In the end, this is the answer

Someone in my extended family died last week, by his own hand. I can’t imagine the pain he must have been in to do such a thing, and I don’t want to.

There’s been a lot of conjecture online about things he may have done, incidents that may have have happened to precipitate his disappearance and the taking of his own life. This is the bane of social media ~ the dark side of what can be a bright coin ~ that anyone can say anything he or she likes, be it truth, half-truth, or conjecture ~ and others can take up those threads and conflate other instances with what might have happened or make up falsehoods of whole cloth to support their position or opinion (because opinion it all truly is). Truths, half-truths, conjecture, conflation, and outright lies ~ there’s a reason such things are called “witch hunts.”

None of that helps anybody. None of it solves anything. What means something doesn’t take place online with “friends” you’ve never even met in person, with whom you’ve never built a real relationship, with whom it would barely make a ripple if you disappeared tomorrow. And none of what happened “then” or what someone should have done and didn’t, or did do and shouldn’t have ~ none of that solves the puzzle either. The reality is that no one can go back and do things differently because he or she is hurt or grieving or angry about what is now. Even if they could, it wouldn’t guarantee a better outcome.

“Man hands misery on to man.” Generational trauma really is a thing, and that’s something we can and should do something about. Even though it hurts, and it will; even though it’s hard, and it is; even though it scares us, some of us to the point that we refuse to look, refuse to see, and, in the rare moments it shoulders its way into memory, hope against hope that, since we don’t see it, it’s no longer there. But there has to be a way to heal these wounds, and we have to know what that is before we open our own or ask others to open theirs. There has to be a way to see that the trauma ends with this generation.

But, today, here I am, still feeling the ebb and flow in the wake. And all I can think of is this video clip from Ted Lasso of Roy Kent talking about how footballers aren’t just footballers, they’re people. And how none of us know what’s going on in each others lives. Saying, with that Roy Kent intensity, “So for Isaac to do what he did today ~ even though it was wrong ~ I give him love. … As for why he did what he did, … that’s none of my fucking business.”

This scene, from what is arguably my favorite episode of the 3rd season (yeah, I know most people pick “Sunflowers” but, for me, this is it), resonates and stays with me, because, like so much of what lies at the heart of Ted Lasso, it is true, not just in this TV show but in reality ~ and for everyone. This press conference scene and the scene between Nate and Jade that it segues into, to the strains of Bear’s Den’s “All That You Are,” and from thence to best friends Colin and Isaac.

This is the essence of Ted Lasso, even more than “Believe” ~ it is Love. Love that ties best friends, even when you discover that in some ways you’re so different; Love that is a balm when you’ve been hurt, that takes you in, comforts, and protects; Love that is compassionate, patient, kind ~ even when you don’t understand.

More importantly, this is the essence of life: Love is the answer. Even if you don’t know the question ~ and even if you think you do.

In the end, this is the answer.


“To the family we’re born with, and to the family we make along the way . . . .”

…and, most importantly, to Richmond!”

This scene, and this line especially, have always resonated with me, as my family ~ both born to me and made along the way ~ are so indescribably  precious to me. But the sentiment resonates especially deeply with me this year, as Jim and I are at last able to be here, enjoying a quiet, loving yuletide season with our Hélène and her branch of our chosen family.

And though it may seem odd, even that “most important” last line of Higgins’s toast resonates, because Ted Lasso and all that it encompasses has become so intimately interwoven into the fabric of our lives ~ the series itself and the books it inspired us to create, which led us to this joyful opportunity to keep the love going by donating a dollar per book sold between 11/11/23 and 1/1/24 to the Steps of Faith Foundation, which we only learned of through Thundergong, which we only discovered because Jason Sudeikis was involved, which we only learned of because of Inge, a fan and beta tester of Lift It Like Lasso Vol 2, who shares a mutual friend in Billy Brimblecom Jr., reputed drummer extraordinaire as well as CEO and founder of Steps of Faith  . . . ~ well, I think you see, in part, where I’m going with this.

As of today, thanks to those of this larger Lasso family who have bought copies of Lift It Like Lasso (Vol 1 or Vol 2) since 11/11/23, our donation to Steps of Faith Foundation has now risen to (drum roll please): $328! That’s up another $46 in the last two weeks.

It’s just $46.  But to the amputee who gets a prosthetic in 2024, thanks at least in part to our donation, it’s $46 closer to the $500 cost of that prosthetic Steps of Faith has made possible ~ and that’s huge.

So, to all of you “Richmond” fans, Ted Lasso fans, members of the Lasso family ~ Thank You, from the bottom of my heart.

The donation promotion is still going on: If you want to keep the holiday spirit going beyond today, revisit Richmond through the interactive puzzles and word play in Lift It Like Lasso Vol 1 and/or Vol 2: In which we all believed in RomCommunism and, at the same time, you’ll be adding to our growing donation that will help Steps of Faith Foundation to buy a prosthetic for yet another amputee in 2024.

Barbecue Sauce!

Happy Holidays, all! Wishing you a New Year filled with Love, light, laughter, and most of all, Belief.

See you on the beach ~


(see the original blog post for the Steps of Faith donation promotion here:

Lifting it like Lasso: In which we pay it forward to Steps of Faith Foundation

Everyone who knows me knows I’m not on FB much anymore, in large part because I love words ~ reading them, writing them, playing with them ~ and I love talking with people, particularly about things I’m passionate about – like love and light and compassion and kindness and helping one another like we all came here to do ~ but also about books and music and movies and theater and art and and and . . . you’re beginning to see the problem, no doubt (also, it turns out that the only thing I’m really good at being moderate about is moderation, so . . .). I was once paid to talk (yes, someone paid me, and since the students paid tuition, it wasn’t like they were a captive audience ~ and they did do a lot of the talking once I got them going), but FB doesn’t, so I figured I’d be better off not actually reading and replying and posting like it’s my full-time job.

However . . . .

Some of you may recall a picture my friend and creative partner, Hélène, posted with explanation to two or three Ted Lasso facebook groups, of Jason Sudeikis signing copies of our Lift It Like Lasso puzzle books (Vol 1 & 2). It was one of two photos we were sent, the other was of this group of people you see smiles from my screenhere. We didn’t publish the group picture online, initially, so as to protect Inge’s privacy.

Then Inge friended me on FB and, because I now “knew” her, I confirmed and then went snooping on her page, like I do (on the rare occasion that I confirm a new FB friend). Her most recent post at that time, coincidentally, contained the pictures she had sent us and one other, along with the blazoned message”It’s finally here – the happiest day of the year, Thundergong!”

Well, that was intriguing.

I had thought Jason’s sweatshirt in the pictures was just some concert shirt he’d gotten that he liked. Should’ve known better, yeah. I mean, really ~ after how many details like this I’ve seen in Ted Lasso? I didn’t even look closely at the hat. For a writer, I’m not always that observant. In any case, after dancing with excitement like a fan girl when the pictures arrived on Thursday, I went back to work on Vol 3 and/or moved on to the next item on my to-do list ~ careful not to attempt operating any heavy machinery for the rest of the day.

Fast forward a week later and now I know that Thundergong is a benefit concert for Steps of Faith Foundation, which helps to buy prosthetic limbs for those who are uninsured or underinsured and can’t afford the out of pocket (which most of us couldn’t).

I’ve heard the story of how Jason Sudeikis had this friend, Billy Brimblecom, who, upon finding himself in this circumstance, decided to turn his misfortune into an opportunity to not only solve the problem for himself but for others who found themselves in the same situation.

I’ve seen a local station interview (which I can now no longer find, dang it), broadcast either on Friday before Thundergong 2023 or the day of, with Jason and his friend Billy, the other man in the group photo. [Update: I’ve now discovered that was an episode of Morning Joe. Unfortunately, I still can’t find the video.]

I’ve read through an entire website (that I can also no longer find) that sings the praises of Thundergong and, more broadly, of Kansas City (MO and KS), including places to eat, drink, and be merry, (one of my favorite parts of which was a brief listing of what’s legal and not, depending on which KC you’re in, and the admonition that one is only allowed to say “we’re not in Kansas anymore” once, when crossing from one to the other. Once. Useful info ~ and my kind of humor.)

And I’ve watched the videos of Jason and Hannah Waddingham singing “Shallow” together, with Will Forte gracefully stepping aside for her; Jason singing “Love Yourself” to Brendan Hunt, as if that’s what it really means, as Hannah shaves off “Beard’s beard,” carefully saving the clippings to auction off to the crowd; and even one from last year’s Thundergong, at which both Jason and Brendan showed up as our beloved coaches of AFC Richmond, all with Billy and his band Summer Breeze backing them up.

At last, it has all jelled in my mind (sorry it took me a few minutes, there ~ I’m not as fast at putting the pieces together as I used to think I was). The one thing I don’t believe in is coincidence.

The picture sits on my desktop: Inge and her son Danny with glowing smiles, Billy’s joyfully excited face, and Jason, with his signature twinkle and, bonus!, that dimple that means there’s a wider smile inside ~ it’s just under my picture of Hélène, whom I love like Keeley loves Rebecca, in a silly happy moment with her Roger, whom my James and I also loved so much.

It sits there and they all smile out at me, and it makes me happy.

I’d like to return the favor. Because it never would’ve happened, except:
1) they were together in preparation for this huge charity event that is Thundergong,
2) none of them had anything to gain by adding one more thing to what had to have been an already incredibly busy time, preparing for Thundergong, and yet
3) they all took the time to give us this gift: Inge, asking her friends in the first place; Jason reading what we’d written to him and sending us a message back in the books he signed for us; Billy and Inge’s youngest son, Danny, giving up a few minutes of what has to be an exciting time together to do this small quiet thing that means so much to us ~ all of them taking a moment to share the love and the light and the joy and the fun.

It really is so cool when the people who make this show about people who are real and kind and caring, end up being, and being with, people who are real and kind and caring in real life.

We’d like to repay the kindness and keep the love and light ~ and fun! ~ going, so Hélène and I offer them ~ and you, fans ~ this gift.

To honor their love and generosity, Hélène and I will donate to  Steps of Faith Foundation $1 for each and every copy of Lift It Like Lasso (Vol1 and/or Vol2) sold between (with a nod toward Ted’s wishing time) 11/11/23 ~ the Saturday Thundergong 2023 took place ~ and 1/1/24 ~ New Year’s Day, which signals, as it always does, new beginnings. The Lift It Like Lasso books (pictured below) are available from Amazon here and here.

LILL Vol 1Thank you in advance to those of you who join us in paying forward this gift of love and compassion by helping contribute to our donation to  Steps of Faith Foundation  through buying a copy of Lift It Like Lasso Vol 1 and/or Lift It Like Lasso Vol 2: In which weLILL Vol 1 all Believed in RomCommunism.   We appreciate you all so very much!

Again, for every copy sold from 11/11/23 through 1/1/24, we will add $1 to our donation to  Steps of Faith Foundation In doing so, we can all help lift someone that much closer to the prosthetic limb that will help them return to looking and feeling ~ and living ~ complete.

And thank you to those of you who read this far. You see now why this isn’t a FB post, yeah? (I did warn you! :-D)

See you on the beach.