gratitude-a-thon day 2048: giving it to ABC

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One of the things that I hate, not that I dislike, or that I don’t care for, but actually hate, is the way our president insults everyone. Fact is, the man who leads our nation is a racist, a bigot, a misogynist, anti-semitic,  LGBTQ hating xenophone– a modern day Archie Bunker.

A hater does not belong in the White House. But that’s where he is, (well, when he’s not golfing). And because he’s not a man of integrity or character, he has, through his actions, given every intolerant, prejudiced and immoral person license to come on out of the woodwork and fly their ugly-hearted freak flag.

This air of intolerance has been occurring since the start of Trump’s loose-lipped presidential campaign, and maybe even before when he started with his birtherism claims. Trump has no moral center and there is a general belief that this is becoming ok. That this is the new normal.

It’s not. It can’t be. It never will be.

ABC hit Roseanne hard for tweeting a gross and racist tweet to Valerie Jarret yesterday. She no longer has a show, a show, I might add, that was the highest grossing show on ABC. Which means the network chose what was right instead of what was green (and has better moral character than Congress).

This is the country I want to live in. Where people in power stand up to unethical and immoral behavior. Gratitude party with the execs at ABC.

If only they could get rid of the president.



gratitude-a-thon day 2047: every day​ is a new day


I love how every day you get a new chance to start again.

You don’t have to keep doing things the same old way. Every morning when you wake up, you can make a different choice. You can try and do better.

Of course, you can make a decision to change things, to go a different way  at any given moment, but really, who declares “I’m going to quit stuffing my face with Doritos, or I’ve decided to stop watching tv, or I’m going to volunteer my time to finding those 1,500 missing immigrant children on a Tuesday at 3:46?

No, every morning when the sun is working to push itself high into the sky and papers are being delivered to doorsteps, and people are out running, walking their dogs and tending to their gardens and there is a dewy cover all over the world, you can choose another path, another street, another way. And start again.


gratidue-a-thon day 2046: when the baby graduates


I thought I would be all emotional and ugly cry when my son graduated from college, but I felt nothing but relief, elation, and a boatload of gratitude. While I might have sobbed my way through his entire senior year of high school, wiped out by thoughts of his upcoming departure to the coast across the country, my mascara stayed put last week when he walked across the stage and off of it with a diploma in his hands and a gargantuan smile on his face.

Sending your kid to college is challenging. There are a multitude of reasons, but one of the primary reasons is that you have to try and understand just exactly how a tiny little fetus on that thin ultrasound paper became a full-fledged, 3-D, real-life baby, then a (destructive) and adorable toddler, an elementary school chatterbox and finally a high school kid with his own mind. This part is impossible to comprehend. I don’t believe we’re equipped to understand time, or at least, I’m not. And so it isn’t unusual to find me sitting with a dumb look on my face, gazing into space and pondering where those smaller versions of my son could possibly have gone. Like is that little boy with the big eyes running around Italy or Sweden? How could he have just disappeared?

Jake is staying on the West Coast for now. My parents were super cool about giving me and my two sisters wings, and telling us we could go anywhere we wanted, but that we always had a home. This gave the three of us a lot of guilt-free freedom (well, I think we always felt guilty, but not guilty enough to go back and live in our small town). My husband and I have given our kids the same free reign. But I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. I miss that damn kid every day.

I have deep and complex emotions about Jake graduating. College so far from us had some major bumps. He didn’t learn the things I thought he’d learn, but instead a whole bunch of other things I’d never considered. He is forging his own path. This is what kids do. They will not learn from your hard-won mistakes, they will make their own and hope they can help someone else, but they cannot because for some reason, this is how the damn thing works!

I am still processing all I feel about my son becoming a college graduate and taking another step toward adulthood. But what I do know for absolute sure is that I am so damn grateful for my boy, and I celebrate this event with scads and scads of pride, love and hope.




gratitude-a-thon day 2045: california dreaming



My obsession with California began in this town with this girl, more than 40 years ago.

I just came back from a week in sunny Southern California. A week in which my son graduated from college (another post on that later), my sister had a birthday and I seriously considered how long I have flirted with living in that part of the country.


It’s another world out there. There are mountains and canyons and sunshine, There is healthy food and pretty people and sprawl. There is homelessness like I’ve never seen before and endless traffic.

I visited my sister, who lived in Malibu, the summer before senior year of high school. She lived on PCH in a one bedroom with her boyfriend, where the ocean ran under the apartment. You could lay on the living room rug and tan. The deck was over the water. We drove around in a Porsche and an Austin Healey. We went to Disney land. We ate at vegetarian restaurants. We shopped and went to Graumann’s Chinese and the Hollywood sign and Mulholland Drive and God did we laugh. It was the first time I flew on a plane and the first time I saw a palm tree. I was completely and utterly smitten.

I toyed with transferring to UCLA when I was a sophomore in college, but instead came to Boston. It felt like leaving my older parents and the rest of my family was just too hard. I had a boyfriend in college who moved there after law school and I thought about moving with him, but in the end, I broke up with him (but not after visiting and having an ovarian cyst burst, which lead to emergency surgery at UCLA medical center and my sister having to come out and bring me to her friend’s house –the original Marlboro man for two weeks to recover). In my 20’s I had another boyfriend who was offered a job there and took it, and I once again considered moving, but in the end I knew I just didn’t like him enough (he was smart enough to break up with me, shortly after moving).

My son is staying in LA to pursue a career in advertising (apply the apple and the tree cliche here and if you know anybody he can talk to, puh-lease let me in on it). If he truly decides to make a life there, to become a guy who travels the 110 and the 405, it might be hard not to at least consider a part-time home in that part of the country. I mean, not one of us wanted to leave when it was time to go home.

For now I am grateful for a spectacular week in Malibu and the idea of making a four-decade California dream an actual possibility.


Mother-a-tude-a-thon: day 2044: HERE’S TO YOU


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My mom. Miss her every single fucking day. Seriously.


Happy day of the mother to all of you mommies! To the biological mom’s, the adoptive mom’s, the mom’s of spirit, support and encouragement, the mother’s who have never given birth, but know how to mother, the dog moms, the cat moms, and ok, the guinea pig moms too, the moms who’ve gone onto a better place, where there is endless blue skies and no whining.


To mother well is to be totally and utterly fearless.


Mothering is a special talent, which has not a thing to do with your womb. Those who do it well know how to love with compassion–unconditionally and truthfully. They are fearless and good at making the hard decisions and disseminating massive hugs when needed. They know how to stand silently in support, and cheer loudly when celebration is in order. Despite exhaustion, they are tirelessly right there. And like we all know, showing up is at least half of it.

People often say things like, “I miss my mom every day.” And it sounds ridiculous and a little bit contrived and completely impossible. But I am one of those people. And it surprises me, but I have actually thought of my mom, Luigina Constantina Gabriela Rotello Friedman every day since she has been gone–more than 25 years ago. She was loving and funny and spunky. She had grit and grace and an eternal optimism. She was beach and garlic and grateful. Her Italian roots run through me and her fight to move forward in the face of gloom are always reminding me to do the same. She was, in short, everything and I will never quite get over that my kids never got a chance to meet her.


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My first picture as a mom–blurry, but so grateful to have it.


But I see her sometimes in my daughter’s laugh, in my son’s nimble ability to talk to virtually anybody. I see her in the mirror a lot lately, as my aging face reminds me of hers.


A proud mom moment–my son graduating from USC two days ago. A pretty awesome mother’s day gift.


For me, becoming a mom has been like getting a PhD in humanity and humility. I am at once bowled over to have gotten the role, and shocked at its immensity and complexity. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, no matter what I do or have ever done, it is nothing compared to being a mother to my two my kids.

To all mothers, wherever you are, whoever you are, however you found yourself in the role, pat yourself on the back today and know that you are loved.  And know, that in our crazier and crazier world, your light is needed more than ever.


gratitude-a-thon day 2043: quiet down



It’s early. I have 1,097,493 to do before leaving for Jake’s graduation from college. But I am taking a moment here in bed, with my coffee to think and feel before I begin to tame my list.

I find that when I’m busy, or even when just my mind is busy, I have to envision a big stop sign in neon red, that tells me to slow the fuck down. If I run the red light, I miss seeing the important stuff instead of the surface stuff. The quietness reminds me to go about my day with intention instead of tension.

I am not proficient at this. But I keep practicing. Things derail me. I don’t always yield when I should. Sometimes I just proceed without caution. But paying attention to the quiet before embarking on the noise is a sure bet. Gratitude party for that.

gratitude-a-thon day 2042: this, this and that

Post worst-flu-ever gratitude round-up:


–Flowering trees. They are all over the place. Popped, like an entire bag of kernels in a pot. I’m mesmerized by the overwhelming beauty of a tree filled with blooms.

–Rudy Guiliani. Way to tell the truth there, Mr. G.

My best buddy: Riley.


–Spring. Welcome home. We’ve been waiting for you.

–Do-gooders. Someone who goes out of their way to correct a wrong, an unfairness, a shit show.


–Exceptional, enviable, just beautiful writing. Heather Harpham’s Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Happy Ever After. An emotional memoir written from the very center of the heart, every word a sparkly bit of gorgeosity.