hazy warm drizzly gratitude

i am grateful for…

1) the memory of this freewriting exercise my friend/teacher lollie had us do in maui: weather reports. literal and metaphorical weather reports. i love that: what’s the weather inside you? what’s the weather in their relationship? what’s the weather of your life right now? etc.

2) making progress on projects that i love

3) therapy

4) kitties! while we’re waiting for the elevator we can look out the window onto the yards below–it’s like living in gattaca, planted on a street with brooklyn brownstones. and there’s one house with a whole bunch of new black and white kittens. i love seeing them all sprawled out on the lawn, overheated and content. and frolicking with each other in the bushes, all adorable-like. if only every wait was so cute.

5) “orange is the new black: my year in women’s prison” by piper kerman. really enjoying this memoir, by a friend of friends.

6) finding mixed tapes in my mom’s basement! there was the “happy b-day mix” from my sixth-grade boyfriend sam; the “happy 18th” mix from kate, who also created the “leftover hippie shit” mix, which oddly mixes the grateful dead, led zeppelin, and bauhaus. also, there was this, made by my own hand: classic! (click the image to see what “sex” music meant to me in 9th grade. i especially love how i’ve noted the songs that are “not sexual just sentimental.”)

7) also finding among the mixes the alternate spellings i used for my name for a while, most often: vahliri. yeah, i was cool. bonus extra super cool: for a while i told strangers my name was fira.

8) swimming in potters cove in rhode island. the water is so good right now–not freezing like the atlantic, not balmy like a pool. but yummy and dark and wavy and delicious.

9) joann’s fabrics–one of the boons of visiting suburbia. so many prints and florals and ginghams and stripes and cottons and tulles and fleeces and lace. ah, cheap fabric heaven.

10) summatime!

Valerie Reisshazy warm drizzly gratitude

misty day gratitude

i am grateful for…

1) this video:

2) this info graphic on how soda affects the body. garkon, more water, please.

3) video ichatting with my girl in pareeeee!

4) these embroidered cowgal boots from the sundance catalog, which i cannot even sort of afford, but which please me deeply to gaze upon.

5) making a dinner of fish, rice, and veggies

6) the mist shrouding us in a kind of chill-out blanket. i know one woman’s romantic fog is another’s melancholy hell, but today it is striking me as pretty, a justified reason to stay indoors and tap away on the ‘puter.

7) not being in a cubicle. the gratitude comes in great waves of relief and contentment to simply be doing my own thing. tomorrow it will be one year since being laid off and i am continuously (continually?) amazed at how good it feels, daily, to be free. anxiety about money often follows, but the good waves are carrying me to actions that hopefully will send the anxiety mostly packing someday.

8) the sound of the dryer

9) getting up early. i know most people know this by age 25, but i’m pleasantly agog at how it expands the day in all the right ways. by noon i am relieved at how much i have done instead of sweaty with shame and fear and “it’ll be ok” talk-downs at how little has gotten done.

10) having a partner who’s my partner in so many good things and different ways. it’s fun.

Valerie Reissmisty day gratitude

jazzy coffee shop gratitude

i am grateful for….

1) quiet, air-conditioned coffee shops with the good jazz playing

2) not being like the girls sitting up front cursing and damning every person, act, and thing that crossed their lips. it’s like they created a toxic cloud of negativity. i forot about people like that–totally no holds barred, all out dissers. blamers. haters. who look normal enough in their urban outfittersy outfits and flip flops. by normal i mean people who think about what they say before–or as–they say it. and i realize judging others for being negative is its own little ironic feedback loop. but you know what? yuck. i send them love and i move my chair.

3) realizing a couple of things: 1) i am allergic to sugar. really and truly. it makes me feel bad or badder most of the time. 2) i do not multi-task. i mono-task quite well. but i do not juggle and i’m beginning to think this is maybe ok and that it would be fabulous to build a life around that.

4) being a little bit accidentally tan

5) watch hill in fire island. wow. so beautiful. long stretches of beach. nice families willing to share marshmallows (er, yes, sugar). piping plovers. long grass that looks like crushed velvet in the breeze. new boardwalks.

6) six-point beer in cans at the supermarket

7) being heard, not solved

8) reading, the ultimate mono-task. so indulgent and good.

9) writing support all around

10) penny tile

Valerie Reissjazzy coffee shop gratitude

sunshine on my keyboard gratitude

i am grateful for:

1) lunch on the balcony

2) the very full moon

3) flowers from my sweetie

4) a fridge full of fresh food

5) the ocean, which is calling my toes. we’re coooming!

6) the desserts at pure food and wine. especially that insane chocolatey thing

7) my health. i interviewed judith orloff the other day and she said everyone every day should say, “thank you for my health.” thank you for my health. i have a feeling it’s good to say even if, especially if, said health is challenged.

8) the birds i can hear over the traffic

9) sunglasses. i’m not sure what the fair-eyed people who don’t have them do, really, or how the fair-eyed people fared before they existed. i’d be making visors from leaves and coconuts. because of course my past lives have all been fairly tropical.

10) rediscovering young adult fiction. really digging meg cabot’s “mediator” series, about a high school girl who sees stuck ghosts and helps them go on to their next phase. there’s a metaphor in there. certainly has me thinking about death, but in a fun way. like who i’ve been in lives before, who i’ve known. i even started scrolling through my cell phone contact list to read names and decide split-second who i’ve known before and who is newer. i think about the person’s eyes. some people i see walking down the street sometimes even–man, woman, dog–and it’s like, boom, hey you again. and gone. i love that. makes me feel so connected to myself, to god, to good beings. like it’s all ok because we know. underneath it all, we all know the big open secret: i know you. holla.

11) capri-length leggings under tunics. i don’t know why but this is the perfect summer combo for me–not too warm, yet protected. girly yet not over-exposed.

12) cucumber water

13) homemade iced tea

14) laughing so hard i cry

15) clean floors

Valerie Reisssunshine on my keyboard gratitude

sweltery gratitude

i am grateful for:

1) clear test results. this year felt particularly hard. the scan itself, the metallic taste in my mouth afterward, the way too long week between scan and results. getting to the doctor’s office for said results and being told that the doctor’s office had moved, and that they must have told me. waiting in the new fancy office for over an hour–like the most gorgeous airport lounge you have ever seen, with wall to wall carpet with a pressed leaf pattern that felt soft and bouncy. but the backdrop for the usual despair: scared couples, cuddling close; scared couples talking about everything but the scary thing in the most desperately detatched way; the guy with the burned face humming to himself loudly; the women with the masks (which is what you wear to the cancer hospital if you are remotely not feeling well); the woman who looked so much like my great-aunt irene that i watched her when they called “reiss!” but the great news being, aside from having blood pressure better than the young male nurse taking it, was dr. z. saying it was all “perfect.” the scan, the bloodwork, the exam. perfect. he was wearing a tie with small smiling, spouting yellow whales on a blue background. and i asked if he picked out his own ties and he said, “this one, yes. usually if they’re particularly silly, i have.” and he agreed to switch things up: it’s been six years and my official new scan schedule is every other year–a milestone i did not know was even a possibility. but i asked, and he gave. i do not have to even step on the bouncy carpet for one whole year. happy happy dance.

2) warmth. sundresses. sandals. my pedicure that’s the exact same color as a tennis ball.

3) my friends who have just published books–”unnatural selection: choosing boys over girls and the consequences of a world full of men” by mara hvistendahl just came out–it’s about the “missing girls,” i.e., the global population tilt as women abort girl babies and have boy babies and some of the already evident consequences. and elena azzoni’s book is out this fall, “a year straight: confessions of a boy-crazy lesbian beauty queen“–a hilarious tale of sexual misadventures told with brains and heart. you go, writer girls!

4) homemade granola

5) our insane grill and that i have a man who makes things on it that taste delicious–peaches, scallops, asparagus.

6) opening to love, more all the time. rusty heart hinges. good to er, lubricate them with patience and presence and feel opening.

7) holding s & j’s baby and having him be all chill for a long time with me on the gliding porch bench.

8) a meeting of the two families. a bbq, next-step success.

9) seltzah in the summah

10) dreams of swimming soon

Valerie Reisssweltery gratitude