gratitude-a-thon day 483: S.A.D.dly winter is here, will someone turn on the lights


Seasonal Affective Disorder shouldn’t be called S.A.D. so much as HIDE THE CARBS SYNDROME.

I’m telling you, once that sun starts switching off at 4:00 (the other rainy day, I swear it was getting dark at 3:15), I am a carb seeking missile. You’d think I was training for a marathon. I have come to accept that as long as I live in New England, to get through winter,  I need a giant coat, I need light, and I need a big hunk of bread.

If you too go to the grocery store and come back with only seven kinds of pasta, here is an article of tips on how to cope. I, for one, am grateful for it. If I can just stop stuffing my pie hole with english muffins long enough to read it.


gratitude-a-thon day 342: family & eating

Ally, moi, Paul & Chris. Chatting it up and not photographed are Greg and Peter.

Yesterday we spent like 100 hours in the car trying to get to Connecticut. First Al had a doctor’s appointment, so we packed and went to that, but I had to stay in the car with the dog, or he would freeze his paws off. Then Peter had a conference call presentation to Germany for an hour, while I drove. I don’t like to drive on the highway unless I can sing really loudly with my really bad voice. But you can’t do that if there is a work call to Germany going on. But I made some good time and things were moving along. Then we went to our favorite diner in the world, which is a family tradition for maybe 30 years, Rein’s Deli. There’s always a line and you do not want to miss the pickles (shout out to Lee!), which are maybe Ally’s favorite food on the planet, and beyond, or the rye bread, which is maybe one of my favorite foods in the beyond the beyond, or the cheesecake, which we all LOVE. When we got back into the car, it was raining, well actually pouring. The visibility was like having a thin veil of white sheeting over your eyes. And the sides of the road were flooding, so every once in a while we’d get splashed by another car that would render us totally blind. Then there were the small lakes we’d run into and do a little hydroplane dance. I was starting to get a headache, a little car sickness. THEN, the traffic stopped, just like that. Our trusty GPS had those nasty red diamonds for miles. We stopped, we started, we stopped, we started. I began to get insanely car sick and felt like I might throw up on myself. I opened the windows. The car continued to jerk a few inches at a time. At this point, I thought that I would like to go and dip my head into one of the larger ice puddles for some relief. This went on for over an hour, before we began to move past a three car accident, where one of the cars was crumpled up into a tiny square of metal. The traffic disappeared, and we flew the rest of the way to the hotel. Ah, if only my head felt better. But by then the damage was done and I was into a full on migraine of hell. I laid down and napped, sort of, but I still felt like a drunken dreidal when I got up. But we were only to be in Connecticut for one night because of schedules, and so I was going to go out to dinner with my favorite aunt and my cousins, (my uncle Louie, who is my mom’s remaining brother can no longer come to dinner and this fact is a story unto itself, the pain of, I shall not discuss today) come hell or hellish migraine. We had missed our traditional Thanksgiving this year, which I have been doing since I was a kid, because we were in Barcelona, and this was our only free moment to see them and so I was going to, whether I had to vomit on them, or not.

What I usually do when I have a migraine (after a distinctive period of getting them four times a week and being treated by a specialist, and finally ridding myself of them through diet and acupuncture after three years) is take Compazine, which is a drug for nausea, and I usually always have them with me, but of course, I didn’t, so I did the next best thing and went to CVS for Bonine, which is a similar sort of thing, used for sea sickness.

We met at a great restaurant in Danbury, Della Francesca, where we have been many times and where the food is stunningly delish. I had the bolognese and honestly I almost licked the plate (I think I might have, what with the Bonine and glass of Pinot). We had a bunch of laughs and discussed a million things as our usual A.D.D. selves.

Anyway, headache, traffic, no singing, it was still worth it to see people who mean EVERYTHING, AND I MEAN EVERYTHING to me, and who I do not get to see enough of. Grateful. (And happy to say headache-less.)

gratitude-a-thon day 308: baby, it’s cold outside (but a little warmer inside)


I would just like to report that in the town of Brookline, Massachusetts at 6:30 am, it is 1 degree. ONE. As in the lonliest number ONE. One, as in the first digit you learn when you learn how to count. One, as in Soup for, Direction and Fund. ONE, PEOPLE. I feel like I was transported to Antarctica in my sleep. While I have grown up on the East Coast, where winters are cold and snowy, this is not the kind of cold that’s in any way typical. Oh no, THIS IS FREEZE YOUR BOOTY OFF cold, even if your booty is as, well, solid as Kim Kardashian’s.

My gratitude here this morning is that I am not outside, and have a semi-warm house to be in. Plus lots of blankets, and sweaters. I am praying for the homeless today. This is no joke. Also, grateful not to be living in the mid-west (for many reasons), but because they’re experiencing even colder temperatures than we are. There is apparently a polar vortex that is sending cold air down from the North Pole. Today’s temperature predictions in Fargo, N.D. are for 25 BELOW. Minus 31 in International Falls, MN. Ok, I am feeling warmer here with our little 1 degree.

My other gratitude, I am leaving for L.A. on Monday, where it is currently 53, but moving on into the mid-70’s by mid-day. Winter is getting less and less appealing to me with every passing second. But I could discuss my disdain for the cold for the next three weeks, so I’ll stop now. Stay warm and bundled up. This too shall pass (but not soon enough for me).

gratitude-a-thon day 49: soup

Soup’s on.

I had kind of a crap day yesterday. First of all, it was snowing and the weather people who I was feeling real animosity toward, were saying it was going to be a 4-8 inch snow storm. And well, it’s MARCH. And I hate snow. And I want spring. And I’m sick of the sleeping bag coat. A work thing happened that was icky. I had the chills all day. I missed my sister a lot. And the Times Style AND HOME section were disappointing. So, after I did some errands (I went to the hairdresser and got my hair dyed, if you must know), I came home and what did I do to improve my mood? I made myself some soup. This winter I have found that what I most want to eat, is soup. My daughter doesn’t like it, so I’m less than game to make it as much as I’d like to eat it, because really, who wants to cook two meals? (Not me, I don’t even really want to cook one.) Anyway, I have been trying hard to get as many vegetable in me as possible lately, so I decided to make some vegetable soup.

Now, I have pretty much perfected my chicken soup, but I only recently began making vegetable soup. And guess what? It’s sort of idiot proof. My dog could make it. (You know, if he had hands. And he didn’t want to wolf down all the ingredients before they made it into the pot. Not that he’s an idiot, because he is SO NOT.)

So, here’s the deal. It’s almost too easy to call a recipe, so I’ll just tell you what I did and if you feel like it, you can do it, or you can tell me how you do it.  In fact, give me some soup recipes people. That would be really awesome. Soup’s on!

I took olive oil and put it at the bottom of a soup pot.

I cut up onions (two) and carrots (three) and celery (6) and zucchini (1) and yellow squash (2) and a package of spinach (like a bazillion pieces) and sauteed.

Then I threw in one container of chicken stock and three cups of water.

Then I added a little pepper and some salt.

Then I answered some emails and noticed that The Huff Post was reporting that Kim Kardashian is traveling too much and thought she had miscarried. (thanks goodness I made soup, this almost put me over the edge. YES , IT’S A JOKE.)

Then I ate some popcorn while the soup cooked (15 minutes).

Then I ladled it into a bowl and sprinkled it with Reggiano Parmigiano and pulled the hyacinths close to me so I could smell them. And ta-DA, the day seemed better. The warm liquid started heating me from the inside and the all the vegetables seemed to be saying “Spring is coming.” And the cheese, well I wish it were snowing Parmigiano. That would be a storm I’d be grateful for.

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

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.

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).