gratitude-a-thon day 709: a tear in the knee, a pain in the heart

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Ally has played with her amazing friend Liz for about six or seven years on her club team and her high school team. 13 & 23, the dynamic duo.
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Stretching with Liz and the team before the big Friday night game at B.U.
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And more stretching before the game.
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The National Anthem before the Weymouth game at B.U.

I’m not an athlete. Sure, I work out, used to run, was a cheerleader (I can’t even), bike, swim, give Jane Fonda a run for her leg warmers, but I don’t have that competitive thing, that inner drive that makes you want to desecrate an opponent, makes you block out the rest of the world and just go the fuck for it.

But my dauaghter Ally does. My daugher Ally is an athlete. A competitor. A “beast”, as one of her earliest coaches used to describe her.

She has been playing soccer since she was five, showing promise even then. She worked her way up from the town rec. league to the travel team, to the bottom of a prestigious club team, and to its highest peak–the elite team, making her high school varsity team her freshman year. Along the way, there were bumps, and brusises, but mostly of her ego, as she learned more and more about how to play the game of soccer. Her commitment has always been total, her spirit, always undaunted, her road rage, full on, watch out, taking names and kicking ass.

To play at this level you have to give up a lot. Parties, weekends away, vacation weeks off, sleepovers, sometimes even friends who just don’t get it. She did all that, sometimes with a grunt, but mostly with a smile. She loved the ball. She loved the field. She loved the game.

In the past two years, her skills, body, and psyche merged and she became a force, the kind of soccer player coaches always knew she could be, the kind of player Ally always wanted to be. And so it was, her senior year, that she was killing it, and it looked as though she would have one of those high school fantasy seasons, with lots of pats on the back and accolades.

Until Friday night, when at a big game played under the lights at B.U.’s Nickerson Field, when going in for her third goal of the game, she was tripped, and went down.

And stayed down.

And just like that, her season ended. Her high school season ended right there. On that field, with a big crowd chanting her name. “Ally, Ally, Ally.”

She has the injury every soccer player fears (and every parent has nightmares about), a torn ACL. This is the season-ending KIng of injuries, as it requires surgery and a 6-8 month recovery, depending on who you talk to. This is the bitch.

And that’s where we are, three consults in quick succession this week, with surgeons who will cut into her virgin knee and aim to make things right. We went from our biggest worry being how to get to playoffs to how to get through rehab.

But see, I’m the one who’s crying, not Ally. Because Ally is an athlete. She is not looking forward to surgery, but she is looking forward to coming back, stronger than ever. Because Ally is an athlete. And everything that means.

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She’ll be back.

gratitude-a-thon day 708: de-throned

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As my friend (shout out to Mike Walsh) said, “I’ve got pope-partum depression.”

And while I absolutely LOVED having the pope covered in such a 24/7 way (I was half expecting to see him covered while he slept), because he is the most humanitarian of people, one of the best things about having him visit was that he took the spotlight off of the UN-POPE, Donald Trump.

Here’s a lovely clip of him on 60 Minutes last night explaining how he will deport immigrants.

gratitude-a-thon day 707: church of gratitude

I guess I use gratitude as a form of religion (I would love for the Pope to be the head dude, because really this guy deserves his own breakaway faith and plus he has really good head gear).

I reach for gratitude everyday, but especially when I am overwhelmed, or sad, or feeling in general that life is treating me like the pile of poop emoji.Unknown-2

The act of focusing on what you have vs. what you don’t have is a winning strategy. You just keep turning things on their ear.

I am grinding it out right now, trying to make a bad situation bearable. I am focusing on fuzzy blankets, and tonight’s blood moon, and true friends. I am focusing on the quiet within myself that is powerful as a locomotive. I am resourceful when it comes to finding a path through the heavily wooded, muddy, cold. It’s never about how you fall, it’s only about how you get up.

This is what we do in the church of gratitude. We look for the good, we focus on the good. We live in the good, the silver linings. This is where we pray.

gratitude-a-thon day 706: 10 reasons i’m a little in love with the pope

1. He’s not just interested in religion, he’s interested in human rights. He is getting all up into politics and speaking about how to do the right thing, not just for Catholics, but for all of us.

2. He’s humble. Forget splashy, Pope Francis is all about the littlest footprint, the lavishly UNappointed trappings.

3. He’s courageous. The Pontiff isn’t afraid to be in out in the crowd.

4. He’s doing stuff no other Pope has ever done. He’ s addressing  issues  like the LGBT community without judgement.

5. He’s adorable, and he likes to laugh!

6. He’s actually addressing climate change (which is more than I can say for some republicans who believe it isn’t even real).

7. Doggone it, people like him.

8. He once worked as a nightclub bouncer.

9. His parents are Italian.

10. His warmth, humility, intelligence, inclusiveness, and outspoken manner are a religion I want to belong to.

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gratitude-a-thon day 705: fall coldiage

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“ATTENTION BODILY FLUIDS, ATTENTION ALL BODILY FLUIDS.

PLEASE REPORT TO THE NASAL AREA. THERE IS A HEAD COLD IN PROGRESS AND WE NEED ALL PERSONNEL.

THE FIRST RESPONDERS SHOULD GO IN THE DIRECTION OF THE THROAT. COAT THAT THING LIKE A BACKYARD SLIP ‘N SLIDE. WE NEED TO TRY AND MAKE THIS THICK SO SHE CAN HARDLY SWALLOW. GROUP TWO, AND I DO HOPE YOU CAN ALL FIT IN THERE TOGETHER, YOU NEED TO BLOW ON HER THROAT EVER SO GENTLY.

BE A FEATHER.

I REPEAT, BE A FEATHER.

WHEN YOU HEAR HER COUGHING LIKE A DOG BARKING AT THE MAILMAN, MARRIED TO A BAD CASE OF EMPHYSEMA , YOU’LL KNOW YOU’VE DONE YOUR JOB.

NEXT GROUP, PLEASE REPORT TO THE NASAL PASSAGES. THIS IS NOT CALIFORNIA, SO MAKE LIKE A FAUCET. SHE SHOULD HAVE A STEADY STREAM JUST DRIPPING ON OUT OF THERE. THINK NIAGRA FALLS ON STEROIDS.

NAVY SEALS, HEAD RIGHT INTO THE SINUSES. GET DOWN IN THERE, DO THE WHIP, DO THE NAE NAE, WHOOP IT UP. WE’RE LOOKING FOR A HEADACHE AS ALL ENCOMPASSING AS DONALD TRUMP’S STUPIDITY.

ALL OTHER PERSONNEL, YOU LAZY BASTARDS, DO WHAT YOU CAN TO MAKE HER UNCOMFORTABLE FROM HEAD TO TOE. LOW BACK IS A WEAKNESS, SO GO THERE. HIT THE NECK. HAMSTRINGS. WHATEVER YOU SLACKERS GOT, GIVE IT.

THIS IS A FULL ON HEAD COLD, WITH POTENTIAL FOR SINUS INFECTION, AND WHO KNOWS, EVEN FLU. LET’S DO THIS THING.”

gratitude-a-thon day 704: stretching yourself

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Roni Brissette. Um, yeah, this isn’t me.

A few weeks ago I started taking a beginning yoga class. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. My body, not so much.

Well, that’s not really true. True is that I have a not so good back, and that not so good back has been shepherded along by a trainer for the last eight years. She got to know my body so well that I stopped trying to figure out on my own what might set  off my intricate spinal system, and just trusted that she would know. And she did. And she made me stronger and taught me that I could actually do things I didn’t think I would ever do again. She was the most awesome. Until she moved to California. Yup, another one bites the dust to the West Coast (as if it’s not enough that my boy is there). That goddamn state is killing me.

Back to yoga. The trainer who I’ll call Colleen, (because that’s her name!) did a mixture of yoga and core work, and weight training with me. But see I never really thought the yoga was real yoga. But then I got to this class, and I saw that it was indeed real yoga. And that I was actually familiar with many of the moves already.

Only a funny thing happened.

I understood them in a sort of different way. This is a theme for me. Maybe for everyone, if you turn on your awareness. It depends on where you stand, physically and mentally as to how a piece of information reaches you, affects you, makes you act. This class and wonderful teacher is explaining to us all what to do to strike a pose, and my little pea brain, is being able to hear it in a way that allows my body to dig deep into its Colleenmemoryarea and create it in a deeper more aware  way. I’m not explaining this well at all, but let’s just say, I can do this shit, in a more thoughtful way and I’m loving it!

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Today I have a head cold that will prevent me from going to my class, but not from trying to do my little tree pose (which I’ve been practicing (I’ve decided to be a Magnolia), on my own.

Gratitude to the excellence of Roni Brisette Yoga. Namaste. Sneeze,cough, sniff.