gratitude-a-thon day 236: mmmmmm fried green tomatoes

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OHMYGOD, My first experience with fried green tomatoes. I could literally eat the picture. These had goat cheese and prosciutto, but I also had some with fat cloves of baked garlic on them. Yeah, I was the one at the party with the great breath.

It’s sort of embarrassing to admit that until Saturday night I was a fried green tomatoes virgin. This is a tragedy of epic proportion. Once I tasted those flavorful tomatoes, I knew this dish would now be on my list of The Top Ten Foods I Want in My Mouth at the Time of Death.

My friend and old neighbor Emma had a party and she made the tomatoes with another friend John, and what did I do, I just kept eating them. It was like when I was a kid and my mom used to make the eggplant for eggplant parmigiana, and I would eat those lightly breaded and fried brown circles so fast, she could never get enough to make the actual parm. Anyway, that’s how I was. A ravenously rude guest hogging the tomatoes. I’m guessing I won’t be asked back anytime soon.

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This is my friend and former neighbor Emma, and behind her John, who hates his picture taken. They were the head chefs who captained my fried green tomatoes maiden voyage. Thanks, guys!

So, if you’ve only seen the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes, give the real thing a go. We are talking intensely flavorful gratitude.

gratitude-a-thon day 235: postcards and stars

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When I go to Barcelona in November, I’m going to send postcards. I am. Give me your address and I’ll send you one.

I am always on the prowl for ways to make life a happier gig. This Huffpost article featuring a couple ways you can shun technology for a deeper kind of satisfaction, is a good read.

I’m the first to admit that I often watch tv, while I’m checking email, and playing Words With Friends on my phone. I know this just overtaxes my pea sized brain and kills the few remaining working brain cells, and yet, the gravitational pull to stay plugged in is powerful. Let me just check Facebook one more time.

So today, I gratitude up on Five Ways to Revive Life’s Simplest Pleasures, sans the tech. After I write this, I’ll store the computer (yeah, right).

gratitude-a-thon day 234: grabbing for the light

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Crooked Coast last night. My favorite song was Loose Tooth.

Last night I saw the band Crooked Coast. Yes, the median age of the people I saw it with was 25, and I am more than double that. Yes, it brought me back to college, where I might go to a small venue/bar to see a band. And yes, I was the old lady dancing in the crowd.

My sister’s very close friends were in Boston to to see Crooked Coast, because their son is the frontman of the band. Luke is adorable and has a face that makes you feel like the sun just came out. Which is exactly like his parents. I have known them for like three decades now, and it would be hard to find people who are as lovely and warm as Jane and John. They live in the most beautiful part of Woods Hole, called Gansett Point, and maybe it’s where the band’s name came from, because the house is on a craggy bit of spectacular coastline. It was here that Peter and I spend a night, early in our relationship, and that we still think of often, with goo goo eyes.

John and Jane had four beautiful kids, but Wes, their youngest, was killed last November in a terrible car accident. He was 22.  I can’t even discuss the pain of this situation, because it’s not something you can even touch with any words I know, but what I’ll say is they’ve handled it with a grace I am not sure I possess. There is much more I could talk about here, but I won’t. Suffice to say that seeing Luke last night, so filled with music and energy and youthful beauty, with his parents dancing to the beat, a permanent smile in their eyes, made me want to split open with happy. I guess life goes on, even after such unspeakable sadness. It just keeps moving forward with the force of a college marching band (don’t you always feel like they’d plow you down if you were in the way). Was their dancing proof that  both sadness and joy can peacefully co-exist? I imagine you never stop feeling the searing pain, but last night I saw two people who were able to move to the rhythm of happiness, too.

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Singer/songwriter, Luke Vose of Crooked Coast. Isn’t he adorable?

Crooked Coast was great. A little bit reggae, a little bit rock. I am a fan, and now have my CD in the car, where I will play it until my family tells me to throw it out the window (because that’s how I am with music. I play it until it’s in my DNA and nobody around me can stand one more listen).

So massively grateful to have seen Jane and John last night, and their talented rock star son, Luke. Grateful they’ve been able to navigate the roughest waters that exist. Not without overpowering sadness, but with the kind of peace that allows the happy to be experienced. Luke gets married next weekend. He was a little freckled faced boy, scampering about at my wedding, and finally falling asleep with his brother and sister under some coats (one of my best wedding pictures). Who knows what life will bring on, all we can do is know it’s important to keep grabbing for the light.

gratitude-a-thon: day 233: small bites friday

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My sister Joni is unexpectedly visiting because a dear friend is gavely ill. Not happy about the friend, but so darn thrilled I get to see her!

Two days ago, a friend and I saw Museum of Fine Arts Exhibit, She Who Tells a Story, a collection of photographs from 12 leading women photographers from Iran and the Arab world, including our friend Rania Matar, who was there to see it with us. It is beautiful, and brilliant. And so is she. You should go.

Let’s here it for Matt Labrum, Union, Utah’s football coach who suspended his entire team for cyber bullying. Score.

Wendy Davis, the fillibuster queen of Texas, who stood in pink sneaks for more than 12 hours to block a statewide abortion restriction, is running for Governor. She’d have my vote, alright.

BHS girls Varsity soccer beat Weymouth yesterday, 2, zip! Go Warriors!

Brookline foodies, celebrate! Rifrullo Cafe, at the site of the beloved Sealey’s is up and running. And aside from the awesome fresh and flavorful fare, the place is totally gorgeous! I have had two nights of take out already and it’s absolutely delish! This is a smashing addition to the hood. Go today. Like me, you’ll want to go again tomorrow. To owner, Colleen Suhanosky, thanks for making my life better!

The light around 6 everyday is so spectacular that I want to squeal with delight, but I fear someone would mistake me for a pig.

I watched Michael J. Fox’s new show last night, and aside from the discomfort I felt over his obvious Parkinson’s, I laughed at the great writing. Good show, brave and talented dude.

If Riley doesn’t start watching what he eats, he could end up at a doggy gym. Roll over.

Sometimes you buy something and it’s just not right. Check out these retailers with great return policies.  Makes me want to go shopping right now.

gratitude-a-thon day 232: gratitude

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We here at the gratitude-a-thon (meaning ME here at the gratitude-a-thon) are always looking for tangible proof that gratitude is a sure-fire way to make yourself happier. In case you’re still not convinced, here’s more impressive “lab coat” approved data that giving thanks is the freakin’ way to go.

http://www.upworthy.com/scientists-discover-one-of-the-greatest-contributing-factors-to-happiness-youll-thank-me?c=feahttp://

gratitude-a-thon day 231: wish i thought of that

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Karen Russell, a Pulitzer Prize nominee in ’12 for her fiction debut novel, “Swamplandia!” And now MacArthur genius!

I am always in awe of this list. Grateful for this off the charts kind of thinking. Congrats MacArthur Foundation geniuses!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/25/macarthur-fellows-2013_n_3977420.html

gratitude-a-thon day 230: doing the work

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Jake in a club in Barcelona. Hey, not everything you learn is in the classroom.

I have been mentally preparing for Jake to go to college for like three years, when I literally woke up one day and it hit me like a sledge hammer to the skull that I was looking down the barrel of the end of a very particular kind of parenting. I’m not sure why it struck me during his sophomore year that the end was near. It seems premature, as I look back on it. But for some reason, this was the beginning of my mourning process. And while I don’t think it’s appropriate to equate dying to having your kid go to college, there are some similarities. Of course, I wear black whether there’s mourning going on, or not.

The thing is, I am actually not killing myself here, having Jake gone! This is a real surprise to me. I considered that a crane might have to be called in to lift me out of bed, the National Guard to prevent my jumping off the roof, the rescue of ten puppies at the MSPCA to escape the sadness. I thought I might wear pajamas for a year, not be able to walk past his room, or say his name without breaking down into mental hospital psychosis. But guess what? None of that has happened. In fact, I’ve been doing really well! Knock me over with a miniscule feather from a petite bird.

I miss him, but not in any sort of debilitating way. I am guessing at least part of my ability to tolerate his absence is that I talk or text with him everyday. This has freed me up from thinking that he might be in a Spanish ditch somewhere, lets me know what he’s up to, shuts up the my fertile imagination, which can cook up dangerous and ridiculous scenarios. I am vicariously delighted when he tells me what he’s been doing, even though much of it is partying his face off. I am impressed with the way he has adjusted. I am proud of the adventurous nature he’s displaying.

I have spoken to a handful of mom’s who have been struggling with the transition in the way that I thought I would. A few are now empty nesters, which is a whole different thing. But some are just like me, with another kid or two at home still. The one thing we all agree on is that it’s a TRANSITION in 800 point type, all caps, bold. And for my money, transitions are never simple. They mean the exploration of a whole new way of doing things, a change in patterned behavior, the ability to morph from one way of being to another. It takes time to create the “after” script. It takes processing and energy to make a different kind of life.

I’m so grateful that I realized it would take me extra long to get myself ready for this new stage. I know if I hadn’t I could be wandering around Brookline with Lady Gaga hair,  Courtney Love before she got all designer-y clothing, moaning like a ghost in a low budget horror film. It could literally have been “Nightmare on Elm Street.” But it’s not, it’s more like “The Kids are alright.” And so am I.