gratitude-a-thon day 685: Welcome to Boston

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The Strandbeests walked, or actually had to be pushed. They were plenty cool, though.

I’ve lived in Boston a long time. Like since Paul Revere rode through the streets. I used to know the city intimately, could drive anywhere. But once the Big Dig happened and one wrong turn could land you in New Hampshire, I sort of stopped going downtown. But what was happening while I was letting the reorganization spook me was evident last night. We went to the Greenway to see the Strandbeests walk (truth be known, they had to be pushed because there was not a bit of wind), and go to the North End for dinner with friends. But it was anything but an ordinary Friday night, it was totally electric, with public art dotting the city like snowflakes in February.

First of all, weather is everything. A nice night could make a dark alley attractive, but add the smell of the sea, and miles of art, a carousel and scads of people¬†eating and drinking at outdoor restaurants, and you’ve got a place you want to call home (hey, it actually is my home!).

I fell in love with Boston last night. All over again. What a great city. Boston Strong might have to be replaced with Boston Amazing.

gratitude-a-thon day 684: picture perfect

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I love photography. I prefer it to painting. I¬†particularly love black and white photography. I learned to develop at B.U. and briefly considered changing my major to photography, because I’d fallen so deeply in love with everything about taking pictures. It would have meant at least another semester of school to fulfill my requirement, so I ditched the idea, but sometimes I wish I’d stayed and made that my major.

Take a look at these absolutely insane pictures, The International Landscape Photographer Of The Year Winners. I’m drooling.(I even like the one with snow in it!)

gratitude-a-thon day 682: word

Wait until the last line, that’s my favorite, but this whole trailer is pretty great, isn’t it?

I always knew the word “shenanigans,” but¬†it wasn’t a word I¬†ever, say, threw into a conversation.

Until the movie Juno, a spectacular, truly brilliant film¬†about a really smart teenager (well, she wasn’t that smart when it came to birth control), who gets pregnant. Ellen Page is a revelation. Anyway, there is a scene in which Jenifer Garner, who is going to adopt Juno’s¬†baby,¬†asks her if she shouldn’t be getting home and she replies, “I’m already pregnant, what other kind of shenanigans can I get into?” Boom. I fell in love with not only Ellen Page’s delivery, but also that word. Shenanigans.

First there’s the hilarious sound of it. Usually “sh” isn’t funny, but it lends a certain hilarity here. Sometimes I see words in my mind. My daughter does to. When she was little she told us she thought of China as an giant onion. Some parents might have worried, but I understood. Anywho, I see clowns doing cartwheels in front of a ferris wheel when I hear the word “shenanigans.” I have no idea why, but there you have it.

Lately the word just seems to be one I want to use and hear over and over again. There’s something¬†so funny and flip about it, something so genuine and silly. This is an example of how you can be grateful for anything, even something as simple as a word. Start looking around.

gratitude-a-thon day 681: the best moment that happens everyday

It happens everyday. First thing. Riley gets up and I let him out the back on a leash for his morning pee (I walk him later). When he comes in, he has a determined look in his eyes, and he begins a low growl that grows into a mini howl, and sometimes, when he wakes up really hungry, even into a bark.

For my part, since I can talk in words, I say, “You want a treat? Is that what you want? Should we get a treat?” (As if it were ever in question that we would get a treat.)

We walk to the cabinet, I open it and ask him to sit, which he does obediently, and then I give him a Greenie, at which point, he turns around and runs out of the room to privately dine on it in the hallway or den.

This is ritual. And for some reason this bit of communication between me and my dog, is often the best part of my day. I think it is the true feeling of speaking to one another, and I guess the utter excitement that I can see this treat is for Riley. He is so in the moment. And I guess maybe I am too. In the moment with my dog and a teeth-cleaning bone. I am grateful for it every single damn day.

gratitude-a-thon day 679: the goldilocks story

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The house is shockingly quiet when my kids aren’t home. There’s a stillness I can’t describe. Interestingly, Ally went¬†away this¬†weekend, the same weekend ¬†that is the traditional¬†“college drop-off” weekend, which a year from now we will be participating in.

Suddenly the house feels too big, too verbose.  It begs for raucous sounds, yelling and laughing, the incessant opening and closing of refrigerator and cabinet doors. The smell of TAG and Wink, the piles of shoes and back packs in the hallway that make me ABSOLUTELY NUTS.

The house was never right for a family, not laid out in a way that small kids could sprawl,¬†and adults could live comfortably. I always wanted a different scheme, always wished for that fourth room on the first floor, a luxurious bath and closet the size of the sky. We fixed it up a little at a time, but it always begged for more, and there were other things we wanted, trips and experiences we felt would make memories we’d think about on our death beds. With constantly rising prices in our town, we never could quite buy something better than what we had (and in the gratitude department, our nine room money pit is¬†in a¬†great location, 15 minutes from downtown Boston, with a tiny yard and the loveliest¬†neighbors, so believe me, I’ve always felt¬†lucky, even though it has never taken¬†my breath away).

Whereas once it was too small, in a year, it will be too big. This poor house’s self-esteem must be dragging from my perpetual disappointment in it. Maybe the message is that a house is just that, a place that shelters. ¬†Its inhabitants make it a home. (MAN, it took me a long time to get that.)