entertainme music: "under the sun"

Oh, dreamy summer days, you are so delicious with your hot days under the sun and balmy night under the stars. And there is a special song that can make these summer days perfect.

"Under the Sun" by Michael Franks is from his album "Rendezvous in Rio." This is the album you would have on when you're about to serve cocktails on your terrace in the city, back porch on your condo or deck on Martha's Vineyard.

It's got a Brazilian beat so sensual that you can feel the heat.

This song popped up on my iPod this morning and made me smile. I hope you feel it too.

insights: this is not the therapist you want

I consider myself to be a logical person so when I realized that I was sad about the progression of things and when I started thinking "Why me? Why me?" I realized that the logical step would be to find someone who would help me make sense of it all. When I broke my arm, I had a doctor. When I wanted to change my eating habits, I hired a nutritionist. I decided to find a therapist and I wanted to meet with someone immediately.

entertainme music: you are the sunshine of my life

There's something about a Stevie Wonder song that just makes you want to start singing out loud, especially when you're in the car. So here's to summer drives with a little lyrical accompaniment by. . .you.

And don't worry about how good you sound. Just sing!

"You are the Sunshine of my Life" is happy, summery, light and you'll be smiling as you sing this to someone you love.

entertainme music: seven days in sunny june

The sun is hot, school is out and the smell of Coppertone is permeating the air.

Jamiroquai's  "Seven Days in Sunny June" reminds me of hot days, balmy nights and the giddy joy of love in the summer.

The pebbles you've arranged
In the sand they're strange
they speak to me like to constellations as we lie here
There's a magic I can't hold
your smile of honey gold
and that you never seem to be in short supply

It's finally sun out here in Seattle. I hope wherever you are, that the day is giving you a lift!

inisghts: sweating, sex and singing as a mood changer

Yesterday I went to see my stylist for some much needed color help.

She asked me how I was doing and I told her "Good. Better" and I told her about this blog.

I asked Christina* and her assistant Marissa* what puts them in a good mood when they are feeling down or something bad has happened.

Christina: "Well, I'm usually a really happy person. I don't get upset too often. (Editor's note: in fact
her dad had died
the day before.) Pot, of course. That really relaxes me. When I do get upset I work out. I do step aerobics three times a week. I listen to happy music. I like that song 'I Gotta Feeling.' That has to put you in a good mood."

Marissa: "I love my cats. They make me happy. I listen to music. I like the song 'It's a Beautiful Morning.'"

Another stylist Mike* was nearby and joined the conversation. Mike looked ridiculously happy.

HG: "OK, Mike. You look like you could levitate. You seem so happy. It's amazing."

Mike: "I just broke up with my boyfriend." He was literally beaming.

HG: "So, you must have been upset when you guys broke up. How did you make yourself feel better?"

Mike: (laughs) "Um, breaking up with my boyfriend made me happy."

Mike: (paused) "And new sex." He laughed.

Mike: "And cooking. Cooking is therapy to me. Sex and cooking."

It was interesting hearing what brings people out a funk. Sex, food, pets, working out. What did all of these things have in common with changing your mood for the better?

I got it. It was about doing SOMETHING, anything. It was about getting off the couch or out of bed, whether it was to take a step class or meet someone new. By laying on the couch or isolating yourself in bed with your wounds, this doesn't change your mood. I think, in fact, it only makes it worse and can make you feel more alone.

Life lesson #38: when you're feeling like things can't get worse or your heart is broken or you wonder what karma you're paying for, get out of bed, get off the couch. Go for a walk, go sweat, go cook something, go meet someone new. Get yourself back in game.

I think I'm onto something here.

*Names have been changed.

entertainme movies: that dumbass in the theatre was me

Last week I went to see "Get Him to the Greek" with my friend Lisa.

Loved the movie. Loved Russell. Loved Jonah. Loved it. There were so many funny lines that I tried desperately to remember but failed because apparently when I am laughing that hard I can't store things in my memory at the same time.

"Get Him to the Greek" is a great barometer movie. Try it. Go see this movie on a first date. It will be interesting to see if your date has the same sense of humor as you do. I've found that if your sense of humor is different from your date, the relationship is doomed. You say " I LOVED 'The Hangover'" and she says "Ugh, I don't get it." Game over.

So I saw "GHTTG" with my friend, Lisa, (not a date.)  However, she does share my wicked, dry sense of humor.

We settled in and waited for the trailers, my favorite part of the movie experience. The theatre was pretty packed and I reminded Lisa how much I loved movies. I am ALL about movies.

Lisa said "So, why didn't you come with me when I saw the 'Wizard of Oz' on the big screen."

I turned to look at her "Are you kidding? You know that movie terrifies me!"

Lisa: "Oh, right, because of the monkeys?"

HG: "Yes! Those monkeys are scary godawful things." I paused. "Are they real, do you think?"

Lisa paused too. "I don't think so. I mean, I think there are people in the costumes because they made faces." She squished her face up to show me that the monkeys made faces.

HG: "I think they were really monkeys."

Lisa: "I don't think they were real. They had wings. Monkeys don't have wings."

HG: "I know they're not REAAAAALLLL. I  mean, I know that they weren't real monkeys with real wings. Right? I mean they were probably monkeys with winged costumes that someone made for their little bodies."

And this is when I noticed the two guys sitting in front of us were listening to us and laughing.

Yes, I was the dumbass who thought that the monkeys in "The Wizard of Oz" were real primates and apparently the Star-Wars-loving-popcorn-eating-video-game-playing guys sitting in front of us thought that this was the funniest conversation either had ever heard.

And then we started to laugh, Lisa and I, and it felt good. Even though I sounded like I wasn't the sharpest tool in the box, I laughed because sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself. I wish you could bottle that light, lovely sensation of a shared laugh over something silly. It was like a little high.

And then the trailers started.

Lisa: "Oh, yeah, we should go see that one. And that one. Oh look at Leo, he is hot. Have you done him?"

HG: "Yes and he is hot. The last time I did him was for "Blood Diamond" and he was really tan. It made his eyes look really blue and he's tall. This trailer is wild. It's like a fever dream."

Lisa: "Mmmm. Want some Red Vines?"

HG: "Nope. I'm an east coast girl. All about the Twizzlers."

And then the movie that made me laugh until my stomach hurt started. Go see "Get Him to the Greek." It's dirty and funny and if you feel like you need a laugh, this is it.

sublime food: gwyneth's taco dinner

This is dinner tonight. It's healthy and doesn't it look like a perfect dinner for the first week of June? Love it, Gwyneth.

insights: seriously, a silver lining?

It is raining out again.

Raining so hard that is is pouring sideways and even the dog is looking up at the skylight wondering what that thunderous pounding is.

It's day 57 of rain or at least that is what it feels like-rain, mist, drizzle, grey, wet, damp weather here in Seattle. I thought of that old saying about there being a silver lining behind every cloud. What the hell does that mean? And why is a silver lining good? Unless there are shiny silver coins raining down upon me for me to gather, a silver lining just connotes more gloom and grey. I think that saying should be abolished.

Instead I prefer "Behind every cloud is a bright blue sky." Because this is actually true.

I used to fly out every Friday morning at 7am for LA or London or wherever and while it would be raining/pouring on takeoff, we would rise through the wind and the rain and the fog and the clouds and break through to a brilliant blue sky with the sun bouncing off the silver tipped wings of the plane.

I'm trying to think of that now as I look outside at the wind and the nonstop evil weather here in the Northwest lately and I'm imagining the bright blue sky and the sun. They are still there, as they always have been. What has changed is my perception of them. It's like a toddler who believes if they can't see their parent then the parent is not there.

Another A-ha moment for me.

Just because I can't see or feel the sun doesn't mean it isn't there.

Just because I can't see or feel my happiness doesn't mean it isn't there.

The happy that I had in my soul is still there. It is just clouded over with all the bad stuff that has happened in the past 16 months. If I let go of the bad stuff and it dissolves away, it's like the clouds moving on and sun shining again.

I'm looking out the window at this miserable, depressing day outside and if I can imagine that the sun is just beyond the clouds and still shining then I can imagine that inside me is the happy that I had. It's still there just waiting for the clouds to part. It's. Still. There.

I'm ready for some bright blue sky. Aren't you?

insights: what the dog taught me

Living in Seattle, it is wet. I get what we signed up for when we moved here from Connecticut.

However, it has been wet, rainy, damp, gloomy and just plain sleepy weather for weeks on end. This weekend was Memorial Day Weekend and it was so cold and rainy that I cooked most the weekend making a Thanksgiving style turkey dinner, applesauce and ratatouille. Last night around 4pm the weather started to break and it was as if the warden opened all the cells, people started flooding out of the homes and lifting their faces up to the sun. Baby strollers and leashes were dusted off and the world was suddenly on parade.