gratitude-a-thon day 168: gizoogle.net (why didn’t anybody tell me ’bout this?)

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Ok, this alternate universe GIZOOGLE.NET gratitude-a-thon page made me laugh MY FACE OFF at 6:38 a.m. You gotta check it out. No, really, drop what you’re doing and google  http://gizoogle.net RIGHT NOW, if not sooner. Put in your name, or whatever. And then laugh your “thugged out ass” off.

This is not a racist laugh I’m getting, here’s the history of this creative little site. I’m not laughing at someone else’s expense. I’m laughing because they MADE me laugh. Yo.

gratitude-a-thon day 167: take it to the streets

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What if Martin had been wearing a hoodie?

I grew up in a small town (cue the John Cougar Mellencamp tune). It was nearly all white, and all Catholic. There were two Jewish families, and of course, me, who had a Jewish last name, but a Catholic mother and parents who decided to be progressive and let us “choose” our religion when we were old enough to do so (none of us ever did). There were hardly any black families in our little town. In fact, I only remember maybe four. Donna was a good friend when I was young and came to all my birthday parties. Vesta and her sister Cindy were beyond friendly and smart. I never really thought about them being different. It just wasn’t in my head to think about. My family was very liberal. My dad taught us to be color blind. I always really liked that about him as I got older.

Probably the first time I ever had real feelings about someone black was when my cousin, going to her aerobics class in the Salvation Army building in the next town over, was attacked by a black man. She was unrecognizably beaten. It was traumatic and had long lasting effects. Still, I didn’t think all black people were bad, I just thought that man was bad.

When I had fallen in love with Peter, my husband to be, I lived on Newbury Street, and had a brand new Post Offices Etc. open next to me, just in time for Christmas. I excitedly brought a gift over to mail to my sister in NYC. The building was long and cavernous. I stood at the counter telling the proprietor that I lived right next door and how incredible it was that I would never have to go to the crowded and inconvenient Prudential Center post office again. A  black man walked into the store, which I didn’t really note, until I went to go on my merry way, and he blocked the door, and pointed something in his pocket (a gun, a knife, a finger?) at me and repeated the words he would say over and over for the next five minutes, “Give me all your money, or I’ll blow your head off.” This so took me by surprise, I nearly peed myself. One minute I was sending my sister an awesome sweater, and the next I was in danger of getting my head blown off. I was shaking, seeing red, nearly paralyzed. In fact, all I could think of was that I’d finally fallen in love and found the man I was going to marry, and I was going to be a front cover story in the Boston Globe for dying in a Post Offices Etc. because I didn’t have enough cash in my shiny red Le Sportsac bag (I only had $9.00 and change, which strewn all over the floor when I dumped the bad over to try and save my life with the contents). The man and his “pocket gun” which he pointed into my back, after collecting my paultry $9.00,  forced the owner and I into the back of the store and threw us in a dark bathroom together, where he told us not to move or he would “blow our heads off.” This man had a very limited vocabulary. I humped the owner and kept repeating, “Oh my God, oh my God,” until the poor man, who probably wished I didn’t live next door, said that he thought the robber only had a knife and that he was going to go see if he had left. I begged him not to go, since I thought he would be standing guard to make sure we didn’t move, which of course, made no sense. Was he going to stay there for the rest of our lives in an effort to keep us in the bathroom? Shortly after that, we heard a woman’s voice asking if anyone was there. This finally gave the owner license to leave my terrified embrace to call the police, leaving me frozen in the bathroom, still repeating over and over, “Oh my God, oh my God.” The police came and took a description of the man, said there’d been a series of these robberies up and down Newbury and Boylston and that it had most likely just been a finger in the guy’s pocket and not a gun, and that it was probably someone just trying to get drug money. That was that.

I remember not being particularly scared of black people after that, as much as I was scared of crowded places, where I realized if someone has a gun and quietly sticks it in your side and tells you to give them all your money, there’s not much you can do about it.

My nanny, Bevy was Jamaican. She was with us for five years. Nicest person you’d ever want to meet. I never had feelings about her being black. She just was. I loved her. We all did. She was part of our family.

I don’t know. I have been thinking about what it is to be black in this country for a long time. The Trayvon Martin trial isn’t the first time I’ve paused over the sad state of affairs that is our racially divided country. Yes, we have a black president, and that has done a world of good, but there is still too much prejudice, too much hate, too much division.

Today I am grateful for the people who took to the streets in L.A. in protest of the Zimmerman verdict. We should all be out there. We aren’t separate, we’re one. Why is that so hard to see?

gratitude-a-thon day 166: home

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There’s something nice about coming home from vacation. All the familiarity and comfort is kind of great. My bed instantly molded to my body, there are no bugs flying or crawling around my house, it’s so easy to be able to put the dog on his backyard leash for a pee. Usually I feel really sad coming home from the Vineyard, but this year, not so much. We had the worst stretch of weather we’ve ever had, so I have to admit to have gotten a little bored. After all, it’s all about the beach, and well, when you take that away, there’s only so much EVEN I CAN SHOP.

Anyway, grateful to be home. Without much of a tan, without my watch, without my fill of beach. Not that I didn’t have some great fun, because I did. I really did. It’s just there really isn’t a thing you can do about the weather, and this year, that really didn’t go well. So, I will have to make a vacation right here at home for the rest of the summer. Do some fun things that will make up for our unseasonably icky weather weeks away. I’ll let you know how it works out. But for now, I’m with Dorothy, “there’s no place like home.”

gratitude-a-thon day 165: small bites friday

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And, it’s small bites Friday. Hip, Hip, Hooray!

I lost my watch, but not my mind.

Kids say and draw the darndest things.

The kids and Peter went to the movies last night and I didn’t feel like it, so I had potato chips for dinner. I SHOULD REALLY DO THAT MORE OFTEN.

This is the coolest thing I’ve heard about in a long time. Another tip on aging gracefully.

Elizabeth Hasselbeck is going to Fox News. I actually think she might be smart enough for that job.

How come none of the colleges Jake applied to had an essay question like this? Yolo.

This is a gutsy cover. I’m gonna start reading this mag.

I LOVE me some celebrity look-a-likes.

Today is Peter’s birthday. It’s not a sunny day here on the Vineyard, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get to eat a big fat breakfast at the Aquinnah Restaurant. I don’t know where they get their english muffins, but start toasting them, we’re on our way.

sad-a-tude-athon: the watch

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Ok, so there hasn’t been a post for two days, and you might think I have been gathering up good things to write about, galavanting around the Vineyard, collecting enchanting stories, running through fields of flowers, and frolicking in ocean waves, but not so much, because I LOST MY WATCH. And I have been looking for it, while alternately crying and scanning my addled brain for any information that might lead me to my timepiece.

Now, let’s be clear, I understand that I did not lose a person, or a limb, or the DOMA vote. I lost a material object that can be replaced. But let’s also lay the cards down, I have had the watch for 10 years, and it was on my wrist nearly all of that time, except for when I bathed, or swam. ALL. OF. THAT. TIME. It was like part of me. Add that I really loved it. The way it dangled on my wrist, the heaviness of it on my arm. Yes, the watch had become an appendage all its own, and not having it on my wrist is strange and unsettling.

Let’s start with the search. I realized I had lost it, after a long day at the beach. My memory (such as it is) told me that I’d put it in my straw hat in my straw bag at the beach. When I returned home to get ready for dinner, it was not where I’d thought. I went to the car, hoping the bag had tipped over and the watch had perhaps found a happy home in my beachy trunk, but after examining each beach chair and sifting through the piles of sand, it was not to be. I ravaged my bathroom, my bedroom, each magazines that had been on the beach with us, but no such luck. On our way to dinner, we went back to Lucy Vincent Beach, closed now, with a gate, and Peter, my friend Colleen and I (while the kids watched the car) tromped down the windy parking lot and onto the gorgeous, empty beach. We moved our feet around, covering the entire area where we sat. We scanned each granule of sand, barely noticing the stunning beauty of one of the best beaches I know. Finally giving up after 10 minutes, we left for a stiff drink at The Tavern.

The next morning, Colleen and I headed for Lucy at 9. We told the guards at the gate about the watch, hopeful they might have found it, but no luck. They took my number. We began our weird foot dragging ritual and enlisted a whole family who wanted to know what we were doing, in the search. They were the kindest people and really helped us look. But, of course, we didn’t find anything, except, by the way, a bracelet that had slipped off my wrist from our breaking and entering night before! How odd is that? I went to the Chilmark police to see if anyone might have turned in the watch, but while nice, they just took my number.

I searched the car several more times, my bathroom, bedroom, going over and over in my mind where it might be hiding. I went back to Lucy yesterday and searched again. People probably think it’s some sort of new exercise program–“The-drag-your-feet-in-the-sand thigh-improver. Get your step-by-step video now for just $19.99.” I talked to the beach guard yesterday to let her know. She is really nice and has been there forever and used to have a million rubber ducks on the top of her Jeep, which always gave us a good laugh, especially when the kids were little. She felt awful. Told me I should rent a metal detector. That maybe it was stolen, since it was sort of surprising that I didn’t find it. I guess it could have been stolen. Maybe even by one of the aggressive seagulls who monitors Lucy for food. Not sure what they’d do with a watch, but who am I to judge. Anyway, she’s on the lookout now, too.

I thought about the night before and if perhaps I’d really lost the watch then–about a bracelet I had slipped onto my wrist in a store in Oak Bluffs. Could it have unlocked the clasp and fallen off? Could I have confused the day before’s watch-in-my-hat scene and really lost it in that store, or on the street’s of Oak Bluffs? I called the OB police, but nothing had been turned in. I went back to the store (who’s name I could not remember, or I’d have called) last night, but they said nothing had been found (although, I did think one of the girl’s acted really strangely, but at this point, I think I can’t be trusted).

Meanwhile, yesterday I called my insurance company, and found out that it was not covered. I had actually thought that it was, which was the only reason I had not totally lost it. I cried. Really hard. Because I knew that was the end of the line. The watch was really over.

Did I mention that it’s a Cartier Tank watch and that it will cost $5,000 to replace? Yeah…..

So, I’m doing my  thing with St. Anthony. And my friend Rania told me I also needed to  pray to Saint Longuinho,which is a new one for me. She said, you say,  “Saint Longuinho help me find my watch, you jump 3 times and scream 3 times. You have to offer something in exchange ( give up coca cola for a month) .” I am going to do that today. And what I’m giving up is wearing my watch to the beach.

Anyway, I am grateful I had the gosh darn watch for so long. I loved that thing. And I am grateful that Peter and Colleen and that really wonderful family helped me look on the beach for it. And I am grateful that I didn’t lose something more important, like a person, or my dog, or my health.

But, God, I’m sad. I have that lurchy feeling in my stomach. And I’m really mad at myself. I have been wearing the watch to the beach for 10 years, but I guess I shouldn’t have been. Dumb girl. Anyway, that’s my story. I’m going to just try and get over it today. Just get over it. It’s just a watch, which is now buried in the beautiful waters of Lucy Vincent Beach. I guess that’s a pretty good last resting place.

I keep wondering if there’s a message in losing my watch on this summer before Jake leaves for college. A certain time on this island has stopped for us. A new time will begin? Could that be the reason? Probably, it’s just because I was careless. And it’s a lesson in being more careful. But who’s to say? Ok, going to do my Saint Loguinho cheer prayer…….

gratitude-a-thon day 163: An untimely death, a really big tip

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Aaron Collins, left, (with his mom and brother Seth) told his family in his will, to  “leave an awesome tip.” And he wasn’t talking about ten bucks.  “I’m not talking about 25%, I mean $500 for a….. pizza.” Love that guy!

I’ve always been a good tipper. If you ever spent time as a waiter or waitress, or actually doing any job where you rely on tips, that’s what happens–you become a very good tipper. I was a really terrible waitress. I would forget the fork, the ketchup, the drinks. Thank GOD I had a good personality. That’s the only thing I had going for me out there in restaurant land! Tips were how I got through college. I waitressed in pizza shops, bars and finally at Faneuil Hall’s Flower Market Cafe, an outdoor restaurant that was jam packed at all times. It was hard, but when I would count out my $100 bucks in ones at the end of the night, I was always ready for my next shift, no matter how much of a sweat fest the previous night had been.

Anyway, a guy named Aaron Collins who died WAY TOO YOUNG a year ago in Kentucky, just before his 30th birthday left an interesting directive in his will. “Leave an awesome tip, ” he said. His brother, Seth decided to take it a step further and not just leave one awesome tip, but instead an awesome tip in all 50 states. He leaves $500 to an unsuspecting wait person and has recorded the results here. Isn’t that a good story? It has everything I love in it, except for the dead brother. But the rest of it, is just all that’s good about life. A real reminder that people can make good things happen. Maybe Seth won’t stop at 5o states and will do the whole world. That would be cool. That would be really cool.