gratitude-a-thon day 2088: the yin & yang

 

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The yin and the yang of life. Oh boy.

on Sunday right before going to a party, I heard about Kobe Bryant’s death. I am not a rabid sports fan like the rest of my family, but of course, I knew who Kobe was. After all, he was Kobe. Normally in tragedies like this, I glue myself to the tv and watch every morsel of news, grieving with the anchors and collective watchers and trying to make sense of a senseless event. But I was walking out the door.

Almost a year ago, an incredible boy and neighbor my son grew up with, Sam was in an accident skiing and lost the use of his legs. Our community came together to offer money, meals, and support. It was my great pleasure to cook and help organize the meals. In the process of doing so, I got to know Sam’s mom, Abby, who I’d really only known in passing and fell in love with her (she’s wickedly smart and funny–all the things I love in a friend)! This is a story for another time, about how people who might think they know each other but really don’t, and first impressions that are wrong impressions and how we are all more alike than different and that sometimes if you look closely, a tragedy has a few teeny tiny slivers of awesomeness.

Anyway, the party was part housewarming (they’d just renovated an apartment for Sam and his amazing roommate Ben) and a thank you for all the help from friends and neighbors during their emotionally demanding and transitional year. It was also the first time I would see Sam and I was nervous I would cry, which is not what I wanted to do, but I was afraid my body would just do it, because sometimes my emotions live a completely separate life from the rest of me and act like they are starring in a telenovela.

Anyway, I saw Sam and I didn’t feel like crying at all. I think it was his comfort that made me feel comfortable and I saw (not that I haven’t been following along on his progress–biking, wheelchair racing, and skiing, back to work, and life) that he was fine, I mean as fine as you can be when you’ve had a transition as big as the one he’s experienced in the last year (actually I think, much finer than anybody would be, but this is the Sam effect, which speaks to who this boy has always been–extraordinary in every way–exceptionally smart, stupendously athletic, and ridiculously handsome). Anyway, the place was buzzing with our community. There were loads of people eating, drinking and catching up with one another. It was downright festive. And I stood back at one point and felt crazy happy for this family to have this, after watching them have such a challenging year. It was a gorgeous moment.

Kobe Bryant dropped out of the sky at 41 and lost his life on Sunday, while at the same time, Sam and his family were celebrating a hard-won victory. The yin and the yang. This is life, all day, every day. The good, the bad and the hideous all happening simultaneously. I notice. I notice how life is uncertain and certain and ugly and beautiful all. And I don’t really understand any of it, but I’m grateful to be in the midst of it and noticing. Noticing with gratitude.

gratitude-a-thon day 2086: SAG red carpet fun

I’m back. Trashin’ the fashion at another award show from the safety of my couch. But first, Brad and Jen. Jen and Brad. We’re living for this, aren’t we? And of course, her nipples. They deserve their very own un-SAG award,  but I’m getting ahead of myself, so on with the worst, the cursed, my lips are pursed, as I dive into the Glamour Don’t of the SAG awards.

Patricia Arqu-ant and shouldn’ t have.

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The top of this looks all Johnny Cash, the color red when side-by-side with black screams Italian restaurant wait staff. In The Act, she played a mom who suffered from Munchausen by Proxy, and I’ll tell you, this whole thing made me sick.

Lydia Deetz grows up and goes to the SAG awards.

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If you say Beetle Juice three times, he appears. Well, it’s too bad Winona Ryder didn’t because maybe old Beetle Juice would have told her to ditch the rags and put something else on. What a disaster, from the “wings” on her shoulders to the poorly fit jacket, this was one hot mess, although I guess there are Stranger Things.

It takes real talent to make  Margot Robie look bad, high five to her stylist.

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Cara Buono, no Bueno.

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Hey, Cara, you’ve got something, um, right there, oh, and right there, just get that piece, over near your boob, oh, there’s another one right over there. And there. And, yeah, um, let me get you the lint roller.

Lights out, Allison Janney.

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She’s so tall and sinewy slim, just made for a floor-length dress, but not a lampshade. No, even this beautiful bod can’t pull off a lampshade.

I don’t know who this is, but now I know where my maid of honor dress from 1985 went.

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The first time I became incapacitated from back issues was in 1985 and honestly, this is the dress I was supposed to wear in my best friend’s wedding. Whether I hurt my back subconsciously so I wouldn’t have to wear it, or not, is a question. But life-long spine issues might have been worth not having to sport this thing, don’t you think?

Offpink.

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I love her. I love her so much, but this looks like a peignoir from the “we made the wrong color and so we’ve slashed the price” fashion line at Goodwill.

Modern Mess.

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Sarah Hyland is young and adorable, but this super short bow laden dress looks as though she got some flowered toilet paper stuck to her behind that she had to drag along all night.

Gwendoline Christie is pregnant, but did she bring other kids with her, too?

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This is the funeral dress of Mother Ginger, the old woman in the Nutcracker with all the kids under her dress who comes out at the end of Act I.

Nicole are-you-Kid-ding-Man?

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She always gets it right, but not last night. She looked downright matronly and that’s not how you want to look when you’re presenting with Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron.

Jenna Lyons is a fashion director. (Of what?)

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This is Jenna Lyons, the Old J. Crew Creative Director & the SAG Fashion Commentator. Was she preparing for the show so diligently, she had to pull down the drapes and make herself a flight suit because she was sky-diving after the show? Because I can’t think of any other reason she’d be wearing this.

And the best were really good last night. So much better than the Golden Globes.

Ann & Delores Not Dowd-y!

I watched the show last night with my sister, brother-in-law, husband and bestie, whose sister is Aunt Lydia, Ann Dowd. Ann is the nicest and most un-her characters person imaginable. And her mommy, is absolutely adorable and hilariously funny. It was a blast to see them, and get some texts from Ann. At 87, Delores killed the carpet!

Jennifer Aniston and her, uh, “friends.”

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Well, last night was Jen’s. And this dress was a classic Aniston, simple, curve-hugging, luscious fabric, with the ability to highlight “the girls: during her speech. I loved her hair, her simple jewelry. She knows how to dress. (And of course,  I wonder if she and Brad undressed last night. I hope so.)

Michelle Williams slam dunk.

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After her Globe’s global fashion disaster, down the court comes Michelle Williams hitting a 3-pointer. Dress, hair, make-up, all on point.

Joey King of the Black Dresses.

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I love this from top to bottom. The fit is perfection, simple, but glam, too.

Zoey Kravits wins the Audrey Hepburn award.

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Channeling Audrey, Zoey can do no wrong. I mean, put this girl in a Glad Trash bag and I’m with her. But this, despite being a color I don’t love, worked soooooooo beautifully.

Turquoise Johannsen slayed.

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This looked like plastic, satin. It was molded, but not. The fit was like a second skin, but also not tight, somehow. The color was wow, and she vogued the hell out of it. I’d never choose this dress, but it was a freaking 10.

Charlize Theron and her diamond part.

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Ok, aside from the fact that she had a line of dimaonds down the black part of her hair (she said she didn’t have time to dye it, so her stylist bedazzled it) which, even though I never met a diamond I didn’t LOVE, I didn’t love this look, but her top and skirt, now that I did love. Modern, fitting, gorg.

Tell me your faves, your worsts, your how-could-she-possibly’s.

gratitude-a-thong day 2085: a prince’s happy ending

Announcement Of Prince Harry's Engagement To Meghan Markle

As far as I can tell, and I’ve watched The Crown, so obviously, I’m an expert, The Royal Family is just a bunch of relatives who love dogs and horses and showing up at hospital openings and getting to have big weddings, and of course, big jewels. (That jewel part is very appealing to me. Who doesn’t want a diamond-encrusted crown? Why they don’t wear those on a daily basis is an absolute mystery though, right?)

Sure, I love the weddings and the spectator hats. But in all truth, when Princess Diana died because she was hounded by paparazzi, I thought, no amount of jewelry could make up for this kind of life (and you know how I feel about jewelry).

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In all seriousness, if anybody should be able to walk away from this farce of a family and all the obligations that come with it, and all the hounding from press, it’s Prince Harry. This boy lost his mother at 13 because people wanted to take her picture. He was forced to grieve this unfathomable loss in public. Just a little boy, who lost his mum forced to maintain a proper British, completely Royal Fam stiff upper lip in the face of puberty. A regular old teen would be hard-pressed to pull this off gracefully in front of his nuclear family, let alone have to do it in front of the entire world.

People will say he has obligations. They will say he is disrupting history. They will say he and Meghan have such an easy gig that they shouldn’t complain. But maybe they are the first sane people in the family. They don’t want to be hunted down by cameras, their lives as exposed as a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, examined like a high profile autopsy.

Is it any wonder that Harry has chosen to walk away from his duties? He now has a wife who the press, the very same press who killed his mother, has made their target practice since there was a whisper that they were dating. They have a baby. Who wouldn’t want to get out of dodge?

Change begins with one person who stands up to insanity, to cuckoo clock craziness and just says no. Congratulations to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex for stepping out of what’s expected and into a place that makes their lives work, that considers their safety and health and happiness. I can’t help but imagine how proud Diana would be of her son.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 2083: red carpet ugly

Good morning, and hey, how about that Ricky Gervais intro! Of course, we’re here to be all judgy and Trumpian about fashion, not comedy, so I won’t comment (but I loved it). Is it just me, or was there an abundance of really ugly dresses last night? I could barely recover from one “I cannot unsee this” gown, when another came strolling down the carpet. 2020 has started with some disasters–an assassination and the horrific Australian fires, and well, the Red Carpet at the Golden Globes.

Goop’s Gwyneth. More like, Oooooops, Gwyneth.rs_634x1024-200105165948-634-2020-golden-globes-red-carpet-fashions-Gwyneth-Paltrow

From the girl who has convinced you how to live, what to wear and how to steam your vagina, comes a dress so ugly, she should be fired from her own company. Perhaps the tiny underpants situation is the worst (can you see them under there) Or is it that high fashion color–rust? Or is it that the necklace is underneath the fabric? Oh, I know, it’s the whole fucking dress. 

Michelle Williams. Maybe it was the hormones?

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Shout out to her speech on a woman’s choice, but I really hope this dress doesn’t reproduce. I know she is pregnant, but I think she’s wearing the baby sling a little prematurely.

JBow.

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I wanted to unwrap her so I didn’t have to look at this disaster. This dress was no gift.

Salma takes a dive.

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Salma was on her way to the beach in her bathing suit and then remembered that she had to go to the Globes. She quickly fancied her towel into a skirt and put her beach balls in her top and bingo, bango–red carpet ready.

 

Shailene Woodley. Black and blue and ugly all over.

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It’s really the big black blob on her neck that got me. A microphone? Was she communicating with another planet? Earth to Shailene, take off that necklace.

Jodie Com-on.

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This leprechaun-gone-wrong look really surprised me. Was she channeling Villanelle? She musta been, cuz, UGLY.

RE-Greta.

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Even she looks uncomfortable in this dress. That white band at the top was so restrictive. How did she even hug any of her little women?

Kirsten (Fashion) Dunce.

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She never gets it right. And score, she did it again.

 

Anna Paquin. Well, I like the hair.

Gosh, there are so many things wrong here. The sleeves are just hanging there like an afterthought. The shoes are someone’s grandmothers. Oh, and is that a matching bag there? Perfect.

Charlize Theron. I like half of it, anyway.

Bold move with that color green, which should be impeached from the Pantone Color wheel, but that underneath part, I love it.

And onto the meager choices for “best.”

Ana de Amas. Perfect.

This is a total 10 for me. A hit it outta the park. Fit, styling, RED LIP.

Renee Zellwegger. Somewhere over the rainbow.

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I hated Renee’s speech. She seemed drugged or drunk or both, but this dress–this dress, this fit, this body, we’re talking perfection. And by the way, has she always had a Southern accent?

Zoe Kravitz. I never met a polka dot I didn’t love.

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I wish it didn’t have the belty thing, but she had me at polka dot.

Glenn, not just Close, Completely There.

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I thought she looked stunning. The color and fit of this dress was really becoming.

Ok, so what did you think?

gratitude-a-thon day 2082: 2020

 

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His boy, Elroy. 

2020. I thought by now we’d be jet-pack flying around, a la The Jetsons.

A new year is always so full of hope. It’s a little like that back-to-school feeling, where you sharpen your pencils and get on all those projects you want to kill, but times 1,000.

I used to make all sorts of resolutions. In fact, I used to write down the things I wanted to say goodbye to and burn them, then make resolutions. This year I didn’t do any of it. But I do have several things I am working on. More patience, more kindness, more writing, more meditating, more gratitude, more laughing. But my number one resolution is to elect a Democrat to the White House, the end. That horror show that calls himself president has gotta go.

Gratitude to the hope that another year escorts in. (Setting my sights on flying by 2030.)

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Jane, his wife.

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 2081: a christmas miracle: smarties

 

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Peter waking up to surprise Smarties delivery from an incredibly thoughtful little girl.

Yesterday we were reminded of the great neighborhood we’re lucky enough to live in, the way a teeny, tiny act of kindness can make us feel all warm and glowy like a fire in a fireplace on one of those frigidly cold winter nights Boston can throw at you.

Two Halloweens ago, a little girl and her friends came to the door and my husband, a rabid Smarties candy fan, asked her if she had any. He said they were his faves and he’d trade her some of our candy for her Smarties. She willingly and happily obliged. The next two years in a row, she came to the door with Smarties she’d actually bought for him. We both thought it was adorable and last year she was with her Dad and we thanked them profusely and we all had a giggle. We asked where they lived and they told us around the corner, but neither of us really took note.

Yesterday, Christmas day, my husband woke up to get the newspapers from the porch and there outside the door was a paper bag with Holiday Smarties! C’mon, really?! That sweeter-than-Smarties little girl brought Peter Smarties for Christmas.

There are so many completely awful and horrible things happening in the world, so many stories of unfairness, neglect, lying, cheating, poverty, terror, political insanity, immigration horror, terrifying climate change. The world just going completely mad. But this little moment of unexpected kindness seemed like a tiny little Christmas miracle. One person giving another a little bit of out-of-the-blue fun, a moment of sheer joy, a minute to forget all the bad and remember how transformative showing someone a little sliver of kindness can be.

Gratitude to the absolutely adorable girl, who we don’t even know, who took the time to be thoughtful yesterday. You reminded us that despite everything, kindness makes us better, changes our outlook, and always, always, always matters.

gratitude-a-thon day 2080:the botox holiday look

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This is my holiday look, 2019. It’s called Ptosis and it comes from having Botox injected too low in your forehead. Gorgeous, right?

When I was about 10, my sister told me that if I kept squinting, which created two lines in between my eyes, my face would stay that way. (This is what it’s like having an older sister.) Anytime I was concentrating or listening hard, my eyes automatically tensed up. No matter how I tried, I seemed to be on automatic squint.

My sister was right because, by the time I was in my 40’s, the lines between my eyes were becoming deep and were starting to make me look tired. By the time I was 50, I had a crevice that was as deep as the Grand Canyon (well, you know, not really, but sort of). So, I decided to investigate Botox. I went to an extremely reputable plastic surgery office and had my first shot. It was kind of miraculous. For the first time in my life, my face felt calm. I hadn’t realized that all that squinting was actually exhausting for my face! It was like I had been holding a 100-pound free weight between my eyes for 50 years and someone finally grabbed it. The lines disappeared. I not only looked less tired, I felt less tired.

For the last 7-10 years (I honestly can’t really remember when I started) I have used the same doctor every 4-6 months to get Botox in between my eyes. I noticed that once I could no longer squint, the lines lessened, even when the Botox wore off. Twice I tried it on my crow’s feet but didn’t like the effect. Other than that, it has not been a gateway drug or caused any bad side effects. It’s just given me that feeling of not having stress between my eyes and allowed me to look less tired. I’ve never been embarrassed to tell anybody (then again, I’m never embarrassed to tell anybody anything). Botox seemed like a harmless cosmetic treatment, more expensive than mascara, more painful than a facial.

That is, until last week. When I got the result all Botox users dread: the eye droop. Of course, anybody who gets Botox knows that this is a possibility, but it’s pretty rare and I never worried about it too much. I am not sure what went wrong here, but on my way to the funeral of a cousin, four days post-shot, I noticed my left eye begin to droop. I wore my bangs over my eye as much as possible and hoped nobody else noticed. I knew it must be from the Botox. My google search described my symptoms as Ptosis, and in all the searches I could round up, it’s caused by injecting the Botox too low on the forehead. By morning, I could barely open my lid. I frantically called the plastic surgeon’s office and the nurse practitioner, who was feeling my pain, gave me an appointment for the next day and told me there might be some drops that might help some, but that I was likely looking at my eye being droopy for the next 3-6 weeks. You can imagine how that news went down.

This all started December 11, the two weeks before Christmas. The time of year when you go to parties and work events and you’re constantly doing errands to get ready for the holiday. Yup, and I have a wonky eye. And not only that, it’s getting worse every day. And, it’s making me unbelievably exhausted. It takes everything in me to keep my lid up, and I’m finding utter exhaustion takes over a few times a day. For the last three nights, I’ve fallen asleep on the couch by 8:00. That’s entirely my husband’s job. I never do that.

I saw my doctor last week, and although the nurse offered some compassion, because how can you not feel bad for someone who comes through the door with her eye closed, the doctor, a doctor who has known me and chatted me up on every visit, about my family and traveling and general life, barely gave me the time of day. No empathy, just a shocked look on his face when he saw me like he had thought I must be exaggerating when I called the office reporting my symptoms. He told me older people sometimes developed a small tear in between the eyebrow and eyelid which allowed some of the Botox to drip down paralyzing the lid, making it droop, like mine. He never once discussed the possibility that he may have administered the Botox in the wrong place, which by the way, is all the internet says. In my research, I could find nothing about a tear or anything other than the explanation that the injection was too low. I am not saying it was wrongly administered, but it seems to me that he should have at least considered this as an option. Another doctor who was with him wondered if I might have Bell’s Palsy, which I quickly responded to by saying that I could move the rest of my face just fine (she did not know that I am the queen of the internet and already knew every cause of Ptosis that there is). She then asked me if I’d been sick, to which I answered, yes, because I had had a cold for the previous three weeks that just wouldn’t go away. I’d like to say here that nobody has ever mentioned not to have Botox if you have a cold, and it is nowhere on the internet either.

I don’t know what the hell happened. I have been having this same thing done for the last 7-10 years, and this is the first time that I came out looking, well, crazy. The doctor was completely unsympathetic and said he was sorry this had happened to me, once without much feeling. I felt stung by his lack of emotion and compassion. I was sobbing and he was trying to get out of the room as soon as possible.

My daughter is horrified. My son thinks it’s hysterical. My husband says he doesn’t notice (which is so him). I want to get in bed under the covers until it’s gone. I had plans to meet friends in New York this past weekend to see a Broadway show and do New York holiday things and I forced myself to go. It was hard because it is utterly exhausting to try and keep my lid up and because I also look like a circus show act. This week I have a work event and a party, and cousins coming in for a big fat cousin dinner and a Celtics game. I can’t just stop because I look like Frankenstein.

Obviously, Botox is an elective procedure and one of vanity. I have always known there was the possibility of this happening, but the odds seemed low and the rewards of not having the constant stress between my eyes removed, as well as the benefit of not having the lines between my eyes, seemed worth the tiny risk. Until now, until feeling what it’s like to have your vision impaired, your face look lopsided and scary.

Now I have to reconsider.

I won’t use Botox again. I certainly won’t go back to the doctor I trusted for the past almost decade. I do wish that he’d shown me more compassion and talked to me like a person, rather than a potential malpractice suit (which I’m sure isn’t even a thing, since I am quite certain I signed some waiver that said anything that happened after a Botox shot was not the responsibility of the doctor).

I keep thinking I’ll wake up and find the funny in this, but so far, no go.

So, just a little cautionary tale if you’re thinking of having Botox. I fell into the camp of “It’ll never happen to me,” but it did. And I’m here to tell you that it’s really not fun. Gratitude that, as my mom was so fond of saying in a shitty situation, this too shall pass. And if my droopy eye has given you a good laugh, well then gratitude for that, too.