Category Archives: five things & gratitude lists

Five Things March ‘22

I am in the process of renewing my daily writing practice. Without it I’m a little lost to be honest. My in-class writing suffers, my to-do list wilts, and I lose track of things. I am not overstating this.

So today I reset my intention. I will use up a small annoying notebook. Guess what? I have a preference! Kill me! I like college-ruled, five-subject, 8 1/2 x 11 inch pages.

I shall also reinstitute occasional practice of the Five Things entry. I learned this from my friend and fellow writer, Sarah. In case you forget, the Five Things are: 1) the weather; 2) some thing you commit to doing this day; 3) one thing you did well yesterday; 4) one thing you could’ve done better; 5) one thing that brings you joy.

The practice is simple and quick and yet manages to construct a meaningful record. It can trigger more writing.

So here goes.

1) Today is cold and clear. Not as cold as Monday, but still quite cold.

2) Today I commit to finishing that fucking orange notebook so that tomorrow I can start fresh in my preferred size.

3) One thing I did well yesterday was manage the time for my Tuesday writing group.

4) One thing I could’ve done better yesterday was to eat one ice cream sandwich instead of two.

5) Something that gives me joy is the thought of spending time with paper and scissors. I used the prompt judgment this morning.

I snipped a finger and bled on a bunch of the scraps. I left the traces and kept on working because I’m lazy that way and because it felt appropriate. Don’t we all bleed under the harsh judgment of others and ourselves?

The blood worked but the images aren’t there yet.

I’ll admit to identifying the most with the squirrel looking on from the sidelines.

Gratitude and the Color Blue

A good long walk. A full fridge. Healthy fam.

That’s it, really, a gratitude post.

But here are some collections of BLUE*

* prompted by Acey at SparklingLotus

She asks, among other things: what blues are you drawn to and what blues do you avoid?

** Harriet Tubman print of a painting by Natalie Daise aka GullahMama on Instagram

Joy and Good Things

Friday’s First Joy: Wading with my guys at the lake. (Later, K and I will return sans Dog and take a dip and that’ll be another Joy) (autocorrect caps ‘Joy’ and ‘Dog’ on my phone – don’t you love that?)

While standing there in summer’s blue palm, another Joy arose — what else? — a vision of food.

Vichyssoise! Wouldn’t that be nice? I’ll make it with cream! (The sugar purge has begun and in honor of what works for me, some high fat allowances will be made).

This dish will also celebrate Anthony Bourdain. Maybe we’ll even watch his final episode while we enjoy it — then again, maybe we won’t. Another anodyne episode of “Anne with an E” (– a recent remake of Anne of Green Gables on Netflix) might suit the day better.

Soup recipe here.

Eight leeks is A LOT of leeks. Recipe calls for “whites only” and I wonder if I have included too much of the transitional green? — I’ll let you know.

Another Joy: a run to Whole Foods for ingredients (it’s the grocer closest to the lake). This always constitutes an exercise in both abundance and privilege. Look at those artichokes! The beautiful shallots!

Arriving home, yet another Joy: perennials. Rising up in the garden — a seemingly effortless miracle of return. Color and profusion. Soon there will be morning glories, too.

A surprising addition to this list: all the witty and astute and funny people on twitter. For example, George Takei. This morning I learned he has made a Cat-Trump app that’ll let you make videos. I think I better not get it.

Or, The Hoarse Whisperer.

“Tell me one good thing” is a weekly feature of his (hers?). After days of pithy and unavoidably depressing political commentary, the #OneGoodThing hashtag takes over. Hundreds of people respond and I often take the time to read dozens of them.

So, like him I’m asking my readers to tell me one good thing that happened this week. We all need this.

I’ll start: my sister’s new care arrangement will allow the aide to drive her around. This is terrific news!


home sweet home

home sweet home

After a touring colleges in two cities, flying through two additional cities because of missed connecting flights. After watching hour after mind-numbing hour of CNN. After learning that our bags were elsewhere. We were happy to drive home to Newton. Even if the shit was still hitting the fan one town over. Even if our town was under a ‘shelter-in-place’ order. Even if the house reeked of dog when we walked in. Even if the news continues to startle and shock. We are home.

Power Ball, death, and gratitude


A neighbor of mine died suddenly (another one).  He was 45.  He truly was a bright light — giving, cultured, dedicated to non-profit work — with two young children.  It is such a reminder to let each day be lived with some measure of gratitude.  My brother is an ER doctor and has daily, often gruesome, reminders that he has plenty to be thankful for.  My sister lives on SSDI and counts days when she has food and shelter as good ones.

I, however, live among the affluent and get caught in the ‘comparison game’.

Would I be happier in Waltham or Watertown, where blue collar families predominate?  Alternatively, why can’t I live right here and not get hung up on the differences?  The whole Power Ball drama brought this up this week.  It was fun to make a list — new couch, new towels, two new cars, repaired stoop, painted living room ceiling (by a CONTRACTOR), relief from worry about college tuition, insulated basement studio…  It was less fun to notice how few of the people I know would have to win the lottery to get these things.

To wake up each day and say, “ah…… thank you for another day”  would be a giant improvement.  Everybody — from Oprah to Buddhist monks to Deepak Chopra to anyone you can name with a book about the five (or six, or seven) keys to happiness — recommends it:  a gratitude practice.


So what am I grateful for in this moment?  I’m grateful for the snow falling down, the smell of soup on the stove, coffee – always coffee, Jack sleeping at my feet (snoring just a little bit), a movie to watch for later, my cyber-community, friends who call, friends to walk with, a good book to finish for book group tomorrow, book group, Christmas and how much I love baking for it, shopping for it, decorating for it, a neighbor turning one years old this week showing that there is always new life, too, chocolate, a fireplace, my camera, my threads, a healthy family, family – period, my cashmere sweater (I know where to find them for $10!!), my wool socks, the smell of balsam, this energized rat terrier making me smile…. for having time to create.

What are YOU grateful for today? And more, how do you keep yourself feeling grateful?  Do you keep a journal?  Pray?  How do you intervene with you notice that you are feeling sour or downtrodden?