gratitude-a-thon day 426: small bites friday

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I can’t believe they waste this place on baseball.

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Charlie and his estrogen tsunami entourage leave Fenway happy.

Billy Joel rocked Fenway Park last night, and kicked off my summer with a big gosh darn bang. After having to call in sick for my Madison Square Garden birthday gift from Peter, I got a re-do last night and it was effing awesomeness. At 65, the piano man’s still got it going on, and well, Fenway is a super cool place to see live music. They should really turn that place into a concert venue.

My sister is back. My sister is back. Gratitude times a bajillion.

I am going to the happy place tomorrow for two weeks. No, not a wing at McClean’s, the Vineyard, silly.

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Ready for some major league beach time.

Ann Coulter continues to amaze in her profoundly inane and uneducated rant on soccer. She calls hating it America’s favorite pastime. Hating her is mine.

And in other soccer news, the US survives Group of Death. Take that, Ann.

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GO USA!

Bucket list vacation spot. ooooh la la.

Excited to see The Leftovers starting this Sunday on HBO. My friend, the amazing Ann Dowd, is in it.

 

 

 

gratidue-a-thon day 424: the retroactive freak or “wake me up when it’s all over” (thanks jocelyn)

 

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Yesterday was the last day of school for Ally. Sophomore year is AP history and we’re gearing up for the acutely important junior year,  featuring a tour of campuses throughout the stratosphere, endless SAT prep, and general pre-college mayhem, stress, and mental institution-worthy insanity. Ally chose to celebrate by going to an Avicii concert with about half of BHS. They chose USA themed apparel (because, I don’t know why), and made four plans for rides home in case any one of them failed. And in a red dress, high top cons, and a fanny pack (NEWS FLASH, THEY’RE BACK IN) she was off.

If you’re a parent of a younger kid, you are probably wondering how I can so cavalierly allow my daughter to head to TD Garden in downtown Boston, to see a band, and possibly get her hydration from something stronger than a Poland Spring. Well, here’s the thing: when you have an almost 17 year old, you have to let go a little. It’s just part of the imaginary rule book you get when you sign on to have a teenager. It grows on you, this letting go, and it doesn’t often come without concern, a panic-y feeling of understanding how crazy folk lock kids in closets, and a nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach for the entire length of time your child is not in your house, but if you know your kid,(and btw, we had a comprehensive talk about safety before she left)  which I feel like I do, you have to let go, and as they say in AA, let God. Which if you’re not religious, which I am not formally, really translates to, let go, and fucking hope that you’ve taught your kid enough to drink responsibly.

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Now, Peter might fall asleep on the couch, but he always waits up for the kids. Miss Beauty Rest, here is out like a light around 10 ish. Maybe it’s because I know he stays up, or maybe it’s because I’m exhausted by then, or maybe it’s because I really know I can’t do anything and worry causes wrinkles, but I go to sleep. And last night, while Peter and I were catching up on Orphan Black, cursing Jake for not having installed the downstairs air conditioner (no we don’t have central air, and don’t remind me, because i want to sue the universe for this. Me and my love for old houses–pffft) and sweating like marathon runners, we both fell asleep on the couch–a hot mess. I declared my trip up the stairs to the air conditioned bedroom, and very unlike Peter, he followed and fell into a heap of sleep within seconds. All of which is to say that we both were sleeping like babies by 9 ‘O clock. I did, however, hear Ally come in, somewhere in there, her red dress swirling in the hallway, so I knew she was home.

This morning I woke up to several Facebook messages wondering if Ally was alright, telling me about the “headlines.” I ran to her room and woke her up, at 6:30, thank you, and she mumbled something about a bunch of people being dehydrated, drunk and doing drugs, but she was just fine. “That’s Avicii,” she said. When I inquired about whether it was fun, she yelled, “SO FUN,” and fell back to sleep. I ran to the computer and read the stories.

I am retroactively freaked out. All the freak I didn’t feel last night because I was sleeping, I am feeling now. But better retroactively freaked, right? Grateful Ally and her friends didn’t end up in a hospital last night. That would really look bad on a college application (although it could make a good college essay topic, hmmmmmm–crap, did I really just think of that–it’s junior year alright).

gratitude-a-thon day 423: ten ways to dust yourself off

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In this big bad (wonderful and amazing) world, who doesn’t need to take an advanced course in resilience. If you’re not dodging an incoming missile heading toward your relationships, you’re protecting yourself from a warhead bee lining for your career or your health. It’s a jungle out there. Here’s an article touting five characteristics of incredibly resilient people. And here, from a non-expert who has been finding my inner resilience for what feels like 10,987,538 years, are five things I think they missed.

1. Shop. Is anything more transformative than a stellar shopping experience at Bloomie’s, or any one of a katrillion online retailers who are 24/7, knocking on your computer screen? The idea of remaking yourself one item at a time is a sure fire way to get back up after you’ve fallen on your face. Hit the indulgent jewelry counter. Go for the really expensive shoes. Sure, a TJMaxx find where you save money can help, but nothing will put a little spring in your step like full price threads that makes you feel like you could be on the cover of Vogue.

2. Watch tv. People will say bad things about the boob tube, and yes, there is a lot of poopy on the small screen (does anyone even have a small screen anymore), but truthfully, I have dusted myself off more times while fully immersed in a full on tv binge, than I’d like to say. My point is a little diversionary activity when you’re down is a fine way to fuel yourself to get back up.

3. Eat. No, no, I don’t mean “Biggest Loser” kind of eating, but good eating. Healthy, fresh, cleaning-out-your-system kind of eating. I always get a boost from putting nutritious stuff into me. And hey, a little ice cream can’t hurt either.

4. Cry. Sometimes that’s the only thing that I can do to throw the car into third gear and floor it. Once I get all that water out of my system (and plan my next day around my blow fish face), I can often get on with the narrative of climbing out of the hole.

5. Friends. The support of friends is big, huge, MANDATORY. The very act of unloading your woes and getting a hug, or some kindness from a friend can heal a boo boo quicker than antibiotics.  Eat with a friend for bonus points. Laugh until you pee your pants with a friend and your halfway back to normal.

gratitude-a-thon day 422: til death do you part

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My kids have not been getting along. I will not bore you with the entire story, because that would take like, their entire lives to retell, but I will tell you that last night they were laughing together and having fun (despite the fact that they were together to go to a wake).

The sibling thing is impossible to capture. It’s comprised of all the same stuff that makes a good novel: humor, pathos, jealousy, adoration, love, and hate with a little bit of crazy town thrown in. To call the relationship complex would be like calling the sun, “one of the little stars that make up the galaxy.”

The shared history is unique. Even though my sisters were gone from the house by the time I was eight, they are the only people who really know what it was like to live at 88 Milwaukee Avenue. And that is big. I think for me, shared experience with anybody is a deal maker. It deepens a relationship, giving it a richness that’s like a hand whipped vat of butter.

I will go to the funeral of a close friend’s brother today. I will watch him give a eulogy. And while we in the audience will think we understand what he is feeling about losing his brother at 57, the only people who will really understand what he is saying are his brothers and sisters.

I’m so grateful to have one night of my kids getting along. They love each other madly, but that doesn’t necessarily trump the complicated relationship they have with each other. I am always hopeful they will find one another and be friends when they’re older. Because it’s their shared memories that will sustain and amuse them later on. They own those days of growing up together in a way nobody else can know or have. And that, that’s really the money shot.

gratitude-a-thon day 421: more important than life and death, ha!

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My house was a screaming mess of humanity last night as the US team lost the grip on a win over Portugal, in what I always call the heartbreak of soccer, defined as: “you can play better than the other team and lose anyway.” Of course, in this case at least we tied, but I have to say my stomach lurched in that way it does when you feel like you have something securely in your grasp that your feeble fingers allow to crash to the ground. Here’s a great commercial that provided a hearty giggle on this heartbreaking Monday morning of loss. Good one, right? Ok, let’s psych up for Thursday. Bone up on your German.

gratitude-a-thon day 420: a small, small bites friday

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Get your mind out of the gutter, it’s the Washington Monument, fourth grade style.

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Ate dinner with Deval Patrick last night at Barcelona Wine Bar. You know, not at the same table or anything, but still.

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It’s a mugshot. What’d he get arrested for–being gorgeous?

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LUPITA! Exactly where she belongs. Does she ever have an “ugly” day, I wonder.

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You must watch Fargo. You must watch Orange is the New Black, season two. I must get out more.

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Seeing my friend Jocelyn last night was really, really fun. Can you say HAM?

gratitude-a-thon day 418: another day

 

images-4I don’t know, is cancer more common now, or am I just at that age? It seems to be more prevalent than the Kardashians (and just as disturbing). If I’m not hoping I don’t have it because of a suspicious lump, or bump, or mole, I’m hearing about someone who does have it, or someone’s mother, or brother, or cousin, or mailman, or 2nd grade teacher who has just been diagnosed, or treated, or has lost their long and hard fight against it.

Yesterday, I was told my cousin would be starting hospice care soon, and then today a very, very close friend’s brother died at 57. It’s just so funny how life is. Not funny as in ha, ha, but funny as in strange, bizarre, completely ironic. I was driving to pick up my delinquent son from work, who has yet to get his license, and therefore is making me drive him around at age 19, thank you, and my daughter was in the car, and we were waiting for Jake with the radio blasting and the air conditioning on high, and I got a text that my friend’s brother had gone. While I was singing, he was leaving. And my friend was mourning, and the US team was probably still celebrating from yesterday’s win, and the kids on my street were likely running through the sprinkler at the park around the corner, and my dog was licking his leg, and my sister was packing up her stuff to move back from Miami, and the 8th graders at my kid’s old grammar school were getting ready to graduate, and the people at Star Market were wondering how they were going to stay open while everybody was going to Wegman’s. And, well you get the point, everybody is doing their thing, but while we’re all doing whatever it is we do, some people are dying. And somehow that seemed profound to me today. And crazy. And it made me want to eat dessert.

I’m looking at a very big tree in my backyard right now. Actually, it’s two trees that are sort of intertwined, which makes them look like one. There are slivers of light coming through the green leafy branches and just when you think you see the picture as it is, a breeze comes through and changes it. If that isn’t just like life.

Here’s to today. The days aren’t exactly a given anymore. They seem to be numbered now. I’m glad to count another.

gratitude-a-thon day 417: the ball, the boys, the victory

Ghana v USA: Group G - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

I wasn’t even in the room yet, and Dempsey killed it.

Before I was even in the den, while I was cooking the rice and slicing the onions and peppers, for a dinner of burrito’s, Clint Dempsey put it away. Screaming ensued, social media roared, and the family text chain went wild, wooing and hollering. Could they hold on for 95 more minutes, though, when the headlines were practically already written claiming victory for Ghana? And did my neighbors realize nobody was killed in a  brutal attack inside my house, but just excited about soccer?

 

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It was not looking good for Jozy, or the US, when down he went.

 

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Fuggetaboutit, Dempsey wasn’t about to let a broken nose keep him off the field.

Then the injuries began. What appeared to be a torn hamstring that I could feel rip down my own leg. Striker Jozy Altidore was laying on the field feeling like I did when I was having Jake and the epidural didn’t work. He was down, and so was my family. Then Dempsey took a leg to the nose. Again, I could feel the pain on my own face. But Forget it, he was having none of it.  They stuffed some stuff up his nostrils, and he played on, while clearly in a massive amount of pain. And somehow, though Ghana had what seemed like a million shots on goal, the US hung on. When they finally scored, it seemed the dream might be over, and they’d finally hit their stride, but again, somehow, like magic, the US kept them at bay, and then with a few minutes left, scored again. An unlikely US victory. Against all odds, and just like that.

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My pick for MGP (MOST GORGEOUS PLAYER), Graham Zusi. Score.

We love soccer around here. My brother-in-law is a sports writer, and expert soccer guy. Ally plays on an elite club team, and just won the state cup, Jake knows more about it than he should, and Peter has watched more games than a high school coach. And me, I have learned to love this sport where you don’t use your hands. It’s fast, and fun to watch. And yesterday was a perfect example of riding the roller coaster of a soccer game. And while we were happy for team USA, we all felt that Ghana’s play had been superior, and that really they should have won, but that’s the heartbreak of this game. It’s what’s weird and hard, but heck, I’ll take it.

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We win. Bittersweet ending for Ghana. Why do I always feel sorry for the losers?