Day 764: What I needed

Out of all Seven Hundred and Whats-it  daily posts I’ve published here, yesterday’s post was one of the most difficult to write.


I needed to write a post about some cheery occasions — my 62nd birthday AND the home team’s Super Bowl victory AND a day off from work — BUT I wasn’t feeling very cheery.

Why wasn’t I feeling very cheery?

Don’t get me started!

Too late. I’m started. Now I need to show you this list:

  1. I was very sleep deprived.
  2. I was recovering from the flu.
  3. Snow was piling up outside, in a major way.
  4. Not to offend any  snow-o-philes among you, but I’m at a point in my life when I am — despite my preference for non-judgmental living  —  HATING snow and cold (especially when I’m not feeling well).
  5. There was very little appetizing food I could find.
  6.  I felt physically lousy.
  7. I was “alone” when I was writing, because my son was with his father and my bf Michael, who also seemed to be coming down with the flu, was asleep upstairs.
  8. Even though I am often praised for my “good and brave attitude in the face of difficult experiences,” I seem to be “primed”– in certain ways — to be disappointed on my birthday (and you can read here how this played out last year).
  9. Let’s face it … just like anybody else, sometimes I’m just a

Debbie Downer


(I found this image I needed here)

Sad Sack

Cranky Yankee

Pissy Missy

Also, because authenticity is so friggin’ important to me, I needed to somehow write yesterday’s post from a real and authentic place.

So, yes, I had a particularly difficult post-writing assignment on my plate yesterday. And, even though that post, when I read it now, seems fairly simple, I know that it needed HOURS of slow and arduous slogging. (Much like what we New Englanders need to do, these days, to get through all the friggin’ snow there is.)

Now, I’m not complaining about the effort I needed to put into yesterday’s post, nor the result.  As is true with every one of the Seven Hundred and Yikers daily posts I’ve written here, it HELPED me to write it.

So what post would it help me to write, today? What else do I need to do, here?

Above, when I linked “Cranky Yankee” and “Pissy Missy”  to my post last year about “Stinky Pinkies” (the game I used to play in my family, growing up), I couldn’t help but notice the main title there: “Gratitude Attitude.”

Gratitude Attitude is always something we need, isn’t it?

So here’s the gratitude list I need, right now. I’m grateful that:

  1. My childhood friend Deb, who now lives in California and reads this blog, took the time to call me yesterday, at a moment when I was feeling especially blue. It was just what I needed.
  2. Many, many other people reached out to me  with birthday wishes, through all sorts of media. It was just what I needed.
  3. My sister called and we had a long, helpful talk about (a) our late parents and (b) why I so easily feel completely alone, powerless, unlovable and frightened even when I’m safe and loved. It was just what I needed.
  4. Even when I was feeling at my lowest yesterday, my instincts for healing were there, and I composed this list:

Things I REALLY Needed to Hear When I was Young, But Didn’t

  1. You have an amazing mind.

  2. You are  smart.

  3. You are beautiful.

  4. You do not deserve to suffer alone.

  5. You are kind.

  6. You are talented musically.

  7. You are funny.

  8. You are graceful.

  9. Every part of you is welcome.

  10. You do not have to be perfect to be loved.

  11. It is okay to be angry.

  12. It is okay to be sad.

  13. It is okay to be afraid.

  14. It’s okay to be impatient.

  15. I will protect you.

  16. I will fight for your rights.

I need to be clear, right now, that all of this is no indictment of my parents, who were wonderful people. As my sister pointed out in our conversation yesterday (and as I constantly need to re-discover, throughout my life), my congenital heart condition and time growing up in hospitals (without my parents presence) resulted in my “sensitivity” and tendency to feel like a

Debbie Downer

Sad Sack

Cranky Yankee

Pissy Missy.

I also have a tendency to repeat myself and to be easily distracted, and I’m distracted now.


I need to show you this:

IMG_5110 IMG_5111

Eeeeek!  Snow!!! Not exactly what I needed.

Actually, those photos were taken earlier this morning. Here’s the reality outside, here and now:


Yay!  I’m getting what I needed!  I’ll be able to leave on time today, to return to my work as a group and individual psychotherapist at a Boston hospital.

Which reminds me of my gratitude list, which I had started, above.

Here are more things I need to add to that list, before I leave for work:


Things that rhyme.




The PERFECT birthday card, from Michael. It was just what I needed.

And also, thanks to Michael — I got the PERFECT birthday dinner:

IMG_5105 IMG_5106 IMG_5107


Now, I need a tuna noodle tune to share with you all, but this is the best I can do:

(I found Hot Tuna performing “Somebody to Love” — just when I needed it — here, on YouTube.)

Thanks to Deb, to Michael, to my sister, to my parents, to everybody who reached out to me yesterday when I needed it, to hot tuna of all kinds, and to you — of course! — for all you might need, today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 49 Comments

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49 thoughts on “Day 764: What I needed

  1. I am grateful for your blog, Ann!

  2. Debbie Downer, Sad Sack, Cranky Yankee, Pissy Missy

    Haha. I’d never heard of any of these. It was a wonderful post yesterday. Your daily delights always take me somewhere different.

  3. I think its a rule, 5 inches of snow piled up on your window with car inside organic igloo— no cheeriness allowed. Happy belated none cheery but grateful day. 🐼🌻🍭🌱🐾🎂

  4. was glad to see that 2nd photo of the shoveled snow- that first one was scary!! Birthdays bring a lot of baggage with them, I have found I am more often out of sorts on the day rather than jumping up and down yelling yipee. I also think we live in a society that puts so much import on “gratitude” that when we are just in a mood of “not so grateful” we feel like Debbie Downer. Sometimes it’s good to have a pity party!.The tuna casserole looked DELISH!! Hope the day is a good one! 🙂

  5. Glad you could turn the negatives into a positive by finding gratitude,
    This morning I am especially grateful for my delicious coffee.

  6. Tuna noodle casserole eh? You are one lucky girl Ann!!
    Its ok to be a downer. Uppers are less human.
    Sending you a ((HUG)) for day 2 of this birthday week 🙂

  7. Without sorrow we wouldn’t know joy. Ann you have an amazing attitude and huge propensity for gratitude. You’re allowed to be a pissy missy every now and then. You are human right? ❤
    Diana xo

  8. happy birthday and we sometimes only discover these good things about ourselves later in life, if there was no one there to tell us when we were young. i am so grateful for having found you and your words, and we all have our bad days, that’s what makes us human ) beth

    • Beth,
      I am very grateful for your blog and for this comment from you today. It’s definitely a good day for this human.
      All the best,

  9. Reading your blog is becoming a daily habit! Of course today you compete with writing an outline for a mental health policy analysis proposal-so you know there’s really no contest… I’m glad you survived your birthday and the tuna noodle casserole looks simply marvy-and I’m a vegetarian! I’m so glad I can still get a daily-ish dose of your humor and wisdom. Have a great day!

  10. seems it the path, Ann
    2 steps forward
    1 step back
    moving forward!
    some kitties i know
    love tuna casserole 🙂

  11. I do not worry much about what I like or do not like today. Today I go to the doctor, and I REALLY do not like that! Tomorrow always comes whether we want it to or not, and it carries the bright promise of being better than today.

    I had a birthday this weekend as well, but got to see my team lose the Superbowl in the wink of an eye. I had my cat Opie on my lap watching with me. Couldn’t sleep that night as I kept imagining myself on the last play as the receiver, leaping over the Patriots defensive line with the ball and scoring the winning touchdown! Oh, well. Now I look forward to the season beginning in the fall, and the whole drama starting all over again. No snow here–just the usual rainy season.

    I do not know how you write every day, and they are not short posts, but longer involved ones! Of course, I am sorry I cannot possibly read them all, and I cannot even keep up every day, but I shall drop in once in a while. Have a great “Tomorrow”!

    Greetings from Greg and his cats

    • Happy birthday, Greg. I am honored to meet you, Opie, and the rest of your cats. That game was such a tough loss. Many thanks for your helpful thoughts about the hopes of the future.

  12. Ann,
    Your complaints are justified, as so many of ours’. Although the circumstances may be different, we all experience “Murphy’s Law.” This snow has kept me pretty much homebound, as it usually does, and along with the slow boil of discomforts that are customary with polio, I’ve been a bit stressed myself.
    However, if I give myself the chance, I find that every misfortune is countered by a fortune; and that is balance; which keeps us all on an even keel.
    So a HAPPY B-DAY! And congrats on the “PATRIOTS-SUPER BOWL CHAMPS!
    Just read a quote that I think applies well here:”Don’t dwell on the things that keep you stressing, instead remember you blessings.”
    p.s. like the looks of that tuna dish!

  13. I have always tried to say positive things to my girls and grandchildren, I often tell them I am proud of the young women they have grown into……………………that said sorry to hear you had a shitty day yesterday but birthdays are great not having a birthday means……………you’re dead

  14. I can understand the causes that got you started. I guess I probably got started especially when you do not fully recover from the flu and snow are piling high outside. I hope you got stopped now with the so good looking tuna casserole 🙂

  15. I am sorry I missed the moment to say Happy Birthday so I’m glad I get to extend the joy of making it last another day. Happy Birthday! I’m also elated that there is someone else out there who loves tuna noodle casserole. Sadly, it has been years since I have had it, no one I know or live with would ever eat it. Ever. So joyfully I I celebrate that you get to eat it for more than one meal! 🙂

    • We’ve gotten two meals out of it and there’s plenty more! I’m so glad we share a love of that most excellent kind of casserole. Thanks for extending the joy of the day.

  16. Thank you for being authentic, real, human, dear, kind and thoughtful. Thank you for simply being you. 🍰☕️ Celebrating Day 2 of your Birthday Week! ❤️

  17. Every Debbie is allowed to be a downer, missy. But, Ann, through the wind and the snow and the cold on this day after your birthday, I hope you are feeling the recovery. And want to remind you, psychotherapist A-plus and Blogger A-plus-plus, that after I get done with my daily Koplow:

  18. Writing can be very challenging, can’t it? Especially when you’re filled with emotion and it won’t come out right, or you want to shape it this way or that. Posts that look like they flowed without effort often take the longest.

    You always do a great job of turning your thoughts and feelings, including fear and loneliness, into posts that seem designed to nurture, comfort or at least entertain us. But I hope that you remember that it would be perfectly okay for you to post something very short along the lines of “EVERYTHING SMELLS LIKE CAT FOOD TINS TODAY AND ALL THE YOGHURT IN MY FRIDGE EXPIRED LAST TUESDAY!” with no photos, no music, and no words of wisdom.

    Michael’s tuna casserole looks delicious. Tuna casserole in the snow — it’s almost a Norman Rockwell moment. (Here, I’m having chocolate shake in the rain.)

    I hope that you are feeling better, Ann. I’m a bit worried about your returning to work so soon. Seems like the flu should earn you a good 10 days of rest.

    • I love this comment, including your invitation to post just what I need to, like: “EVERYTHING SMELLS LIKE CAT FOOD TINS TODAY AND ALL THE YOGHURT IN MY FRIDGE EXPIRED LAST TUESDAY!” That made me so happy I had to repeat it.

      That chocolate shake in the rain sounds great. And I felt fine back at work today — it was just what I needed, after that bout of “sub-clinical flu” (in other words, a pretty mild case).

  19. Heartfelt post – thank you. And happy (belated) birthday. 🙂

  20. I’m reading this a day or so late, i know, Ann. I’ve been away for three days on a sad family matter and have missed a few of your posts. I really hope your spirits rise again. I’ve read through your beautiful post, feeling your misery. Just remember how much you are loved and thought about by so many people. Spring isn’t far away, either. I can well understand how you feel about the cold when you’re feeling so unwell. Take care. 🙂

    • My sympathies about the sad family matter, Millie. Thank you for your lovely, thoughtful words, which always help so much.

  21. Pingback: Day 765: White out | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  22. I know what it feels like to be sick or disappointed on your birthday. We’re both the same age. You’d think by now that our birthdays would just be another day on the calendar. Not for this girl. I want every birthday to be special. Hope you’re feeling better soon. Don’t let the weather get you down. There are some things we just can’t change. Hugs.

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