Day 472: “M” words

I’m about to make a momentous confession*,  my readers.

I think of myself as messy.

Am I messy? Maybe. But what does that even mean? Am I too messy? Compared to whom?

Most people might see themselves as messy, if they had a mother like mine, renowned for her neatness, tidiness, and meticulousness.

So it’s difficult for me to measure my messiness.  Am I moderately messy? Mucho messy? Just a mite messy?

My guess* is that on a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 is maximum messiness, and 0 is no measurable messiness at all, I’m a …

Man! I really resist being numbered (or otherwise measured), much like Mr. Patrick McGoohan’s character, in The Prisoner:



(I found these images here and here)

I don’t know … if I MUST choose a number … it would definitely be a number that has a six in it, maybe somewhere between a 60 and a 65?

Hmmmmm.  With those kinds of numbers, my messiness is WNL — Within Normal Limits, as we say in the therapy biz. While I might modulate towards the messy, it doesn’t interfere with my functioning.*

Yes, I’m not remarkably messy. Since I’ve been an adult, nobody has

  • refused to live with me,
  • given me ultimatums,
  • done an intervention,
  • gotten mad at me,
  • suggested I get help, or
  • otherwise made any kind of major fuss* about my measure of messiness.

However, I feel like they might, at any moment.  That’s because I have labelled —  filed, stamped, indexed, briefed and debriefed — myself as


and that has made all the difference.

Well, I’m working on taking a different road through the woods, now.  Maybe I can replace the “too” in that label with a more modulating word, like:


But you know what? When you are trying to rewrite an old script, it doesn’t make sense to restrict your vocabulary. Let’s open up the alphabet, for this portion of the post, shall we?

As I was saying, maybe I can replace the “too” in that label with a healing, more helpful word, like


or even better:




Let’s see if Google Images has anything to contribute* for the word “messy” at this point:


(I found this image here)


(I found this image here)


(I found this image here)

And let’s see if I can use any of my own photos* to end* this post.

Well, if you were to ask Michael which of our two cats is messier, he would definitely choose the one on the left, Harley.


He still looks pretty neat to me.

Thanks to my mother, to Patrick McGoohan and The Prisoner, to Robert Frost, to the Berenstein Bears, to Justin Boyd at, to Mark A. Hicks (for the pig illustration), to people and other creatures ranging from 0 to 100 on the neat-to-messy scale, and  – even though my thanks have already included you —  MAJOR thanks* to you for moseying, moving, materializing, or otherwise making it here, today.

* has no suggestions beginning with the letter “m” for this word. Believe me, I checked.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 471: It’s always some/the same thing!

Regular readers of this blog will know that:

  • I like to invite people to read my previous posts (as well as other things), if I think it might help expand on the current topic,
  • I believe that our growth through life looks like an upward spiral (rather than a perfectionistic, linear progression), so that certain experiences recur (with us learning more, each time),
  • I subscribe to the belief that the healthiest time for us all is in the here and now (despite the human mind’s tendency to be everywhere but there),
  • despite my striving to be in the here and now, there are certain seasons of the year that I prefer over others,
  • I enjoy showing photos I’ve taken recently, and prefer to present them in chronological order,
  • I fancy the use of wordplay, especially in the title of posts, and
  • I like to believe there are regular readers of this blog.

In keeping with all that, I shall now present today’s blog post, documenting my journey home from the hospital.

Now, this post will be unusual, in that it will not link to previous posts.  Why?  Because in order to truly “get” all the nuances in this particular post, a reader may need to read all 470 previous friggin’ entries. And we all know THAT is NOT going to happen this morning. So we’ll just have to do the best we can, with this post.

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen ….

(drum roll)

It’s always some/the same thing!

A Journey Home from the Hospital

by Ann


I promise you that this is the grossest photo in today’s post.  The treatment for my pneumonia was Intravenous antibiotics (of which I have had an ocean, over my lifetime).  Another experience I am very familiar with: things hurting and my asking the people in control for help, with varying results. Yesterday morning, I suspected there was something wrong with this IV. I was correct.  The nurse I told of my suspicions responded quickly, respectfully, and humanely.

Let’s move on to more pleasant images, shall we?


My last meal!  At the hospital, that is. Note that I got better, the more practice I had at this.


This was outside, on the way to my car (which had been patiently waiting in the parking lot since Saturday). It was so warm outside, yesterday, I didn’t need a coat.  When I had entered the hospital, for my unexpected four-day stay, the flowers were few and far between. So this caught my eye for many reasons.


Eeeek!  The engine light has come on (and at least one tire needs more air).


Yay!!!  The flowering trees have appeared!!!  Geesh!  Have I missed too much of my favorite season?  Nah.  There’s plenty left.


I’m home!






Okay.  One more snapshot, taken this morning, to end this post.


Here it is!



If you share my feelings about winter, perhaps the first photo in this photo essay was NOT the grossest.

Well, there’s no way I’m friggin’ rewriting this post, people.  It’s breakfast time!

Thanks to all my readers, regular and otherwise, for whatever portion of my journey you’ve joined before. And thanks to you — of course! — for visiting today.

Categories: humor, inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: | 37 Comments

Day 470: 4/15/14

Today is April 15, 2014, abbreviated in the United States as 4/15/14.

Points I’d like to make about 4/15/14:

  • It’s tax day.  Tax day can make me (and — apparently — many, many, many other people) feel nervous, anxious, pressured, worried, concerned, and otherwise stressed.
  • It’s the one-year anniversary date of the Boston Marathon bombings (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for some posts related to that traumatizing event).
  • It’s a numeric palindrome (the same when read forward and backwards), in the midst of nine other such dates (starting with 4/10/14 and ending with 4/19/14).
  • It’s the day I can tell my readers this: the cultures they took in the Emergency Room on Saturday show no evidence of endocarditis, which is very good news.

What else do I want to tell you in this post?

Let’s go to the iPhone for recent photos, shall we?

I was just about to show you a photo from yesterday, when somebody walked in:

photo (94)

That’s Theresa. She was here to take some of my blood.  I’ve met Theresa before: in the middle of the night, last night.

Some Theresa quotes from this morning:

  • “I’ve got to show you how to fight back,” when noticing a large bruise from a previous needle stick on my arm.
  • “This may sound mean, but I don’t care what people say to me,” when I said it might be nicer if she had a job where people were glad to see her.
  • “I don’t take things personally,” explaining how she dealt with people getting angry at her, calling her names, or exhibiting other behaviors she considered understandable in “people who are sick.”
  • “You’ll have to let me know if I make it to America’s Top Model,”  as she was leaving, in reference to my putting her photo in this blog today. As she was on her way out, Theresa removed her mask, so I could see her America’s Top Model smile.

So where was I, before interrupted by Theresa?  Duh!  Posting recent photos from my iPhone:

photo (89)

That was yesterday’s shower. As usual, because the shower was new, it took me a moment to figure it out.

photo (90)

That was a meal from yesterday. A little better than the one appearing in yesterday’s post, don’t you agree?

photo (91)

That’s Johny, taking an echocardiogram in my room last night.  Some things I want to point out about that:

  • We both agreed it was unusual for somebody to have an echocardiogram taken in their room.
  • Johny told me, during this test, that my blood cultures showed no evidence of endocarditis.
  • Johny listened, really well, to stories I told him about previous echocardiograms I’ve had, starting in the early 1980′s, where a team of people spent all night trying to figure out my heart, one of them telling me, “We’re looking for your aorta. We know you have one, but we can’t find it.”
  • Johny explained the unusual spelling of his name like so: “I lost one ‘n’ on the way” between Jordan and the U.S.

At one point during the echocardiogram, Johny said, “You look really familiar.” I was about to tell him I hear that a lot, when Johny asked, “Didn’t  Dr. Estes bring you into a meeting the other day?”

Regular readers of this blog might remember this photo from Day 452: Random Shots, of said meeting:


I then assumed Johny had already shown up in this blog, without a mask.


It turns out Johny is the one person I missed when I took that previous shot. He pointed out  where he was sitting in the meeting: to the left, outside the frame.

I’m glad Johny reappeared in my life, so he could appear in my blog (where he definitely belongs).

Thanks to Theresa, to Johny, to others I’ve seen lately whom I know are kind (even though I can’t see their facial expressions), to the people of Boston, and to you — of course! — for visiting me in the hospital today.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 36 Comments

Day 469: Good and Bad Medicine

While I try to steer clear of words like “good” or “bad” in these years of living non-judgmentally, sometimes I have to make exceptions.

Good medicine:

Trusting your doctors.

Taking a shower.

Getting amazing outpourings of support from people here at WordPress.

Bad Medicine:

The worst macaroni and cheese I have ever had in my (gratefully) long life.


Thanks to all of you, for some truly fabulous medicine.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | 32 Comments

Day 468: Hospitalized

I’ll find out in two days whether I have endocarditis.

I’ve been running some impressive fevers in the Emergency Room — over 102 degrees F.

I don’t have the flu. I do have pneumonia.  They’re admitting me to the hospital and I’ll be on IV antibiotics.

I never know how appropriate or seemly it is to talk about my health issues, even though that’s something I’ve been dealing with my whole life.

Personally, I’d rather show you this picture, which I took sometime yesterday morning:


photo (88)

That’s the book “Quiet,”which I took with me to the hospital.  The cat I will need to wait to see until I get home.

Thanks to all my readers, quiet and non-quiet.

Categories: Uncategorized | 76 Comments

Day 467: Fevered plans

Because I’m at risk for endocarditis (and have had it three times since 1998, but with no damage to my heart, because we’ve caught it really early, each time), my doctors and I have devised a very cautious plan:

Whenever I run a fever, I shall go to the Emergency Department  to get tested, to make sure I do not have endocarditis.

That’s the plan.  It works very well, too, because I almost never run a fever.

Yesterday and today, I’ve been running a fever.

At times like this, I can see flaws in this plan.

Have I gone to the Emergency Department? Not yet.

I don’t feel like going!  I have a fever!  And it’s most likely NOT endocarditis. I mean, everybody knows there’s been something going around: a flu, a virus, whatever.  My supervisor at work was really sick with it, a week or so ago.  She ran a high fever for a couple of days.

So those facts would argue for my not going to the Emergency Department to get tested.

However, the first time I decided get tested for endocarditis, when I was 7 months pregnant with my son, I also had some kind of flu or virus. But I had a really funny feeling and I called Dr. Salem, my cardiologist, and said, “I want to get tested for endocarditis.”  And Dr. Salem said, “Better safe than sorry.”

The doctor doing the testing said, “You don’t have endocarditis. You have the flu. But since you’re here, let’s test you.”

And I had endocarditis.

I remember talking to Dr. Salem, afterwards:  “Wasn’t that weird that I asked to get tested?  You know, there really was no reason for that.  I’d never had it before, plus I had the flu and I knew it. How do you explain that?”  And he said, ” I think somebody was looking out for you.”

And I thought of my father, who had died less than a year before that.

Does this make any sense?  I can’t tell. I’m running a fever.

Also, I’ve told this story before, here, when I wasn’t running a fever.

Anyway, back to the present.  My Primary Care Physician knows what I’m doing (or not doing) right now.  She wrote me an email yesterday:

Okay….well there is definitely something going around.  Please promise to go to the ED if you start to feel poorly or continue to have a fever or feel like you have endocarditis.

I promised.  And based on that,  I think I’ll be going to the Emergency Department at some point during this beautiful April weekend, just to be safe.

After all, when you make a plan, it’s usually good to stick to it. Second guessing can be quite painful.

To end this fevered post, here’s something else that looks out for me:


And let’s include some music here, too.

(Peggy Lee performing “Fever”posted by Gareth Miller here on YouTube)

Thanks to everybody who has ever looked out for me, to Peggy Lee, and to you — of course! — for visiting today.

Categories: personal growth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 40 Comments

Day 466: If you’re worried and you know it

If you’re worried and you know it, clap your hands.

(two claps)

If you’re worried and you know it, tell a friend.

(two claps)

If you’re worried and you know, do not be afraid to show it,

If you’re worried and you know it, clap your hands.

(two claps)


If you’re worried and you know it, take a stand.

If you’re worried and you know it, make a plan.

If you’re worried and you know it, do not be afraid to show it,

If you’re worried and you know it, clap your hands.

(two claps)


If you’re worried and you know it, it’s a fact.

If you’re worried and you know it, you can act.

If you’re worried and you know it, do what helps you to let go it,

If you’re worried and you know it, clap your hands.



I’m home sick* today, but I’m not too sick to

  1. recognize worry,
  2. take one helpful action (for me, this morning, sending a brief email),
  3. write about the worry here, and
  4.  let go of it.

If you want to see and hear the song that helped inspire this post, here it is:


Thanks to (for the video), to Sophie Fatus for her illustrations, to Susan Reed for her rendition of “If You”re Happy and You Know It,” to all the worriers and warriors out there and to you — of course! — for visiting today.

* This is my excellent excuse for not having  (1) perfect rhymes, (2) a sound file with two claps, or (3) a photo today. But who needs perfection, any day?

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 465: Personal Protective Equipment

There’s a lot of construction going on, near where I work:


This caught my eye, there, yesterday:


Do you know what PPE stands for?  I didn’t, when I took this shot.

It means Personal Protective Equipment.

And while that sign was not meant for me, it inspired me to ask these questions:

What kind of Personal Protective Equipment would meet MY current needs? What do I need to put on, to help me feel safe enough, as I venture out and take risks, these days?

Let’s see Google Images’ suggestions, for possibly proper PPE:


(I found that image here.)



(I found that image here.)


(I found that image here.)




(I found that image here.)

patient packs

(I found this image here.)


Here’s a question: why am I writing about personal protective equipment, this morning?

I mean, the weather is warmer in these parts. When I leave for work, in a little while, I can leave behind all  winter-related PPEs, like these:


(I found this image here.)

That’s a good thing, definitely.

Here’s the deal: I feel vulnerable today, because I’ve got a cold and there are some uncertainties I’m dealing with, right now.

Thank goodness I don’t always have a cold. However, uncertainty is always there, isn’t it?

For example, I’m completely uncertain about how to end this post.

Let’s see if my photo stash can come to my rescue, in the nick of time.


Here’s a photo of me at age 10, after my first heart surgery, with some proper and required personal protective equipment.


No, it’s not the glasses. It’s my first cat, Tuffy.


Thanks to everybody who has ever needed personal protective equipment of any kind and to you,  for visiting today.


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | 19 Comments

Day 464: Ways to celebrate

I have several things to celebrate today. As I wrote in Day 395: Confetti Confessionsconfetti can be an excellent way to do that.

However, confetti can be messy.

While I’m all for embracing messy (and all the other wonderful qualities of confetti),  I want to leave room for other ways to celebrate, too.

Here are some celebratory suggestions:

(1) Go to a ball game.


(2)  Stop and smell the flowers.


(3)  Have some cookies.


(4)  Make a funny face.


(5) Jump for joy.


(6) Dance your heart out.

All photos recently taken by yours truly, except for the last one, which shows a young lady named Livia Dias, who made an appearance in yesterday’s post.



Thanks to Livia, to my friend Jeanette (who is having a birthday today), to others who have something to celebrate,  and to you — of course! — for visiting here, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 463: Surprises

I am surprised by how difficult it is for me, this morning, to start this post.

I am surprised that the word surprise has appeared in only one post title before:  Day 174: Surprised by joy.

I am surprised that the word “joy” in that previous is title is not capitalized.

I like surprises, in a way that surprises me, considering how many unpleasant surprises I encountered when I was a kid.

I am very careful about surprising other people, because of my experience of unpleasant surprises.


Not surprisingly, I have more surprises to share from my recent weekend in New York City, with my friend Jeanette.

During the weekend, Jeanette unsurprisingly wanted to go to some cool clothing stores. On Sunday, we went to one with a name that escapes me now. That doesn’t surprise me, since I didn’t take a picture of it.

However, I did take some photos from inside the store:


At that store that shall be nameless (for now)*, I was surprised by how they covered up the faces of the mannequins. I got over that surprise, very quickly.

See the red chair, in the lower right corner of that photo?  I was NOT surprised that chair was not for sitting. I was surprised there were comfortable places to sit, near by.

As I was sitting and waiting for Jeanette, I wasn’t surprised when two people joined me there. However, I was surprised when one of them struck some exquisite, dance-like poses. When I asked if I could take her picture,  she looked surprised and pleased, and obliged:


I wanted to get a better view, to try to capture the surprising grace I had just witnessed, in a clothing store, so I got up from my seat, to get a better perspective.


Like most human beings, I make immediate assumptions about people. So, I was surprised to hear:

  • They are both from Brazil.
  • Alice (seated) is (or was) Livia’s director in Brazil.
  • Their being in NYC that day was related to the YAGP — Youth América Grand Prix — festival.
  • Livia is 19 years old and a student at the school of the Washington Ballet.

I’m not sure I got all that information right. I hope Livia and Alice both read this blog, and help me make any necessary corrections.**

I am not surprised that getting the facts correct is important to me, considering all the surprises I encountered when I was growing up.

I seem to have come full circle in this post. You may think I’m about to end it.


Soon after Jeanette and I left the store,  we bid each other “Adieu,” parting ways for the weekend. I quickly took this snapshot, in the direction I was heading:


It’s no surprise I took another shot, immediately, to get a different view.


I was surprised, later, to see what was missing there.  What happened to that friggin’ shoe??!??***

Thanks to Jeanette, Livia, and Alice, and thanks to the store with the name I’m surprised I cannot remember even one syllable of, right now,  despite Jeanette and I discussing how non-intuitive it was, many times over the weekend. And thanks to you, for your surprising (or non-surprising) visit here, today.

* I won’t be surprised if somebody reading this blog is able to supply the name of that store.

** At this point, Livia has read the blog and made some corrections.

*** See here (and here, too) about other missing shoes over the weekend.  Surprised?


Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

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