Yesterday was the perfect weather day that we Bostonians literally wait for just like a dog waits at the door for his owner to come home. Pant, pant, pant, we pull out waterproof boots (and hope they’re really waterproof), zip up the down sleeping bag coat and put a hat on that covers our ears and slips too easily over our eyes in preparation for a day like yesterday. We suffer through flash flooding, our phones going off to let us know we might soon need to get our scuba gear on. We brave cold temps, frozen roads and wind that could remove our eyelashes from our lids (and I’m talking our real eyelashes) just to get a day like yesterday (and it looks like today, too).
The clear air (humidity on vacay down South), the Caribbean blue water sky, the sun hitting everything at just the right angle. This is why we stand the rest of it, for this day, these days, where the weather is so sublime, it nourishes our souls in preparation for the other 362 days a year.
Yes, it would be nice to live somewhere the weather was more like this everyday, but then a day like yesterday wouldn’t stand out, rule the world, glitter like 1,988,210,934 disco balls, would it?
Today I woke up at 4:30. I tried to go back to sleep, but you know what happens–you start thinking about what you have to do, ticking off each thing and how you will accomplish it, then you start worrying about being up so early and how it will affect your day, and then the birds start chirping and before you know it, you’re making coffee.
BUT, when I reached for my phone, it seemed getting up early today was a good thing, because I could start the par-tay– there on the front page of the New York Times was unlikely breaking news–a bloodied Obamacare repeal laying on the senate floor. Yip–to the ee–vote DOA, thanks to Senators John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.
GRATITUDE to those who care enough about the people of this country to vote no. And in particular, John McCain, who has sealed his legacy as being a genuine hero, for real. These three proved today that they are not Republicans, they are human beings. Let’s all sing the hallelujah chorus together, shall we?
Sometimes it’s just a hot bath. I sink down in, inch by inch and it reminds me that after a long day, I’m human. I let myself go, and my muscles start singing the Hallelujah chorus which morphs into James Brown’s I Feel Good (which is really called I Got You, but don’t you think of it as I Feel Good–yeah, me too).
This is the kind of thing that brings on gratitude for me. It’s a simple switch I throw–a post-it note on my brain. When something makes good, feels good, is good, I let the gratefulness I’m feeling bubble to the surface and I acknowledge it full on. My day is better for it.
Awesome movie alert! The Big SickThe Big Sick has been getting over the top reviews for months. I was practically loitering outslide the movies theater waiting for its arrival. Of course, I was also afraid that all those reviews would predispose me to thinking the movie was going to be better than it was. I mean, the reviews are like fake, they’re so positive. What film could possibly live up to that kind of fabulosity? There’s always the danger with such whoo hoo pre-release chatter that you’ll exit the theater angry and disappointed, having eaten more popcorn than you wanted to because the movie wasn’t delivering.
BUT. NO. UH UH. NOT. The Big Sick is everything it’s been called. The story is kind of basic–a romantic comedy with a couple of twists–boy meets girl, girl is wrong color, boy’s parents want to arrange his marriage, girl gets sick, and well, I’ll just stop there. This movie is really funny, with great acting and superb timing (so good to see Holly Hunter, who is not aging, like AT ALL. And damn, if Ray Romano isn’t an underrated actor, and I’ve never liked Zoey Kazan, but she actually could not be cuter, and I’d never seen Kumail Nanjiani, but he’s amazing). Nanjiani and his real life wife, Emily V. Gordon wrote the story, because it’s their story–the story of how they met and fell in love. Maybe that’s why it feels so real.
This movie is a lot of fun and reminds you of the power of love, and what a good, good thing that is.
Flying used to be different. There weren’t the endless security checks, the need to remove your shoes and coat and jewelry, the long, long lines. The seats used to be bigger, the legroom used to be large enough for your legs, hell people could even smoke (this is one change that’s for the better). There used to be planes with two floors, and one would have a bar where you could stand around and drink like you were in a snazzy pick up lounge (this was even before my time). Often, the plane wouldn’t sell out and you could have two seats to yourself, where you could nap through your flight. Yeah, empty seats were common! Now you barely get one seat.
So, you can only imagine how out of my mind crazy pants I was when on not one, but both ways to and from San Francisco, I got a whole row to myself! It seemed remarkable enough that it happened on the way to California, but when I found myself in the same position on the way back, I practically felt the hand of God under me. What the what? This is an epic coincidence, and these days, it rates up there between unusual and uheard of. Even the flight attendants were shocked. I layed myself down and alternated between reading magazines and watching movies. Take that first class. It was lux, I tell you.
Gratitude for this bit of luck. It made the flights actually enjoyable and restful. I did not deplane an angry monster, but instead a somewhat pleasant human. I’m sure my family is the most grateful.
The White House, filled with Trump’s inexperienced brood, has become the First Family of Dysfunction. It’s like living in a Saturday Night Live skit. Comedy writers around the country rejoice on the daily, until they realize this isn’t really funny at all. It’s our country’s leadership going down in flames. We’ve become the laughing stock of the fucking world.
Hey, it’s not like Trump voters didn’t know. Mr. Carrot Top Combover showed his true colors over and over on the campaign trail. But still, they persisted. And still, despite not one piece of legislation being passed, lies being thrown around like toys in a sandbox, and the disappearance of all human decency and integrity, they persist in sticking by their prick, I mean pick.
Gratitude to journalists everywhere and good and intelligent people who are standing up and speaking out about the lies, the bigotry, the TREASON, the total INSANITY that’s running our country right now. You are the light. Because man, it’s gotten really dark in here.
I think about gratitude a lot–the why, the how, the when (you didn’t think it was that complicated, did you). Recently I was thinking about how there are two kinds.
Gratitude One is where you are brought to your knees by shitty life circumstances and you have to sit yourself down (or just lie in traffic) and make a list of what you do have. Like your list might read: shelter, bed, food. It might read: shoes, dog, underwear. It could read: eyes, feet, heart. This is the kind of grateful game that asks you to focus on the basics, the basics we often forget because we’re thinking about all the stuff we don’t have.
Gratitude Two is the variety that you get down with when things happen that are great. It’s the kind that reminds you of the terrific luck, good fortune, or just plain hard fucking work that brought you to the moment. I was recently able to re-do my backyard. Wahoo! Some people might think, “I should have had this backyard all along. It’s taken me forever to get this to happen.” But the better way of looking at it would be, “I am so fucking lucky to be able to have this backyard NOW. I’m going to celebrate every gosh darn day I can hang out here. Damn!” Gratitude Two seems less important than Gratitude One because I mean feet vs. backyard reno. doesn’t really seem equal, but the thing is that being grateful when good things happen for you is vital to you being able to keep a nice perspective, and prevent you from becoming a jaded douche bag. And let’s face it, nobody likes a jaded douche bag. It’s not cool to take things for granted. Feeling entitled to hitting the lottery, is ugly. Ugly like Trump’s soul. YES, that ugly.
I actually believe that when you’re on gratitude alert, your life improves. I believe this like some people believe in Christianity, Judaism, or Buddhism. The state of being grateful pulls you into the present moment and always puts you in a sunnier place. Even when it’s pouring down rain. And the awesomeness is that you are in charge of it. It’s in your hands–available and accessible 24/7. You can play, or not. Game on.
It sounds easy to do, and really it is, but it’s a practice. You have to do it, and then get up and do it again. Pretty soon, it will become like brushing your teeth. You’ll find yourself stopping on the highway to admire the sunset, or putting something fabulous in your pie hole, and moaning with grateful dee-light, or getting into your bed at night, crazy exhausted and realizing how freaking lucky you are that you have this sacred place to get some rest.
I can roll off-track and derail from time to time. I can find myself in the deep woods with a bad case of “the wants,” but I just keep doing what I know to do, pulling myself back to the present and enlisting gratitude to help me find my way. This is the deal–gratitude allows you to understand that what you have is more than enough, and better than the best pair of glasses for seeing the world.
I grew up in a small town with a big yard. Now I live in a big town with a small yard. Until recently my miniature property had a playhouse, purchased nine years ago at our kid’s grammar school’s yearly auction for a bargain price of $75.00. I am nothing if not a bargain shopper. I remember patting my savvy self on the back, until I read the fine print that you had to haul it out of the backyard of the family that donated it. GUESS HOW MUCH THAT COST–the non-bargain price of $500. I stopped patting myself on the back long enough to hit myself across the face. ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT.
Anyway, we plunked it in the corner of our little yard and, while Ally had just about grown out of it, it became a receptacle for colorful window boxes and antique watering cans and architectural salvage–an outdoor shed and adorable way to block out our view of the road behind us.
After more than a decade of New England’s kick-ass winter’s (don’t get me started on the winter of 2015, really do not, because you will be sorry) although spectacularly made, the little house began to deteriorate, and we had two choices–it could be torn down, or renovated. With no kids left at home, and grandchildren, a twinkle in nobody’s eyes, but my husband’s and mine, the only intelligent thing to do was to take down the house, but this because of all the blocking it did of the road, necessitated a renovation of our backyard. So, down it came, and at least five neighbors in my hood came up to me with an expression that said “We just buried our best friend and all our family members,” and out of their mouths came the same exact words, “The little house………”
Yes, the murder of the little house meant there were no more little’s at my address anymore. And the neighborhood took note. I was actually surprised how sad everybody was. Everybody, but me, the usual emotional barometer for all sad stuff. I knew I was saying goodbye to something sort of epic in our lives, but truthfully, I was just freaking excited by the prospect of my little yard becoming a bigger little yard.
We’re in the middle of creating life after the little house right now (and btw, when I say “we’re” what I mean is the fabulous Brookline-based, Faithful Flowers), but can I even tell you how awesomely amazing it already is, without even being done? Can I, huh?
Sometimes change sucks, and I fight against it and throw up my hands and sob my face off. This time, it was welcome, and maybe even overdue (and maybe I’m getting a little used to it). Gratitude for that. (WRITTEN ON MY NEW BACKYARD PATIO, LAYING ON THE COMFY COUCH, WITH THE SUN IN MY EYES).
No, really. It woke me up this morning, because the sun was streaming in through the window of the house we’re renting and the pool was beckoning and I just thought, “Get up, and get out there because GRATITUDE.”
Vacations are funny. They can be ruined by things like bad weather, and that’s not something you have even the tiniest bit of control over. You just have to go with it.
We had a great Fourth of July picnic yesterday with family, and I ate more than is humanly possible, so thinking I might be some sort of “other,” to have fit that much stuff in my body. It’s poking out of me this morning, but damn, I don’t even care.
Anyway, I can’t even sit around and write, because, sun, sand, walking trails, and oh, there it is again, gratitude.