gratitude-a-thon day 265: HOW BOUT THEM SOX–I THINK I FINALLY GET IT

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Here we are with our good friends, The Oberholzers, at the parade in ’04, the first time we’d won since 1918. Gosh, my kids were little. And my bangs look awful. Just saying.

It used to be that The Curse of the Bambino plagued our fair city. But in my lifetime, and more impressively, in my children’s lifetime, the Red Sox have won the World Series three times. THREE. COUNT ‘EM. THREE. TIMES. It’s getting to be sort of a normal occurrence around here. Well, not really, but sort of.

My husband, who is an ivy league trained Ph.D chemist trying to cure Parkinson’s, would give up his career and family to be a professional baseball player. He is a walking statistical machine. He ought to have a website called “Stump the Pathetically Obsessed Baseball Guy.” He is constantly making baseball analogies. In fact, maybe his show should be called, “A Pathetically Obsessed Baseball Guy Talks Life as a Baseball Game.” He has always tried to teach me about the nuances, and strategy of the game. And just how much that little white ball says about life in general, but it just never really worked for me, and I basically zoned out when he would try and compare a traumatic event to a ball game.

Baseball is a little slow. Actually, a lot slow. It can be tedious, and very similar to watching grass grow. I mean, take me to a Celtics game, and I’m in. Things move FAST, there are dancers and monitors and crazy stuff happening all over the place. That’s my speed, but baseball, ugh, just not enough going on to keep my novice interest. I used to go to games before the kids, and then afterward, too. I basically just went for the Fenway Franks. But eventually, you could buy them in your grocer’s freezer case, and I just dropped out, letting Peter and the kids hold down the fort on this front, so we wouldn’t be asked to turn in our Boston residency cards (because if you’re not a Sox fan in this town, they ask you to leave).

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Ally & Peter at Game 1, the game where I got a migraine, and had to give my ticket away. Yeah, that happened.

Anyway, all three times the Sox have made it to the the World Series, it’s lit a fire under me, and I’ve maybe even gotten a little rabid. You just can’t ignore the craziness of this city when we have a sports team in a playoff situation. Nobody talks about anything else, everybody is sleepless-in-Seattle tired, and people all get very superstitious. I, myself, have five hats on the tv that COULD NOT BE MOVED. There’s also a large plastic Sox cup in the bathroom Peter was using to rinse off the dog’s muddy paws, and although it’s been irritating me, I have not moved it an inch since the series started. Last night on the news a guy talked about not changing his underwear or socks for three days. I am glad at least Peter isn’t that guy.

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Fenway Park. It’s a place that’s helped Boston feel better, and now, “good times never seemed so good.”

After the Boston Marathon bombing, this city was pretty depressed and freaked out and sad. The Sox supported Boston and came out swinging. They know that people love baseball here. They know that they’re a source of fun and a certain kind of glue. As Big Papi said at the time, “This is our fucking city.” You can hardly go anyplace where you don’t see a “Be Strong” t-shirt or hat on someone. The Sox adapted it be “B Strong,” and even mowed it into the field at Fenway. This team has been a source of pride and camaraderie as the city has had to heal from an unspeakably awful wound, that occurred during one of our other beloved sporting events.

Anyway, in case you live in a cave, The Boston Red Sox won the World Series last night, at the famed Fenway Park, their home, which hasn’t happened since 1918 (the year my mom was born). I stayed up way too late. I’m exhausted today. But guess what? I saw something I’d never seen before in this game, in this team, a life lesson–“Try your best. And then get out there and try harder.” There you go, Peter. I think I finally get it. I just might watch the whole season next year.

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Woooooo-ehara!

gratitude-a-thon day 263: girls at play

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My daughter’s high school soccer season ended yesterday. It was a sunny day that turned into a cold evening. After the game, we huddled together, shivering and had hot chocolate and cupcakes. The underclassmen had decorated the entrance with balloons and posters for the graduating seniors. I won’t bore you with scores and and wins and losses. I will say that the girl’s record did not reflect their talent, or their heart. And that, I will elaborate on.

I didn’t play a team sport in high school. I don’t think we had a soccer team back in the early 1800’s. In fact, I didn’t do anything competitively, except diet. I ran, I biked, I was a cheerleader for a few years (GO WILDCATS!), I took exercise classes at an early version of a women’s gym, and had a little dalliance with tennis. So, I am not only proud of watching my daughter play soccer, I’m fascinated. I have no idea what being on an athletic team would have been like for me. But I imagine it would have changed me in ways I will never know.

Ally is a great athlete. She is physically strong and mentally tough and has the never-give-up attitude you need to win. I have been sitting on soccer fields watching her play since she was five. She is on one of the best club teams in Massachusetts. She has devoted a lot of her time to soccer. Not because we force her to, but because she loves it.

What I love is witnessing all the camaraderie a team sport fosters for girls. While our team didn’t exactly have a winning season, they did offer the kind of support to each other that you need when you’re not winning. They spurred each other on, and helped one another through everything  from physical injuries to bruised egos. Mean girls? Not in soccer. Is this the antidote to girls being pitted against one another?

A four game suspension for seven girls (a pre-season party, and a Facebook photo, and a call from a parent I WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO) started the season off with a whimper, not a bang. But through the twists and turns and pivots of a difficult season, every girl on that team left it on the field during every game. Every girl supported every other girl at practice, at team dinners, in texts, and on bus rides. And to me, that’s what seems really important at the end of the day (or game). For girls to feel strong, and  be stronger because of one another.

gratitude-a-thon day 260: small bites friday

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NEWS ALERT: If you’re looking for the best blow job, I mean blow dry, The Dry Bar is now open in Back Bay and is scheduled to open soon in Chestnut Hill. I went to one in NYC and looked like a freaking movie star for five days.

The Sox won the first game of the World Series. Yay! (Shut up, I know they lost last night, but this isn’t the complain-a-tude-a-thon, now is it?)

Fifty shades of why this woman is gray.

Pat yourself on the back, even if you’ve just cleaned the kitchen.

If I had an office to go to that wasn’t right upstairs, and I didn’t have to call in sick to anybody, but myself, I’d do it today, because I feel awful. But here are some good excuses if you need a day off (and a laugh).

If I saw this running down the street, I’d probably run the other way.

Good article on one of the worst people on the planet.

There was a full on rainbow the other night that I will never forget for as long as I breathe.

I love this game–what kind of house you can get for a certain amount of money around the country. I wish I resided in Minneapolis. Of course, then I’d have to actually live there.

I love a pretty website and this one fits the bill.

gratitude-a-thon day 259: “sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug”

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Me, in my flannel dog pajamas, on the couch, instead of at the game.

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Fenway, in all its glory.

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Ally & Peter before they left. Can you tell Al was excited?

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A few rows from the pitching bullpen.

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Jake all “Soxed” out. I’m not thinking he should grow a real beard anytime soon.

So, yesterday, I was getting out all the layers. Finding the best coat to wear, digging out the gloves. I was going to my first World Series and was crazy excited. Jake went with Peter in 04, and Ally went with Peter in ’07, but I was a Sox World Series Series virgin, and I was about to get de-flowered. And then, and then, I got the unmistakable nausea that can only mean one thing: a fucking migraine. I have a long history with the headaches that make death seem like fun. I have been treated by specialists, done acupuncture and biofeedback. And truthfully, I have rid myself of them for the most part, but once in a while I still get a whopper when the barometric pressure goes up or down. And yesterday, that’s what happened, plus I have some pretty good congestion going on, so that probably didn’t help. Anyway, I took a Compazine and slept, and called it around 6:30: my layers would be blankets on the couch. And the Fenway frank my mouth was watering for, would be frozen gluten free waffles (I know that sounds sad, but I actually love them).

Anwyay, our friend Charlie got lucky and got to go to the World Series. I watched the game thinking how happy I was not to be there with the noise and lights, because that’s how much my head hurt. Of course, the other part of me was thinking how shitty it was that I didn’t get to be there. But through the magic of group texting, Peter, Ally and even Barcelona Jake and I all watched together. I fell asleep before Papi hit his home run, and woke to the news that the Sox killed it.

As Mary Chapin Carpenter says, “Sometimes you’re the Louisville slugger, sometimes you’re the ball.” Last night I was the ball. Happy for all those Sox fans that got to be there. And for Boston– we love to win. And last night we did, despite the fact that I didn’t.

gratitude-a-thon day 258: taking notice when the ordinary is extraordinary

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I’ve always loved Oprah. In the early days of her show, when I was a freelancer, or pregnant with epic morning sickness, Oprah gave my day some structure and often a hit of heart. She’s lost some of her appeal for me, but I have to say that when  I watch Super Soul Sunday, I see that she’s just trying to get out the really important messages to a mass audience. This one from Dani Shapiro, author of “Devotion,”is really right on. “Recognizing the possiiblity of the divine in any given moment.” I do believe the full/half double rainbow over the soccer field yesterday, which stopped the whole crowd in its tracks, was one of those moments to take in. An ordinary ass whooping became something I will never forget. You had to take notice. And I did. (Partly because it was actually so incredibly unusual, I thought it could be the freaking Rapture.) Anyway, this is a good reminder to be present. Gratitude goes to Ms. Shapiro today.

gratitude-a-thon day 257: jake is 19!

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I thought I would have kids later, like my mom did. I was working in advertising, which i really liked, and Peter was busy trying to get tenure, and we just thought we’d have babies in our late 30’s. But, then I got a stomach ache that wouldn’t go away. I found out I was lactose intolerant during the myriad of tests that were run, and while that discovery helped the pain some, it persisted. An exploratory abdominal surgery resulted in the doctor telling me this by phone: “You’re a mess inside. You’ll never have a baby.”

Yes, that happened.

The next three years of infertility would be like an emotional hike up Mt. Everest, followed by a depressing descent into the Grand Canyon. We’re talking get out your insurance card and your savings account, because you’re going to get poked and prodded in places you like to keep private, including your wallet. You’re going to have surgery, and need therapy, and make Ben & Jerry’s stock go up, way, way up. You’re going to have sex on demand and sex when you’re mad and sex in your sleep. You will no longer see anything but pregnant women and babies. Even in your dreams. You will wonder what’s wrong with you. You will ask the clouds why you can’t just be like everybody else, planning a nice summer baby, so you can take nice long walks to lose the pregnancy weight. You will want to move to another planet where babies are hatched from seeds you plant in your weightless backyard.

If it weren’t for an exceptionally talented doctor named Robert Hunt, who performed a five hour surgery that rid me of the stage 4 endometriosis that was preventing the egg and sperm dance, and allowed me to conceive naturally, and the Mind Body Program for Infertility run by the talented Ali Domar, which helped me through my severe baby-less depression through meditation and cognitive restructuring, and allowed me to meet a group of women just like me, I wouldn’t be celebrating my son’s birthday today. But I am. And let me just say, he was worth the wait.

Happy birthday to my boy, Jackson Robert Gabriele, who made me a parent, who has taught me more than any philosopher, any institute of higher learning, any text book there is. To my guy, who has pushed me to be my best self, opened my eyes to the deepest kind of emotion, made my heart grow like the grinch’s when he finally learned his lesson. To my little bunny, who is charming and brilliant and interesting and funny. To my messy, first born on his birthday, you gave me a whole new kind of life when you came tumbling into the world 19 years ago. You’ve helped me heal the ugly wounds left by a difficult dad, and shone a big fat light onto what’s really important in the world–relationships. Whether they’re family, or not, you’ve helped me see that having people you love in your world is better than anything else there is.

I love you in the deepest, hardest to get to parts of my heart and the dead center of my soul. I am proud of you in a million little ways. I admire you and wish for you all that is real and good. This is the first time we aren’t together on your birthday, but make no mistake, you’re right here in my heart.