gratitude-a-thon day 125: the optical illusion (and associated nausea)



This is the kind of thing I loved as a kid. I clamored for anything that played with my head. These are some mind blowers.  I guess I’m still a little bit enamored with this kind of trickery (although not the headache I just got from number six)!

gratitude-a-thon day 124: transitions

Here’s my boy on our trip to visit California colleges last April. He’s ready for the next step. But am I?

I am still sick with the crud. What is this thing? You need to NOT get it. I hope you can’t catch it from reading the blog.

Anyway, tomorrow is Jake’s last day of high school. Saying that out loud is like saying, “I woke up tall and blonde this morning.” (I will never be tall, or blonde, although that’s not entirely true, since I was blonde for like a few weeks a month ago when my hairdresser went a little light on the highlights and turned me into Malibu Barbie.) Anyway, I am not even sure how this is possible, but tomorrow is the last time Jake will enter BHS as a student.

Life is such a funny little thing. Nobody tells you how really funny it is–you just have to experience it for yourself. I only remember the end of high school in a very foggy light. Little snippets, small moments. A cool dress my sister let me borrow to wear to Senior Night. My family in the stands of the Wildcat’s home football field watching me get my dipoloma in my dorky white cap and gown. The giant picnic my parents threw for me. And that’s really all. I don’t remember anything else. Except that I felt odd, displaced, strange. I guess there was a happiness, but I don’t remember it overwhelming me. I guess I went to the Cape for a month that summer, as usual, but I don’t remember it being remarkable, or especially better than any other summer on the Cape.

Anyway, I want to make this transition special for Jake, but I have to say, this end of high school is overwhelming me with all the feeling I didn’t have during my own graduation. It’s not that millions of kids don’t do this every year that makes it such a landmark moment, it’s that it’s the real beginning of the end of  your child’s life in your house. This is the part of graduation that is remarkable. That the day to day tending, nurturing, coaching, coaxing, cajoling, poking and loving your child is done with. I don’t mean that in a maudlin, or dramatic way. And I don’t mean that I won’t continue to do that to Jake, I just mean it as what it is, factual.  It’s real and it’s big. Your kid is on his way to having to begin a life on his own.

I will miss that boy and his pile of clothes in the middle of his room. I will long for his silly jokes and his hugs, and his insights. I will even miss nagging him to do stuff (maybe I’m overstating here, yeah, I WILL NOT MISS THE NAGGING HIM TO DO STUFF.) In short, I will miss every single thing about this boy who made me a mom. He is the most special thing that’s ever happened to me (along with that girl).

Anyway, I have been trying to create this album for him. It’s forced me to sift through the literally thousands of photos of our family that I have amassed. It’s not like me, but I can’t pull it together. Every time I think of a plan for the book, I think it’s not special enough, and I want to take a nap, or try heroin for the first time. It’s not hard to psychoanalyze myself here. I don’t need a degree. I am totally engulfed in the emotion of seeing not only his life in pictures, but also my own. Where did that time go? Is that why people are always saying that–“Where did the time go?” Because it’s impossible to understand its passing.  I mean, IMPOSSIBLE. If he’s older, so am I. After 18 years of hard labor (privIleged, incredible labor, not to mention that really awful labor before the epidural) I’m done. Just like that. I’m in transition, too. And I’ve never been good at those. They take me a good long time to embrace. I’m better at middles. Middles are much more my thing.

Today I am grateful for transitions ,even though I hate them, they’re what prepare you for what’s next. They may cause you to be swarmed with feelings, like six year olds around a birthday pinata, but they are a must. So, I will let myself jump into the transitional pool and learn to swim. And then, I will get on with making that album. It won’t be perfect, or as special as I want it to be, but it will be from my heart, for my boy. Who will always be my boy (and hopefully will remember those 18 years with as much love as I do).

gratitude-a-thon day 123: ahhhhh, the potato chip

Mmmmm. The only good part of being sick is my potato chip break.

While I lay miserable in my bed, hacking and coughing and achey, one thing is pulling me through.

Potato chips.

Yes, those crunchy, perfectly fried, oddly shaped saucers always make me feel better (although I gotta tell you, this little virus is kicking my ass). I have always had a penchant for the potato in all forms, but the chip, is among my most favorite. I have even used it as a diet food. No, seriously. When I was younger and trying to lose a few pounds, I would eat a small bag with a reasonable turkey sandwich for lunch and it would help to really fill me up, and ta da: weight loss. My friends got a big laugh out of this, but it makes perfect sense. A small bag can be just like 140 calories, but if it’s filling, and more importantly satisfying, so you’re eating a limited amount of calories and not feeling deprived and not over eating. I don’t know, it always worked for me.

My original favorite.

But back to the chips. When I was a kid, I ate Wise, the blue bag with the owl logo. They were extra greasy and I haven’t had them in years. (do they still make them?) I often ate them with pretzels, together. Must have been the beginning of my life long obsession with salt. I also ate Pathmark brand chips, which I have to say, I remember as really delicious. They weren’t as salty; they were much more potato-y and thus felt a little more like food than snack. I moved onto Lay’s, which I never particularly liked much, but seemed to be the chip of choice for take out restaurants and snack bars everywhere. Then like a super model, Cape Cod Chips made their way onto the scene, thick and distinctively different than all other crispy taters, they pranced onto shelves, changing the runway forever. I liked them because I had to, but secretly, I didn’t ever really like them at all.

My current chip.

Today I am an Utz girl, with Kettle Chips, second runner up. Utz reminds me of the old Pathmark brand, with a less deep fried taste and a more foodish thing going on. I could eat an entire bag without batting an eyelash. Seriously. I could, although I never have. This is a joke in my family. I am always boasting that I could eat a couple of foods in an unlimited way, and my kids and husband are always challenging me to do it. But I resisit, because I don’t, of course, want the calories, of say, 40 pancakes, or 30 hotdogs, or six watermelons (WHOLE watermelons, by the way), or several bags of chips. But let me assure you, I could do it. I could. I COULD.

So, today, amidst the headache, sore throat and total cough-fest, I give it up to the chip. A momentary pleasure, yes, but worth every caloric bite.

gratitude-a-thon day 122: I’m sick in bed, but the bed is comfortable


I’m sick. Some kind of spring flu-ish misery featuring body aches, a sore throat, a dog bark cough and enough phlegm to clog a drain. Ugh! I have so much to do to get ready for the big After the Prom Party (ATPP) this weekend. The ATPP is Brookline’s answer to keeping seniors safe from drugs, alcohol and driving on a night that is super duper high risk. It’s a ginormous party at the school, with loads of entertainment, prizes, food, and fun. I’ve been working on this with a dedicated team of people since February. This is an all volunteer event. People participate who no longer even have high school kids, which is incredibly generous. The theme this year is the beach. So, we are going all out to bring the waves to Brookline. This weekend will be a full on push to prepare for Monday night’s extravaganza, so I have got to get myself better. I will be chaperoning, which requires me to be there from 11:30 – 6 a.m. If you know me for five minutes, you know that I’m not a night owl, so this ought to be interesting!

Anyway, if you’re a Brookline person and would like to help or chaperone, give me a holler. (I would love you forever and ever for this act of kick ass kindness.) If not, how bout you say a little health prayer for me, so I can do it. When I get sick, I get sicker for longer than normal people, so get out your prayer beads, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

The grateful part? Well, that I have a nice comfy bed to be sick in. That’s the best I can do under the circumstances. But you know, I always keep in mind that things could be worse.

gratitude-a-thon day 121: i don’t believe in war, but i do believe in saying thanks


I’m going to say this, but I don’t want you to think I’m not patriotic, because I really love the United States. Like, a lot. I don’t believe in war. I have come to understand that it is occasionally necessary, but i don’t philosophically believe in it. I believe in words. I believe in playing like an adult and sitting down at a table and working it out. I believe in grand scale maps and plans and power point to get your argument across. There should be coffee and other good things to eat available. This sort of “sit down” should occur somewhere full-service, so that the disagreeing parties can go away at the end of a day and sleep and eat and then go back at it. With their words. With their well thought out schemes. With their persuasive plans. This is the way we should solve world problems. With a good cup of coffee and well crafted discourse.

But instead we are archaic and caveman when we disagree. We pull out the big guns and the massive tanks and killer grenades. We have infrared glasses and quiet helicopters that allow for sneak attacks. It’s like every little boy’s make-believe backyard game. Only it’s real people and instead of pretending to die, all the deaths are permanent. Dead. Forever. In this day of technology and brilliance, we fight dirty to make a point. This is really totally and completely out of the bounds of my imagination. How does your heart take such brutality?  How do you  brainwash your soul to be able to snuff out someone else’s light? And what of the innocent who may have been in the way? How do you come back and live in polite society where people are concerned with such inconsequential things as the size of Kim Kardashian’s ass, when you have experienced what it’s like to kill?

But the thing is, while I am 100% against war. I am 100% for the soldiers who fight. I am UBER grateful there are men and women who risk their lives for our principles. I  know I could not let my boy (or girl) go. I know that I don’t have what it takes. But thanks to all the people over all the years, who do, who have. Thanks.

gratitude-a-thon day 120: i get to sleep today

I think I maybe only once have missed posting, but you know what, throwing a party and being hungover and having to get up the next day to drive your daughter to a soccer tournament in 49 degree rain,  brought me to my knees. Why is it that no matter how ready for a party you think you are, you aren’t? Anyway, my apologies for being dereclict yesterday, I hope you found some awesome stuff to be grateful for (if you live in New England, it was not the fucking weather, I can tell you that much). Here are some photos of the aftermath of my friend deb’s 50th. I was practically too tired to even take these. See you tomorrow.

Only one broken glass. Not bad.
This was after I had cleaned a little bit.


This was after I had not cleaned at all.