Day 662: Flooded

It’s been raining incessantly here, for the past few days. There’s been water, water everywhere.

The rain has not stopped me from walking my usual mile between my parking garage near Boston’s Fenway Park, and my workplace, a major teaching hospital in Boston.

Last night, in a therapy group, one of the members quoted a Hungarian proverb:

There is no such thing as bad weather. There are only bad clothes.

I have clothes that are good enough, to walk in the rain.  I also have an umbrella, that keeps me dry enough.

Last night, I walked away from work, in the rain, using my umbrella to shield myself and some of my materials for my sold-out presentation on Sunday about The Koplow Method of group psychotherapy.

I don’t have photos from that walk away from work — I mean, I didn’t want to distract myself. I was completely focused on shielding those papers I was carrying so carefully.

If you want to see some pictures from yesterday,  here are some I snapped during the morning walk:

IMG_1258 IMG_1261 IMG_1263 IMG_1264 IMG_1266 IMG_1268 IMG_1270 IMG_1272 IMG_1273

Here are some photos I took, once I reached the safety of my office:

IMG_1274 IMG_1275

I’m wondering: is it okay that I’m showing you those photos?  Am I flooding you with too many details?

On Thursdays, I am usually flooded, at work, with a lot to do. I facilitate two therapy groups — one at 3 PM and one at 5:30 PM.  These groups are “open access,” which means people can attend them as they choose. I love giving people the choice to schedule their attendance way in advance  or spontaneously, at the last minute, so, that means I’m often entering patient numbers into the scheduling system throughout the day. Also, I need to attend some meetings on Thursday. Plus, I see individual patients.

Is this proof enough, that I am often flooded on Thursdays?

I was also flooded yesterday with some feelings and thoughts about my upcoming presentation. Those included:

During this time of the year — as the days shorten and winter approaches — there is a mindfulness exercise I like to conduct in my groups. I gather fallen leaves, bring a selection of those into the group, and invite people to choose a leaf to focus on.

The incessant rain has been an obstacle to my doing that mindfulness exercise.

Yesterday evening, I had about five minutes free, before the 5:30 PM group. I decided I, personally, wanted to connect with some autumn beauty. So I went outside, did my leaf-gathering, brought them in to the group room, and dried them all, well enough:

IMG_1278 IMG_1279

That second photo demonstrates how rushed I was.  However, I took the time to capture my rain coat, sitting in the group room:


One of the things we talked about, during group, was crying. People discussed their experience of

  • feeling better,
  • being exhausted, and
  • moving on

… after being flooded by tears.

After the evening group was over, somebody left her umbrella behind,, but remembered to come back for it. She said, “My mother gave me that umbrella. I can’t lose that.”  And she didn’t.

Which reminds me of those presentation materials I was protecting so carefully, on my walk away from work.

Once I reached the shelter of my garage, I saw some people who work there, who have been very kind to me in the past (see here, for that story). I was so happy to see them,  I distractedly closed my umbrella, and all that water ran down, over my presentation materials.


Oh, well. I can get some more of those, at work today.

Here’s a song I’d like to hear right now, before I venture back out, into the rain. It’s from Flood, an album by They Might Be Giants.

(“Birdhouse in Your Soul” found here on YouTube)

Thanks to They Might Be Giants for the music, to you for bringing a little birdhouse into my soul today, and to all who give themselves, and others,  protection enough from all those things that flood us, every day.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, inspiration | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Day 661: Whelmed

With all the things I’m doing these days, including

  • blogging every day,
  • taking photos for this blog,
  • working full-time as a group and individual psychotherapist at a major Boston hospital,
  • being a mother to a 16-year-old son,
  • maintaining my health,
  • participating in activities I love, including musical events and travel, and
  • promoting ideas I have about improving health care delivery

…. it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Yesterday, I recognized that my chances to feel overwhelmed were increasing, because  my sold-out presentation on The Koplow Method of group therapy is coming up in three days (but who’s counting?).

I don’t want to feel overwhelmed. I just don’t.

Somebody I admire recently said to me:

I’m overwhelmed

as a way to express gratitude. However, when I use the word “overwhelmed,” I mean

  • confused,
  • lost,
  • anxious,
  • disconnected (from people and hope), and
  • insecure.

At the same time, I don’t want to feel underwhelmed, either.  To me, underwhelmed means:

  • unimpressed,
  • dissatisfied, and
  • aware that things can be much better.

For example, WordPress recently changed the way bullet points appear for this blog, and, I, for one, am extremely underwhelmed by that change.

I think it’s time to use today’s title in this here blog post, don’t you? Here we go:

I do not want to feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed. As much as possible, I would like to be balanced and in the middle of those extremes: in other words …”whelmed.”

I am neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed by the way I defined “whelmed.”

Yesterday, to stay whelmed in the midst of all my different commitments, interests, and obligations, I prepared for today’s blog post, as I made my way throughout the day. That is, rather than wait until I got up in the morning to decide on a topic — which is my usual, natural process — I thought of a title:

What smells?

which was inspired by a new raincoat I was wearing. I knew that

What smells?

was a fertile topic and one that I (and my readers) might benefit from, since I could write about

  • how smells trigger memories,
  • how new smells (and other unfamiliar things) can affect us, and
  • shame people can have about human body smells, which we just can’t avoid in our lives.

Also, since everything has a smell, the opportunities for words and photos were … endless!

Also, there was an obvious musical number I could use in that post:

(I sniffed out that Lynyrd Skynyrd performance of “That Smell,” on YouTube, here)

That post could practically write itself!

So all day, yesterday, as a way of NOT getting overwhelmed by fears and cognitive distortions about my upcoming presentation or underwhelmed by a potentially not-good-enough blog post, I focused on

What smells?

and I saw

  • things that smell and
  • things that USED TO smell (like the Charles River in Boston, which has been cleaned up, quite a bit, since I was a kid).

In addition, I ran into lots of challenges, like traffic that made me late almost everywhere I went yesterday, including

  • work,
  •  Berklee College of Music, to hunt down the recruitment video I helped create for them in the 1990’s,
  • therapy,
  • visiting with my neighbor, whose dog recently had surgery and who has a toilet she recommends as a possible replacement for our toilet that keeps running, running, running, and
  • my usual Wednesday evening routine, with bf Michael, having dinner at a local mall that includes a pet store and Whole Foods Market.

I realized I could include ALL those things, too, since certain obstacles can really stink, unless we let go of feeling overwhelmed and/or underwhelmed by our daily commitments, interests, and obligations, and stay as whelmed as possible.

So I had fun, yesterday, thinking about how I might write to you about

What smells?

and I took lots of  photos, including (in chronological order):

IMG_1134 IMG_1148 IMG_1150 IMG_1152 IMG_1157 IMG_1161 IMG_1162 IMG_1164 IMG_1168 IMG_1169 IMG_1172 IMG_1178 IMG_1179 IMG_1180 IMG_1184 IMG_1186 IMG_1187 IMG_1188 IMG_1190 IMG_1208  IMG_1209 IMG_1217 IMG_1219 IMG_1220 IMG_1221 IMG_1225   IMG_1228 IMG_1238 IMG_1234 IMG_1239 IMG_1243 IMG_1250 IMG_1251 IMG_1253 IMG_1254 IMG_1255 IMG_1256 IMG_1257

But then, I thought, how the hell am I going to explain all those photos? And there are some photos I might want to comment upon, like

  • how everybody gets parking tickets in Boston, even utility workers,
  • a study room at Berklee, which I attended during two summers when I was in high school, which looks exactly the same as it looked when I was 16 years old and where a very mean (and perhaps, insecure) boy said something humiliating to me and his friends laughed, laughed, laughed,
  • my neighbor’s daughter, dressing up for Halloween years ago as a virus particle,
  • my neighbor’s dog toys, which are stuffed animals purchased at the Boston Science Museum, representing (left to right) Ebola, Salmonella, and the common cold, and
  • how the Halloween costumes at Whole Foods Market include a Chef’s outfit, which Michael (who used to cook for a living) found particularly underwhelming.

So, I hope, you can see my dilemma about writing the planned blog post

What smells?

There are just too many chances for that post to be overwhelming or underwhelming.

Instead, I’m glad I changed the topic to


And sure enough, that’s how I’m feeing now.

Thanks to everything that smells AND to everybody who ever gets overwhelmed, overwhelmed, and/or whelmed. I thinks that includes you, me, and everything, don’t you?

Categories: Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 660: Sold Out

Whenever I decide to attend a concert, play, or other ticketed event, these thoughts can occur to me:

If I want to go, probably lots of other people want to go, too. What if it’s SOLD OUT??

Being Sold Out, like that — feeling like I’ve been shut out from something I know I want, that I’m on the outside looking in — can be a really unpleasant experience.

Now, would it seem like I was trying to sell you something, if I point out some cognitive distortions (which can lead to stress, depression, and anxiety) in this post already? I’m noticing

  • Fortune telling
  • Mind reading, and
  • What If’s

… in what I’ve written, so far.

Geesh!  I think I may be trying too hard to sell the whole sold out/selling thing, by connecting “Sold Out” with cognitive distortions.

Does that mean I’ve sold out my blogging integrity? And does this connection even make sense? I mean, what could I possibly be trying to sell you, here?

Perhaps this: A lecture, presentation, or other ticketed event featuring information on

Would you buy a ticket to that?

Personally, I decided to buy a ticket to something else, two days ago. Here’s a recent email exchange between me and Peggy (my traveling companion to Panama, who has appeared in this blog, including here, here, here, and here):

Peggy’s email: … Pat Metheny Unity Group with Chris Potter, Antonio Sanchez, Ben Williams & Giulio Carmassi  …  Let me know. I’ll get tickets.

My email:  Yes!

In case I haven’t sold you  — with blog posts including this, this, this, this, this, and that – on the amazing Pat Metheny (who has never sold out his integrity but who has sold out many venues) … I’ll try that again. Here are two videos of Pat with his Orchestrion (which I’m hoping he’ll have with him, when I see him next month:

I wonder who sold Pat that incredible Orchestrion? I’m not trying to sell you on (1) clicking my links or (2) watching videos I post, but if you do, you’ll find the answer to that question.

When I was in the middle of watching that second Pat Metheny video on YouTube, trying to figure out how to sell my readers on Pat’s Orchestrion belonging in today’s post, I received another email, regarding my presentation this Sunday, October 26 (previously mentioned here, here, here, and here):

First of all, congratulations Ann for flooding us with registrations. We filled the house and have had to put quite a few people on a wait list (8 so far).

Do you realize what this means? I’ve finally sold out!

Let’s see if I have any pictures on my iPhone, from yesterday, for Sold Out.


I wonder if the hospital gift shop has ever sold out of those?

Here’s something I drew on my whiteboard, yesterday, during a therapy group:


Do you think I could sell out, as an artist?


Michael made eggplant parmesan for dinner. If he opened a restaurant, I think he’d be sold out.

I think I’m all sold out of blog ideas (for today).

Many thanks to all who have sold, sold out, or have tried to get into something sold out. Does that include you?  It includes me.

Categories: personal growth, pride | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 659: Undone

Why do people (including me) focus on what’s undone, rather than noticing what IS done?

Do you focus on what you’ve left undone, rather than giving yourself credit for what you’ve done? Think about this: every time you make a choice to do something, the things you are NOT doing instead are …..


Infinite things can be very overwhelming and can make people feel undone, don’t you think?  For example, I had a discussion yesterday, at work, with my friend Jan, about Infinity Scarves:

images (46)

(I’m done, here, including the link for that photo) (in the past, I’ve come undone about giving credit correctly)

Neither Jan, another great nurse named Arvetta,* nor I want anything to do with those infinity scarves, which look like they’re infinitely difficult to do and undo.

Besides agreeing with Jan and Arvetta about infinity scarves (and other things), here’s something else I did at work yesterday — individual therapy with several people. Every person I saw was painfully aware of what he or she was NOT doing. As a result of those kinds of self-judgmental thoughts, all these people seemed somewhat undone — that is, overwhelmed, lost, depressed, and anxious. When I invited them to look at what they have been doing — and to be more generous, kind and forgiving with themselves —  they all seemed to feel better by the time they were done talking to me.

It is always a privilege, for me, to witness people doing their best to undo old habits of negative self-judgment.

Here’s something else helpful to do:  make lists of what you HAVE done.

For example, yesterday, I

  • worked,
  • played,
  • listened to music,
  • walked,
  • ate,
  • drank water,
  • breathed,
  • read and answered emails,
  • talked to several people, including family members,
  • took my pill, and
  • slept.

I could make a list of what I left undone, yesterday … but I think I’ll leave that infinite undone list alone and undone, for now.

Phew!  That’s a relief.

Sometimes, when we undo old habits and try new ones, we encounter unexpected surprises, challenges, and obstacles.

I just encountered an unexpected surprise, challenge and obstacle, when I searched for the song “Undone” on YouTube.

I was momentarily undone, when I discovered that great blast from the past is really spelled …

Undun.” (I wonder if using spaces like that — for emphasis and suspense — which has already been done in this blog post, is effective. No matter what,  I’m not going to undo them.)

Yes, I am a little undone that “Undun” — which, since 1969, I thought was spelled “Undone” — is spelled that way.

What** in this wide dun-green-and-blue-world does “undun”even mean? Is it the opposite of dun?

Here’s what I should probably do next, in this post:  include a definition of dun. Definitions have definitely been done before, in The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally (like, two days ago).

However, I don’t want to include any on-line definitions in this post today.  Been there, done that.  (And as I’ve done before in this blog, I want to remind you that being aware of what you want, and expressing that, helps you avoid becoming undone.)

But before this post is done, I want to give you some idea about what “dun” means. Here’s something I haven’t done yet: checked recent pictures on my iPhone, to see if any of them include the color dun. If they do, I can also be done with the photographic portion of my daily post.



That meal  — with some colors close to dun — was done by Michael, last night, for me and my son Aaron. When I was done, all those colors were wiped clean from that plate.

Is my defining dun done?

If so, that still leaves this task undone: deciding whether to undo what I’ve done in this post so far — in any way — or somehow proceed from here, writing about “undun and/or “undone.”

Honestly, I don’t think I should write a post about “Undun.” Writing about the opposite of a color is just not done.

Should I undo my intention of using the song “Undun” and see if there’s a song somebody else has done, titled “Undone”?

I don’t want to do that, either.

Will I do any harm, if I publish this post with a title “Undone” and a song “Undun”? That often undoes me: worrying that I’ve done something wrong, in any way.

I am not rewriting this post.What’s done is done and (I hope) no harm done.   Here‘s the song:


Now, guess who*** sang that song!

Is anything left undone, for you, in this post? Also, what tends to make you feel undone? Will you respond to my questions today or leave that undone? And if you leave that undone, will this post help you leave all self-judgment and shame undone?

Here’s what’s left undone for me: I wish to name that I’ve linked to many previous posts today.  Why?  Because I’m proud of what I’ve done!

All doing and undoings here are now done. Many thanks to everybody, everywhere, who does and doesn’t do, including you.

*  When I went to my work email, just now, to double-check the spelling of “Arvetta,”  I received this message TWICE:

Your password will expire in 6 days!

Something else I haven’t done.

** Would anybody like to guess how many times I’ve used the word “What” in the titles of my posts? Right now, to me, it looks like an infinite number.

*** Is knowing who wrote and sang “Undun” done for you? If so, are you undone by puns?

Categories: blogging, personal growth, pride | Tags: , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 658: Missing and Coming Back

This morning, I’m thinking about things I miss and things that come back.

Some things I miss are not coming back, including the special enchiladas I enjoyed for over twenty-five years at a favorite Mexican restaurant, which is now under different management.

Hmmmm. I thought I’d think of more things I miss that are not coming back, but — for some reason — none of them are coming back to me, right now.

Maybe that’s because I’ve been missing some sleep lately. Any sleep we miss does not come back, I know.

However, some things I miss do come back.

For example, some days ago I wrote about this minor loss: a magazine I’ve subscribed to for many years has changed its format and altered its contents.

When I searched Google for an image of that magazine, the old format I miss just came back to me:


Here’s the new format:


It wasn’t so much the old format I’ve been missing, but some of my favorite puzzles. In that most recent edition, much to my delighted surprise — one of my favorite puzzles came back!

IMG_1080 IMG_1081 IMG_1082 IMG_1083 IMG_1084 IMG_1085

This is what happens, around here, when I try to take photos in the middle of the night (and other times, too).  Here’s an unobstructed shot of my beloved Cryptolists:


It’s coming back to me how much gratitude I can feel when something I miss comes back.

It’s also coming back to me that I decided, last night, to take my anticoagulant medication …


… during breakfast, instead of dinner, from now on.* It’s also coming back to me how my boyfriend, Michael, and my son, Aaron, talked to me,  over dinner last night, about ways I might remember to take that one, daily pill, which needs to be taken with food and that comprises all the medication I need to take, at age 61, with my very complicated medical history. Why did the three of us have that discussion last night?  Because it wasn’t coming back to me, while we were eating dinner, whether I had taken my pill.

It’s also coming back to me how much I’ve hated taking medication, since I was a little girl.

Something else that comes back to me, right now:  I truly believe that taking the anti-coagulant with breakfast will come back to me, very easily.

What else comes back (to me and to others)?


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Which reminds me of a song:

According to that  YouTube video description of “The Cat Came Back,”  that’s a “Classic Canadian Cartoon.”  It’s not coming back to me, whether I’ve seen that before.

Somebody I’ve missed listening to — Garrison Keillor –  sang “The Cat Came Back” when I first heard it, if my memory is coming back to me accurately.  However, this is all that comes back for “Cat Came Back Garrison Keillor” on YouTube:

How about this?

Or this?

Is anything, in particular, coming back for you, now?

Thanks to Michael, to Aaron, to cats, to any creature who helped me write this post,  and to all those who came (back) to read this blog today, including — of course! — you.

*  I sent an email to my Primary Care doctor about this change after I published this post. The email that came back explained  why a pill with dinner is better than a pill with breakfast:  this medication would miss having food in the stomach for absorption.  I will go back, as directed. I also don’t want to miss the opportunity to remind my readers: check all medication changes with your doctor!

Categories: blogging, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Day 657: What Counts

Yesterday’s post was “What matters to you?”   Does it count if today’s title is very similar?

I think it does count. I can’t count the number of times I have told people — in individual and group therapy —  “It counts,” when they try to dismiss some positive action or attribute.

Let’s count how many meanings the word “count” has:

count 1 (kount)
v. count·ed, count·ing, counts
a. To name or list (the units of a group or collection) one by one in order to determine a total; number.
b. To recite numerals in ascending order up to and including: count three before firing.
c. To include in a reckoning; take account of: ten dogs, counting the puppies.
2. Informal
a. To include by or as if by counting: Count me in.
b. To exclude by or as if by counting: Count me out.
3. To believe or consider to be; deem: Count yourself lucky.
1. To recite or list numbers in order or enumerate items by units or groups: counted by tens.
a. To have importance: You really count with me.
b. To have a specified importance or value: Their opinions count for little. Each basket counts for two points.
3. Music To keep time by counting beats.
1. The act of counting or calculating.
a. A number reached by counting.
b. The totality of specific items in a particular sample: a white blood cell count.
3. Law Any of the separate and distinct charges in an indictment.
4. Sports The counting from one to ten seconds, during which time a boxer who has been knocked down must rise or be declared the loser.
5. Baseball The number of balls and strikes that an umpire has called against a batter.
Phrasal Verbs:
count down
To recite numerals in descending order, as during a countdown.
count off
To recite numbers in turn, as when dividing people or things into groups : The 24 children counted off by twos, forming a dozen pairs.
count on
1. To rely on; depend on: You can count on my help.
2. To be confident of; anticipate: counted on getting a raise.
count out
To declare (a boxer) out to have been knocked out by calling out the count.
count heads/noses
To make a count of members, attendees, or participants by or as if by noting bodily presence.
[Middle English counten, from Old French conter, from Latin computre, to calculate : com-, com- + putre, to think; see pau-2 in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: count1, import, matter, signify, weigh1
These verbs mean to be of significance or importance: an opinion that counts; actions that import little; decisions that really matter; thoughts that signify much; considerations that weigh with her.
count 2 (kount)
1. A nobleman in some European countries.
2. Abbr. Ct. Used as a title for such a nobleman.
[Middle English counte, from Old French conte, from Late Latin comes, comit-, occupant of any state office, from Latin, companion; see ei- in Indo-European roots.]

– from

What else have you been counting, lately?  I’ve been counting

  • calories (very half-heartedly),
  • weeks until winter, and
  • days until my presentation about “The Koplow Method” of group therapy.

Somebody I count on, at work, has labeled the group therapy I do “The Koplow Method.” I’m not sure that title counts, officially.

“The Koplow Method” of blogging includes:

  1. Numbers in the title.
  2. Definitions.
  3. Word play.
  4. Photos.
  5. Music.
  6. Digressions.
  7. True Confessions.
  8. Guessing Games.
  9. Invitations to participate.
  10. Gratitude.

… but who’s counting?

Would anybody like to guess how many cats there are in these photos I took yesterday?

IMG_1008 IMG_1012 IMG_1017 IMG_1022 IMG_1026 IMG_1029 IMG_1033 IMG_1038 IMG_1039 IMG_1041 IMG_1043 IMG_1045 IMG_1046

IMG_1049 IMG_1050 IMG_1051 IMG_1054 IMG_1060

Did you count how many Counts were in those photos, also?

You can count on me to name what’s left unsaid.  For example, is anybody wondering why I included a sandwich among all those cats and counts, above? Somebody, named Sandra, who has served me, more often than I can count, at a favorite restaurant, recommended I get a sandwich named after her, yesterday.  I’ll count to ten while you guess what’s in that Sandra Special Sandwich.











It’s a Macaroni and Cheese Sandwich.  Care to count how many times I’ve had one of those?

(Psssst!  The answer is greater than zero and less than 2.)

Will this post — with all its countless hopes, thoughts, feelings, dreams, and meanderings — count, when all is said and done?  Maybe it will, if I include some musical counts. 

There’s counting in these 1, 2, 3 songs:

(Count on finding “The Middle of the Road” by The Pretenders here on YouTube)

(It counts that YouTube has “Wooly Bully” by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, here)

(Bruno Mars is counting in this YouTube video)

If you have any questions or thoughts about anything in this post, I hope you know that they all count.

What counts for me, in the moment?

  1. People I love.
  2. The work I do.
  3. Expressing myself.
  4. Learning.

Speaking of learning, this morning I finished all 3 hundred and 16 pages of Charles Gulotta’s memoir, “The Long Hall.” That book  — shown in the last photo, above, among countless other things — counts a great deal.

I wanted to end this post with a photo of the last page of “The Long Hall,” which says “Thank you,” but — using another Koplow Method — I’ve misplaced my phone (or the phone is taking a break and hiding, really well, somewhere).

So, instead,  I’ll end with another photo I snapped yesterday.


… all you people who count, out there.

In case this counts for anybody, I DID find my phone, finally, along with the following photo. Can you count the number of things on my son’s back?


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, definition | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 656: What matters to you?

What matters to you?

What matters to me often includes giving some context and history to my writing. For example, over a year and a half ago, I wrote a post with a somewhat similar title to today’s.

Day 133: Maybe anxiety means that something really matters to you.

As a matter of fact, I was anxious yesterday, because I was doing something that really mattered to me (and to other people, too).  Yesterday, I attended a work retreat, where over one hundred doctors, nurses, social workers, medical assistants, and other dedicated employees at a major Boston teaching hospital spent the whole day together off-site, brainstorming and identifying specific ways to make patient care better.

Here’s one of the slides from the excellent opening speech at the retreat, about how much it matters to have a true patient-focus in practice.


That slide is inviting providers to shift from a focus on problems and complaints  to what really and truly matters to those they serve.

Because of my life-long experiences as a patient in the medical system,  moving this way — from a focus on the weaknesses of patients and the needs of providers, to a focus on the strengths and needs of those who require health care — all matters to me, very deeply.

It matters to me so much,  that I overcame anxiety about speaking my mind in front of over one hundred doctors, nurses, social workers, medical assistants, and other dedicated employees, several times throughout the day.

As a matter of fact, when one of the facilitators at the retreat asked us the first audience-directed question:

What matters to you, to help us start working together today?

I was the first one, in that enormous, packed room, to raise my hand and answer:


Throughout the day,  I continued to ask myself the question “What matters to you?” and I maintained the courage to voice those answers out loud. What gave me the courage?  Realizing that my experience, thoughts, and feelings mattered

  • to me and
  • to others.

As I was driving home at the end of the day, thinking about all I had witnessed and learned at the retreat, I stopped the car and walked back a ways, to take this photo:


Apparently, that mattered to me, too.

Somebody who matters a great deal to me — my 16-year-old son, Aaron — is taking the PSATs  at his school this morning. I think it matters that he eat some friggin’ thing before that test, so it matters to me that he just agreed to eat some of this:


Music also matters to me, so I’m wondering if it matters which song I include in this post.

Because your feedback matters to me, I was going to ask for requests, but then this tune showed up, twice:

(“Money Don’t Matter 2 Night” by Prince found here and here on YouTube)

Thanks to all those who matter to each other, including you, of course!

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 655: How to freak less

I’ve written four previous posts with the word “freak” in them:

  1. Day 243: Freaked-out-nomics
  2. Day 370: Reasons why snail mail freaks me out
  3. Day 405: Freaking Out 
  4. Day 641: Lots of freakin ____

… so I think it’s about time I focused on something useful, like How to Freak Less.

Yesterday, I freaked less on my drive to work because I took my time getting there. Even when my GPS system, Waze, reported

Watch out. Heavy traffic ahead.

… I remained calm. As a matter of fact, I was glad for the traffic, because it allowed me to take these photos, through my rainy window:

IMG_0943 IMG_0944 IMG_0948 IMG_0954 IMG_0955 IMG_0956 IMG_0961 IMG_0960

After I parked my car, I took my time walking to work.

IMG_0969 IMG_0972

To recap: freak less by taking more time.

Then, when I was at work, I walked by a door that has, already, appeared in this blog four times before (here, here, here, and here):


This time, the door was open, so I introduced myself to the inhabitant of that office, Sandy.  I told Sandy that

  • her sign has appeared in this blog,
  • people had speculated whether the sign said, “hope” or “nope,” and
  • I was very pleased the sign said “hope.”

Sandy invited me into her office, and I saw many more things that pleased me, including:

IMG_0981 IMG_0982



Those three paintings were done by Sandy’s three daughters.

I liked this sign, too.


As I was leaving, Sandy changed the sign on her door.


To recap:  freak less by walking through doors, meeting new people, and seeing new things.

Last night, I facilitated a therapy group where people shared their experience of dealing with transitions.


To recap: freak less by sharing more.

Speaking of sharing, I’d like to share a tune I heard on my way home, after work.

Actually, before that, I’d like to share how I first encountered this song, when I was a kid:

Wow!  After all the living I’ve done since I first saw  “A Lot of Living to Do” (from the movie Bye Bye Birdie), I can see there’s


50’s and 60’s stuff there.

Eeeeek!  Hold on! I can’t find Pat Metheny’s amazing version of “A Lot of Living to Do” on YouTube, which I heard last night and wanted to share with you today! And I have to get to a 7:30 AM “retreat” soon, where there will be


doctors, nurses, therapists, and other healthcare providers, working together to come up with ideas about how to make patient care better, in the future.

Is it time for me to do


… here and now?????????????????

Instead, I shall heed my own advice and

  • take time,
  • walk through doors,
  • meet new people,
  •  see new things,
  • and share more

… by including this YouTube video of Mr. Louis Armstrong singing and playing “A Lot of Living to Do”:

And, speaking of meeting new people, I’ve never heard of Nick Ziobro before today, featured here performing at Birdland:


This post, today, has


  • talents,
  • sights,
  • sounds,
  • thoughts,
  • feelings,
  • moving,
  • nostalgia,
  • signs,
  • weather,
  • photos,
  • transitions, and
  • freakin other things.



there’ll be


comments, too.

Thanks to Sandy, to her daughters, to everybody who appeared in this post,  and to all those who have a lot of living to do, including (of course!) freakin you.

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

Day 654: Observed

In yesterday morning’s blog post, I observed lots and lots of number 9’s.

As I walked to work, I observed another one:


I also observed it was unseasonably warm for a mid-October day. When I got to work, I observed:

  • somebody working on interpersonal challenges:


  • and a therapy group discussing the experience of self-consciousness — the awareness of being observed by others.  People in the group observed that self-consciousness did not have to be negative;  it might include helpful self-awareness.

I’ve observed that I’ve been feeling self-conscious and off-balance, lately. I’m observing, now,  that this might be connected to the following:


  • In approximately 9 days, I will be observed by many new people, as I give a presentation about the therapy groups I facilitate at a hospital-based doctors’ practice.
  • There have been many times, in my own medical experiences, where I have been observed, very closely, by lots of people, in a way I could not control.

However, I CAN control what’s observed here, in the rest of this post.

Here’s what I observed, yesterday, through my ears (and my earphones), as I walked away from work, through a warm afternoon:

(“Afternoon” by the Pat Metheny Group, from the album Speaking of Now,” observed here on YouTube.)

Here’s what I observed, through my eyes (and my iPhone), as I made my way home:

IMG_0892 IMG_0894 IMG_0896  IMG_0899 IMG_0900 IMG_0901 IMG_0903  IMG_0908 IMG_0915 IMG_0916 IMG_0921 IMG_0922 IMG_0926  IMG_0928   IMG_0934 IMG_0937IMG_0941 IMG_0942

Is there anything you’ve observed you choose to express here?

Many thanks to Charles Gulotta, to those he loves, to the Pat Metheny Group, and to all who observe and are observed (including you, of course!).

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 653: To the 9’s.

“To the nines” is an English idiom meaning “to perfection” or “to the highest degree”. In modern English usage, the phrase most commonly appears as “dressed to the nines” or “dressed up to the nines”.

Wikipedia entry for “To the nines”

Now, to the nine explanations for why I am writing a post about 9 today:

  • I like the idea of using the number “9” instead of the number “10” for perfection (as described in the saying “to the nines”). That gives the 99% of us imperfect humans some space to make mistakes and learn, doesn’t it?
  • I want to finish this post approximately 9 minutes earlier than usual, because I have to be at the hospital for work before 9 AM, because I’m on call for emergencies this morning from 9 to 10.
  • I’m hoping that writing this post reminds me about being on call for 9 o’clock, since 99% of the time I am NOT on call on Wednesdays (I’m usually on call on Monday afternoons).
  • At 10, I have 9 people signed up for a therapy group, and I rate that as a 9 out of a possible perfect 10.
  • On my walk home from work yesterday, I heard a song that has a “9” in the title. Would you like to take 9 seconds and/or 9 guesses for what song that might have been?








  • After hitting the “return” key 9 times (and giving you enough friggin’ space, I hope), I shall now show you the song that was playing, yesterday, when I left the hospital after a 9-hour workday starting at 9 AM:

  •  99″ (found here on YouTube) is a tune by Toto which I’ve loved — and have loved to sing along to —  for between 9 and 99 years. My boyfriend Michael and I have had approximately 99 discussions about our disagreements about that band and that song. (Michael 99.9%* dislikes both of them.)
  • About 9 minutes after I heard “99” yesterday, I heard a magnificent piece by a famous composer.  Feel free to take 9 seconds and/or 9 guesses to come up with an answer for what that second 9-related musical piece was. ((Hint: this composer said a word that sounds like the topic of this post when setting limits with people and turning things down).








Before I leave, I need a photo with some 9’s in it. I took this, yesterday, as I was listening to Beethoven’s 9th:


I wonder how many comments I’ll get on this post today?  (Does it matter to me how many comments I get?  What do you think?)

99,999 thanks to Aaron,Michael,  Ludwig Van, David Paitch, Jeff Porcaro, Steve Lukather, Steve Porcaro, Bobby Kimball,  David Hungate** AND — of course! — to you, for bringing all your perfect and imperfect numbers here, today.

* I originally estimated the percentage of Michael’s dislike of “99” and Toto at 99%. Because truthfulness is more than 99% important to me, I checked out the 99% with him before publishing this post at 7:19, and Michael actually suggested I add the additional .9!  99 additional thanks to Michael for adding more 9’s to this post.

** The last 6  (an upside-down 9) in that list of 9 names are original members of the band Toto, which means, in Latin, “all-encompassing.”

*** You didn’t really expect me to have 9 footnotes here, did you? (Although I did go through the trouble to put in 9 links, people!)

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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