gratitude-a-thon day 1079: harvey shows us we are more than our president

 

 

You would have to be a statue not to be moved by Hurricane Harvey and all the damage it’s left in its wake. I have been in my kitchen trying to imagine what it would be like to be sitting at the table with water up to my waist, or having to leave every possession I own in an effort to save my family’s lives. I have been thinking about what happens in the “after,” when you don’t have flood insurance and every bit of who you are is gone. I have an exceptional imagination, but I gotta tell you, I haven’t been able to conjure up any of these scenarios.

But here is the thing. I keep watching and reading the news reports of regular old people like me helping other regular old people like me, while risking their lives to do so. There is no color, gender or sexual orientation barriers, just people helping other people.

It is the most un-Trump like thing I can imagine.

It is the very thing that I believe we are, that our current president has been trying to tell us we are not. I wish Harvey never happened, but it reminds me that we will not stand for anyone dividing us, because in the end, we have one another’s back. Harvey shows us that we will not be swayed by a president who models bigotry and division, rewards white supremacists and Nazis, talks about women like they are not humans. This catastrophic event jogs my memory back to a time when we had the kind of presidents who went to disaster areas to comfort people one-on-one and not discuss how big the crowd was that showed up for their arrival.

We are so much more than this president wants us to be. There are a million stories in Houston that illustrate this for anyone who isn’t convinced.

We are more forming a human chain to rescue an elderly man whose car is sinking, than screaming “We will not be replaced.”

 

I am so grateful, so thankful to the helpers in Houston and the surrounding areas. You are the best of what I know our country to be. You give me hope that we’ll never forget who we really are as Americans. I’m carrying you in my heart, Houston.

gratitude-a-thon day 1078: faithful flowers: happiness is a new backyard

With all the crazy stuff going on in the world, it feels more important than ever to have a place that settles your mind. I got lucky this summer when I hired Faithful Flowers to redo my tiny backyard. It not only looks amazing, this company was a total pleasure to work with. And damn it, when someone does a good job, you need to shout about it, so here is me yelling!

 

First of all, my yard was a disaster. The tiny play house, which had morphed into a storage space over time and which we’d had for a decade was falling apart, which was not a good look. Our large trees were giving off more shade than Ana Navarro throws at Trump every day on Twitter, not allowing the grass to grow. It was a hot mess.

 

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Faith and a few of the incredibly fabulous staff at FF.

 

Enter Faith and her awesome team from Faithful Flowers. From the minute we sat down to discuss the project, I knew that Faith was knowledgeable and collaborative. Never pushy, always reasonable and very responsive, Faith was all over every aspect of the job from start to finish.

 

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Riley is THOROUGHLY enjoying his new backyard.

 

I am wildly grateful to have chosen such a smart and professional team to take on this project. My yard is like having a whole other room. We’re going to be out there in December. Christmas in the yard, kids!  Thanks to everyone at Faithful Flowers. I could not be happier (well, you know unless the president got impeached).

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1076: singing on the train

Because our president is certifiably crazy. Because we now have Nazis and white supremacists touting their views in full view. Because nuclear war is not some fairy tale. Because summer is almost over. Because my kids just went back to college. Again. Because we need reminders that life is still about our connection to one another (thanks Beth, this reminds me there is still so much goodness out there).

 

gratitide-a-thon day 1074: the empty nest chronicles: part 2

 

 

 

 

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That was then. Us, with the famous Halloween Spider Cupcakes.

 

My husband tried to fix one of the shelves of the cabinet that contains some of our heavier cookware, and which seemed to be going through a middle aged slump. Further investigation revealed a crack in the side of said cabinet, making the shelf tilt. My husband, being the unhandyman he is (good at many things, house stuff not being one of them) took the shelf out and piled all the stuff on the lower shelf.

This morning I went down and while microwaving the milk for my coffee, I saw that the shelf has, like six cupcake/muffin pans on it. I have not made cupcakes/muffins since my famous spider Halloween cupcakes back in 1999. AND THAT’S WHEN IT HIT ME, I COULD ACTUALLY GET RID OF ALL BUT ONE OF THOSE CUPCAKE/MUFFIN PANS, BECAUSE I NO LONGER HAVE HALLOWEEN SPIDER CUPCAKES TO MAKE BECAUSE NO  HALLOWEEN SPIDER CUPCAKE EATERS LIVE HERE ANY LONGER.

And I got a funny feeling in my stomach, which goddamn it, I realized was yet another moment of the kind of reality that hits like a solar eclipse–and that I would rather not look straight at, because I could burn out my eyes, or in this case, soul.

This is what I observe every once in a while–something in the house that I’ve been saving, or leaving out, or holding onto no longer needs to reside here, because it’s really a remnant of another time. A time which has passed, and is, in fact, long gone. Noticing is like a left hook to the gut. It takes my breath away. Because you cannot stop time or reverse it, and these moments of realization put me square inside that fact, and it hurts like having a root canal without novacaine, which you should never do, and I have never done, but I would imagine would hurt as much as having Trump as president.

The transition is happening AGAIN. Jake, home for a visit for the past week, left yesterday morning to fly back to L.A. and do his last semester at USC (that damn first semester at University of Barcelona did not count, thank you so much). I bring Ally to pre-season at Trinity on Wednesday. While their rooms were disgusting displays of all I failed to teach them about orderliness, I am once again going through the upheaval of having them leave again.

Again. Again. Again.

I thought once I adjusted to them being gone, I would be able to check that off my list. But it’s like Groundhog Day, the movie, it just happens over and over again. The shock, the melancholy, the terror that a part of your life has simply gone missing, and that no matter how many you appear on America’s Most Wanted, you will never find it again.

Again.

 

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This is now. Us, a few days ago,  visiting my sister.

 

I am grateful for the summer I had with my daughter, who grew up a lot last year, and with who I have never had a better time than these last few months. I am grateful for my son, who although lives in L.A. comes home to see us and spend time with us, and who I believe always will love his hometown.

Today I throw out the cupcake/muffin pans and make more room on the shelf for something new.

 

 

 

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1072: more scared to stay home

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People care. They do. And yesterday they showed their peaceful faces in Boston.

I’ll admit it, I was scared to go to the Free Speech Rally yesterday in Boston. I was, like scared, bordering on terrified (I know–what a wimp). I woke up with a pit of unsettled doom in my stomach–butterflies doing the death march.

My kids thought it was too dangerous for me to attend, so there was no support there. I kept making jokes about having my sister and daughter fight over my jewelry and clothes if I didn’t come back. My husband hopped on the “don’t go” bandwagon too, but I figured he was thinking about the potential of not having to get me a 30th anniversary gift next month.

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These were our tame signs, honoring our mayor’s words. I really love him. He’s kind of nailing it.

I was scared to go stand in the middle of a large crowd that could possibly turn violent, but the truth is, I was more scared not to.

I am half Jewish. I am half Italian. I am a woman. I am a mom. I am a liberal Democrat. I am a human being. I believe in everybody until they give me a reason not to. I was raised to be fair, to take care of the underdog, to live by the golden rule. I would not mind having less, to give everybody some. I believe fervently in love, in equality, in marrying and/or committing to whoever the hell you want.

 

And I believe that you stand up and speak out when inequality and hate begins to permeate the air, no matter how scared you are. And make no mistake, it is polluting our country right now.

So, yeah, I was feeling a lot of fear,  and would have preferred not to drag my privileged white old lady ass to the middle of a potentially deadly rally yesterday and instead sit myself down at the nail salon for a nice mani and pedi, and accompanying massage, but I persisted (not that I should get any kind of medal for this, but just sharing my little story). BECAUSE IF NOT ME, WHO? AND IF NOT NOW, WHEN? AND IF WE DON’T STAND UP AND BE COUNTED AT THIS MOMENT, WE WILL SHIFT INTO REVERSE LIKE FUCKING MARTY MCFLY IN BACK TO THE FUTURE.

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Yup.

 

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Winner of the MY FAVORITE SIGN contest.

 

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Yes. What she said.

Anywho, I had nothing to be afraid of. The rally was incredibly peaceful, the Boston Police were out in force and keeping it all orderly. Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh and Police Commish William Evans, were in alignment and had on their leadership hats (and I thank them profusely). The people I met and interacted with were there to say no to Nazis and white supremacists, and not to make trouble. I witnessed no violence whatsoever, and even saw a bevy of BP quietly walk over to a man, check his pockets, find a knife and silently handcuff him and walk him out of the proceedings without incident.

 

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This couple really had their fashion shit together.

The crowd was a mixture of race, gender, age and sexual orientation. I even saw a few dogs. The signage was epic.

I will keep attending these rallies, no matter how terrified they make me, keep yelling and writing and tweeting and posting and screaming until I don’t have a voice. Because I believe as flawed as we are, we are better than our president and our administration. I believe it’s our responsibility to help one another get through this time that’s unprecedented in modern history.

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P.S. My friend Jocelyin made me crop her out of this picture. but she was right there by my scaredy cat side.

Gratitude for the peaceful assembly of my city. Gratitude to my friend Jocelyn. Gratitude for all those who will not sit quietly. Peace.

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Loved this sign.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1071: best answer wins!

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I am once again obsessed with the news, a little bit afraid if I miss something I might not be prepared for a nuclear attack (dye hair, stock up on mascara), or the next civil war (buy markers, poster board and lip gloss–no reason not to look your best while fighting white supremacists and Nazis).

It’s a dismal state of affairs.

I must pull from history to see light. People have lived through times like these in the past. I am grateful for their fortitude and pain in a way I wasn’t able to connect with before. I understand it better now. But what I want to understand is the mind of the other side. Is that just an impossibility, that someone with my ethics, morals and politics would ever be able to understand someone like a white supremacist, a Nazi, Trump?

I told my family I wanted to go to the Free Speech rally in Boston on Saturday. They were aghast that I would put myself in such a dangerous situation. But if not me, who? And if not now, WHEN? And if none of us are willing to stand up to this moment in time, what kind of moments in time will be left?

I could just emerge myself in work, turn a blind eye to what’s happening, watch movies, dog, goats, baby, things that are knitted that shouldn’t be knitted videos. But who would I be if I did that? What would I be? And what would we become?

Tell me what you’re doing? Give me your secrets to getting through such uncertainty and insanity. More than gratitude to those who answer. In fact, my favorite answer gets a prize, for real! I will mail it or bring it to you (proximity permitting). Go!

 

gratitude-a-thon day 1070: “if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”

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If you do not stand up against Trump now, you are complicit in the breakdown of this country’s moral values. If you do not speak, your silence will drown our democracy. We are all we have left.

And we are a lot.

Heather Heyer’s mother spoke at her daughter’s memorial service yesterday asking all of us to do something, to make sure that the loss of her daughter would mean something. “They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her,” said Susan Bro.

It has become obvious to anyone who is not currently living in a cave (and maybe to those who are, as well) that the president of our country not only hates women, the LGBQT community and Muslims, but he is, plain and simple, a white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer. Really try and take that in. It’s hard. His actions this past week, in response to Charlottesville, are immoral, unethical and un-fucking-american. His impulsive nature is dangerous. Just two weeks ago he got into a pissing match with another impulsive politician and the stakes were high–nuclear war. This is not a sane man. This is not someone who should be the president of a condo association, let alone the United States.

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The United States. Never has a politician done more to un-unite us, to encourage divisiveness. Don’t fall for it. Remember who we are. Remember what our ancestors lost their lives for and keep in mind that we are not who he is, we are love. Trite, you say? No. True.

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On my knees with gratitude to the people, and there are many, like Heather Heyer, who are brave enough to fight against groups who divide us, who offend us all with their intolerance. Their message is not welcome here. This president is not welcome here, either.  I will speak up and keep speaking up. I will not be silenced by ignorance or intolerance. Fuck, no. What will you do?

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