With gratitude


This year more than any other continually challenged me to remember all that I have. On this day of giving thanks, I share the following entries from my mental gratitude journal.

Friends who feel like family. Near and far, I love you.

Everyone who helped (whether I asked for it or not) get me through two bad and unlucky injuries; three months in a wheelchair would have been horribly lonely not to mention on the edge of impossible without you.

Friends and family who encourage my writing, get my jokes, and listen patiently when I say,“last night, I had this dream..”

Hugs from my boys, growing into curious, caring, open-minded young men who still like to spend time together —and often with me too. (Though the younger one is pushing it with his insistence that the world looked like a black and white film way back when I was born.)

The honor of witnessing the union of Rachel and Sandra and seeing the looks on their kids faces as the deal was sealed.

My Latvian grandparents —dead more than 20 years— who rejected fascism and escaped tyranny en route to gaining passage to this great nation. (I’ve been wearing my grandmother’s ring as a reminder.)

Shelter. Creativity. Resources. Health insurance. Good skin. Wine. Fall foliage. Books. Yoga. Cats.

And while I’m at it, freedom of the press. Freedom of speech. Freedom to make my own health decision. The right to vote. A passport that can get me nearly everywhere.

The list goes on, but my pie needs to come out of the oven.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Warriors 2.0

I have written before about the “book club for home improvement” my friends started and graciously invited me to join in 2012. Ten families. Ten months. We each get one turn to have four hours (or more) of help of raising the barn of our choosing.

I had my first turn in August 2012. Today is my 2013 turn.

And what a lovely day it is. I was nervous because the weather has been more erratic than my sex life (hot, cold, hot, cold) but that sassy minx Mother Nature appears to have delivered a beaut for us today, a day when I plan to tackle that beast of a yard my house rests upon.

I can’t predict exactly what we will accomplish but there will be a chainsaw involved.

Regardless of what gets checked off the list, I am looking forward to a day with my friends, and if last year’s Warriors day serves as any guide, I will cry tears of joy when it’s all over.

There will be after photos. Of the work, not the tears.



Facebook has forever altered the true meaning of the word “friend.” After all, I’m friends with people I haven’t seen in more than 20 years. I’m friends with people I barely know. Well, not anymore since I combed through my so-called friend list yesterday and weeded out 100 people whom I’m pretty sure I’d pass on the street without recognizing. These are people I haven’t had a real conversation with in years, if ever, and people whose posts I frankly never read.

I admit at times I could be a Facebook friend glutton, which is why I had friends from high school who never spoke ten words to me when we were actually there together, but lately I’ve been feeling a little dirty about the size of my Facebook universe. While the pages of the chelsea chronicles are open for all to read, and I certainly am not shy about bearing my soul here, you choose to read my musings. While I personally might find my own Facebook posts entertaining, it’s presumptuous for me to think that just because we once shared an English teacher, a zip code or drinks at a bar that you want my daily thoughts popping up in your stream. Or that I want to read yours.

Facebook serves a purpose for sure, one that I appreciate. After all, it helped me reconnect with my long lost cousin, Larisa. I have grown closer through the wires with people like Angie in Chicago. It’s also a great tool for cyber-stalking. And it’s nice to have a mechanism for keeping in touch with those friends and family members whom time or distance make routine communication challenging. But do I follow my best friends’ posts religiously on Facebook? Not really. I know what’s happening in their lives without social media.

I also have in my life people dear to me whose profiles you won’t see on my page. Our meaningful connections transcend the interwebs.

Recently, I’ve considered closing my Facebook account altogether. Until yesterday, I had close to 640 friends. I am chagrined that I still have have in the 530s, but I feel better about the depth of the connection I have to the remaining friends on my list.