As far as I can tell, and I’ve watched The Crown, so obviously, I’m an expert, The Royal Family is just a bunch of relatives who love dogs and horses and showing up at hospital openings and getting to have big weddings, and of course, big jewels. (That jewel part is very appealing to me. Who doesn’t want a diamond-encrusted crown? Why they don’t wear those on a daily basis is an absolute mystery though, right?)
Sure, I love the weddings and the spectator hats. But in all truth, when Princess Diana died because she was hounded by paparazzi, I thought, no amount of jewelry could make up for this kind of life (and you know how I feel about jewelry).
In all seriousness, if anybody should be able to walk away from this farce of a family and all the obligations that come with it, and all the hounding from press, it’s Prince Harry. This boy lost his mother at 13 because people wanted to take her picture. He was forced to grieve this unfathomable loss in public. Just a little boy, who lost his mum forced to maintain a proper British, completely Royal Fam stiff upper lip in the face of puberty. A regular old teen would be hard-pressed to pull this off gracefully in front of his nuclear family, let alone have to do it in front of the entire world.
People will say he has obligations. They will say he is disrupting history. They will say he and Meghan have such an easy gig that they shouldn’t complain. But maybe they are the first sane people in the family. They don’t want to be hunted down by cameras, their lives as exposed as a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, examined like a high profile autopsy.
Is it any wonder that Harry has chosen to walk away from his duties? He now has a wife who the press, the very same press who killed his mother, has made their target practice since there was a whisper that they were dating. They have a baby. Who wouldn’t want to get out of dodge?
Change begins with one person who stands up to insanity, to cuckoo clock craziness and just says no. Congratulations to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex for stepping out of what’s expected and into a place that makes their lives work, that considers their safety and health and happiness. I can’t help but imagine how proud Diana would be of her son.
Good morning, and hey, how about that Ricky Gervais intro! Of course, we’re here to be all judgy and Trumpian about fashion, not comedy, so I won’t comment (but I loved it). Is it just me, or was there an abundance of really ugly dresses last night? I could barely recover from one “I cannot unsee this” gown, when another came strolling down the carpet. 2020 has started with some disasters–an assassination and the horrific Australian fires, and well, the Red Carpet at the Golden Globes.
Goop’s Gwyneth. More like, Oooooops, Gwyneth.
From the girl who has convinced you how to live, what to wear and how to steam your vagina, comes a dress so ugly, she should be fired from her own company. Perhaps the tiny underpants situation is the worst (can you see them under there) Or is it that high fashion color–rust? Or is it that the necklace is underneath the fabric? Oh, I know, it’s the whole fucking dress.
Michelle Williams. Maybe it was the hormones?
Shout out to her speech on a woman’s choice, but I really hope this dress doesn’t reproduce. I know she is pregnant, but I think she’s wearing the baby sling a little prematurely.
I wanted to unwrap her so I didn’t have to look at this disaster. This dress was no gift.
Salma takes a dive.
Salma was on her way to the beach in her bathing suit and then remembered that she had to go to the Globes. She quickly fancied her towel into a skirt and put her beach balls in her top and bingo, bango–red carpet ready.
Shailene Woodley. Black and blue and ugly all over.
It’s really the big black blob on her neck that got me. A microphone? Was she communicating with another planet? Earth to Shailene, take off that necklace.
This leprechaun-gone-wrong look really surprised me. Was she channeling Villanelle? She musta been, cuz, UGLY.
Even she looks uncomfortable in this dress. That white band at the top was so restrictive. How did she even hug any of her little women?
Kirsten (Fashion) Dunce.
She never gets it right. And score, she did it again.
Anna Paquin. Well, I like the hair.
Gosh, there are so many things wrong here. The sleeves are just hanging there like an afterthought. The shoes are someone’s grandmothers. Oh, and is that a matching bag there? Perfect.
Charlize Theron. I like half of it, anyway.
Bold move with that color green, which should be impeached from the Pantone Color wheel, but that underneath part, I love it.
And onto the meager choices for “best.”
Ana de Amas. Perfect.
This is a total 10 for me. A hit it outta the park. Fit, styling, RED LIP.
Renee Zellwegger. Somewhere over the rainbow.
I hated Renee’s speech. She seemed drugged or drunk or both, but this dress–this dress, this fit, this body, we’re talking perfection. And by the way, has she always had a Southern accent?
Zoe Kravitz. I never met a polka dot I didn’t love.
I wish it didn’t have the belty thing, but she had me at polka dot.
Glenn, not just Close, Completely There.
I thought she looked stunning. The color and fit of this dress was really becoming.
2020. I thought by now we’d be jet-pack flying around, a la The Jetsons.
A new year is always so full of hope. It’s a little like that back-to-school feeling, where you sharpen your pencils and get on all those projects you want to kill, but times 1,000.
I used to make all sorts of resolutions. In fact, I used to write down the things I wanted to say goodbye to and burn them, then make resolutions. This year I didn’t do any of it. But I do have several things I am working on. More patience, more kindness, more writing, more meditating, more gratitude, more laughing. But my number one resolution is to elect a Democrat to the White House, the end. That horror show that calls himself president has gotta go.
Gratitude to the hope that another year escorts in. (Setting my sights on flying by 2030.)
Yesterday we were reminded of the great neighborhood we’re lucky enough to live in, the way a teeny, tiny act of kindness can make us feel all warm and glowy like a fire in a fireplace on one of those frigidly cold winter nights Boston can throw at you.
Two Halloweens ago, a little girl and her friends came to the door and my husband, a rabid Smarties candy fan, asked her if she had any. He said they were his faves and he’d trade her some of our candy for her Smarties. She willingly and happily obliged. The next two years in a row, she came to the door with Smarties she’d actually bought for him. We both thought it was adorable and last year she was with her Dad and we thanked them profusely and we all had a giggle. We asked where they lived and they told us around the corner, but neither of us really took note.
Yesterday, Christmas day, my husband woke up to get the newspapers from the porch and there outside the door was a paper bag with Holiday Smarties! C’mon, really?! That sweeter-than-Smarties little girl brought Peter Smarties for Christmas.
There are so many completely awful and horrible things happening in the world, so many stories of unfairness, neglect, lying, cheating, poverty, terror, political insanity, immigration horror, terrifying climate change. The world just going completely mad. But this little moment of unexpected kindness seemed like a tiny little Christmas miracle. One person giving another a little bit of out-of-the-blue fun, a moment of sheer joy, a minute to forget all the bad and remember how transformative showing someone a little sliver of kindness can be.
Gratitude to the absolutely adorable girl, who we don’t even know, who took the time to be thoughtful yesterday. You reminded us that despite everything, kindness makes us better, changes our outlook, and always, always, always matters.
When I was about 10, my sister told me that if I kept squinting, which created two lines in between my eyes, my face would stay that way. (This is what it’s like having an older sister.) Anytime I was concentrating or listening hard, my eyes automatically tensed up. No matter how I tried, I seemed to be on automatic squint.
My sister was right because, by the time I was in my 40’s, the lines between my eyes were becoming deep and were starting to make me look tired. By the time I was 50, I had a crevice that was as deep as the Grand Canyon (well, you know, not really, but sort of). So, I decided to investigate Botox. I went to an extremely reputable plastic surgery office and had my first shot. It was kind of miraculous. For the first time in my life, my face felt calm. I hadn’t realized that all that squinting was actually exhausting for my face! It was like I had been holding a 100-pound free weight between my eyes for 50 years and someone finally grabbed it. The lines disappeared. I not only looked less tired, I felt less tired.
For the last 7-10 years (I honestly can’t really remember when I started) I have used the same doctor every 4-6 months to get Botox in between my eyes. I noticed that once I could no longer squint, the lines lessened, even when the Botox wore off. Twice I tried it on my crow’s feet but didn’t like the effect. Other than that, it has not been a gateway drug or caused any bad side effects. It’s just given me that feeling of not having stress between my eyes and allowed me to look less tired. I’ve never been embarrassed to tell anybody (then again, I’m never embarrassed to tell anybody anything). Botox seemed like a harmless cosmetic treatment, more expensive than mascara, more painful than a facial.
That is, until last week. When I got the result all Botox users dread: the eye droop. Of course, anybody who gets Botox knows that this is a possibility, but it’s pretty rare and I never worried about it too much. I am not sure what went wrong here, but on my way to the funeral of a cousin, four days post-shot, I noticed my left eye begin to droop. I wore my bangs over my eye as much as possible and hoped nobody else noticed. I knew it must be from the Botox. My google search described my symptoms as Ptosis, and in all the searches I could round up, it’s caused by injecting the Botox too low on the forehead. By morning, I could barely open my lid. I frantically called the plastic surgeon’s office and the nurse practitioner, who was feeling my pain, gave me an appointment for the next day and told me there might be some drops that might help some, but that I was likely looking at my eye being droopy for the next 3-6 weeks. You can imagine how that news went down.
This all started December 11, the two weeks before Christmas. The time of year when you go to parties and work events and you’re constantly doing errands to get ready for the holiday. Yup, and I have a wonky eye. And not only that, it’s getting worse every day. And, it’s making me unbelievably exhausted. It takes everything in me to keep my lid up, and I’m finding utter exhaustion takes over a few times a day. For the last three nights, I’ve fallen asleep on the couch by 8:00. That’s entirely my husband’s job. I never do that.
I saw my doctor last week, and although the nurse offered some compassion, because how can you not feel bad for someone who comes through the door with her eye closed, the doctor, a doctor who has known me and chatted me up on every visit, about my family and traveling and general life, barely gave me the time of day. No empathy, just a shocked look on his face when he saw me like he had thought I must be exaggerating when I called the office reporting my symptoms. He told me older people sometimes developed a small tear in between the eyebrow and eyelid which allowed some of the Botox to drip down paralyzing the lid, making it droop, like mine. He never once discussed the possibility that he may have administered the Botox in the wrong place, which by the way, is all the internet says. In my research, I could find nothing about a tear or anything other than the explanation that the injection was too low. I am not saying it was wrongly administered, but it seems to me that he should have at least considered this as an option. Another doctor who was with him wondered if I might have Bell’s Palsy, which I quickly responded to by saying that I could move the rest of my face just fine (she did not know that I am the queen of the internet and already knew every cause of Ptosis that there is). She then asked me if I’d been sick, to which I answered, yes, because I had had a cold for the previous three weeks that just wouldn’t go away. I’d like to say here that nobody has ever mentioned not to have Botox if you have a cold, and it is nowhere on the internet either.
I don’t know what the hell happened. I have been having this same thing done for the last 7-10 years, and this is the first time that I came out looking, well, crazy. The doctor was completely unsympathetic and said he was sorry this had happened to me, once without much feeling. I felt stung by his lack of emotion and compassion. I was sobbing and he was trying to get out of the room as soon as possible.
My daughter is horrified. My son thinks it’s hysterical. My husband says he doesn’t notice (which is so him). I want to get in bed under the covers until it’s gone. I had plans to meet friends in New York this past weekend to see a Broadway show and do New York holiday things and I forced myself to go. It was hard because it is utterly exhausting to try and keep my lid up and because I also look like a circus show act. This week I have a work event and a party, and cousins coming in for a big fat cousin dinner and a Celtics game. I can’t just stop because I look like Frankenstein.
Obviously, Botox is an elective procedure and one of vanity. I have always known there was the possibility of this happening, but the odds seemed low and the rewards of not having the constant stress between my eyes removed, as well as the benefit of not having the lines between my eyes, seemed worth the tiny risk. Until now, until feeling what it’s like to have your vision impaired, your face look lopsided and scary.
Now I have to reconsider.
I won’t use Botox again. I certainly won’t go back to the doctor I trusted for the past almost decade. I do wish that he’d shown me more compassion and talked to me like a person, rather than a potential malpractice suit (which I’m sure isn’t even a thing, since I am quite certain I signed some waiver that said anything that happened after a Botox shot was not the responsibility of the doctor).
I keep thinking I’ll wake up and find the funny in this, but so far, no go.
So, just a little cautionary tale if you’re thinking of having Botox. I fell into the camp of “It’ll never happen to me,” but it did. And I’m here to tell you that it’s really not fun. Gratitude that, as my mom was so fond of saying in a shitty situation, this too shall pass. And if my droopy eye has given you a good laugh, well then gratitude for that, too.
This is our major holiday here at the gratitudeathon, (like you didn’t know that). But here’s what’s exciting about it, you know, besides the turkey and mashed potatoes. MASHED. POTATOES (please sing those words in the tune of the Hallelujah chorus), is that there are people that might actually recognize the good juju of starting a gratitude practice today. Yeah, they might see the light, in between the infernal green bean casserole and those tasteless turnips. They might feel the total awesomeness of being in the moment long enough to latch onto all they have. Gives me chills, or is that just the gross weather today.
I will be spending the day with my best people, my family. I will be cooking and there will be football and maybe a game and maybe a movie and we’ll all remember who isn’t with us anymore and tell some funny stories about them and we’ll all be on the same side of politics, so the only thing we’ll be fighting over is who has to take the dog for a walk in the rain and amen for that.
The older I get, the more I recognize that simply being with the people I love is it. It’s as it as it gets. And I feel gratitude for that finally dawning on me. Things change, people move, get sick, pass on and all you can do is love them the very best you know how while they are here. Sounds very simple, and maybe a little boring, but I have found it’s actually all of it.
I hope your Thanksgiving is chock full of the people and the foods you love. And I hope, I really hope that maybe this year you find gratitude is something you can take with you from the table in a doggy bag. And if you have any leftover mashed potatoes, send ’em my way, wouldja.
Cue up the music: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” And by that I mean Thankgiving, when the whole country gets on their gratitude, even if it is only for one day. I’ll take it, because when it comes to gratitude, even if you’re opening yourself up to the concept for 60 mouth watering seconds before taking a big ol’ bite of turkey and mashed potatoes (and don’t get me started on the mashed potatoes, because you know how I am, so really, don’t) it’s better than not. I mean, a little gratitude is better than none at all, always.
Today mine is all about a 48 year old friendship, and a new city. I met my friend Steph freshman year of high school. We were 13. She’d just moved to town from Westport and our friend Bobby (who would later become my boyfriend for a whole bunch of years and the nicest guy ever) scooped us up in his Jeep and drove us to his house to hang out. I remember so distinctly, and note here, how I cannot remember what I went into the kitchen for half the time, the two of us standing by the fence in his beautiful backyard and just being so excited by the prospect of having this new girl become my new friend.
She was artistic and had a difficult dad like I did. And there’s nothing quite like having a difficult dad to cement a friendship, I can tell you. She was always up for fun. We did lots of stuff together over the years, including being bad girl cheerleaders, laying on the roof of my house to get a tan during April vacations in Connecticut, and plotting our futures in California, which never did quite come to fruition (although my son lived out this dream for both of us).
She visited us on our family’s yearly month on the Cape, came to see me during college, saw me through broken hearts and family deaths, came to New York to see me and meet my husband to be, when I lived there, and Boston when we moved back. We spent a Vineyard vacation together, and kept in touch throughout her time living in Colorado and then settling down in Fairfield with her new husband. I even helped to do the flowers at her super beautiful barn wedding, way before they were even a thing. For the past 48 years, we’ve remained in touch, sometimes just by phone, sometimes in real life. Steph has the most distinct and perfect handwriting of anyone I know and she has always been in contact with me by mail. To get a card from Steph, which doesn’t just have the great handwriting, but also some of her artwork, is to get something you keep in your “stuff to keep” file.
Old friendships give you a sense of time. They help you measure where you’ve been, how you’ve grown and who you are. My parents have been gone a long time (sadly, my mom, for 28 years). She knew them. She understands me in a particular way that someone who didn’t know them, can never understand me. That alone, is money in the bank. Her knowledge of the totality of my life is kind of everything in the friendship game.
For the past four days, I was with her in her home in Asheville, NC. We are four days apart, and we kept talking about how we just had to celebrate our 60th together. We didn’t, but of course, we spoke and i did see her a few weeks ago when she came East for a mini high school reunion on the Cape, which I missed because of Ally’s senior game. Anywho, she called me a few weeks ago to tell me that The Moth was going to have a Gratitude edition in Asheville and I should come. I thought I shouldn’t because of Thanksgiving and work and it being an inconvenient time of year, and then in a split second, I thought I should and I had to. I hadn’t been to her new city since she’d moved there and it suddenly seemed like here was a way to celebrate our 60th before we hit 61, and appropriately around gratitude!
And once again, our time together was the most natural thing in the world. We never lack for conversation, whether it’s remembering and laughing about high school, or discussing our current day lives, getting older, careers, our crazy love for our dogs, or doing new stuff to add to our decades of memories. We are like a comfortable pair of slippers. You throw them on and feel instantly cozy.
Gratitude in the audience.
A Moth Contender.
What else would I wear but my gratitude sweater?!
Asheville is absolutely fabulous. It’s heavily populated with artists, amazing places to eat, and cool things to do. The Moth was great fun and something that’s been on my To Do list forever. And of course, it was extra meaningful to hear the stories focused on gratitude.
Steph is a professional artist and pilates teacher, which is cool combo. I got to see her gallery space, another space she sells her work, and even attend an art opening at the renovation of the local hospital where two of her paintings are gracing the walls. I most loved her home studio, where she keeps her bounty of art supplies. I am not an artist, but I love all things that make art. And up until high school, it was my biggest interest, so being around art making brings me back to a time of comfort and curiosity.
I do not want my dog to know, but I kind of fell in love with her dog, Rio. He initially barked at me when I walked in, but pretty soon after, our love affair began (and if you tell Riley, I will deny it, so don’t even think about it). I hadn’t seen her husband, Paul in literally decades, but we picked up just like we’d been together a day ago. It was the most fabulous visit, filled with good things to eat, a hike to see the Blue Ridge Mountains up Craggy Pinnacle, a visit to the National Gingerbread House Competition at a super beautiful resort, a lecture at Creative Mornings, a craft fair, and of course, a little bit of shopping.
Creative Mornings is something I’m happy to know about because there is one here.
Best bathroom sign ever., at Creative Mornings.
Creative Morning presentation.
So much gratitude goes to a friendship that has endured and grown. 48 years is nothing to sneeze at (although I did sneeze throughout my visit, because, yup, I’ve got a cold). Glad to share another chapter with my friend, to see Asheville and to know that to have a friendship this long is to have a kind of gratitude that is rare.
Steph in the hospital playroom, where one of her adorable paintings is.
Woolworth Walk in downtown Asheville has a bunch of Steph’s work. (Yup, a whole Woolworth’s building turned into an art gallery).