Day 639: Easy/difficult as pie

There is a saying

easy as pie

which I’ve never understood, because I’ve never learned to bake a pie. It’s certainly easy to EAT a pie, especially as the weather turns colder.

My favorite pie, when I was growing up, was blueberry pie.

Here’s something I wrote in 2nd Grade, when I was about 7 years old:



That’s difficult to see, isn’t it?  To make those words as easy as pie to read, here’s that faded, long-stored-away, historical document transcribed:

The Roller Skate Who liked to eat blueberry pie

Once there was a roller skate

Who liked to eat blue berry pie

He loved it so much that

he would gobble it

up and he was all through,

so he grew up with

awful table manners.

One day a manner professor

came to the little rollerskate’s

house and just at that

time he was gobbeling the

pie down. The manner professor

arrested the little roller skate and

he spended the rest of his

life in jail.

The last time I looked closely at that piece of pie writing — over thirty years ago —  I was charmed at my easy imagination.  When I read it recently, after rescuing it from a long storage in a Boston basement, I thought

Geesh!  That’s kind of harsh punishment for bad table manners, isn’t it? I love blueberry pie, too!  If I were observed gobbling it up, might I be arrested and spend the REST OF MY LIFE IN JAIL?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately — as I daily write this letting-go-of-judgment blog and talk to people who want to heal and feel better — about

  • the harshness of our self judgments,
  • how we so easily condemn ourselves to the jails of Guilt and Shame, often for very minor crimes, and
  • how difficult it is to change those old habits of self-jailing.

Yesterday, at the end of a long but inspiring work day — as  manner professors, jails, blueberry pies, and roller skates were rolling around in my tired head (among many other things) — I thought:

Eureka!  I’m going to improve the moment  and find the Best Pies in Boston (as opposed to the Worst Pies in London).

So I googled “Best blueberry pie Boston” and found this:

When it comes to pie, we like our hand-pressed crusts substantial and loaded to the brink with butter. So too does Petsi, and the Somerville and Cambridge shops augment their expertly sound pie foundations with just-as-serious fillings—blueberries with a big boost of cinnamon, say, or a bourbon-chocolate-pecan combination that makes for an irresistibly decadent wedge.

So, I gave myself a Mission Possible, which I chose to accept.

(I found that YouTube video here)

To find, secure, and deliver home the Best Blueberry Pie in Boston, braving numerous  dreaded dangers, including:

IMG_0119 IMG_0121 IMG_0122

Mission Accomplished!!!

On the scale of easy-to-difficult, I would rate that experience …

Hmmmm. I’m having difficulty judging that right now, I have to say.

On the one hand,  the traffic was ridiculous (or, at least, worse than I’m used to), there was no legal parking in sight, and it took a lot longer than usual to get home.

On the other hand, because I was focused on a mission, I enjoyed every minute of it. AND I defied my internal manner professor and PARKED IN AN ILLEGAL SPOT. And — I’m happy to report — I am NOT spending the rest of my life in jail.

So, getting and eating the pie — all in all — was easy. And delightful.

Further into the evening, things got more difficult.

I belong, on FaceBook, to a group of people who have my very unusual heart (called congenitally corrected transposition of the great vessels or LGTA or lots of other things) or who have children with my very unusual heart. Last night, in a continuing attempt to keep learning useful and new things, I watched a recommended Webinar titled

Aging with Congenitally Corrected Transposition 

I was hoping for some easy-as-pie or — at least — some achievable tips on self-care and other useful things.

Instead, I found myself listening to an expert doctor making the case that it was difficult, if not impossible, for people with hearts like mine to reach my ripe old age of 61.

At least, that’s how I heard it.

I have to admit that my son and my boyfriend, overhearing bits of the webinar from another room, recognized how difficult-as-pie this was to listen to and they both told me to do something as easy as pie: turn the friggin’ thing off immediately.

Which I did.

Then, the three of us spent some easy-as-pie moments together, saying all sorts of hopeful things, including:

  • You’ve already beaten those odds. — My son, Aaron.
  • Stephen Hawking was told when he was 20 that it was impossible for him to live even another few years … and HE’S IN HIS SEVENTIES. — My boyfriend, Michael
  • This reminds me not to worry about all those petty things that can clutter my mind, because that’s JUST RIDICULOUS.  — Me.

Then, I had another piece of pie, this time with chocolate ice cream on top:


… ignoring all the manner professors in the world (including Michael, who would never, ever eat blueberry pie with any ice cream except vanilla).

After that easy pie, I posted some thoughts on the FaceBook group page, including:

I was reading through some posts on this page and found suggestions about watching a webinar about “Aging with Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries.” ( I watched a portion of it tonight and — honestly — I got pretty freaked out by the language and the conclusions I was hearing. Yes, I have heard all of this before — including concerns about my ventricle failing because it’s doing heavy work it wasn’t designed for — but the webinar, to me, seemed especially negative. I turned it off after I saw the graph showing people in a study all dying before the age I’ve currently reached (61). So I’m curious, and want to ask people who watched the whole webinar: does it get more positive? … This is an inherent challenge of having a congenitally corrected heart, I think … feeling safe enough to thrive and engage with life without fear, as we age.

I just went to FaceBook to check responses I got from the good people there, and those comments are helping me feel easier (if not as easy as that delicious blueberry pie from Petsi Pies) this morning.

Now, I need to go to work — where I get to sit with people who are dealing with things much more difficult than pie.

I just want to say this, in conclusion: I’m very grateful for the whole pie — blueberries, ice cream, and everything else. So, thanks to roller skates, manner professors, pies, and people everywhere who deal with the easy to the difficult every day — including you, of course!

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “Day 639: Easy/difficult as pie

  1. Karen Funkenstein

    I loved today’s blog. From blueberries to ventricles it was inspiring in so many ways. You go girl. Thank you for brightening my day. Love, Karen

  2. kellie@writingmoment

    Thanks Ann, another post to make me feel better! And to want pie! I am going away this weekend to a small country town, surely there must be a really good pie shop there! This will be a mission for me too now 🙂

  3. We are aligned! I wrote ‘easy-peasie’ in my post today! 🙂 I’d rather be eating blueberry pie though!

    and I love your poem — especially the last two lines “and he spended the rest of his life in jail.”

    Children do make things easy as pie to understand!

  4. Sunshine Jansen

    I’m glad I’m not the only one visited by much shorter time-travelling versions of myself with wilder imaginations; gives a nice jump start when I start to think too linearly. 🙂

    Also, as someone with a chronic illness (MS) I appreciated your response to that webinar; the three of you definitely came to the best possible conclusions. A mind uncluttered by petty things is a mind that can conceive of chocolate ice cream and blueberry pie.

  5. I like to say easy as cake – cause a cake is really easy to make, but a pie? Not so much! Glad that you shut of the negativity of the webinar!

    • I have to admit, Kate, that I haven’t made that many cakes in my life, either. But cakes — and this comment — I find very easy to take.

  6. There are few hard and fast rules in the world that work without having to judge or be subjective in one way or another. One of those rules is clearly:

    “Pie beats Webinar.”

    For every age group.

  7. I think your son and boyfriend performed a very necessary intervention. I’m so often guilty of doing “too much” research about a number of things that only leads me to fear–I call it “caution” and give it a nice gloss of happy paint, but it really is fear! I am connecting as well to your poem and the second reading that caused you to think about how harsh the punishment was for the poor pie-eating skate! I’m currently reading Brene Brown’s “I Thought it was Just Me” which is dealing with shame! Seems there are many of us (all of us?) easily trapped in jail for the silliest of offenses. I like the Mission Impossible challenge. Thank you, Ann. And take care to avoid any unnecessary negativity. Sometimes I think it’s in the air we breathe anyway! oxo

  8. If there were no harshly worded webinars, there would be no extraordinary exceptions to contradict them, Ann.

    Which your team has known you are, brightly, forcefully, wonderfully, making it somehow seem as easy as pie. So, speaking for your team — Aaron, Michael, your parents before them, your doctors who’ve treated you and your special heart for all of those 61 years, and, now, those of us who get to read your heartfelt messages every blessed day here on WordPress — I’d like to excuse the webinar lecturer from the grips of the manners professor. Just this once.

    • Somehow, Mark, this easy-on-the-eyes comment of yours made me feel so happy and brave that I revisited that webinar, briefly, with a more positive heart and mind. And I remembered this: the lecturer just MIGHT be the British woman doctor who told me, via email — when I was pregnant at age 45 with Aaron — not to fear the effect of pregnancy on my heart (despite other opinions that were out there) and to go ahead and have my child. So maybe she deserves your clemency (and more, too).

      • I hope this was the same woman who gave you such good advice 16 years ago, Ann.

        Remember, the webinar was a mere hashing of cold and possibly selective statistics.

        That email was an interpretation, a warm opinion rendered from careful consideration of the human condition. And that’s of far more value to you today, tomorrow and always.

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  10. This was a great post, with a whole story of emotions and achievements. I love the ‘manners professor’ – manners need serious study and application and they matter more you’d expect. Re the Facebook Webinar: people who deal in statistics assume that others share the images of the graphs that they are seeing in their mind’s eye. Your condition is very serious and, in the past, a sizeable number of sufferers will have died young or youngish. This means that the bump for the average age of survival (see my favourite elephant in the boa constrictor picture from The Little Prince) will be well below your age, but of course there is the rest of the snake, the long tails. There are a lot of people in them there long tails – why not Ann!

  11. I’m so glad and thanks for the honorary title.

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