gratitude-a-thon day 455: small bites (of Halloween candy) friday

10649737_728489447230981_3569352183229538137_n

Happy halloween. This is Portobello Road’s pumpkin. It’s not enough that everything in there is heaven, they even have the best pumpkin ever!

 

Don’t mean to rain on your Halloween parade, but check out these sobering candy calorie stats. Eat carefully.

Middle school girls re-make Ghostbusters trailer, and it’s a hoot. Junior high is much more fun than it used to be.

I was a geisha one year for Halloween. My mom’s friend brought me a kimono from Japan, which inspired this odd choice for a five year old. Anyway, I spiked a 104 fever, and got to go to my grandmother’s for some lame candy bar, before crashing on the couch. #worsthalloweenever.

Don’t forget to check out the multiple Google Doodles today.

Lastly, and un-Halloween, I am terribly sad about the loss of Mayor Tom Menino. He was the heart of Boston.

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 454: pulling over on the information superhighway

social-media-overload-3-flipped

I am increasingly obsessed with technology. My phone has become part of my palm. My computer is never far from my side, my social media accounts never far from my mind (“like” this, “share” that, “post” now).

On the one hand, I’m thrilled to now live in a world that’s absurdly connected. People from Germany, Australia, freaking Bulgaria read my blog. We can know, in the time it takes to type 140 characters what’s happening in Laos. News spreads like a California wildfire. We can know more. We can see more. We can link to people who geographically might as well live on the moon, re-kindle old friendships, look up failed relationships in hopes that they have miserable marriages and 20 extra pounds.

But there are days when I feel I can’t keep up. I feel the world speeding by like a Nascar contender, and I feel like I’m in an Escher stairway, climbing to nowhere. Normally, I laugh at people who make fun of the internet for this very reason. Usually I giggle and sigh and think, “Well, get off then, it’s yours for the taking. It’s not like somebody’s Krazy gluing you to your computer.” But in a way it is, because what do you miss, what is going on while you’re not at attention, on top of the keys, tapping away and making sure that you’re the CEO of cyberspace.

Thing is, when it comes to the internet, you can’t ever tame the beast. For all the endless information that surfing the web can provide, it’s not possible to get to every bit of it. It’s not humanly achievable to master the world wide web, unless you want to give up your world wide web of real life. There has to be limits. You need to live in your body without your fingers attached to your keyboard, looking for the next big thing, the next Isis attack, the next Kardashian plastic surgery, the next Facebook, Instagram posting of that person with perfect hair, on a perfect vacation, doing perfectly perfect yoga poses.

I sometimes don’t even think or ponder anymore, so quick am I to google whatever it is I’m wondering. The internet can think for me more quickly than I can think for myself. Is this why I can’t remember stuff, because I don’t have to?

The internet is remarkable. It’s changed all of our lives in important and exciting ways. I am happier to have it than not to have it. But I for one, need to check myself every now and then, (and not check twitter and Facebook) to see my three dimensional world, to remember more is good when it comes to jewelry and closet space, but not so much when it comes to your brain and information.

gratitude-a-thon day 453: A good book is a good book

SHARP-OBJECTS_612x612

I’m having a sinus thing, which on top of that foot thing has kept me in bed and BORED. So, having just seen the movie Gone Girl, and having loved the book, except for the ending, which I felt like was a letdown, I took my trusty Kindle and decided to see what else Gillan Flynn had written. I came up with Sharp Objects, and while you might argue that Ms. Flynn is no literary master, I would argue that she sure can type out a tantalizingly engrossing story.

Yeah, I could be sticking my nose into the latest political essays, or devouring some classic I missed, but know what? Ms. Flynn has me in the palm of her hand. And that’s where I like to be when I’m reading. She knows how to create characters while she’s spinning her tale, characters that you care about. That’s huge. And without it a story is about as good as reading the side of a milk bottle. Here’s to Ms. Flynn, you got me.

gratitude-a-thon day 451: think young, feel better?

2626counterclockwise-slide-TNNM-blog427

Ok, so did you hear about this?

Harvard psych professor, Ellen Langer, did this cool experiment in 1981, with eight men in their 70’s, where she had them go to a converted monastery and told them to act 22 years younger than they were. The building was tricked out in 1959, from earlier photos of the men, to Perry Como on the radio and Ed Sullivan on a black and white tv. They were told to totally inhabit themselves in 1959, to be the person they were back then. And guess what, five days later, the group was suppler, had greater manual dexterity, sat taller, and bizarrely their sight had improved. Independent judges said they even looked younger. As Langer said of the subjects, “They had put their mind in an earlier time, and their bodies went along for the ride.”

Does this mean I should be wearing the leggings of the late 90’s (hey, come to think of it, I am wearing leggings of the late 90’s), and bangs, listening to Natalie Merchant, struggling with infertility, immersing myself in advertising, watching “Seinfeld” and “Mad About You” (avoiding “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman” and “Law & Order”)? Maybe. Because don’t you think this is wildly interesting news (even though it’s sort of old news, but it just came out in this fascinating NYT magazine article).

Seems to me what it does mean, is that trying to maintain a young attitude must be good for your health. Maybe not re-decorating the whole house in an earlier era, but trying to do some of the things you did when you were not as old as you are now, and most importantly, trying to really remember  the inner feeling of what it was like to be younger.

Maybe Peter Pan had it right. I’m cueing up ‘Sex and The City” right now.

gratitude-a-thon day 450: cheap thrills

happiness_is_free__by_eatthewords-d5w1jyx

I found this article today on the Huffpost and started thinking about my own cheap ways of finding joy. Here’s what I got.

1. Sleep in. Shut the alarm clock off and slumber away. Yeah, you’ll have to deal when you get up, but c’mon, pure unadulterated joy for that moment is worth it.

2. Have a serious cuddle with your animal. I can’t believe how happy hanging with my dog makes me. And the cost: nada.

3. Shop online, but don’t buy anything. I call this windows shopping, and just like real window shopping, it doesn’t cost  a cent. I go to a site, load up my cart, and then leave. Sometimes I go back to the site and buy,  but half the time, I don’t buy a thing, but I sort of get the thrill of thinking I did.

4. Call a friend. Sometimes talking on the phone is so darn nourishing. And it has no calories. Score.

5. Make a plan for the weekend, a trip, the holidays. Anticipating happiness is part of feeling happiness. And it’s free, free, free.

6. Clean the kitchen. I don’t know, when there’s no clutter in the kitchen, the world seems a better place.

7. Take a bath. Gawd, I LOVE A BATH. That first moment when you immerse yourself in that hot water and your muscles are all, like, singing the Hallelujah chorus. Ahhhhhhh.

8. Put some music on and dance. Really get your groove on. I do this all the time. Dance party for one, and yes, my neighbors must think I’m kookoo for Coco Puffs, but who cares. Extra joy, if you also sing LOUDLY to the song you’re dancing to. With my voice, this is the only acceptable way to sing.

9. Stretch. It’s amazing what giving your body a stretch or two will do for the rest of you.

10. Go to a bookstore and read. Hit the magazine rack, sit down with an interior design book, scan the best sellers and read a paragraph or two of every one. I always feel good in a book store. Even though I’m a Kindle reader, I still get a thrill in a store filled with words.

gratitude-a-thon day 448: the curse has been broken

IMG_2421

The curse of the Brookline High School Girls Varsity Soccer team not making playoffs in 25 years has been broken.  In gusting wind, pouring rain, and freezing temperatures, not to mention on Senior Day, BHS GVS scored on Weymouth for the win, and at the end of the game, there was some seriously happy people flooding the field.

I made these foam core letters that spelled out PLAYOFFS, so that when the girls did their traditional run across the field, post-game, where the parents and fans are, we’d be holding the word PLAYOFFS and they’d get a good giggle. But Peter was feeling superstitious and wouldn’t let me get the letters out of the car until the game was over, so when he finally did grab them, we couldn’t get the parents and letters in order quickly enough (we spelled out, like SFPYOFPA), which kind of broke my heart, but then the girls grabbed the letters and ran back to their side, and posed with them, which was even better!

It was completely disgusting weather, but man what a day. This team and this coach have made history, and it was crazy exhilarating and exciting to be there. For a soccer family, it doesn’t get better than this. Congrats to my little Warrior, Ally, who plays with heart, skill, and determination every time she’s near a ball, and to the entire awesome team. Warrior pride. Oh yeah.

gratitude-a-thon day 447: small bites friday

images

In the pouring rain and howling wind, Brookline Girls Varsity Soccer made it to the playoffs yesterday. It hasn’t been done in 25 years. Yup, vientecinco, people. #youkilleditwarriors.

I used to really like the Huffington Post, but with headlines like “Ebola hits Gotham,” I’m not feeling it so much anymore. Come on, Arianna, what are you competing with The Daily News? (Even their headline, “NY Doc Has Ebola.” wasn’t as sensationalist).

Looking for a little Halloween make-up? Here you go. Kinda like the zipper face, myself.

That song is for the birds. No really, it might be.

The holidays are coming. Maybe a condo pony is just the gift you need for that special someone?

Don’t you just hate when you text the wrong person? #oooops.

I used to shoot film only in black and white. I loved the way it spun the world.

The thing about Renee Zellwegger and her “new look” that’s disturbing is, if she has had plastic surgery, why not just fess up? What’s the big deal? She works in an industry where you’re not allowed to age, so it’s basically like updating her skill set to make sure she can keep her job. I mean, right?

Wishing Tom Menino every comfort as he seeks hospice care.

Monica Lewinsky, who couldn’t live on the moon, without someone recognizing her, has come out of the shadows to talk about cyber bullying. I give her credit. She was a kid who fell in love with her boss. We don’t always make the best decisions in our 20’s, do we?

Hey, Barney’s now has a Warehouse on their site. #nowthatsexcitingshoppingnews.

jake-a-tude-a-thon day 346: happy birthday mr. twenty

Scan 5

I can’t believe I didn’t squeeze you to death as a baby. It was love at first sight.

To the smart, funny, wildly charming, and completely adorable Jakey,

Twenty. Two decades. You bid a fond farewell to the teens as of today, buddy.

But WHAT? Wasn’t it five minutes ago that you were running around our Davis Ave. condo, wildly taking books off the shelves in the hallway, tearing up Emerson Park, giant green eyes with foot long lashes that made people stop me on the street to tell me how adorable you were? Well, wasn’t it? Five minutes ago?

Scan 7

Bath time. You were only like three months here, but already you loved being naked.

It seems a cosmic mishap that you could be this old, which of course, is really young. but you know what I mean. I just don’t get it. And where is that little version of you? Is he in another part of the world playing Legos? I really loved that little dude. I wish I could see him again.

Scan 12

Yes, your eyes really were this big.

Scan 4

In your room, art work and “your cow” in the background.

But I know he’s in you. I see him every so often, when you are charming adults, just like you did when you were a kid. How many of our friends said of you, when you were a little guy, “I wish I could have coffee with Jake.” How many teachers told us they could just teach to you, but they had other kids in the room? You have always been a force of adorable, a meteor of charisma, a dynamic presence.

 

Scan 10

Rocking the overalls, Christmas on Elm Street.

Scan 15

Yup, you on the Vineyard with your good friend Sophie. You’ve always been a show stopper.

 

My love for you is as big as the sun and as powerful as the gosh darn internet. It fills me up, makes me better, stays with me like a shadow. Sometimes I think about how you almost weren’t, about how hard it was for the egg and sperm to do their dance, on account of my faulty insides, And I think how different my life would be, how much less it would be without you. Our connection is deep and big and real. The way we know each other’s thoughts in a glance. The way our minds work. Lucky. I got lucky that things came together in just the right way for me to have you.
To know you. To love you.

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 5.13.39 PM - Version 2

Switzerland,  fourth grade.

You are twenty. And intelligent, and incredible, and ready for everything. Take your time. There is time. Be a force of good. Be a leader. Go boldly, but wisely. Have fun, but be smart. Learn everything there is to learn. It will inform the rest of your life. It will make everyday richer. Take it all in. You are at the start. Be big, stay open, and laugh. Keep laughing.

IMG_0080

Barcelona, 2014.

I am so proud of you, Jake, like billboard-on-Hollywood-Boulevard proud. You’re good inside. You’re my most special thing (you and your sister), my best thing. You can be or do anything you want to do or be. I send you out there with my love embedded inside you, to remember that when you are tired, I can be your battery, that when you doubt yourself, when you mess up, my love will still be there. Right inside your heart.

IMG_1874

About to get your BHS diploma.

You are everything. Even more than everything. And you are twenty.

Happy birthday. I am so gratitude-a-thon grateful to be your mom. What a privilege.

Be amazing. Fight on. I love you.

IMG_1682

A boy and his mom. GOD, I LOVE YOU.