gratitude-a-thon day 2065: when republicans were republican: mccain

“My name’s Joe Biden. I’m a Democrat. And I loved John McCain, ” began Biden’s eulogy for his good friend.

You might think I hated McCain because I too am a die-hard Democrat, but I didn’t. In fact, I have a lot of gratitude for him. Not because I agreed with his politics, but because I agreed with his goodness, his fairness, his integrity and respect for the country. This was a good man who didn’t just believe in service, he gave his life to it. He was in every way, the opposite of the person we have in the White House now. It’s a stark reminder of what’s missing from the current presidency. Because he stood for something that we are deeply missing right now.


McCain admitted to his mistakes. He didn’t rationalize them, or continually spew lies to make himself appear infallible. He was a real person, who made mistakes and owned them.

This is a bi-partisan loss. McCain was an old school Republican, from back when that party stood for something. When it had a point of view.

I won’t drone on about the disgusting miserable piece of human waste our current president is, I’ll just say that one of the good ones died and losing him in this moment of time provides a stunning and eye-opening contrast in men that I hope will provide some clarity,  come the mid-terms. Read the fourth paragraph of this article by David Foster Wallace that describes McCain’s P.O.W. experience, If you weren’t convinced of McCain’s heroism, you might be after you put your eyes on this. Then imagine Donald Trump in the same situation. Then try and stop yourself from laughing.

Phoenix, out. Thank you for your service and your example.



gratitude-a-thon day 2064: aretha, there’s only one

I remember seeing the Queen of Soul a bunch of years ago. The voice was still crystal clear, booming, and iconic. A beautiful noise that helped create the soundtrack of my life.

An imposing figure, she had a lot of costume changes, but then what else would you expect from a diva like Aretha?

Not a tiny woman in her later years, she embodied her size and embraced her power. Feathers and sequins and lots and lots of attitude. She is and always has been a natural force.

Gratitude to a fabulously talented woman who has always stood out in a crowd. A voice of soul lovers and Motown music maniacs. She made you dance, made you think and made you feel. And there is nothing better than that.

Wishing you a painless, peaceful passage to the next place, Aretha. Hoping you know the impact you’ve had and how nobody will ever forget you and that one-of-a-kind voice.


gratitude-a-thon day 2063: hair dye

This is Ron. He has been my stylist for 25 years! I used to force him to perm me, because I was trying to have hair that hit the sun. “Height” was my middle name. Blame Madonna. Now we dye. Every three weeks, so that I do not become Barbara Bush.

Hair dye.

That’s what I’m grateful for. If there was no such thing as hair dye, I would be as white as a New England winter, look at least five years older than I am and feel 20 or 30.

You could say, “Who cares? You’re old and you’re married.”

But the answer to that is I care. Not as much about how I look, as how I feel. How you feel is a lot of the game. There is a reason the old “If you look good, you feel good” cliche is so popular, it’s true. I perform better when I feel good about how I look. Of course, I’m not talking about a stage or screen performances, you silly, I’m just talking about walking around my life. Not having gray hair just makes me feel better, like myself. I know, who I am is really a gray-haired woman, and that is myself these days. But that’s not who I feel like I am. I feel like I am still a brown-haired woman.

“Does she or doesn’t she?” the popular ad used to ask. You bet your ass I do.

I love anyone who goes gray. I wish I felt good doing just that, because the amount of money and time I spend getting brownified is just plain stupid. I know several women with gray hair who look positively stunning and loads of men, too. The women happen to be beautiful women, which I am not. My guess is that these women feel good being gray. But maybe I should start polling them to see how they feel. Was going gray a decision not to cave into society’s brutal youth culture? Was it because it’s natural and easier, or because they actually think silver hair is attractive?

Anyway, I am here to say I have a shampoo sink full of gratitude for dye. I have informed my family that if I kick the bucket and my hair isn’t a perfect shade of multicolored brown, they must make sure my hair is dyed before I go wherever I am going. I am not arriving with gray hair.

I mean who wants to worry about gray peeking through for the rest of eternity? Can you imagine anything more tedious?

And that, that is all.

gratitude-a-thon day 2062: a conversation with Gratitude

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This morning I woke up and Gratitude was standing in the middle of my bedroom. I was a little bit startled, but then I said, “Hey, how are you?” like I was greeting a really close friend I’d lost touch with. “Where ya been?” Gratitude asked, with a hands-on hips tone. “Mmmm,” I said, “I hurt my knee and I’ve been having a little pity party.” Gratitude stared at me with a kind look that turned into anger. “Well, why didn’t you call me? Why didn’t you invite me?” I answered that I couldn’t. “You know how I get when I hurt myself, I start thinking about the years when my back was so bad and how much it took from me and I panic. I’ve been down here in a pit of sadness, surrounded by misery and anger, ice and a knee brace.”

Gratitude stood there, as it does, and didn’t move.

I suddenly realized I was having this conversation without coffee and started to head for the kitchen, but no, Gratitude wasn’t having it. “Call the doctor,” Gratitude said, a little bit drill Sargeant, a little bit my mother. “I go on Wednesday,” I said, trying to get to the coffee pot. “Ok, then that’s where you’ll start and then you’ll go to physical therapy and then you’ll get better in however long it takes and we both know you know how to do that.” I did know how to do that, to start again, to lose my strength and regain it. I have done it close to a million times (not really, but sort of).  “Don’t simplify,” I said, pushing Gratitude aside for the milky, hot richly flavored mug of joe I was about to make. “You talking to me?” Gratitude asked, doing a very disappointing DeNiro. “I love my yoga and pilates and now I can’t do them and maybe I never will be able to again,” I said, with tears rolling down my face, which I wasn’t sure were from my knee situation, or my lack of caffeine. Gratitude blocked the door of my bedroom so that I couldn’t move until I thought long and hard about it. I was lucky I lived in a place that had good doctors, I could find out what was wrong and get it made right. I could go back to doing the things I loved, and in the meantime, I could get a whole bunch of work done. I wasn’t homeless. I had family and friends and of course, my dog. I had a great backyard full of flowers and I could just take my computer and work there. I had avocados, pickling cucumbers and watermelon (my fave summer foods). I had my right knee for driving, my Kindle and Netflix.

And, oh,  I had Gratitude.