gratitude-a-thon day 662: highway won

I’ve had a crush on California since I went to visit my sister for three weeks the summer before my senior year of high school. It was the first time I’d seen palm trees, and ocean with a side of mountains. It was sunny everyday. There was Disneyland, and Universal Studios and Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Beverly Hills, and vegetarian restaurants (and for a vegetarian this was nirvana in 1976, when nary a veggie restaurant could be found). And there were an abundance of blonde boys. It didn’t hurt that she lived in an apartment on Pacific Coast Highway where the waves of Malibu Beach rushed under the front deck, and we jetted around the city in a hot and speedy Austin Healy convertible.

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There have been several life situations in which I almost moved to L.A. (read boyfriends), but it was never right, and I never made the cross country crossover. Every time I visit that enormous state, I fall foolishly, madly and passionately in love again. And I wonder, could I do it, could I leave friends and family to start again 3,000 miles from home.

Given last winter, the answer is probably yes. Will I? I don’t know.

But this last week gave me a deeper adoration for Cali than I’ve ever had before. Driving from L.A. to S.F. on the twisty, hold-on-to-your-stomach, HOLY FUCKING SHIT highway 1, you can’t help but think to yourself that California got some damn good genes. Other states must be jealous. Hey midwest, do you feel like the ugly step sisters? It’s hard to get pictures that capture the essence of this drive, especially if you’re clutching the side of the car like an escaped convict holds onto his tenuous freedom. But the depth and natural gorgeosity defies our 26 letter alphabet. WE NEED MORE LETTERS.

I have so much gratitude for this kind of stunningly no make-up, no editing needed, 100% real deal natural beauty. It brings you back to yourself. It reminds you to appreciate the shocking work of art we live on.

gratitude-a-thon day 660: da plane, da plane

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What would my immigrant great grandparents think of being able to get into a slab of metal as long as a city block and find yourself across the country? it still amazes me that planes work, that they somehow stay in the air, and get you places it would take a gazillion hours to drive a car, or take a train, or walk to get to.

if I really wanted to freak my great grandparents out, I would tell them that I am typing on a machine on the plane, that will broadcast my words all over the world. Oh look, one of them just died.

The rest of them would die over the fact that you can watch movies and get like hundreds of tv channels, too. Not to mention go to the bathroom.

What can’t I even imagine that will be a total given, a complete taken-for-granted something, something when my great grandchildren are talking about moi?

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gratitude-a-thon day 659: anticipation (sing it, carly)

big-sur-pfeiffer-sp The act of anticipating is money in the bank. All that star dust rushing around your brain, going about your business with the knowledge that you have a sofa with a secret in your pocket. All the excited blood cells, the partying neurons, the frat-boy-on-a Friday-night synapses. It’s Christmas morning on steroids. It’s the day you fall in love but better, it’s a perpetual half-smile, fireflies in your stomach, two desserts. Driving up the coast of California starting tomorrow. None of us have ever done this before, so it’s crazy exciting. Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, San Francisco, rocky cliffs, a night in a hotel with no phones, clocks, or wireless. Bring it on Cali. Giddy-up.

gratitude-a-thon day 659: early

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Quiet.

Morning solitude is soft and nourishing. It feels kind and hopeful. I love to feel the beat of life, the energy of purpose, but in the morning, before people are even out of their beds pumping the coffee into their veins, there is this, the trees, the empty roads, the open sky, and an invitation to do better. I never think of terrorist plots, or mass killings, or racism, or how many women Bill Cosby drugged during the silent moments of pre-dawn. I just think of breathing, in and out. I wish I could bottle that calm and pull it out when I need it. I could sell it like hotdogs on a street cart in Manhattan. People would line up for blocks. “Calm here, get your calm here.”

Until I figure out that technology, I will get up early, before everybody else and let the air fill my lungs, and the sweetness of possibility inhabit my brain. Ahhhhhh–maste.

gratitude-a-thon day 658: small bites friday

I AM OFFICIALLY ON VACATION ON MONDAY. SING IT, GIRLS.

And you didn’t think skeletons were pretty?

That team sure clean up nice.

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I would just like to say that this was not the case in Boston in February.

Trainwreck opens today. Getting my Depends Undergarments in place.

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I’m sorry, but I want my Atticus to stay just the way he is.

Isn’t this the most heavenly weather, Bean town?

gratitude-a-thon day 657: pretty is as pretty does

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A friend and I were saying the other day that we were a little bit over Caitlyn Jenner. I think the initial curiosity about how she would look, and how the whole thing would play were engrossing, but then it seemed she was everywhere and the two of us felt a little bit like “That is just enough now. Basta, already.”

But last night, I sat through the entire length of the Espy’s because I was once again obsessed with how Caitlyn would present herself. I am a little bit of a media slut that way. I am fascinated by the decisions and care of how things like this are publicly handled. I mean, big picture, this is an unbelievable story. Olympic Decathalon winner, Wheaties Box Cover Dude, Macho American Hero, husband of three, daddy of 10 goes from wearing the pants in the family to wearing the bra. Last night as I watched the recap video of Caitlyn’s life, I was shocked at the irony of it all over again.

And the pain.

I believe the Arthur Ashe award for Courage was given to the right person. Others disagree. Caitlyn is not just showing us her flawless make-up and designer duds, she is showing us brazen and boffo bravery, the bravery to be yourself, whoever that is. She has turned this circus into a a cause, and for that, millions of trans people, and I believe, others struggling with not being part of the “norm” might be able to live their lives with acceptance and dignity. This is no circus, this is a movement. Girl is making a difference. I for one, am impressed by the immensity of her story, and the courage it takes to pursue this cause. Not to mention the other message that she is sending, which is, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. As totally cheese ball as that sounds, this woman, at 65, did it. And with a lot of grace, I might add.

Some people think climbing Mt. Everest is brave. Some think jumping out of a plane takes guts. But being who you know you are, whoever that is can be the most courageous move you can make.  Congratulations to the new girl in town, Caitlyn. She may wear fancy clothes, and hang with celebs, but this chick is changing the world.

gratitude-a-thon day 656: sports illustrated for the win

I keep re-living the pure awesomosity of the Women’s World Cup over and over again in my head. So, you can imagine how happy I was to hear that Sports Illustrated has given every player on the team a cover of her own! Yup, 25 different covers, plus one for the coach. As super cool as the win, if you ask me.

gratitude-a-thon day 655: i can see clearly now

Super cutie pie Piper reminded me that just opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see is something to be a barrel full of grateful for. Seeing is one of those things that is so much a part of your life, that unless you have something wonky going on with your vision, you don’t even think about.

My dad was blind in one eye for my whole life, and there was always a concern for his other eye. I did a lot of thinking about his eyes growing up. He was a hot mess when it came to his vision. I blew out a lot of birthday cake candles wishing that his other eye would be ok when in 7th grade he finally had a surgery that would either give him 20/20 in that eye, or render him completely blind. It was a success, due in part to my wishes, I’m sure.

Anyway, just noting that if you feel in a bad way, like you have not a thing to be grateful for, get back to basics, and take a good look at your body. Your senses, your limbs, the intricate system inside you, from your brain to your heart. It’s kind of amazing how most of the time all that stuff just works on its own. Holy gratitude, Batman.