gratitude-a-thon day 932: do something good



Between the election, and the bombs in NY and NJ and the police killing of black men for seemingly no reason, I gotta turn up the good news, be grateful for the people out there who are giving, who are helping out. Are you with me? We need to focus on some good shit, people.

Who doesn’t remember the provocative lunchroom scene where you don’t know where to sit, and you are paralyzed for several moments and want to crawl under a table instead of sit at one? Look what this girl did. You can grow up to be president, Natalie Hampton.

I never cut a coupon, but look what I could do if I did. Laura Peryear, you’re freaking awesomness!

I love Ron Alton.  Way to raise a girl, or a boy for that matter. YOU are amazing.(Make sure to watch the video. I’m going to start doing this today!)

For the past three years a student at City College Norwich has been sending positive messages to people who are having a hard time. She calls it the “Sending a Smile” project. Kudos, kid!

Do something nice for someone today. Something small, something big (Like my friend Beth, who is asking people to celebrate her 51st birthday by giving her 51 gift cards for women and kids who need them via the fab organization she works for.) Just do something positive today. Inspiring stories, people who go the extra block, people who give, make us want to do better. We gotta drown out the bad juju, guys. You know what I always say–there is more good than bad……




gratitude-a-thon day 930: lost love


Ah, the pain. The horrible and intense sadness that lingers at the thought that Brangelina is no more.  They were the great hope that a couple could be movie star gorgeous, but also smart and philanthropic and talented and family oriented. They were the Hollywood ending we were all rooting for. Who didn’t want them to stay together forever, just so you could look at the relationship with envy and know that somebody had won the perfect life lottery.

Brad and Jen were cute. They were adorably cute, but Brad and Angelina were hot and sexy, tree hugging world citizens, adopting kids from other countries, creating a United Nations-like family, while still creating film. Beautiful to look at–yes–but also such do-gooders, such super hip leaders. They weren’t flashy, they were down to earth, with barefoot kids and photo spreads that paid them oodles, which they gave to charity.

I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Don’t we all love a love story? This one’s disintegration feels sad. They seemed real, and not a celluloid fantasy. I hate it when that happens.

gratitude-a-thon day 929:remember when there weren’t terrorist


It’s not like I was born in the 1800’s with hoop skirts and servants, but I gotta just say that my kids are growing up in a vastly different landscape than the one I grew up in.

I get a little kooky when bombings and shootings happen and just a little obsessed with news coverage. Today, I flipped on CNN because I got like, six NYT alerts to let me know that Ahmad Khan Rahami was caught, and that it appeared he’d been responsible for the bombs in Chelsea this weekend.

For a moment, I looked at his face, which looked pained, because he apparently had been shot, but was clearly conscious. And I just thought, as a mom, or maybe just as a human being, what happened to you, why did you do this. Ok, innocent until proven guilty, but let’s say he’s guilty for the sake of this argument, he and I share some form of humanness, don’t we? And that shared bit, made me so sad for this man, because I wondered, truly want to understand, what went wrong? What is it that brought him to this point in time.

A stabbing in a Minnesota mall, a bombing at a 5K in New Jersey and a bomb that went off in NYC– another dismantled before it could, just a few blocks away, all this weekend. I worried about my career, rent, and AIDS (which was terrifying–maybe it’s this generation’s terrorism?) in my twenties. I didn’t worry about bombs or terrorist attacks, popping up at brunch or walking down the street. I couldn’t have known what I didn’t know, and I’m grateful for that. My kids aren’t so lucky. And neither are yours.

gratitude-a-thon day 927: emmy carpet ride: the best and the worst 2016

Even though I missed the red carpet because I was at my daughter’s soccer game and then stocking her room with groceries (it’s amazing what you can fit into a teeny tiny dorm fridge), I am still going to comment on the carpet. That’s how dedicated I am to giving you my useless opinions on fashion.

The worst, because it is just so much more fun. And that’s why we’re here, am I right?

1.Laura Carmichael. Did Lady Mary MAKE you wear this?

Laura Carmichael

Laura Carmichael arrives at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Let’s just start by saying I love tulle. I never met a piece of tulle I didn’t want to marry, but a yellow vest with tulle, um that would be a no, never, a “you’re trying to fuck with us and see if we call you out.” This is truly in a class all its own. And as if the two colors together, weren’t bad enough, the daisy just seals the deal. I mean we are in Bjork swan dress territory as far as I’m concerned. Granny is going to be pissed.

2. Anna Chlumsky. I hate it, but I bet it was fun to wear.

Actress Anna Chlumsky arrives at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

Actress Anna Chlumsky, of HBO’s “Veep,” arrives at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., September 18, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

This is basically what everyone would love to wear to an award show. I mean it’s essentially wrapping yourself up in your comforter and walking the carpet. She just had a baby a couple weeks ago, so there’s that, but this is one disastrous look.

3. Mandy Moore. I’ll see you at the prom.


This is such a bush league mistake–you are on the red carpet, not running for homecoming queen. There are too many ruffles, it’s an ugly color. Her hair looks like a 70’s senior high school yearbook portrait. It does match the color of the Emmys type behind her, so I’ll give her a point for that…..

4. Amy Poehler. Is that turf she’s wearing?


I love her. She is the funniest, but nothing funny about this dress. At all. Not even one little giggle. I hate it. It could be a sexy golf course. “Fore.”

5. Gwendoline Christie. Game of Moans.

What is that fabric? Leather? Pleather? Ugly? I pick number three. And where did that black pleated skirt thing come from? Is there another dress underneath? Could it be uglier than this one? I do not think so.

And onto the girls who got it right.

  1. Kerry Washington. Hot mamma.
68th Primetime Emmy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 18 Sep 2016

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5899047es) Kerry Washington 68th Primetime Emmy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA – 18 Sep 2016

Oh baby, this is a gorgeous look from head to toe. She looks naturally beautiful. Baby on board: you got one pretty mommy.

2. Padma Lakshmi. Top chef host sizzles.

68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 18: TV personality Padma Lakshmi attends the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Someone got out the good silver. I love the simplicity of this dress. It fits her body like the glove didn’t fit O.J.

3. Kristen Bell. Really pretty, plus flamingos!


This is so not a dress I would ordinarily like, but damn it, she looks perfect in this embroidered jungle. Plus I love the styling. Her hair is a 10 for me. Young and fresh.

4. Sarah Hyland. Who doesn’t love pants with a dress?


I’m guessing this will be an unpopular choice, but let me just say, if I could dress up and down black leggings or pants for the rest of my life, I would (oh, I forgot, I already do). I like it. There, I said it. And I love the sandals.

5. Tatiana Maslany. One look representing so many personalities.


This Orphan Black actress plays several sisters who all have different personalities. You have to wonder how she decided to fashionably represent them all (OH, WAIT, she’s not really them. I forgot, she’s a REAL  PERSON). I like this a lot. Simple. Modern. Winning.

gratitude-a-thon day 924: love warrior


I just finished reading the book Love Warrior, and if you’re a woman you might want to read it too. No, I’m not a recovering bulimic, alcoholic, or drug addict, with marriage issues, which the author Glennon Doyle Melton is, but this book isn’t just about her addictions or her relationship with her husband. This book is about much more–it’s about the trap women can so easily fall into, when it comes to finding their place in the world. It’s about what we should look like, how we should act, what is acceptable and what is not.

Yes, this is an Oprah Book Club pick (but don’t not read it because you’re one of those people who can’t stand Sister O.) I’d heard about this book prior to Oprah’s ordainment  on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page. Melton is a skilled writer, and her story is a poignant one. I had not previously been a reader of her blog Monastery, although I had heard of it. Turns out she describes herself as a “truth teller,” and well, I’m all for broadcasting what might help someone else, even if it isn’t stuff that’s considered ok to talk about. She goes there, and beyond. And I am grateful for anybody willing to say what is, despite embarrassment. To me, that’s real power.



gratitude-a-thon day 922: !n Prai$e of Pr#fanity


Last night my friend Jocelyn asked me to go to a book reading, on account of the fact that the book was so up my alley. The book is called !n Prai$e of Pr#fanity by Michael Adams.

Um, yeah, we all get why she thought I might like it.

I have not read the book yet because I was too busy swearing to read it, not really, I haven’t read it because I just got it, what am I Evelyn Wood? (Is that a wasted analogy, does anybody remember commercials for the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Course from, like the 70’s?)


Adams read several passages and they were interesting and pretty funny, too. He himself doesn’t swear. (What the fuck?) But he makes some very good points about why those of us who do swear, do swear. And he explores some of the historical background of words like my personal favorite “fuck.” There is apparently something satisfying about the ability to “throw” the word out of your mouth because of its consonants. I’m all for swearing satisfaction.

Anyway, if you know someone like me, you might just have your holiday shopping in the bag.





gratitude-a-thon day 921:steeeeeeve!


A major heart attack a few months ago, and he looks ten times better than I do today!

My friend Steve from California was here last night. My friend Steve who had a massive “widow maker” heart attack only a few months ago. My friend Steve who I did a GoFundMe page for, because we thought he was going to die, or at the least be brain damaged from the deep freeze coma he was put into for a week, leaving a wife and four kids behind.

That guy.

And guess what? He is fine. Better than fine. He’s calmer and has a new gratitude for life (not that he wasn’t a mighty appreciative guy before). This is a minor miracle. Actually minor is an understatement. This is a major miracle. A big fucking MIRACLE.

There were several things that went right for this to happen, starting with his son who never formally learned CPR, but performed it anyway, and when Steve asked him how he knew how to do it, when he was unfrozen and could speak again, Skyler said, “Dad, I watch tv.” (I have watched every Grey’s Anatomy and I still don’t know how to do it. Peter would not be so lucky). But really, this was key, because Steve was not breathing. He was totally unresponsive, and if Skyler had not watched so many medical dramas, Steve wouldn’t have visited this weekend, on account of he would, plain and simple, be dead.

Also, the choice to put him into a coma was key, as well. This allowed his body to rest and regenerate. Of course, there was the risk of him not coming out, or coming out with damage to his brain. But neither of these things happened, which is another thing that could have gone terribly wrong, but went terribly right.

Anyway, it was an amazing thing to see Steve. He is back to swimming as fast as he swam when he was 28! All of which is to say a hokey, miracles happen. Several happened to Steve. Gradi to the tude, grateful.



gratitude-a-thon day 920: more good than bad


Like anybody could forget. September 11 will always be synonymous with that day.

That day my four year old began ballet in pink tights and a waterfall of hair on her head in a basement studio with other little girls and parents with ashen, confused faces. What had just happened? Watching those little feet turn out, learn to stand in straight lines, allowed those of us watching one more moment to pretend that this day was like any other.

It was not.

And neither were the weeks that followed. Shock, fear and horror filled the air around all of us. Still 10 years later I can remember how it made me feel, as well as I remember one minute ago.  That day when I thought I might have lost a cousin (I did not and am grateful for that every year, even though he is such a smart ass!!!!!) That day when innocence went on a permanent sabbatical.

The world changed on that crisp blue sky, perfectly perfect fall day. But I believe still, that there is more good than bad in the world. Even after that day and so many other unspeakable days. I will continue to believe that. More good than bad. Which is something Al Queda or Isis can ever take away.

gratitude-a-thon day 919: what to do with my extra time


As a freelance writer, sometimes I am wildly busy, and sometimes I am not. This worked really well for being a mom, because when I wasn’t busy I would volunteer at the kid’s school more, or do some kid-related thing with my extra time. But now that the kids are gone, and I HAVE PLEDGED THAT I WILL NOT BECOME ONE OF THOSE MOM’S WHO CONTINUES TO WORK IN THE KID’S SCHOOL, DESPITE HAVING NO KIDS IN THE SCHOOL, I have to decide how to structure that extra time. Here are some of the things I’m thinking of:

  1. Pole/exotic dancer. Once upon a time, I actually had the body for this, believe it or not. I had the moves, too. Sadly, this bus has left the station. But the hours seemed so good……
  2. Grocer bagger. Secretly I love it when the baggers at Whole Foods are busy and I get to bag. It’s sort a sort of fun geometry project, trying to fit different sized items together. This is as mathematical as I get, by the way.
  3. Toll taker. I have a lovely “hello,” and I’m good with my hands. But what’s this, I just heard they are abolishing the tolls and using some electronic system? Toll taker job: taken.
  4. Waitress. I have a resume for this one. I loved this job because I would sit down with customers, and talk. It takes advantage of my excellent people skills. The only thing is, I was terrible at it. This was confirmed by a general manager at an unnamed restaurant in Faneuil Hall. He said, and I quote: “You are the nicest person in the world, but the WORST waitress I have ever worked with.” Yes, that happened.
  5. An Über driver. I cannot read a map. I would need a GPS that said, “Take a left at the CVS and a right before the Citgo sign.” Hey, maybe this is an App I should develop?
  6. Dog groomer. I love myself a dog. Any dog. They are my preferred company. I wonder if I could avoid the  “anal gland cleaning?” Like maybe bill myself that way. “No assholes allowed.”
  7. .A salesperson at a boutique. Let’s face it, this could break us financially.
  8. A chef. My daughter would laugh at this one. She’s psyched about the college food compared to my cuisine.
  9. House cleaner. As long as nobody has to see my house as proof of my skills.
  10. An organizer. Haaahaaaahaaaahaaa. Now that’s a funny one.


gratitude-a-thon day 918: tell someone


Me yesterday. Not even kidding.

Just like they say about the lottery–you can’t win if you don’t play.

That’s how yesterday was for me. Except there was no lottery, or ticket, or money.

I woke up yesterday and the magnitude of Ally going to college hit me like an 18-wheeler going 200 miles an hour (can they go that fast–what do I know about 18-wheelers?). I was  steeped in sadness. My interior felt splintered into teeny tiny bits of misery. I felt fragile and wildly overwhelmed by a thick black haze. I haven’t cried like I cried yesterday in a long, long time. I was like a human Niagra Falls. No shutting me off. I wondered if someone would try to get in a barrel and slide down me.

But here’s the lame lottery analogy: I wrote about it, and out of the woodwork came unexpected kindness. A call from an old friend. An FB wall post about fucks not to give (everybody knows that my mood will instantly improve if there are fucks involved), some texts, some more calls. And those who reached out, reached me. Not that I could stop crying, because I couldn’t (I am a blowfish today, a blowfish, I tell you). But because when you share, you are not alone. And when you are not alone, you can bear just about anything.

Whatever you’ve got going on, tell someone. In a text, call, email, Instagram,  FB post, or an old fashioned letter. Make a fucking fire and send a smoke signal if you have to. There’s no need to go it alone. We are meant to help one another. We are all we’ve got.