gratitude-a-thon day HALLOWEEN

Yesterday my husband and I were walking the dog together and we were both like, what the hell is Halloween, anyway? So, I went to my brain trust (Google) and found out. You’re welcome.

Of course, we all know it’s all about candy. Just ask  Seinfeld (so much gratitude for this old bit of his, when he was the absolute king of comedy).

There has to be nuts, if you ask me, but Vox recently ranked Halloween candy from best to worse just to help you out tonight, when you steal from your kids, or worse yet, pretend to be a teenager at the door of your neighbor with a lame costume on and an open plastic pumpkin head. We’re in trouble this year with no kids home, we may have to hold up some of our trick or treaters (I apologize in advance, we will not use guns).

Stay safe, and what I really mean is, don’t chew anything that will pull out a filling, or worse, a crown.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 947: breathing in, breathing out

 

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The longer the election mayhem continues, the more I have to soothe my jangled nerves with gratitude.

Finding the stuff of the hallelujah chorus is easier than stomaching the daily insanity and cray cray news bites from people who don’t seem to be dealing with a full, or even partially full deck. I have been trying to sit quietly for as long as I can each day,  just focusing on the things around me that are purely good (there are a lot of them in our midst).

A few days ago I had one of those preposterously bad and overwhelming days, but my saving grace came in the form of a Skype session with Colleen Quinn, my personal trainer (who has been my personal trainer for nine years, and has helped me with my faulty spine, and who is smarter than anybody you know–so smart, in fact, she moved to California where the winter doesn’t majorly suck) who instead of making me do sit-ups, lead me through a guided meditation, in which the bottom line was that my breath was going in and out, my feet were on the ground, and I was absolutely ok. I was so grateful for her intuition, which helped her to understand this would be the best way to work me out. Sometimes you just have to force your mind to do some planks.

This is the sort of thing that I am endlessly thankful for–when someone gets you, exactly when you need to be gotten. Colleen could have easily missed the fact that I needed to ground myself, more than I needed to strengthen my core. We could have mindlessly done sit up after sit up, but we both would have missed what changed my perspective and my day.

The act of being grateful for this exchange was almost as buoying as the meditation itself. That’s the super sonic power of gratitude. There are many dozens of good things to focus on, and the best part of the whole deal is that all you have to do is look around. It’s almost as easy as breathing (which it turns out, isn’t always that easy).

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 946: Life is Good Kids Foundation is the best of the best

It was raining last night. Hard. Friends invited us to a fundraiser for the Life is Good Kids Foundation. I wanted to get under the blankets and watch Project Runway, while eating a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich (best low cal-ish treat EVER, seriously–get up from your computer and go get a box right NOW). I didn’t though, and despite not knowing who Heidi and the gang sent home in real time, I’m glad I didn’t.

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Steve Gross, Founder and Chief. Guy is a visionary giver, who is all charismatic goodness.

It’s hard not to be swept up in the positivity, generosity and all-around good nature of this company. These brothers and their staff live and breathe optimism. It’s downright inspiring. What rain?

In addition to selling clothing that promotes a sunny disposition, they are also giving back with the aforementioned Life is Good Kids Foundation (slackers). This wing of the company partners with leading childcare organizations to positively impact the quality of care delivered to the most vulnerable kids out there. They help children from all over the place, from schools and hospitals to homeless shelters.They believe that the single greatest health crisis facing children in America is exposure to adverse childhood experiences, and are doing everything they can to improve the odds for these kids.

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John Jacobs, with his brother Bert, began Life is Good. These guys are humble, down-to-earth and like, really good people.

The party was awesome. There was great music, including the band Dispatch, and it was at the cool Artists for Humanity space in South Boston.

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Front row seats for a band that’s sold out Madison Square Garden.

Gratitude to a company model that is all about the good stuff–not just talking about it, or printing it on a t-shirt, but getting out there and making it happen. It’s the kind of event that helped me wash off the grime and dirt of the election for a night (and that is a very good thing). Go to the Life is Good website if you need some optimism. Just the experience of clicking through will get you in a better mood. And if you have some time or money for this super worthy cause, the door is open. Attitude and action. Yup.

gratitude-a-thon day 944: Fran Leibowitz

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Last night after a fabulous dinner at Little Donkey in Cambridge, which was terribly delicious, despite  3/4’s of the way through the feast, the diner who sat down next to us, WAS YELLING LIKE, CHEERLEADER loud, my friend Karen and I went to see the iconic Fran Leiebowitz.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Fran, she is someone who gives zero fucks about anything except what she believes. And the only thing she believes is what comes out of her mouth–an opinionated New York perspective that’s both intelligent and hilarious. She is also an author and editor and by her own admission, a lazy person.

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In short, I love her and have always loved her. I asked her what she would like to do that she hasn’t done, and she said she’d like to win the lottery so she didn’t have to work. I’m with her.

She also asked me about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize when she was signing my book. She doesn’t think he should have won, but I do.

Extra added bonus: a couple friends were there who I LOVE.

It was a great night. And by the way, she gives Trump zero percent of winning.

jake-a-tude-a-thon day 943: happy 22, baby!

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The first picture of you and me.

Last night on the phone, Aunt Joni and I texted about the night you were born. It was she, not daddy, who got me into the operating room to have the c-section I couldn’t wrap my head around. You were upside down (maybe you had a tequila?) and although my doctor assured me for the whole pregnancy that you’d come out of there naturally, naturally you weren’t having it. Nope, you needed to make a grander entrance (or maybe you were just lounging in there and didn’t want to make your way down the birth canal, instead taking the easier path of having the doctors go in there and get you–so much less work on your part–how you is that).

I told them I’d just stay in labor, that I was doing fine with my breathing and I could just stick it out for days, but what they were trying to tell me, was that your position made it so that you couldn’t come out, unless they did surgery. I didn’t really get it, and Daddy was busy walking up and down the hallway, nervous you were not going to be ok, even though you weren’t in distress. And so it was Aunt Joni who looked me square in the eyes and said, “YOU HAVE TO HAVE C-SECTION. YOU HAVE TO DO IT NOW,” and I was all like, “Oh, ok. Alright, let’s go.”

They brought you right up to my face to meet me. I was falling asleep, but I thought, “Look, we made a  person.” I had never, and will never do anything as amazing (except for when I had your sister). The whole idea of creating a person in your body is just Twilight Zone whacko. I did it and I still can’t believe it.

And what a person. You have a special magic about you. You have a s soulful sweetness, an inner thoughtfulness, a forgiving nature that makes you undeniably lovable. You are goodness and charm. You are true.

I have said it all before, and I will say it until the end of time: you are special, a really special person, and to tell you how proud I am of you and how much I love you, I’d need many more than just 26 letters.

Happy birthday to my boy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 942: the light of the tenth month

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Walking with my dog through the neighborhood, I see girls in the distance who I think are girls my daughter used to know, so I squint to see if I should wave, but they aren’t of course, because those girls are at college now. We walk through the park where I raised my children throwing sand and playing soccer, and tumbling from the jungle gym, which ended in three stitches for my daughter in that place where Donald Trump grabs women, and I see toddlers, running and jumping, and swinging and sliding, and I think for a moment that I see Jake. That I see Ally. But  then I remember that Jake and that Ally don’t exist anymore.

My dog and I crunch the colored leaves with our feet. He looks up at me every so often, as if to say something, but he never does (even though I’m certain he will any day now). The special light that only October can deliver is all around me. It’s different than anywhere I’ve ever been, and more pleasing than any filter Instagram offers. It’s an angle of the sun that happens in the month of Halloween that makes everything not just pretty, but prettier. The leaves don’t hurt, of course, but it’s not the leaves, it’s the light. It’s the light I imagine heaven would have. A better, photoshopped version of the rest of the year.

My first child was born in October, after three years of infertility. I remember the day after he was born, waking early, and Peter and I looked out the window and the sunrise looked drawn by a gifted artist, like a special morning, composed just for us and our new addition to the world. It seemed to me nothing could ever go wrong for a boy born into that kind of light. I wouldn’t know then, how worthy he was of such luminosity.

The fall is such a painterly time of year. While the colors have become a cliche, there is no denying that nature does kick-ass work. I have come to realize that I love the fall, but I never really enjoy it, because it always signals to me that winter is getting on its snowsuit and heading my way. And there is no love lost between me and that season.

My dog and I are doing our work. I am typing, and he is sleeping. He is a great partner, but he always gets the easy assignments. We make a good team. I am grateful for our time. I am in sort of a vulnerable mood today, and it makes me  grateful for everything. I sit in the light, and hold on.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 941: nature’s message

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I haven’t made any intentional foliage trips this year, but nonetheless, on the road to soccer games, have seen the spectacular yearly fashion show. Brilliant mustard yellow and fire pit orange, hot pepper red, pale peach and Crayola’s famous Burnt Sienna, shout from the sides of the road, “Get a load of me!” And I do, I stare in utter awe that nature has such a spectacular sense of showmanship.

It’s this stuff, that reminds me that life has a beauty that’s always there for the taking. I tell myself to look harder, be present for its inspiring wink.