, but don’t you think of it as I Feel Good–yeah, me too).

This is the kind of thing that brings on gratitude for me. It’s a simple switch I throw–a post-it note on my brain. When something makes good, feels good, is good, I let the gratefulness I’m feeling bubble to the surface and I acknowledge it full on. My day is better for it.

And that is all.