gratitude-a-thon day 2071: off to college

I remember being pregnant (which only took me three years to accomplish and a total of 12 months of being nauseous) and slowly experiencing the dramatic changes my body was going through. The way my stomach began to protrude, how I kept spilling out of my bras, the heavy exhaustion I would feel and that deep coma like nap I would fall into daily. Oh, and the cravings: McDonald’s french fries, fettuccine alfredo and watermelon.

I think there’s something in there that correlates to sending your child off to college. You shed part of your mommy skin as you drop them at the door of a whole new world in much the same way that you shed your old body when you were carrying, around your child inside you.

Pregnancy both excited and terrified me (it also, did I mention,  made me nauseous, very, very nauseous). On the one hand, I deeply wanted a baby and on the other hand, I had no idea what being a mom might be like, or if I had the capacity to even pull off such a feat. I had no understanding of what I might be giving up in order to make this new person part of my life and yet, I knew I had to, I knew something deep within me desperately and fervently wanted a child.

It’s not that different when you take your child to college that first time. It’s both exciting and terrifying. On the one hand you deeply want your baby to experience this new phase, be able to take this important step toward freedom and adulthood, but at the same time you wonder if they have the capacity to do so. And you also wonder if you have the capacity to do so….

For all you new college parents, for all you first time empty nesters, it’s going to be alright. I got one through and the other is going into her senior year. GRATITUDE! You will cry. You will begin to talk baby talk to your dog. You will wonder why the laundry detergent is lasting so long.

You will have dozens of emotions and they will keep changing, just like your body did when you were carrying around that kid in your womb. The thing I can tell you is that the process keeps changing, too. And you and your child keep changing with it. Just when you get used to one phase, it will morph into another (just like when you got used to being a mom of babies, you were suddenly a mom of toddlers and then pre-schoolers, then…well, you know how it goes).

Be kind to yourself as you undergo the changes that come with that tiny baby being out of your nest. Just like they couldn’t stay in your body forever, they can’t stay in your home forever. And truly, this move, this change means all that you did, preparing them to go out into the bigger world for all those years, worked. They will learn a lot at college. And so will you.



gratitude-a-thon day 2070: the mammogram



Today I had my yearly mammogram. I do what I always do before I have it.

I plan my funeral.

There are a few decent reasons I do this. 1) I have had cystic breasts since I got these girls, which means they tend toward cysts, so you have to be alert because a benign cyst can masquerade as a cancerous one. Happy Halloween. 2) I take a small amount of HRT, on account of menopause for me was no fun at all (as most everything that has had to do with my lady parts has not been my whole fucking life), so I chose to up my risks for all sorts of maladies and take this small amount of hormone, in order for me not to be road ragey in every day life or wind up the crazy lady in aisle five. 3) I’m generally anxious about stuff like this just because that’s how we roll in my family (You shoulda met my dad).

So, there’s some legit reason for me to be nervous before sticking my boobs in a machine that squishes them so hard, I can feel it in my feet, while being asked not to breathe. I can barely breathe anyway, because of the contorted positions I’m in, but also because I’m so damn scared. I mean, if ever there was a candid camera situation, this one is it. I have to hand it to the radiation techs for not howling with laughter looking over at us with our arms in the air and our boobs between plexiglass while holding our breath. Sort of a Lady Liberty pose.

Today I had the extra delight of having a lymph node under my arm ultra sounded because it has been sore and swollen for the last month. This was another good reason to plan my final resting phase, since it could not only have meant that I had breast cancer, but also some kind of blood cancer. So, a sort of two for one there.

My funeral will be a Shabby Chic affair. Expect a lot of white, and definitely only white flowers, except for carnations and lilies, because they are hideous and remind me of funerals, except for not mine. There will be pine and Mason Jars. Mongolian fur throws, white twinkly lights and for God’s sakes comfortable chairs. There will also be a nice Rose being handed out at the door. That’s for color.

Yes, as you guessed, my mammogram was just fine. My girls will live to see another year. And my lymph node is also nothing to worry about. “They can just swell up sometimes, ” said the radiologist who I’ve been seeing for decades and who I have so much gratitude for because of her gently way and her keen eye. She currently has a woodchuck in her garden, which is really something to worry about.

gratitude-a-thon day 2069: weather


It’s Saturday morning and I am sprawled out on the couch on my patio under a blanket looking up at the perfectly blue sky. God, it’s vast. The sun is large and in charge and there is the most gorgeous cool breeze rustling through the trees, making a soothing, calming sound that if you could package, you could sell as natural valium in the vitamin/beauty products aisle at Whole Foods. This would be part of my presidential platform–to create this weather 365 days a year (hey, it’s seems about as realistic as gun reform at this point, so why not shoot for the stars).

In centuries past, the weather had a huge impact on people’s livelihoods and productivity, i.e. farmers and their crops. But for me it has a huge impact on my mood. A day like this is everything good. A day like this brings on gratitude from every pore.





I grabbed my phone when I woke up Sunday morning to check the latest news on the El Paso shooting, but that shooting was so five minutes ago, because there’d been another shooting in Dayton. I wondered if I had logged into The Onion. No, it was the New York Times alright, and they never joke.

I didn’t know anybody in either shooting, but they were people just like you and me and your little brother who loves baseball more than pizza and your aunt who makes that really good coconut cake and your best friend from high school who had that snort laugh you can still hear.

It’s easy to become desensitized to these shootings, to pretend that these victims aren’t real, aren’t like you. Certainly, it’s easier than thinking about people dying in a fucking Walmart. But don’t allow yourself to turn away this time. We have an election in 2020, consider carefully who you vote for. We have to define who we are right now in this country. Our president is encouraging white supremacy. After Charlottesville, he said there were good people on both sides. He’s telling non-white members of congress to go back to where they came from. And these are just a couple examples of the many times this divisive president has spewed hate and incited racism. This president is poison.

We have to demand better. We have got to do what we can. Life in America does not require an assault weapon. High capacity magazines need to be banned. Universal background checks need to implemented. Congress need to act today.

And we need expanded mental health help. In our schools, in our places of employment. in our family systems. Of course, if there were fewer guns and more stringent gun laws, those with mental illness wouldn’t have easy access to them. 

Because remember, next time there’s a mass shooting, (which could be this afternoon) it could be your middle daughter who loves to draw, or your neighbor who volunteers at the homeless shelter downtown, or it could be you.

Make no mistake, it could be you. 



.gratitude-a-thon day 2068: yoga

This is my incredible yoga teacher, Roni Brissette, who has taught me yoga, which is not an easy task, I can tell you. She is just amazingness. I have tried to do this pose and well, I can’t write anymore because I’m laughing too hard…..

I started doing yoga about three years ago, although just writing that shocks me, since I still don’t know my Ardha Chandrasana from my Prasirita Padottanasanaa. I’ve never been good with languages. I flunked Spanish I three times, well, maybe just twice, but still. Anyway, I love yoga. For so many years, my back issues (sciatica caused by L4 S1 herniation) made me think that yoga would throw me into an “episode” of searing pain and the inability to do anything but moan, a sad and not infrequent feature of my younger life. And no, I can’t do all the poses, but I give it a good go. And I’m fucking grateful for every single pose (that I don’t know the name of) that I can do a close proximity of. Fucking grateful.

I am generally a total student during class, paying close attention to the pretzel shapes my body is trying so hard to emulate.  But there are days when my focus isn’t quite as clear and I have a running dialogue in my mind of what some of the poses should really be called. Like when my teacher says to (and let me just stop and say here that I have the best, most wonderful, most knowledgeable, gifted and adorable teacher ever) get into dog pose, I am thinking (in my head, or at least I don’t think I”m saying out loud,or Jeez, I hope I’m not) why don’t they just call it  “Ass in the air Pose”? Because that’s what it really is. Your. Ass. Is. Sticking. Straight. Up. In. The. Air. (And the higher, the better). In. The. Air.

Or like, tree pose. Why isn’t it just called”Stick Your Foot in Your Vagina” pose? I mean, this is exactly what’s happening. Me: I’m pregnant. Friend: Who’s the father? Me: “The heel of my left foot.”

And speaking of me not knowing the names of the poses, you should see my head swivel when she tells us what to do and I quickly, but nonchalantly scan the room for someone who actually knows the pose. I am Linda Blair in The Exorcist, I tell you.

My teacher will also say to look up from the eyes of your chest. I always want to scream, “Some of us have bigger “eyes” than others to hoist on up.” Because really, 32 E.

And then there is the pose, which my teacher does with ease, because she is a yogini in the first degree, but also weighs like 4 pounds, that I don’t know the name of, but I will just call “Impossible.” You get into criss cross apple sauce and then you pick yourself up with your arms and swing your body. PICK YOURSELF UP WITH YOUR ARMS. Hahahahahah, that’s happening. I couldn’t pick up my 32 E’s plus the rest of my body weight anymore than I could pick up my SUV. So, yeah, the “Impossible” pose is something that’s probably never going to be possible for me.

I love yoga. And the people I’ve met in my yoga community are exceptional, like really wonderful and generous and amazing. And like I said, my teacher is the best. I adore her. But you know, every once in a while my head can’t help but laugh at what I’m doing. Because like everything else in life, if you look at it just the right way, it’s  just funny.

If you want to go to a fabulous yoga class, go to Roni Brissette Yoga.  But if you can do the “Impossible” pose, please do not let me know.



gratitude-a-thon day 2067: your choice


There are two ways of looking at something always.

There is one way that limits us, steals our hope like a thief in the night, poking at our vulnerability until we scream “Uncle,” in a high pitched voice. This is pessimism at its core, the equal opportunity robber who demands darkness and fear. The glass that’s half empty.

There is another way, which shouts possibility as loudly Trump shouts racist rants and lies. Optimism makes us buoyant and light, it keeps our eyes on the possible prize. It states simply, “You can, go ahead and hope, believe in maybe, the glass really is half full.”

Each day, with every situation we face, we have a choice to wear the dark side, or tout the light. It’s not external, it’s an inside game. It’s your brain, it’s your choice.

I constantly have to remind myself of this. I redirect like a cop at a busy intersection. You can too. And gratitude for that.