gratitude-a-thon day 823:marching on

 

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Why, hello March. IT’S MARCH. You know what that means? It means we made it through the winter without any major snowstorms, and only one real cold snap (in which we lost our heat, but still). Last year at this time, we still had approximately 104 inches of snow on the ground, and some seriously bad attitudes.

GRATITUDE. HUGE, big, gratitude right here. I may even put the sleeping bag coat away today. #takethatwinter.

gratitude-a-thon day 92: spring

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I am always like a child tasting candy for the first time, when, after a brutal New England winter, the trees start turning a verdant shade of green, tiny crocuses start to show themselves, deep yellow daffodils, and tulips follow, and magnolia trees, magnificent in their white and pink and maroon clothes, begin their fashion show. I’ve been doing this thing for a lot of years now. It never fails to happen. It’s as reliable as Drano. And yet, I am shocked to see the world go from the dullest black and white to a full on box of Crayolas. Shocked, like I’ve never seen such a thing. Shocked like when I watch a magic show and I know there is a trick to it, but I just can’t figure out what it is.

There’s such a feeling of hope in Spring. In New England, of course, we are mostly hoping it’s really here. Spring can be a coquettish young girl, flirting and playing hard to get. Just when you think it’s safe to put away your monolithic coats and fur lined boots, Spring decides to drop back, and you wind up looking silly in your short sleeved shirt, not wearing any socks, and worse than that, cold. “I hate you, Spring,” you shout, with chattering teeth. But you don’t. You don’t hate Spring.

Because you can’t hate Spring. You can’t hate what it offers, what its agenda holds. You can’t hate the fever it brings on, or the days when it’s in the mood to show off. You can’t hate the girls in their new dresses, or the guys busting out their shorts, or the faces looking skyward dotting park benches, in hopes that the sun will brown them and warm away all of winter’s harsh treatment until it’s a faded and forgotten photo in a drawer.

I am always stunned, mystified, grateful for Spring. I wait for it all winter long, with the same fervor and anticipation that  kids wait for the last day of school. I battle with allergies, and worry about spring cleaning, but the newness, the hope that Spring brings, like a gift at the feet of a king–it’s perfect. It’s one of the best parts of life. A gussied up package of hope, with a big fat beautiful bow of all that can be.

gratitude-a-thon day 71: easter

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I love to decorate eggs. I did dozens and dozens when I was a kid.

My dad was Jewish and my mom was Catholic. When they married, they decided to give up their religions, and raise their children with no religion, allowing us to choose when we grew up. (Course, this was impossible, since we did not have any religious education.) But we did have all the Catholic holidays, because my mother’s family, who all lived 15 minutes away, were Catholic. And the town I grew up in was all Catholic. (I will get into this in another post in more detail one day.)

For my family, Easter is a re-birth of the earth and a celebration of spring. And getting really creative with eggs. And a reason to eat a lot of candy. And a lot of ham. And more candy. With candy for dessert. Topped off with a midnight snack of candy.

Hope you and your peeps (get it!!!!!)  have a happy day.

gratitude-a-thon day 55: the change in season

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It was in the air yesterday. That undeniable change that means we are in the clear. The snow has shipped off to some other miserable and cold place. And replacing it?  Sunny days, budding flowers, and blossoming trees. HOT DAMN. I am always fascinated by Mother Nature’s clock. It will be snowing, and then one day, the whole thing turns around and some threshold has been crossed, and spring has sprung. I know I could be jinxing us by talking about winter being a thing of the past, but c’mon it’s March 14. (yeah, I remember the April 1 snowstorm, WHO COULD FORGET THAT THING?)

Being a New Englander my whole life, I have come to appreciate the seasons for their mega-beauty and their ability to tolerate immense change. There’s no better model to look at, than the four seasons (No, not Frankie Valley) to understand how to roll with the kind of change I’m facing. Consider the trees. In the Summer, they’re wearing their full regalia– vibrant green leaves, flashy and flirty. October rolls in like a surfer’s wave, and suddenly the trees are turning all sorts of colors, flying their fancy hues, but also forced to face their demise, morphing into brown and tattered clothing, and ultimately gathered into large groups and carted off to leaf heaven. (In the suburbs, some are cremated. May they rest in peace.) And then the winter blows in, and those poor trees hang on for dear life. They’re forced to face the bitter cold, the icy snow without the aid of their protective leafy snowsuits. Not their best moment. But they stand tall, and just wait. Wait for better times. And then comes March, a day like yesterday, and that tree knows that things are about to get interesting. The sun warms those bare branches and pretty soon, it’s like SHOPPING TRIP TO THE MALL!

I am always talking about how I want to live in a warmer place because I don’t like the cold (Let’s be real: I fucking HATE THE COLD.), but I am grateful for the seasons, and how they mimic our lives.  And ok, I suppose I might miss them a little bit, if I were to move somewhere without them. But for now, I’m just going to use them as a teacher, a natural guide, a little lesson for me, direct from Mother Nature.

gratitude-a-thon day 20: spring will be here in 49 days

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Winter is prettty, I admit it. But only for like, one day.

Making my way through this winter has been challenging. Actually making it through WINTER IN GENERAL has become challenging because as time goes by, I HATE THE WINTER LIKE I HATE WRINKLES, AND LIVER, AND ANN COULTER. I grew up sledding, and building snowmen and ice skating everyday after school, and weekends, too. I liked winter back then. It was, like everything, FUN. In high school, I fell madly in love with skiing. But at the end of college, I herniated a disc in my low back, and my dreams of being Suzy Chapstick disappeared. I went a few times post back diagnosis, and tried not to move while I skied, and finally gave it up entirely in my mid-twenties, after going on a Vermont Ski weekend, with a bunch of fabulous skiers. I looked fate in the eye, when I took the wrong chairlift, which dropped me on trail that was 18 colors beyond my skill level, and covered in a deadly, glistening layer of ICE. I tumbled down that  alpine luge slope like a crumpled piece of paper in the wind, and the terror that filled me at the thought of hurting my back even more, caused me so much anxiety, I had a “crazy girl on the mountain” kind of moment. I actually screamed and cried like I had broken MY WHOLE BODY. I never set foot, or rather MY feet in a pair of ski boots again. And that was that, the last thing that had made winter fun for me was done. Anyway, sure, the snow is pretty for like approximately one day. Then I’m ready for spring. I hate the clothes, too — layers and layers of clothes to put on, just so you can bear leaving your bed.

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I cut my friend out of this photo, so I look even weirder than normal, BUT WOULDJA LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THE COAT?

You should see the coats I wear. They’re basically sleeping bags with holes for your feet. I am sure people are impressed with my winter weight loss, come summer, since I look about 50 pounds thinner  when I’m not toting around the “down comforter” coat anymore. Also, I CANNOT walk around in the winter without my shoulders hunched up to my ears like Frankenstein. They just won’t go down. And you know, like,  THAT’S VERY ATTRACTIVE. And then there is the sweating. I layer myself all up to go outside, but when I go back in, like to grocery shop, or holiday shop, I sweat like I am in a Viking oven baking at 500 degrees, and very much resemble someone having a major heart attack. Again, the attractiveness factor here cannot be ignored. So, I’m grateful to be counting the days (just 49 more) until spring (and what with my math skills, it could be here even sooner).