gratitude-a-thon day 2025: i miss people

I”m a little worried that when we can actually socialize again, we won’t know how to. I mean, will we all just sit around at a restaurant texting to one another on our phones, trying to adjust the lighting like we would on Zoom so we don’t look like zombies? Will we remember how to hug? Will we recall in-person social cues? Will our mouths, so used to being covered by the annoying protection of masks, do weird things?

I miss people. GOD, I miss people. I miss a warm embrace that had become a normal greeting for pretty much anyone you knew. I promise to hug even more when this is over. I will hug the mail carrier everyday, I swear. I miss going out to dinner with friends, the excitement of cutting loose on a Saturday night. I miss going to a special museum exhibit and discussing it afterward at a civilized ladies-who-lunch midday meal. I miss a carefree chat on the street with an acquaintance I miss going to the theater. After this is over, I’m going to plant myself on Broadway and see every damn play there is. I miss music, live music, a big concert, letting my body move with the music. I miss the energy of New York, the amped up buzz I get from people watching and wandering. I miss traveling, packing up and going someplace new, or old, the excitement of learning about a location I’ve never been, the newness, the history, the food and wine, the people. Yeah, I miss people.

This year has been hard, but as Glennon Doyle says, “We can do hard things.” And of course, she is right. But as I wait impatiently for all of us to get our vaccines, I wonder if it will give us the shot in the arm we need to get back to the way we used to be. I wonder if once the virus is under control, we’ll have the space to grieve all we’ve lost, or whether we’ll simply be so happy to be in one another’s company again, that we’ll just cry with unbridled and raucus joy, plan a big bonfire and throw our masks in for kindling. I hope we’ll understand the importance of our family and friends in a new and better way. I hope we’ll put our work in its proper place, that we’ll give more to those in need, that we’ll be more compassionate, more loving, more tolerant. I hope that there will be good lessons that endure from this exile. Those are what i will be grateful for. Those are what I will hang onto from this time. The rest of it, the rest of it, I cannot wait to forget.

gratitude-a-thon day WHO THE HELL KNOWS

The Covid fatigue feels like a virus all by itself. And while I hate to whine because I’m relatively very lucky, I’m whining for everybody who feels the bone weary, brain-numbing exhaustion quarantine life brings. I’m whining because it’s hard not to see family and friends. I’m moaning because isolation is, well, ISOLATING. But I will stop the misery making for a moment to tell you how i’ve gotten this far. And then, maybe you’ll share with me. On account of, I’M RUNNING LOW ON IDEAS.

Exercising my options. I have been trying to get some exercise in everyday. Ok, some days, it’s just doing a bigger loop around the hood with Riley, but any kind of exercise is good exercise. Anything you can do to get a little runner’s high going is a lottery winner in my book. My mood lags when my body does, so yoga, pilates, walking (when it’s not 9 degrees) is my jam. Sometimes I do the stationery bike, because we have one, but I hate it. Thing is, I do feel better when I get off the damn thing. Some days, I run up and down the stairs. Others I just stretch while I’m making my coffee.

Dreaming up new projects. I have recently begun thinking about doing some new writing projects and it’s kind of exciting. I do get overwhelmed by the scope of some of the things I’m thinking about, but then I just make myself take a little step toward what it is I’m considering and give myself a pat on the back for taking some action.

Watching everything that has ever been made that is currently streaming. Is this possible, you ask? I think so, because I think we might be doing it over here. We are movie LOVERS, always have been and this has given us more time than ever to stream the good stuff. Late, so late to the party, but just finished Schitt’s Creek and am now in mourning, waiting for the next great binge. I’m telling you, we’ve seen everything and all I can think of is how did they do this in 1918 when there was no tv, let alone fucking Netflix.What are you watching? Please advise.

Read a book, for God’s Sakes. I’ve been reading more than normal. I do need books that really capture my attention, which is kind of dodgy these days. I loved Writers & Lovers by Lily King. Just about to start another by same author called Euphoria. On deck, Milk Fed by Melissa Broder. Got anything to share with me?

What’s cooking. I’m still cooking, but have lost all my enthusiasm. I’m not trying new recipes, or trying to get creative. I’m tired of cheffing it up nightly, and long to eat out in a restaurant where someone else is preparing the meal and bringing it to me, accompanied by an awesome cocktail. Member when we used to meet for dinner? Yeah, those were the days. what are you cooking. RECIPES, PLEASE.

I buy weird stuff from Instagram. Boy oh boy, this pandemic must be a lollapalooza for online businesses. I have bought stuff I normally wouldn’t, because in scrolling through Instagram, there it is, and well, WHY THE FUCK NOT. Purchases have included skincare and makeup, a curling iron whose video posts had me riveted, volumizing spray that Sarah Jessica Parker uses (SARAH. JESSICA. PARKER. USES. IT. C’mon, I had to), under eye de-swelling patches, the list goes on. Yeah, I gotta stop this and go back to online shopping where I just leave the stuff in the basket and go to another site.

Baby my dog. He’s getting old and I know our days with him are numbered. He’s the light in all of our days and so I’m extra solicitous of this little boy. He’s also always going out of his way to make me laugh.

Keeping my chin up. Yeah, this is a thing that requires energy these days. I try everyday to focus on something good, be grateful for how lucky we’ve been during this pandemic. I try to do something to make someone else’s life a little better.

Ok, so how are you doing it? HOW ARE YOU STAYING SANE RIGHT NOW, ALMOST A YEAR INTO THIS? I’d be grateful if you’d please share.

joe & kamala-a-tude-a-thon: not perfect, more perfect

I have been waiting for yesterday for four years. For reasonable and rational to return. For a president to think about the country first, instead of himself. I was waiting for the adults to come home from their extended vacation, to make clear the rules again, to speak in full sentences. I was waiting for a feeling of possibility, which seemed to be obscured by layers and layers of dark clouds, buried in a sea of lies.

My body took it on. My shoulder scrunched up toward the top of my head in a permanent and impenetrable pain, my sleep disrupted. I questioned the country I had taken for granted my whole life. I wondered about my sanity, after so much gaslighting, so many lies said with such conviction. I got used to frustration, to being afraid, to sadness.

From its first inspiring day, the new administration has laid clear its theme: it’s about you, not about us. It’s not about division, it’s about unity. It’s not about lies, it’s about truths. It’s not about anger, it’s about forgiveness. It’s not about dystopia, it’s about hope.

We’re not out of the woods, but we are out of the constant, pelting downpour. The vision is clear. We march toward a more perfect union. Not perfect, more perfect. So grateful.

gratitude-a-thon day 2024: Finally

Ok, you know what I’m grateful for? I’m grateful because finally, FINALLY, people are beginning to see Donald Trump the same way I have seen him since before he was even elected.

I don’t know why it took an insurrection to finally convince people how wildly dangerous this man’s rhetoric and general demeanor is to our country. Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, really, you’re banning him now? How brave of you, how heroic. You played right into his hand. Free speech, shmee speech, that divisive power-hungry narcissist has been lying for four years, spewing falsehoods, bigoted soliloquies, coded crap, shoring up the very people he has done absolutely nothing for, all in the name of getting himself one thing and one thing only–power.

What’s funny to me, is that Trump with all his gold trimmed trappings and alleged billions, has wound up with followers who dress in Camp Aushwitz sweatshirts, carry the confederate flag and wear Daniel Boone coon skin caps and horns. These people he deems “special,” who he “loves,” didn’t even have the foresight to obscure their faces so they wouldn’t be caught after breaking into the capitol. Now that’s a damn intelligent group. Just wondering if any of them tried to check into Mar-A-Lago, would they be welcome?

Yes, I am grateful to finally be believed, that this president is the president who never should have been, who has damaged the office, the party and the country. And who should be punished for inciting a takeover of the government. LET THAT SINK IN, HE IS THE PRESIDENT WHO PERPETUATED A LIE ABOUT THE FAIRNESS OF THE ELECTION AND THEN HE TRIED TO TAKEOVER THE GOVERNMENT! I’d laugh, but it’s not funny. Here’s to impeachment, 25th amendment, getting him the fuck out of the oval office, where he never should have been to start with.

gratitude-a-thon day 2023: no meteors

Last night my husband and I watched a mindless disaster movie called Greenland. This is no recommendation for it (it was ridiculous, although just what we needed), but what i did think was kind of remarkable, is that the plot (meteors are hitting the earth and extinction is inevitable, except for certain people who’ve been invited by exclusive invitation, because they’ll be needed to start the world up again, like architect/builder Gerard Butler, who together with his wife and diabetic son, who fight to get on the plane to bunkers in Greenland for the entire length of the movie), felt completely plausible to me! I kept saying to Peter, “This could happen. We could seriously be facing meteors tomorrow! It wouldn’t surprise me.”

He didn’t disagree.

Living inside this pandemic since last March, watching and reading news that seems like pranksters took over the media, is so surreal, so bizarre, I’m beginning to think anything can happen.

I’m almost 100% certain meteors will not reign down on us, but to quote Sleepless in Seattle, when Meg Ryan and Rosie O’Donnell hear their friend say that “It’s easier to be killed by a terrorist than to get married over age 40,” Annie says, “That is not true. That statistic is not true.” and Becky replies, “That’s right, it’s not true, but it feels true.”

That's right, it's not true. But it feels true.

Life is unpredictable, totally and completely. Which is why having gratitude is so important. The act of focusing on that which is good, despite sometimes feeling like you’re sinking into a pit of quicksand, is the key to getting your balance again. I fall off the gratitude wagon more than I’d like to, and I recently lost my way once again. But what’s nice about gratitude is that it’s a forgiving sort and it will allow you back into its life faster than you can say “vaccine.”

Just a little reminder, gratitude is waiting for you. Even as Covid-19 marches around our worlds like a spoiled three year old demanding its way, there are still plenty of good things happening. Make sure to note them. They are the Greenland of the movie we all need to get to the new world and start again.

gratitude-a-thon day 2022: buh-bye 2020

Happy new year! I thought 2020 might refuse to concede to 2021. (I stole this from an unknown source, but, right?!). What a calamity. What a dumpster fire married to an active volcano. What a, as Dana Bash on live tv, called the first presidential debate, “shit show.”

I will pay even more attention to my almost 13 year old bestie because he is my heart.

I spent a lot of 2020 trying to normalize the unnormalizeable. Didn’t we all? Didn’t we all try and make sense of what was happening, from the behavior of our mentally ill, ultra incompetent, extremely divisive president to the Black Lives Matter movement, to the political season that seemed to encompass several hundred years, to living with a lethal virus running rampant and changing the fabric of the world, while killing more than 320,000 people in this country, alone.

There will be some moments I will remember fondly, once I have enough distance from the offspring of the devil and Mitch McConnell, that was this year. And I bet you will, too. Until then I will keep masking up, staying hopeful, continuing to focus on the all encompassing joy and elation that have engulfed me since election day. I will work even harder at finding the smallest, gnat-sized good things. I will focus more on what I have and less on what I don’t. I will try to be kinder. I will make an effort to use my phone less and move my body more. I will ponder what I’m grateful for every single day. I will make sure that those i love know it. I will consider officially adopting my Elf cutout so that he can come to all holiday celebrations and not just Christmas. I will work hard at making 2021 the year we laughed more. And I will, finally, turn off the news.

Who knew I could have a third child at 61?

So, bring it, 2021. We’ll do our best with you. But, go easy on us, we’ve been through a lot and we need a kinder, gentler place to live right now. And here we go.

gratitude-a-thon day 2021: “the days are growing,” she said

Today, the darkest day of the year reminds me of my mom.

Not that my mom was a dark person, just the opposite. Today, my mother would say, without fail, her face lighting up the room, while darkness seemed to descend around 11:00 in the morning (not really, but it felt like it) “Today is the shortest day of the year. Now the days start growing!”

This made me howl with a combination of laughter and irritation. How could she be happy on such a dark and gloomy day, I’d wonder. That women ran on hope, is the answer, She was always looking for brighter days, even on the blackest of the year.

My mother’s six year battle with lung cancer began its final stage on December 15, 1989. She called me to tell me she had a headache. I didn’t think much of it, but she insisted she had a terrible, terrible headache. It could be sinus, I said. It could be a migraine. There was a bad sound in her voice, a cancer sound.

The next day, my sister called to tell me that she was taken in an ambulance from our house to the hospital and they were doing tests. I felt my body go numb, each part of me, completely void of feeling. I began to float, but not in that good way that happens when you’re in love. My husband and I went home that night. I remember walking into the hospital room that first day and my sister being sort of crouched in the corner in a chair, her husband standing next to her, my dad there, and somehow the timing was exquisite, as the doctor had just walked in to deliver the news that the cancer was running around the lining of my mom’s brain like a marathoner.

It fell to my sister and I to determine a treatment plan, whether we should agree to allow her to get radiation along with a shunt in her skull to directly deliver chemo. We struggled, since nobody would tell us exactly the outcome of this little plan. But she delivered us her final Christmas present, when after her first date with radiation, she said loud and clear, “No more.” We only agreed because we’d bumped into a doctor in the elevator who told us if we pursued the chemo and radiation, she’d be blind in month or so and would only live another six months. I’m sure he didn’t realize the gift he was giving us, as no other doctor we’d asked would be so honest, spitting out gibberish, like “you never know. Everybody’s different.”

We knew.

Without treatment, the hospital would not allow her to stay, so we were forced to move her to a hospice an hour from our home. If you told me I’d ever be able to be in a place where everybody was dying, I’d tell you I would not. But it was one of the nicest and warmest and most transformative places I’ve ever been.

So, as the rest of the world was preparing their houses for Santa’s arrival, decorating their trees and shopping for gifts, baking and singing christmas carols, I slept with a pillow over my head. Not being able to tolerate food, I lived on little cartons of vanilla soy milk. My sister and I were glued to one another. We went back and forth to the hospice, on the winding back roads of Connecticut, lined with tall trees and bodies of water. We lay in her bed with her, holding her, morphine coursing through her veins, wishing for some of our own.

On December 21, my mother could no longer speak, so she didn’t tell us that the days were growing while darkness fell over us. This would be the first of all the important things I would never hear her speak again. It barely mattered to me, my whole life was darkness that month. (I’d just found out I’d never have a baby. But we all know how that turned out!)

I won’t bore you with the rest of the story, but my mother passed, as we hit a deer rushing to her side (a call at 2:30 in the morning that she was in the last stages, threw us into the car). We didn’t make it in time. She was gone when we arrived.

But every December 21, I say what she would have said, “It’s the shortest day of the year, but now the days are growing!” I say it to whoever will listen. I say it all day long. And I think of my mom, because she is the one who always brought me light, no matter what day it was.

gratitude-a-thon day 2020 (yikes): dance it out

The vaccine is starting to roll out. This is the light at the end of the dark, black, dirty tunnel that we’ve been waiting for. iT’S NOT A TRAIN! No, we’re not nearly in the clear, no, you can’t invite Santa in for Christmas dinner (or anybody else, either), nope, it’s not business as usual. BUT, there is hope. And frankly, in a year like 2020, hope is like finding out potato chips have no calories. Hope is freaking EVERYTHING. EVERY LITTLE THING

I love this video so much I want to marry it. It’s healthcare workers at Boston Medical Center celebrating the arrival of the vaccine. These brave and selfless souls deserve this moment. I could watch it all day and night…..

GRATITUDE TO THEM AND ALL THE FRONTLINE WORKERS OUT THERE EVERYWHERE WHO’VE BEEN KEEPING US GOING. This one’s for you. You have my undying gratitude, forever and ever.

gratitue-a-thon day 2019: getting through it

Last Saturday you needed like, a head to toe waterproof beekeeper suit with thigh high fisherman’s boots to even take a step outside. It was a New England classic. The kind of winter weather that always makes me cranky, but this year, with Covid, and spending time outside being so much more important, the rainy, sleety, snowy, windy dark at 3:45 day, made me anxious and angry. This was what I have been dreading since the start of Covid. “Imagine this in the winter….,” I’d often say during the light and bright summer months of this virus, contorting my face into a “can you even” expression. Little did I know back then that we’d find out, that this pandemic would actually not only still be plaguing us during the winter months, but throwing out bigger numbers than the amount of lies spewing from Trump’s twitter account.

If you’ve known me for four minutes, you know that I hate winter. I.HATE. WINTER. I abhor the cold, the pile of clothes you must put on to be outside without turning into Frosty the fucking Snowman, the ice you have to chip from your windshield, and contend with under your feet. I’m a summer girl all the way. Give me the sunshine, the ability to walk outside with warmth on my shoulders and flip flops on my feet. Give me flowers and fertile green trees and beach and barbecued steaks and my little patio filled with people and wine and a fire in the fire pit and white twinkly lights……Andyway, the idea of having Covid and winter together like an off-key duet of the devil and Mitch McConnell, has been haunting me ever since I heard the word “pandemic.” It sounded like a I should just make my reservation at the acclaimed McClean Hospital, booking a nice suite for December through, say, May.

But back to last Saturday–I knew I had to do something, get out of the house, despite my lack of appropriate clothing options. I decided a chicken soup was in order, so headed to the store and bought the supplies. I came home soaking wet and got out my a-baby-could-take-a bath-in-this pot and threw two chickens inside with water and some veggies, salt and pepper for flavor to simmer all day. Then I began to chop. Thick leeks with circles that reminded me of tree trunks, and onions that made my eyes water and green celery, which I had to keep replenishing on account of I kept eating it, and big fat carrots. That was all I could do until late in the afternoon when the chicken had slow cooked. Then I did some online holiday shopping, went down a few google rabbit holes, read the news, wrapped some already purchased gifts, watered the plants, cleaned up my room, did some work, hopped on the stationairy bike and stared outside as it got darker and more hideous by the minute. At 3:30, I finally called it, lit a candle in my room, crawled into bed and read. And that’s when I thought. ok, this is what you’ve been dreading all these months since March–this day–of bad weather and darkness combining for cataclysmic misery and, well, it wasn’t so bad. I was safe and warm in my comfortable bed, with my dog laying right next to me and my kids and husband occupying themselves with work and tv and eating and we were all ok.There were people dying in very high numbers from Covid, their family and friends struggling, suffering, which hardly compared to having to stay in side for a day. It wasn’t the best time I’ve ever had, but I was getting through it without wanting to take cyanide and that’s when the gratitude came roaring into the middle of the room to say, “Hey, this is it, this is your worst case scenario and you’re fine.”

And so, I realize that this horrible, horrible virus that’s surging like a tsunami across our country during the cold, dark winter is like everything. You must take it a day at a time. You must do what you can for yourself and others to get through it. You must pray or meditate or telepathically communicate with your source of hope that we will all get through this frigid blackness. Every day that passes is a day I am getting through. And holy gratitude on high for that.