“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep…I count my blessings instead of sheep…
and I fall asleep, counting my blessings…”

Tonight I went across the street to The Crosby Street Hotel to see “White Christmas” – one of my favorite holiday movies.  It was co-written by Mel Frank, an old friend, someone I was very close to when I lived in California.  Mel’s mother lived above me at the Harper House in West Hollywood and we became friends.  Eventually, I got to know Mel and most of the Frank family.  Seeing “White Christmas” or any of the movies Mel wrote or directed is always very special for me.  I can always hear his voice in the dialogue. 

And speaking of counting my blessings…here are a few of mine… my daughter,  Zoe, my loftmate, Abigail, good friends…family, Samson, the dog who is staying with us for a few weeks, my health, our lovely home…good neighbors, NYC…my work…my writing…

So much to be grateful for.  And it was also a difficult year.  We lost Emily Squires, our dear friend the night before Thanksgiving 2012, and then we lost our beloved Lucy on May 5th, 2013.  Then Zoe’s dad was diagnosed with lung cancer — he’s doing well now, but it was a rough summer.  The play, Scrambled Eggs, was up this spring and we had a fantastic 3 week run.  I’ve gone to Dublin, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta and Charlotte for work.  I’ve done more traveling this past year than I have in many years.  It’s been challenging and rewarding.

And I’m proud of the women in Congress who broke the stalemate over the debt crisis.  And Obama for getting his health care program up and running (imperfectly, yes, but still today is the deadline and millions of people have signed up.)

Laws are being passed all over the country to all gay couples to marry!  And next – gun control reform.  That must happen in 2014.  That will happen. 

So many blessings. Happy 2014 to anyone who reads this!  Onward. 

It’s 2010 and there are many reasons in the world to feel worried and sad.  The state of the world economy is still bad, although today in the newspaper there was talk of signs of improvement.  But Haitians are still suffering and a war is waging in the Ivory Coast and the Congo, and the crazy budget that Congress passed is truly, even to someone who doesn’t really understand economics, very worrisome.  But in my little world, for today, I am filled with gratitude.

It isn’t that I’m dancing on tables right now, or am madly in love, or won a lottery.  And my beloved Lola (the beagle) is still not doing well and I worry about her.  I got new medication to help her with pain she may have in her jaw, because the growth has affected her ability to eat.  And my darling daughter Zoe isn’t here for the holidays and I miss her.  And it’s winter, not my favorite time of the year.  And this morning, I had a hard time getting up out of bed to feed the dogs and make my coffee, but once I did, we had two lovely walks. 

I’ve been reading a lot lately, one of my passions in life.  I just finished “Freedom” by Jonathon Franzen, which I really enjoyed, and now I’m reading a book called “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett, about Mississippi (love spelling that state) in 1962 and I can’t put it down.  I’ve added Keith Richards book “Life” to my reserved list at the library, along with “The Corrections” and I have many other books I want to read.  

I’m working and yesterday I got to wander around Harlem looking at brownstones with a couple who are looking to buy one.  I’ve always been curious about Harlem and I saw the Apollo Theater and Clinton’s office, Mount Morris Park, which I’d only seen one time before and Morningside Park (was that once called “Needle Park” years ago because of all the drug use there?)  I loved wandering around Harlem and I look forward to more trips there.  I’m excited about next year and the reading of my play and I am enjoying helping people find homes.  When sadness strikes, as it did the other day when I got so worried about Lola, I made a few calls to friends, sobbed, and then eventually spoke to the vet and the feelings passed.  Right now, tonight, Lola is sitting next to the bed, taking a nap on a rug and she is very much alive.  Right now, most of the people I love are healthy and I’m grateful for that.  Lucy, my other beagle, is about to turn sixteen and she’s doing great.  

I heard a story on NPR about the Asian people who live in the Gulf Coast (worked in the fishing industry) and who are dealing with all the stress of the oil spill and lost jobs, fears of the future.  They are living on money from BP for now, but that money will run out and they will have to find other jobs.  Those who are Buddhists seem to be handling the situation relatively well, because they are not afraid of sadness and loss.  It feels natural to them and not something to be afraid of.

I don’t remember exactly how I felt last year at this time, but I’m quite sure I was still grieving.  I am no longer under that cloud.  Life is good, I have so much to be grateful for and I wish for everyone, a very happy, abundant and healthy new year. Let’s hope that next year many of the problems we’re facing start to turn around and more people find work and peace and some relief.