gratitude-a-thon day 976: happy new year

 

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Sadly, I did not write this and don’t know who did, but not being a miserable cow in 2017 is definitely one of my resolutions.

2016 is finally ending. Personally, I’ve had some of the highest highs and lowest lows this year. My daughter’s lengthy recovery from ACL surgery was a low–her graduating from high school and making it through her first semester of college with wit and grit–a high. My son being home doing an internship he loved–a high. My husband being stressed at work–a low. A trip to Tanzania and Zanzibar–my first ever to a developing country–a major high. My transition from everyday mom to no kids at home– a messy mixture of both highs and lows.

 

And then the election. A battering of our country playing out on live tv, 24/7 twitter feeds and CNN breaking news. A man (and I used that term loosely and with apologies to real men everywhere) who seemed to be a living, breathing game of Cards Against Humanity vs. a woman who didn’t know how to use e-mail, but who had, for 30 years worked in public service, including serving as first lady for almost a decade and secretary of state for four years. And just when we all thought the glass ceiling would shatter into a million pieces of joy, disbelief, shock and awe–the man won the election–the man whose words had sliced through so many of our hearts and beliefs had somehow made it to the top of the hill. And at least three million of us, were stunned and terrified and wondered, as we still do, what will become of us, now that human decency is dead.

Ah yes, the election was a major LOW for me and so many others. While the man’s supporters would tell those of us who voted for Hillary to just get over ourselves, already, they clearly don’t understand the extent of the terror we feel.

I go into 2017 with hope for my family and those I love. I will work hard on those issues that I hold close, to make sure they continue to flourish. I hope our country will somehow be ok, although I will have to employ some magical thinking to make that resonate.

Personally, I hope to write more, worry less, do more yoga, fucking meditate, be my best self more than not, love intensely those who are important to me, have more fun, find gratitude in every day, and keep hope alive.

Happy new years to everybody, everywhere! Thanks for reading. xoxo

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 975: carrie fisher

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This is becoming the obituary-a-thon.

Carrie Fisher.

A lot like George Michael–this one just came out of nowhere.

Of course, like everybody in the world and beyond, Star Wars has been a big part of my life–from being dazzled by the very first one to my son’s obsession with light sabers. I loved Princess Leia, although to be perfectly honest, I did not covet her solar system hair. I mean, I want to eat Cinnabons, not wear them at my ears.

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But it wasn’t Carrie’s acting that made me a major fan, it was her writing and her honesty. Postcards from the Edge (book–film not so much) struck me as not only hysterically funny and poignant, but as wildly witty, honest and fresh. It inspired my writing to be more open and free.

Wishful Drinking too, another deep dive into personal matters of her madcap Hollywood upbringing was filled  with pithy, quippy, positively laugh-out-loud tales (in book, one woman show and film form).

Equal to her talent as an author, Carrie’s openness about her mental illness (bi-polar disorder) and addiction was refreshing. She had no shame, and spoke about both often with wit and heart.

Sixty is young (I’m looking down the tunnel of that birthday myself) and this firecracker had more to say. I will really miss this brilliant, brave, cavalier woman. She was really something. What a loss. Thinking about her sense of humor, I’m sure she would blame her death on Trump.

gratitude-a-thon day 974: george michael

I love his music.

I still to this day think the way he looked in this video is perfect. Over the years, I have moved to his songs like a pole dancer. His music is infectious and soulful and always makes me feel deeply.

I’m really feeling this loss. 53 is too young. Life can be surprisingly short, can’t it? This is one more reminder to pay attention. Sing it loud, George.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 973: gratitude round up

 

Things I’m grateful for the day before the day before Christmas.c700x420I seriously could marry a white twinkly light. They should have their own department in furniture stores. Couches, chairs, beds, WHITE TWINKLY LIGHTS.  You just can’t be in a bad mood when a small white light is twinkling at you.

My daughter got through her first semester of college! And she did well. Parade!

Nyquil, Mucinex, and Tylenol Cold and Flu are my friends.

Photo by Mona T. Brooks | monabrooks.com

Photo by Mona T. Brooks | monabrooks.com

I love Van Jones, who I discovered during the election. This is one cool dude with smarts who values values, and knows what’s important. I became a member of his Love Army. You can too.

Paperweights remind me of my mom, who coaxed the bulbs out of hiding every Christmas. They have the best smell (until they don’t and start to smell like pee).

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Since I’ve been sick for the critical shopping weeks of Christmas, I did a lot of online gifting this year. Damn, it’s easy, but boy you end up with a lot of boxes.

My dog Riley has been my trusty friend during this ridiculous virus/cold/crud I’ve had. He’s such a loyal and funny companion. He did everything but make me soup.

My boy is home and that just makes me so happy.

Brookline Village just got a Caffe Nero, offering one more super cool way to drink coffee and eat paninis, right around the corner.

This guy! Fucking hilarious. Spot on. Yup, man–hurtles across the clothes.

Grateful for all my fam and my friends. Trite, silly as it seems. I am lucky to have a lot of great people in my life. And I love them all.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 972:deck the halls

 

img_0942Do you need a little Christmas right this very minute? Or a break from the hustle and bustle of boxes and bows, a respite from get, get, get? Head over to Nesting on Main in Concord Center.

This rustic wonderland transforms into a holiday hub of goodies this time of year. Seriously, not one corner of this little shop have Santa’s elves forgotten. Old, new, whimsical, and lovely, you’ll find loads of decorations for your tree or yourself, paper goods and curiosities.

Mostly though, you’ll find a good 15 minutes of pretty. And that’s a nice gift you can give to yourself during this cray cray time of year.

gratitude-a-thon day 971: From One Second to the Next, or Don’t Text & Drive

Honest to God, when I get sick, I need to clear my calendar, because I am an overachiever in this department. A sick kid with a few specific benign ailments that required antibiotics, I have always had a totally shit immune system, which I attribute to all the penicillin. This is to say, I’ve been sick in bed for almost a week and I’ve watched everything there is to watch on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. And yes, I’m reading, too–I just finished Siracusa by Delia Ephron and want to go to Italy tomorrow.

But last night I found this short documentary by Werner Herzog called From One Second to the Next. Yes, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint are listed as the production company, but this was a very powerful short about texting and driving. And it scared the bejesus out of me. I realized it was on Youtube, so it is above. All you have to do is click to watch it.

See, I had totally stopped all texting while driving, all checking of email and social media, because I could see how dangerous it was. But then, it sort of creeped back in, a little at a time. Like at a light or a stop sign, I would check. But even then, I’d wind up with cars beeping at me to go, because I hadn’t caught the light in time. It was gateway texting, because then I started to check, or answer while driving. There I said it. I wasn’t a major offender, but I allowed it to tiptoe back into my routine slowly, and I am so grateful to have seen this movie, because I am done, DONE with texting, or checking my phone while in the car. You know why? Because you can kill someone. It can change your fucking life in two seconds, and the lives of strangers with families and lives of their own. And there is nothing, really, almost zero that is so important it has to be communicated while in the car. As the movie says, “It can wait.” And of course it can, but we’ve forgotten that, because we have the technology, so we feel we can use it no matter where we are, and that we should. God forbid we miss a chance to heart an Instagram post, or tell our friend that you’re on your way.

Watch this movie. It isn’t long. Make your friends watch it. Make your kids watch it. It’s powerful, and it’s convincing. There’s no reason in the world to text while driving. If you have to, you can pull over. It’s that simple.

gratitude-a-thon day 970:a good laugh

amsw5lmn0jgldztkhufoToday I bring you a good laugh. Who doesn’t need a good laugh in these dark days of you know who at the helm, not to mention these dark days (only 264 more hours until the days get longer again–parade!). I love me some William Sonoma, but you know, it’s marketed to the over-the-top family who doesn’t exist except in our sugar plum-laden dreams. Here you go. You’re welcome.

gratitude-a-thon day 968:hopeful

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Finding my way out of this flu/cold/virus/Trumpmoania (defined as physical, mental and moral misery derived from one cabinet member choice being more dangerous than the next), and looking out the window at the sun coming up behind bare trees, and just for a moment, I am hopeful.

I remember that the beauty in the world still exists (for now) in the natural surroundings and inclinations of most people. I remember that love is powerful and can’t, as a popular saying espouses, conquer all, but can do quite a bit. I remember that hope and possibility are sparkly beacons, and that no matter what gratitude is always within reach.

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 968: the ACLyoU

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Yesterday I went to the first event of my Take Action, Don’t Watch the News post election life. My friend Luciana, asked me to go to an orientation at the ACLU right after the debacle of November 8, and of course, panic-ridden, I said yes, like 200 times because I loved the idea of getting involved with that particular organization and was glad she had thought of it, and because it felt like planning a future might insure we were going to have one.

Luciana is a Brazilian fireworks display. She is funny and feisty and fearless. Her two daughters, who are totally amazing also, came with us. The orientation was packed. And Matt, our orientation leader, who was incredibly amiable and articulate said that they usually do like one orientation a month, but this month they have 10. It was a heavily female population, mostly young. Matt reminded us that the ACLU is a bi-partisan organization, but I would bet my kids that there was not one Trump supporter in the room. These were people hungry to know how they could effect change during the next four years.

Basically, Matt talked about the organization, what they do, how they do it. He also threw out a fact I was impressed with, which is that the Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU was the first one ever. The groundswell of volunteers have caught them by surprise, so he let us know that while he didn’t necessarily have a huge action plan right now, there would be plenty of opportunities to be involved once the agenda is set by the administration in January. All who attended are now on a list serve of events and ways to help, from going to hearings and canvassing to doing research and organizing volunteers. You can join by going to their website. And you should, because these guys are helping to protect our legal rights, and we’ve never needed that more than right this minute.

It felt like a good first step. Not to mention afterward, in-the-know Luciana took us to Yvonne’s for a drink. This place is super cool and I didn’t even know it existed!

Gratitude that organizations like the ACLU are out there and ready for the fight. It made me feel a little more hopeful about our, uh, current circumstance. (And Yvonne’s made me feel more hopeful about my next dinner out.)

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gratitude-a-thon day 967: lost phone, found phone

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I was practically going to call my friend and the kid’s third grade teacher, Ginny, who does a prayer to Saint Anthony, the Saint of lost shit. BUT I DIDN’T HAVE A PHONE.

Yesterday was one of those days. One of those days, where unexpected things happen and you try to wrap your brain around them, only your brain is all like, “Get out of town.” It was pouring rain and I headed to Whole Foods after sorting all the sneakers and sports clothes my friend and I collected to send to Zanzibar (which were going to be brought over in the next trip from the high school, only the trip got cancelled) and found out it was going to cost $1,000. For that, my friend and I thought, we could just send them $1,000 and have them buy new sneakers and sports clothes.

So, it is already dark, pouring rain and I do a little shop for one dinner, like they do in Paris, that everyday shopping for just the day, which I always think is so romantic, but who has the time to do that, unless you have a lovely market with fresh baguettes right next to your house, or are a French woman who knows how to wear a scarf, but I digress.

So, I have my dinner, I go to my car. I look for my phone to tell my husband not to stop at the store, because I have taken one for the team and swum there myself, but the phone was nowhere to be found. I raped the pockets of my coat, dumped my bag, unpacked my groceries, but nada. I get out of the car in the rain, retrace my steps, go to customer service, ask about a phone that might have been turned in, go through the store to all the places I visited for my French dinner, get the people in prepared foods on alert, a few shoppers, and come up with nuthin’.

Fuck me. Seriously fuck me.

I go home and can’t even cook.  But I remember that I have Find my iPhone, so I put it into the spotlight thing to find on my computer, but apparently I do not have it, which I took to mean, I never got it for my newish phone. I posted on Facebook that I’d lost my phone and friends gave me sympathy, which doesn’t find your phone, but damn, it makes you feel better.My husband came home and didn’t make me feel any better, but did go out, at my request, to my car to call my phone and see if it rang in the car. It did not. I put myself in a timeout.

I emailed my son, who’s call I earlier ignored because I was sorting the sneakers to Zanzibar, WHICH DID I MENTION ARE $1,000 to send, who can’t believe I didn’t lose him when he was little because I lose my phone so much, and he asked me if I had used Find my iPhone. I told him sheepishly I apparently didn’t have it turned on. But he said of course I did if I had iCloud.

And of course, I did. And Find my iPhone found my iPhone, which was wedged between the drivers seat and my middle glove box! When I got in the car, it must have slipped out of my open bag, which is usually zipped. Never mind that I looked there three times (in the dark, but still). Never mind that my husband didn’t hear it ring anywhere in my car. I HAD MY PHONE BACK. Life looked shiny and full of all good things. Gratitude cursed through my rain soaked hair and body.

Can I tell you, I love this kind of gratitude because just by restoring the old, you have made your life feel new again. Not that you should lose your phone or anything else, but damn, I was happy last night.