gratitude-a-thon day 2088: extending the gratitude

We here at the gratitude-a-thon (meaning ME here at the gratitude-a-ton) are pondering Thanksgiving, that time of year when everybody prays to the altar we live at on the daily–gratitude. The the lists that will be thrown around the tables tomorrow, ranging in size, depth, and magnitude, are music to our ears (meaning MY ears). But once the turkey disappears, why do we throw the gratitude out with the leftovers? Here’s my list of why you should make your Thanksgiving gratitude last all year:

  1. Gratitude is cheap. Oh wait, it’s actually free! How many things in life that are worthwhile are actually 0 cents?
  2. Gratitude can improve your health. It improves your immune system, lowers your blood pressure and makes your aches and pains feel less achey and pain-y.
  3. Gratitude makes us feel less isolated. It makes us feel more outgoing and compassionate. And if that were on the racks at Bloomingdales, tell me you wouldn’t fill your cart? (They don’t have carts at Bloomingdales, but you know what I mean).
  4. Gratitude makes us feel more positive and optimistic. And I’m sorry, but in this cuckoo clock world, you gonna shun that?
  5. Gratitude puts us in the moment, instead of loitering in yesterday and tomorrow. It allows us to feel the joy in what we have and not do that nasty take-the-good-stuff-for-granted thing.
  6. Gratitude can help you deal with the green monster, no not Fenway Park’s green monster, we’re talking jealousy. It’s hard to feel envy while you’re feeling gratitude.
  7. Gratitude makes you look at the whole of the good and where it came from. When you do this, you get a feeling of community and appreciation for those in your life who’ve helped you get whatever it is your grateful for. It takes a village, people.
  8. Gratitude can improve your resilience. When you’re always looking for the good in even the worst situation, you’re going to be able to have more positive emotions roam around your body and mind.
  9. Gratitude has been proven to lessen depression. Tell me that doesn’t improve your mood.
  10. Gratitude can help us stop being so controlling. If you’re on the gratitude hunt, you’re feeding yourself a diet of being thankful for what you have vs. what you want or think you need, or must get.

I could keep writing this list, but then I wouldn’t be able to make my New York Times macaroni and cheese recipe for the first time, which will go with the million other items we’ll be indulging in tomorrow, for which I am super grateful. See, see how I did that–that’s how easy it is to get your gratitude on. Just consider all that good you have hiding all over your life. In every corner, there are teeny weeny and mega things that you can bow down to. What are yours? Ask yourself tomorrow, and then ask yourself every day afterward. I’m not trying to be bossy, I’m just trying to give you a tried and true habit that can actually make your life better. But of course, what else do you think we’d feed you here at the gratitude-a-thon–the seven deadly sins?

Happy Thanksgiving, EVERYBODY! Hoping you’re with people you love and you have an overabundance of mashed potatoes.

gratitude-a-thon day 2087: get busy living, or get busy dying

I got an email on Saturday morning that let me know that a guy I went all the way from Kindergarten to high school with, had died. I had that reaction we get when we aren’t prepared for something we learn. A questioning of the words, a full-body tingle, a quick reread. He’d been sick for many years, battling some sort of lung issue. And now he was gone.

It wasn’t that we were very close friends, we weren’t, but we were certainly friends. Oh, he did ask me to the Senior prom, which I’d had to say no to because I’d already said yes to someone else. And we did share that outdated and ridiculous superlative pick of being Best Looking in our senior class. And we may or may not have had a date in Boston after college that ended in a make-out session in my Newbury Street apartment, which was like kissing your brother and we never saw each other again! But like so many people I went to school with, he was a constant, the low din of background music, the Bethel backdrop of growing up. See, I never moved once. I grew up in the same small town, in the same old creaky Victorian house for my whole life. It was like that for many of us. There were generations who’d inhabited that tiny town. Everybody knew everybody. And the people you went to school with, who showed up every September with new haircuts or new bras, a few new inches, or the fear of having an erection in class, were such a constant in your every day, you’d remember them the rest of your life.

There are many reasons I feel sad over this way-too-early loss. One is that it is premature. Yes, I know, he wasn’t 25 years old. But it’s still too soon, there are still too many happy and astounding experiences that will never be. His wife shouldn’t be widowed. His kids shouldn’t be without their dad. Two is the wake-it-on-up call that says Jeez, here’s where we are, class of 1977–we’re dying now.

Armand Menegay. That was his name. He was smart and gorgeous and athletic and had a great personality. He’d created a good life. One that shouldn’t have ended so fucking soon. But he reminded me to be more present today, to love a little harder and louder, to remember that as Andy says to Ellis in the Shawshank Redemption, “I guess it comes down to a simple choice really. Get busy living, or get busy dying.” We all have that expiration date looming. Grateful to have known you, Armand. Here’s to you.

gratitude-a-thon day 2086: stay in the day

Annnnnnnnnd the holidays are on us. Yup, we just carved the pumpkins, and without hesitation, in fact, with overlap, the stores brought out the whole nine yards of decorations and elves on shelves and silly festive sayings on blocks of fake wood. ‘Tis the season to manic panic about gifting and get-togethers and trying to dodge bad Hallmark Channel movies.

Do I sound Grinchy? I’m actually not. But I do find the premature birth of the Christmas season to be a buzz kill. Why can’t we just slow it on down, people? The next holiday is Thanksgiving. Why not lean into the gratitude of that, which is all about food (featuring mashed potatoes!!!!) and being thankful for the good stuff we have, putting an oversized magnifying glass to what we already possess, not what we have to purchase (right now, while on sale, 40% off, TODAY ONLY……).

I guess what I’m saying is why must Thanksgiving foot the bill for the greediness of Christmas, Santa?

Let’s face it, we know why the ho, ho, ho has to start early, so that the maximum amount of green (forget the red) can be made. I understand that it’s all just business. But you know, we here at the gratitude-a-thon (meaning ME here at the gratitude-a-thon) take offense at our holiday being overlooked.

Gratitude is even more vital during the holidays. When the conversation is all about get, get, get, it’s important to remember what we have, have, have.

So, while I may have done a little pre-season shopping already, I just want to state how grateful I am for the upcoming holiday based on one of my most favorite things ever–gratitude. (And you thought I was going to say mashed potatoes….)

gratitude-a-thon day 2085: a great read

My friend Steph and I have a small (really small–it’s just us!) book club, where we search and sample and dig for the best reads to share with one another. I am not one of those, “I bought it so I have to finish it, EVEN IF I HATE IT,” people, because Jeesh, life is way too short for that. I still remember reading As I Lay Dying in college and honestly, I did want to lay and die as I was reading it……(I am going to give it another try, since I am notoriously influenced by my mood and where I am in my little life, so maybe in college, this just wasn’t the right vibe for me and this critically acclaimed, super influential work).

Anyway, Steph told me she was reading Elizabeth Stout’s Lucy by the Sea, so immediately I downloaded a sample on my Kindle and was all in. It’s about the beginning of the pandemic from one woman’s perspective and it brought me right back to those eerie, early days when who the hell knew what was happening, except for things were changing by the moment and I ordered a bunch of toilet paper, paper towel and rice and my family made fun of me, before they used it all and began to realize that I wasn’t as overreactive as they thought.

This book is so aptly written that reading it is bringing up some of the fear and claustrophobia I felt then. Things were uncertain and odd and the news was like watching a loop of the movie Contagion. My kids were home, I was walking miles and miles a day, just to be out of the house, getting up at odd hours to get on the Amazon Prime Whole Foods delivery line. I was afraid to be with people and took enormous comfort in my online yoga class. It was bright spot of every morning that helped me to feel a little normal. I kept trying to understand what was happening, but I couldn’t. I missed my friends. I missed being able to walk down the street and not think someone I saw was a walking virus that might kill me. I forced myself to try and soothsay when it would end. I prayed for a vaccine. I worried for my kid’s and how their lives were being effected. In short, I was a hot mess of anxiety.

You wouldn’t think I’d want to revisit that in a book, but somehow or other, it’s rather comforting. I think part of it is knowing that many people’s reactions were like mine, but also that we got through the worst of it (OR ANYWAY, I FUCKING HOPE WE HAVE) and that feels like some sort of achievement. It wasn’t easy. Many people lost someone close to them (we lost my father-in-law, who’d not been well but still), and this changed the course of their lives permanently. While we were able to fend off the virus for two whole years, I did succumb in late May after a fabulous wedding in Palm Springs, which made me sicker than I’ve ever been and left me with a fatigue that has me taking Adderall which is really helping and I’ll continue taking it until this coma-like exhaustion stops.

Anyway, Elizabeth Stout. What a writer. Next up, the book I should have read first, and who Elizabeth won a Pulitzer for, Oh, William! I am notoriously grateful for good writing, that kind you can just feel. What are you reading? Always interested in the next great read. C’mon, tell me everything on your nightstand.

gratitude-a-thon day 2084: what i learned in yoga

My good friend retired from teaching yoga for 20 years and there was a fabulous goodbye lunch for her last week to celebrate. I of course was not celebrating, as I wish she was still teaching, but I get it and I support her and it’s only my selfish side that wishes she hadn’t made this decision.

I came to yoga late in life and with two herniated discs in my low back and a bit of a wonky neck, I felt tremendous luck that Roni, my teacher, was so gifted in the department of being able to teach an old dog like me some new tricks. Her mammoth skill and boundless capacity for conducting classes where every pose flowed into every other made my body feel both challenged and satisfied. Her well considered meditations were apt and well timed. The long lines of her beautiful sinewy body made every pose look like a sculpture you’d want to take in the beauty of for the better part of a day.

Here’s Roni doing a perfectly gorgeous pose

But here’s what she did that was most important of all. She always had an accommodation for whatever ailed any of us.

If someone said, “I can’t do that pose because my knee is having issues,” Roni would come up with another way to produce the pose, so the person could accomplish it without pain. I’m telling you that no matter what you said to her, she had a solution consisting of your blocks and blankets and bolsters and chairs and straps placed in a very particular way to allow you to do the undoable . I often teased her that she’d say, “Ok, put 17 blocks, 19 blankets, a wheelbarrow, 6 loaves of wheat bread, a down coat and 4 mattresses under your head and you’ll be fine as wine.” She was not quite that extreme, but Roni always had a way around a downed tree in your path. She could give you a detour for even the most extreme impediment.

Here’s a few things you could use that could help you do that undoable pose!

I loved this because there are things I can never do because of my back. But in hindsight, I see that maybe I loved this because isn’t this just like everyday living–you are always running into issues that need to be accommodated. It’s all of fucking life!

So, grateful to Roni for showing me that there’s always a way. That if one thing doesn’t work, you find another, that if there is an unstoppable force blocking you, you can find an alternative. This is as good as her aspirational poses, and her ability to create community. And while I may never quite get myself into the perfect Pungu Mayurasana, what she has taught me over the years is invaluable for my yoga practice and my life.

gratitude-a-thon day 2083: Loss, Gain

The other day when I was walking my new puppy, Daisy, we ran into a dog that looked like Riley, the 14-year-old we lost in April. To be specific, we didn’t lose him because he ran away, or we lost track of him on a walk, we lost him to old age and the big bag of ugly tricks it travels with. We lost him in our bedroom, in my arms, with some tenderloin in his mouth.

Anyway, this dog. I practically accosted its owner. Fortunately, she was very nice and understood my shock at the likeness between her dog and Riley. (AND OF COURSE, I HAD TO PULL UP A FEW PICTURES ON MY PHONE AS EVIDENCE.) As it turned out, he was from the same breeder in Minneapolis (!), which really surprised us both, because who even gets a dog in Minneapolis? And he was 10, so maybe he had the same parents as Riley had. The thing was that his eyes were exactly the same as Riley’s and well, I couldn’t hold back from crying because in that moment, as much as I love Daisy, and I am madly in love with Daisy, I just wanted Riley back.

Loss is is tough as leather. It lasts as long as Gone with the Wind and conjures up the kind of feelings that seem like they could actually kill you dead. I have lost my mom and my dad and several cousins and aunts and uncles, and Riley is on the same level as those losses in terms of the sadness factor. You might think that’s silly, or overblown, but then you probably never had a dog.

Daisy is now potty trained! I told my kids I was more proud of this than when I potty trained them, and that’s actually not an exaggeration. My kids were much harder, but Daisy seemed not to understand at all, going out for an hour or two, then coming in and doing her biz on the rugs! Then one day, after careful incentivizing and continual monitoring, it clicked and she hasn’t had even one accident in almost a month. PARADE!

She has an adorable personality, loves every person and dog she meets, is extremely affectionate and learns stuff quickly. She always has pep in her step and never met a stick she didn’t love. She is providing us all the love, antics and laughs we missed. She resembles Riley in no way, and that makes me happy, because there can never be another…..

Grateful that I had Riley. He was my very best friend. We had an unspoken understanding and a love 1,987,088 miles deep. I’ve only had Daisy since July 18, but already, I would kill for her (BUT NOT WITH A GUN, BECAUSE I DON’T BELIEVE IN THOSE). I have been very lucky in the department of dogs. And I am grateful every day for that.

You can’t go home again. It’s one of those overused cliches that’s spot on, (apologies Thomas Wolfe for saying the name of your book is a cliche–how gauche) but you wish weren’t. And while it is the sad reality, the truth is that you can visit and you can do a full-on big screen memory dump of all the places you’ve been lucky enough to call home. You can. You’re allowed. But warning: you’re going to get the feels.

Peter and I spent 30 years going to Martha’s Vineyard, from the very beginning of our relationship.We went with family. We went with friends. We rented all sorts of houses on all sorts of lanes and roads and streets, until finally we fell madly in love with the tiny town of Menemsha just before we had our kids. Our two and three-week stints were something we looked forward to in the dead cold of winter. As soon as school ended, we’d pack up and head for the magic of Martha.

We stopped our yearly ritual when the kids went to college. Too many internships and jobs and conflicting schedules. It seemed a family place, and so without our kids, we no longer boarded the ferry for destination happiness.

But we have missed it. All of us. And last week, as a surprise that was postponed due to a health issue, Peter and I headed back to Menemsha, to a B&B we’ve long loved, and stayed at on and off for three decades–The Captain Flanders House. It was comforting to see that everything in this rustic inn was pretty much the same as it ever was, including horses roaming the property, the breakfast room and its sweet flower arrangements, the idyllic views of the pond. The property is the scene of so many memories for both of us, including the site of one of the hardest times I’ve ever laughed, when a take out dessert and a clam sauce pasta dish had a roll in the hay on the way from The Feast, (now The Chilmark Tavern) to the CFH.( I’d tell you the story, but it just doesn’t translate, but take that in–HARDEST.I’VE. EVER. LAUGHED.)

When you love a location, you remember every turn in the road, the intimate details of its geography. As we drove down North Road, every overhanging tree and stone wall provided me the comfort that only an old friend can. I may not have stayed in touch, but here they were, still rock solid. Before I knew it, the fields of farmland and familiarity got me crying. I guess it was because I felt grateful that this place was part of my history, my family’s history, a little chunk of my DNA. It was something we’d experienced together, the love of this island, all those summery, barefoot, sandy feelings of freedom.

As we drove around, I was flush with images of my kids when they were in the backseat, pint sized, wedged precariously amidst blankets and grocery bags and games and suitcases, like the cutest little sardines in a can. I saw shadowy figures of them everywhere we went, Three and Six year old Jake and Ally on the rocks near The Galley, waiting for their ice cream cones (no doubt fighting with one another). The two of them on the hunt for crabs on the inlet at Menemsha Beach,sunburned and competitive. Ally crying the whole summer she was eight months old. Jake peeing off the porch when he was three. The two of their bodies morphing from babies into adults amidst the waves at Lucy Vincent. Their endless thirst for lemonade at the Flea Market, not to mention baseball cards. I can still conjure their moans of culinary delight at the Farmer’s Market when they sunk their teeth into the Cold Rolls and their later dissection of how The Egg Roll Lady made them and if we could make them and next time if we could get 20 of them instead of just 10. Mission Brass Ring at the Carousel lasted well past the age it should have. The sunsets on Menemsha Beach were legend, the way that sky would paint in red and orange and yellow and pink will always stay with me, and the memories of eating fried scallops and perfect french fries from The Bite, while the kids ran wild and played in the epic light. Rocking in the rocking chairs eating breakfast sandwiches, or pizza at The Chilmark Store, wondering what celebrity we might glimpse, tick checks before bed, dance parties, that 4rth of July parade where Ally was almost run over by a car because she was collecting candy a float threw to the kids. EILEEN’S PIES & OTHERWISE, Fireworks. Breakfast in Aquinnah, Scrabble (and fights) and laughs and outdoor showers. And at the end of the day, sleeping so peacefully, the whole world felt right in the morning.

From 0 to 18 in four seconds flat. Grateful.

gratitude-a-thon day 2081: taste like chicken

Hey, have you heard about this whole TikTok Nyquil Chicken Challenge thing? For the love of sweet baby Jesus, can you even? I mean, honestly, even when my nose is running like the falls at Niagra and my throat feels like a cat is walking up and down it with her claws and I feel like someone is setting off fireworks in my head, I hate the taste of Nyquil, so you can bet that I am not going to chef up a meal with it. Besides, what do people say when they eat it, “Taste like chicken?”

Wondering what’s next–Botox Bacon, Tylenol Toast, Advil Apple Pie (it is fall, after all)?

There are so many absolutely cock-a-doodle-do crazy things on social platforms, that it truly is hard to grasp. But all you have to do is click on Instagram and Facebook, which, by the way, “are for old people like your grandmother’s grandmother now” to see what the world is gabbing about. if you really want to know what’s hot and trending though, you have to go to TikTok, or Twitter. They’re the platforms that are currently delivering.

I have been on Facebook for a long time. And I stay in touch with a bunch of people that way. I have also been on Instagram for a good amount of time, as well. And there are some different people I stay in touch with there. I would say that both of these platforms have already lived their best lives. There are, however, still plenty of people who post and respond regularly there and many businesses continue to use both to grow and connect with their clients successfully.

Twitter is the place I go for news. I have my feed all set up to read those I think are smart and in the know and know the dirt, especially politically. Also, Twitter has some pretty astute and funny people who can get me from zero to laughing in just 280 characters. if something big happens where I live, I troll Twitter to see if I can find out the scoop. (“Why are there four helicopters over my house?) Also, if there’s something newsworthy that’s just breaking anywhere in the world, I always hit Twitter because someone was on the scene and is usually quick to post. And, a little trick I learned a few years ago is that if you really want to get a company’s attention concerning an issue, throw them a negative Tweet and click on your phone’s stopwatch and see how long it takes for them to respond. I’ve gotten some real satisfaction this way, when I couldn’t reach a company any other way. As for TikTok, I can fall down the big internet hole over there because there’s such a wide range of stuff to learn. Oh, a lot of it is a big trash heap ready for the town dump, but loads of people create content that’s useful and educational and can help you live a better life, or even just teach you how to put contour on your face.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t just mention that I’m not mentioning the fact that social media has destroyed lives, attention spans and spread more political lies than the Trump family. But this post is about chicken and not about Zuckerberg and his questionable morals, or the general decline of the planet….

Anyway, so just don’t eat the chicken with the Nyquil. Ok? It’s really bad for you and super dangerous. Here’s what the NYT has to say about the whole absurd thing. No major gratitude announcement today, just a little public service announcement poking fun at the loco world we live in. (Sometimes just laughing at it all, is gratitude enough.) Have a chicken-free Thursday.

gratitude-a-thon day 2080: the good, the bad & the ugly: the emmy’s

I had a late hair appointment last night when a critical text came from my sister. “FASHION ALERT: THE EMMY’S ARE ON TONIGHT.” How did I miss this? If having a new puppy, obsessing over a work project, and following the trials and tribulations of our former president with hope and glee means I don’t even know there’s a major red carpet happening, then let’s face it, I need a reboot. STAT.



As star of The Flight Attendant, I expected more from a fashion A-lister than this major air disaster. This bad mark from from a girl who would marry a piece of tulle, if I weren’t already married. “This is your Captain speaking, get some highlights in your hair and rethink your fashion choices before the next flight.”


Forget Killing Eve, this schmatta was killing me. Did she steal this from Prince’s closet, or what?


I really like this dress, except for the triangular piece of fabric that’s missing. We know you have a cute belly button. We know you have a flat tum tum. What we don’t know is why a double nominee would wear something even Ruth would’ve turned her nose up at.


The color is like the walls of a bad dental office. The top fits, but the grazing tulle, a fabric I’d truly like to wear daily, just doesn’t make her larger than the average bear’s boobies look supported. There are toooooooooooo maaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnny ruffffffffffffffffffffffffffles. It’s kinda like a souped up peignoir set Laura might wear on the Dick Van Dyke show on a night when she really wanted to get some.


The top of this dress looks like a priest married a Christmas Tree Skirt. Wendy might have gotten away with it on Ozark, but Laura, we’re just not having it.


I don’t love the dress, but it wouldn’t be on the “worst” list if it weren’t for the hair. This is the girl whose mom puts those pink curlers all over her head the night before the school picture. This is the old lady around the corner who’s had this do since 1924. This is the worst hair since the Bride of Frankenstein.



in the category of “go big or go home,” this very elaborate red number was volumes of tulle, (which by now you know my deeply intense adoration of), was a major hit in my book. The color was stunning, the layers and layers of heavenly ruffles were fun and exciting. This is a girl who made a very big entrance, and I for one was so there for it.


The only thing that could fit Lily better is her skin. This is a gorgeous silhouette and a fabulous sparkly color that matched her hair like they were dyed together. This is a head-to-toe SLAM DUNK 10.


I think Reese knows her bod and what works and what doesn’t. This worked like Merrick Garland is working to put Trump away. Ba-bam, that blue is everything. Great shoe. And i love the volume on this stick straight hair.


This one, she is up there on the style stairway that leads to heaven. It’s so often that a strapless goes wrong, with either too much boob hanging out, or an emphasis on how little is there. This classic black is all loveliness. I do not like the hair, but everything else was so good, I couldn’t take off points.


This subtle pink bling fabric perked up Amanda’s natural pale skin in a beautiful way. I love that delicate piece of tulle (I KNOW, I am talking tulle again, and you’re wondering if I’ll ever stop) at the top. The whole thing screams Merriam Webster’s definition of “pretty.”

Ok, what was your fave? Who did you hate? Spill, please.