Day 639: Easy/difficult as pie

There is a saying

easy as pie

which I’ve never understood, because I’ve never learned to bake a pie. It’s certainly easy to EAT a pie, especially as the weather turns colder.

My favorite pie, when I was growing up, was blueberry pie.

Here’s something I wrote in 2nd Grade, when I was about 7 years old:

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That’s difficult to see, isn’t it?  To make those words as easy as pie to read, here’s that faded, long-stored-away, historical document transcribed:

The Roller Skate Who liked to eat blueberry pie

Once there was a roller skate

Who liked to eat blue berry pie

He loved it so much that

he would gobble it

up and he was all through,

so he grew up with

awful table manners.

One day a manner professor

came to the little rollerskate’s

house and just at that

time he was gobbeling the

pie down. The manner professor

arrested the little roller skate and

he spended the rest of his

life in jail.

The last time I looked closely at that piece of pie writing — over thirty years ago —  I was charmed at my easy imagination.  When I read it recently, after rescuing it from a long storage in a Boston basement, I thought

Geesh!  That’s kind of harsh punishment for bad table manners, isn’t it? I love blueberry pie, too!  If I were observed gobbling it up, might I be arrested and spend the REST OF MY LIFE IN JAIL?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately — as I daily write this letting-go-of-judgment blog and talk to people who want to heal and feel better — about

  • the harshness of our self judgments,
  • how we so easily condemn ourselves to the jails of Guilt and Shame, often for very minor crimes, and
  • how difficult it is to change those old habits of self-jailing.

Yesterday, at the end of a long but inspiring work day — as  manner professors, jails, blueberry pies, and roller skates were rolling around in my tired head (among many other things) — I thought:

Eureka!  I’m going to improve the moment  and find the Best Pies in Boston (as opposed to the Worst Pies in London).

So I googled “Best blueberry pie Boston” and found this:

 

When it comes to pie, we like our hand-pressed crusts substantial and loaded to the brink with butter. So too does Petsi, and the Somerville and Cambridge shops augment their expertly sound pie foundations with just-as-serious fillings—blueberries with a big boost of cinnamon, say, or a bourbon-chocolate-pecan combination that makes for an irresistibly decadent wedge.

So, I gave myself a Mission Possible, which I chose to accept.

(I found that YouTube video here)

To find, secure, and deliver home the Best Blueberry Pie in Boston, braving numerous  dreaded dangers, including:

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Mission Accomplished!!!

On the scale of easy-to-difficult, I would rate that experience …

Hmmmm. I’m having difficulty judging that right now, I have to say.

On the one hand,  the traffic was ridiculous (or, at least, worse than I’m used to), there was no legal parking in sight, and it took a lot longer than usual to get home.

On the other hand, because I was focused on a mission, I enjoyed every minute of it. AND I defied my internal manner professor and PARKED IN AN ILLEGAL SPOT. And –I’m happy to report — I am NOT spending the rest of my life in jail.

So, getting and eating the pie was — all in all — was easy. And delightful.

Further into the evening, things got more difficult.

I belong, on FaceBook, to a group of people who have my very unusual heart (called congenitally corrected transposition of the great vessels or LGTA or lots of other things) or who have children with my very unusual heart. Last night, in a continuing attempt to keep learning useful and new things, I watched a recommended Webinar titled

Aging with Congenitally Corrected Transposition 

I was hoping for some easy-as-pie or — at least — some achievable tips on self-care and other useful things.

Instead, I found myself listening to an expert doctor making the case that it was difficult, if not impossible, for people with hearts like mine to reach my ripe old age of 61.

At least, that’s how I heard it.

I have to admit that my son and my boyfriend, overhearing bits of the webinar from another room, recognized how difficult-as-pie this was to listen to and they both told me to do something as easy as pie: turn the friggin’ thing off immediately.

Which I did.

Then, the three of us spent some easy-as-pie moments together, saying all sorts of hopeful things, including:

  • You’ve already beaten those odds. — My son, Aaron.
  • Stephen Hawking was told when he was 20 that it was impossible for him even another few years … and HE’S IN HIS SEVENTIES. — My boyfriend, Michael
  • This reminds me not to worry about all those petty things that can clutter my mind, because that’s JUST RIDICULOUS.  — Me.

Then, I had another piece of pie, this time with chocolate ice cream on top:

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… ignoring all the manner professors in the world (including Michael, who would never, ever eat blueberry pie with any ice cream except vanilla).

After that easy pie, I posted some thoughts on the FaceBook group page, including:

I was reading through some posts on this page and found suggestions about watching a webinar about “Aging with Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries.” (http://vimeo.com/50410991) I watched a portion of it tonight and — honestly — I got pretty freaked out by the language and the conclusions I was hearing. Yes, I have heard all of this before — including concerns about my ventricle failing because it’s doing heavy work it wasn’t designed for — but the webinar, to me, seemed especially negative. I turned it off after I saw the graph showing people in a study all dying before the age I’ve currently reached (61). So I’m curious, and want to ask people who watched the whole webinar: does it get more positive? … This is an inherent challenge of having a congenitally corrected heart, I think … feeling safe enough to thrive and engage with life without fear, as we age.

I just went to FaceBook to check responses I got from the good people there, and those comments are helping me feel easier (if not as easy as that delicious blueberry pie from Petsi Pies) this morning.

Now, I need to go to work — where I get to sit with people who are dealing with things much more difficult than pie.

I just want to say this, in conclusion: I’m very grateful for the whole pie — blueberries, ice cream, and everything else. So, thanks to roller skates, manner professors, pies, and people everywhere who deal with the easy to the difficult every day — including you, of course!

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 638: Orange

When my 16-year-old son Aaron — who has naturally orange hair and whose favorite color is orange — was about seven years old,  his elementary school put on a talent show. Aaron did stand-up comedy, for the first time in his career (for a more recent appearance, see here).

I can’t recall Aaron’s entire routine (I have it on tape SOMEWHERE), but I do remember it included several knock-knock jokes, which he did not write.* The following knock-knock joke was part of his routine (and perhaps you’ve heard this one):

Aaron: Knock knock.

Audience: Who’s there?

Aaron: Banana.

Audience: Banana who?

Aaron: Knock knock.

Audience: Who’s there?

Aaron: Banana.

Audience:  Banana who?

Aaron: Knock knock.

Audience:  Who’s there?

Aaron:  Banana.

Audience:  Banana who?

Aaron: Knock knock.

Audience: Who’s there?

Aaron:  Orange.

Audience: Orange who?

Aaron: Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?

Orange you glad I’m writing a post about “orange”?

Orange you wondering why I’m writing this today? Whether you’re wondering, orange you assuming I’m going to tell you?

I’m writing this post today because:

  • Orange is a major color of fall/autumn, around these parts.
  • Somebody in a therapy session, yesterday, who is working on separating herself from toxic family members, quoted something a friend told her:

Expecting anything different and healthy from your family is like going to the hardware store and expecting to buy oranges.

  • Orange you aware that I probably have lots of photos on my iPhone with the color orange in them?

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That last photo shows some needlepoint by my late mother.

Orange I grateful for the family I have?

Finally, orange you wondering about anything in this post?  If you are, please knock-knock for an answer.

Thanks to orange people and orange things, everywhere, and to you — of course! — for all the colors you bring, today.


* By the way, Aaron did write his own knock-knock joke, soon after that. It went like this:

Aaron: Knock knock.

Audience: Who’s there?

Aaron: The town detective.

Audience:  The town detective who?

Aaron: I’ll be asking the questions around here.

 

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 21 Comments

Day 637: Vivid

Yesterday, I spent several vivid hours with my long-time friend, Deb, who has appeared in some previous posts (here, here, and here) (which I hope were vivid ones).

I’m using the word “vivid” because:

  • Deb told me that somebody from our high school described her with that word.
  • She was surprised that somebody remembered her that way.
  • She IS vivid (for example, she is a glass blower AND she has dubbed herself a “Wild Woman of Welding”).
  • It’s a great word, isn’t it?

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that photos can fit many themes.

I’m not worried about these photos — which I snapped yesterday at Deb’s home in Cambridge and in the South End of Boston — fitting today’s theme.

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IMG_9942 IMG_9940 IMG_9944 IMG_9946 IMG_9951 IMG_9952  IMG_9962 IMG_9963 IMG_9965

IMG_9971 IMG_9972  IMG_9978 IMG_9982  IMG_9989 IMG_9991 IMG_0002 IMG_9999 IMG_0001  IMG_0007 IMG_0009 IMG_0010 IMG_0013 IMG_0014 IMG_0015  IMG_0017 IMG_0018 IMG_0020Every picture tells a story, doesn’t it?

And because I often have music in my (air)head

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… here’s some music for a Monday morning:

(YouTube video found here)

Many thanks to Deb, to Rod Stewart & Ron Wood, to Deb’s cousin Jim (who did the painting),  to runners and cheerers everywhere, to Cinquecento, to our server, Danny (who — along with Deb — HAS NEVER HEARD OF “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY“!!), to December Thieves and Albert Einstein,  to the many vendors and artists at the SoWa Open Market in Boston’s South End, to Frozen Hoagies, to Cinder & Salt, to Folk Couture, to people and dogs who may have looked and felt tired for moments yesterday, AND — of course! — to you, for being exactly as vivid as you are, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 636: Airhead

No matter who you are and what kind of head you have, there is only so much room in there. I recommend you give precious air to those thoughts that help you.

Yesterday, this helpful thought appeared in my head:

I need some fresh air!

So I headed out, into the notably warm air. As I walked, many songs aired through my headphones,  including The Heat of the Day by Pat Metheny and Pharrell Williams’s Happy (airing for the first time since it helped me get through a bout of pneumonia last spring).

This future-oriented thought took up air in my head:

What tune should I use for my blog post tomorrow?

But I aired that out, re-focusing on the present moment. I had faith that — no matter what song you heard in your head as you were reading my post today — it would match  airy images like these:

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Then, Airhead by Thomas Dolby took up air in my head, as I walked through the warm air, yesterday.

Here’s a recent live version of that song:

(YouTube video found here)

… and another live performance from when Airhead first aired, in the 1980’s.

(YouTube video found here)

And — in case there’s enough air in your head for three versions of the same song — here’s the official video for Airhead (with lyrics):

This thought aired in my head, when I heard Airhead yesterday:

Perfect!  That tune lets me air thoughts I have about sexism, a topic I raised in a recent blog post, but haven’t revisited!

And I saw lots of images, where I could pretend to be an airhead:

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Duh!  Isn’t West supposed to be opposite to East?

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Where’s the private property in that photo?  Am I supposed to stay off that grass?

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Are the pets really THAT BIG around here?  Why are they welcomed, then?

However, would photos and captions like that really make non-airy points about sexism? I mean, I’m constantly airing images like those in my posts, no matter how much air I have in my head.

Then, I realized I could see a movie that’s been airing in theaters since the summer:

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Even though the name of it wasn’t aired on that marquee, “Guardians of the Galaxy” was playing at the theater there, and I’ve been wanting to see that.

As I moved through the air, to discover the next airing of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” I took this photo:

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The man driving the car noticed me taking a photo, and waved at me.  I stopped to speak with him, airing that I take pictures for a daily blog.

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He wanted me to take a photo of the last letter his son wrote him, before he died:

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As I turned to leave, he said this amazing thing to me:

I love you with all my heart.

And, then

I don’t judge people. I know them by their hearts. How about you?

I said, “Me, too.”

Then, I went to see “Guardians of the Galaxy.”  Before it started, I took this photo, so I could air it for Vic Briggs, who loves Benedict Cumberbatch.

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I loved “Guardians of the Galaxy,” for oh so many reasons, which I don’t have time to air this morning.

I wish the main character could have been a woman … but you can’t have everything, can you?

Thanks to every woman and man who contributed to this post today and to you — of course! — for everything that’s in your head, right now.

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 635: Moving

Letting feelings and thoughts move through you freely, can help you move forward. When I witness other people doing that in therapy, that moves me.

Now, here come lots of my thoughts and feelings about “moving,” moving onto your screen!

  • In order to move forward past self-consciousness and towards singing in public, I published a vocal performance yesterday.
  • Before I posted that video, I was moved to delight when I played it back, particularly pleased that my cat, Oscar, did not move — as most cats might — when my singing moved into my upper register.
  • Yesterday, I took some photos as I moved through my day. (I didn’t realize, until today, that they were all about “moving.”)

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Jeff: Say hi to Derek Jeter for me this weekend. 

Me: How did you know, Jeff? He’s in the on-deck circle, and will appear, in a way, in tomorrow’s post. 

Jeff: I wish I could see. No Yanks-Sox on TV here in VA. But I’m still all teary-eyed about last night’s game. That guy has meant a lot to the boy in me who still gets a thrill playing shortstop on my company softball team six months a year. Can’t wait to hear your take on #2. 

 

I have one assignment for myself this weekend, to help me move forward. I want to send a card to Walter Gamble, M.D., who was my cardiologist during my time at Children’s Hospital, from the 1960’s through the 1970’s.  Dr. Estes, one of my current cardiologists, told me recently he saw Dr. Gamble at a funeral of a colleague. I am moved to share, now, the exchange I had with Dr. Estes, about that:

Dr. Estes: I saw Walter Gamble and I mentioned you. He remembered you, Ann!  Can you believe that? All those years ago!

Me: Of course I believe that.  Don’t you think I’m memorable?

Actually, I was moved to contact Dr. Gamble before, when I found  — in my old records from Children’s Hospital — an empathically moving letter about me, from him, to another doctor.  Soon after that, I sent Dr. Gamble an email which — I now assume — did not move to the right location.

Now, thanks to Dr. Estes, I have accurate information, so I can move forward in contacting Dr. Gamble. Here’s what I’ve done, so far:

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Now, when you look at all those smudged letters in that second photo, you might think I was moved to tears while writing that.

Nope.  It was just my left hand, moving a pen across a laminated surface. I’m sure I can find a more moving card to send, today.

Thanks to Jeff Schwaner, Derek Jeter, Walter Gamble, Mark Estes, and to others who have moved me, as they’ve moved along themselves.  And thanks to you — of course! — for moving, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, tribute | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 634: How lame is that?

Last night, I facilitated a therapy group where people focused on the cognitive distortion of labeling (a/k/a name-calling):

Labeling or Name-calling.
We generate negative global judgments based on little evidence. Instead of accepting errors as inevitable, we attach an unhealthy label to ourselves or others. For example, you make a mistake and call yourself a “loser,” a “failure”, or an “idiot.” Labels are not only self-defeating, they are irrational, simplistic, and untrue. Human beings are complex and fallible, and in truth cannot be reduced to a label. Consider this: we all breathe, but would it make sense to refer to ourselves as “Breathers”?

The group did some great work letting go of negative, unhelpful labels.

I was so inspired by the group that, when I got home, I decided to let go my own labeling and name-calling, took a deep breath, and created another video of me singing.

This time,  I really went all out, indulging a long-standing fantasy:

Singing along to a favorite Pat Metheny tune.

Here’s that video, posted on YouTube:

Now, some people (including me, at other times) might call that video lame. Why? Because:

  • It’s REALLY long. That song goes on for over eight minutes.
  • The sound quality sucks. I mean, I was playing Pat Metheny’s Third Wind on my laptop’s speakers and recording the video with my phone. Granted, I did record it in the one room in our place with better acoustics, but — for people with acute hearing and a well-honed critical sense of music — it might be painful.
  • It’s recorded in the bathroom (also labeled the water closet, the loo, and many other names, in other countries). I mean, how lame is THAT?
  • The visuals are very clichéd. I mean … ANOTHER CAT VIDEO??!!! Aren’t there enough of THOSE posted on YouTube?
  • I did only one practice run-through, singing along to Armando Marcal‘s wonderful vocalizations for that fabulous, multiple time-changing tune and — believe me — I can hear how much better it could have been.
  • My hand-held camera/phone-work might make you nauseous . As a matter of fact, after I posted that on YouTube, I got this message: “We detected your video may be shaky. Would you like us to stabilize it?” Even YouTube, which probably gets a lot of lame videos, labeled MY video “shaky!”

Anyway, what other kinds of visuals and/or sounds can I offer you today?

Here are some photos I snapped recently, which might fit today’s topic, too.

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How lame are those things I saw in a pet store?

 

 

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And how lame is it that the Red Sox went from winning the World Series last year to last place?

Also, here’s a version of Third Wind from YouTube (with Pedro Aznar AND Armando Marcal vocalizing)  that is the opposite of lame:

What do you think about the highs and lows here today?

To end this lame and/or not-lame post, I’m going to quote the last two lines of Eric Wilbur’s Sports Blog on boston.com (which I’ve now linked to, twice, in this post) (and how lame is that?):

This time, though, it’s different.

This time, we’re still having fun.

Thanks to the people at my therapy group last night; to Pat Metheny, Armando Marcal, Pedro Aznar, and all the other amazing musicians performing on Third Wind; to Oscar the cat; to animals doing their best at pet stores; to the Red Sox; to Eric Wilbur; and to you — of course! — for letting go of any unhelpful labeling and self-judgment, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, taking a risk | Tags: , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 633: High and Low

This is the first day of the Jewish “High Holidays” for 2014/5775.  All my best, from the bottom of my heart, to those who are celebrating today.

All my best, from the bottom of my heart, to those who are not celebrating today.

Sometimes, I search high and low for the appropriate and most effective way to communicate. Other times, I express myself more spontaneously, without editing or thinking too much.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a video — created by a 10-year-old boy almost exactly six years ago — of a cat in a hat that goes high and low (as does the camera).

If I searched high and low for that cat and that boy, I could still find them today.  (I’m not so sure about the hat and the diploma).

Now, let’s see if I have any recent photos on my iPhone, that show Highs or Lows.

I do!  I do!

I’ll start with the lows, since there seem to be more of those.  (Also, starting with downward-aimed photos allows me to end this post looking up.)

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I wonder why I’ve been looking down so much, lately?

Here are some recent shots, where I’ve been looking up:

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That last photo is my first sighting of fall foliage, ’14. (It also reminds me of mixed feelings I have about this time of the year.)

Highs and lows are everywhere, aren’t they? You just need to know where to look.

Many hopes for healthy and happy days ahead to everyone everywhere, no matter how you look at things.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 632: Mixed up

My high school Chemistry teacher, Mrs. O’Keefe,  would often say to me, in class, “Ann, are you confused?” And I would reply, “No, this is my natural expression.”

Actually, no matter what the intention of my snappy answer to Mrs. O’Keefe, I think I often do look confused, befuddled, baffled, nonplussed, and otherwise mixed up.

I ASSUME I look that way.  As I’ve written here, we really don’t know what we look like, to the outside world.

However, I’m guessing that I can look quite confused, befuddled, baffled, nonplussed, and otherwise mixed up because … that’s how I’m feeling. I felt that way in Chemistry Class, for sure, and even now, I can look around me, and be mixed up by what I see.

Speaking of mixed up, I often notice anagrams — which mix up letters — when I look at words.

For example, I noticed some anagrams yesterday morning, while I was preparing breakfast.

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See? “Chai” (the flavoring for my oatmeal) and “Chia” both use the same four letters, mixed up.

I mention this, not just to (1) brag about my ability to see anagrams and (2) brag about how healthy my breakfast was yesterday, but also as an excuse to share another Michael Brecker tune — Anagram —  which I was happy to hear yesterday, on one of my to and fro walks, near work.

Oh no!  I can’t find a video of Michael Brecker’s Anagram, anywhere!   Now, I’m befuddled and confused about how to proceed with this post. I mean, the whole premise of the last few paragraphs has fallen apart!  What to do?

Well, I COULD show you, instead, this “doctoral recital performance” of Anagram, found here at YouTube):

I am a little mixed up, now, by the concept of a “doctoral recital performance.” I guess that means that somebody involved in that YouTube performance was actually earning a doctorate! That sounds quite classy, to me.

I was going to say “PhD” instead of “doctorate” in that previous paragraph, but PhD would mean a doctorate in Philosophy, so I’m obviously … mixed up. What would a Musical Doctorate be called?  It must be …

MD!

No, wait. That’s another kind of doctor.

Anyway, here are more mixed up thoughts, from me, about a Musical Doctorate (however it’s abbreviated). Even though I went to school for jazz piano at Berklee for two summers (soon after Mrs. O’Keefe was telling me how confused I looked), it never occurred to me, before today, that somebody could earn a doctorate with a musical performance.

Maybe, if I ever get brave enough to do some open mic singing that’s at a doctoral level of excellence … you’ll have to start calling me Doctor Koplow! I would definitely be nonplussed, by that.

Actually, sometimes when people call my number at work to make psychotherapy appointments, they call me Dr. Koplow. I guess they get confused, befuddled, etc. because I work within the primary care practice, where most of the treaters are MD’s and called “Doctor” (of course).  (I always correct them as soon as I can, and invite them to call me “Ann.”)

Hmmm. Have I succeeded in confusing, baffling, nonplussing, or otherwise mixing up my readers, in this post?

If not, maybe I should try harder. It’s lonely to feel this confused, all by myself!

This might mix people up:  When I was googling the internet for Anagram, by Michael Brecker, I saw this entry:

Michael Brecker – Anagram Lyrics | MetroLyrics
http://www.metrolyrics.com/anagram-lyrics-michael-brecker.html
MetroLyrics
Lyrics to ‘Anagram’ by Michael Brecker. … “Anagram” is track #3 on the album Pilgrimage.

“There are LYRICS to THAT song?” I thought. “I’m confused!”

However, I was also intrigued.

That’s the other side of confusion, isn’t it?  When something is new, different and/or unexpected, we might be baffled and bewildered, but we can be intrigued and interested, too.

Intrigued and interested, I just went to the MetroLyrics site (a place that sounds quite classy, to me), to discover what the Anagram lyrics might be.

Drat! That was a dead end.

These lyrics haven’t been entered yet. Please add them for us, if you know them.

I can’t add the lyrics, MetroLyrics! I DON’T KNOW THEM! I went to that site because  I thought YOU knew something I didn’t.

No wonder I’m so confused, with all this baiting and switching going on, everywhere.

If you are baffled or befuddled by the phrase “bait and switch,” let’s see if I can clear that up, now.

Ooops!  I’m so sorry, my dear readers. There’s been another mix up. I can’t find a good-enough definition of “bait and switch,” with the time I have today. The Urban Dictionary (does that sound classy, to you?) is the best I can do:

Bait and Switch
The policy used by Bell Mobility to get more money out of their customers. They will *bait* you in with offers of really good stuff, then switch the offers around behind your back, often with the excuse of “that was just a promotion” or “you must have changed it yourself”
Bell: We’ll give you this really good plan.
You: I’ll take it.
*bill arrives without the really good plan*
You: DAMNIT

Yikes!  Is everybody confused?

Good! Now I don’t feel so alone.

I have to say, I do feel considerably better when others are having a similar experience to me.

That’s what I witness in group therapy (like I did, yesterday, and I will, today, too).

However, confusion can be uncomfortable. Therefore, I will try to compensate for any befuddlement, confusion, bafflement, and mixed-up-ed-ness I may have caused you, today, by showing you more mixed-up photos I took, yesterday.

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That’s something I found in my recently retrieved stash of nostalgic treasures (letters, cards, and other gifts from people in my life when I was young). Somebody gave me that book while I was in the hospital around age 10, dealing with a congenitally mixed-up heart.

I absolutely intended to include the photo of that book in yesterday’s post, called  “The Dark.” However, I was too distracted, confused, and befuddled to do so.  Why?  Because while I was composing yesterday’s post, I was also getting myself and my son, Aaron, ready to go to his doctor’s office, because Aaron hasn’t been feeling well lately.

Here’s what I want to say, at this point: (1) It’s nothing serious (Aaron’s diagnosis was seasonal allergies) and (2) yesterday’s post was good enough without that photo.

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I found this misplaced piece of greenery, yesterday, as Aaron and I were getting ready to leave for his doctor’s appointment. Obviously, somebody was confused, befuddled, and mixed up at that point. Would you care to guess who that was?

I drove Aaron to his doctor’s office, in nearby Somerville.

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That’s Frank, who was also in the doctor’s waiting room, yesterday morning. I was — for just a moment — confused when Frank suddenly started talking to us, showing us YouTube videos of bulldogs, including one where a bulldog was jumping on a trampoline!  Perhaps Frank had us mixed up with dog people. I definitely appreciated the distraction and Frank’s friendliness.

More photos from the doctor’s waiting room:

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As I confessed to Aaron yesterday, sometimes I take photos to relieve anxiety.  That helps center me, when I’m feeling mixed up. And not to mix things up here, with too many details (too late!),  Aaron preferred to go into his appointment alone, so I had some time on my hands, in the waiting room.

After Aaron’s appointment, when I was feeling considerably relieved, I stopped to take this photo:

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I told Aaron (who sometimes gets impatient when I take pictures for this blog), “I’m taking this photo because I really like it.  I think that mixed-up combination of a tax accounting place and an astrologer is funny!”

After I took Aaron back home, I proceeded to work, and saw this:

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I don’t know about you, but I found that confusing.  Then, I saw this:

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I was mixed up by that, also.  Does that sign mean a Fenway Park tour is starting in 15 minutes or that the tour lasts 15 minutes?  It’s probably the former meaning, but who knows? Maybe because the Red Sox are out of the pennant race this year, people aren’t that interested in hearing details about them, right now.

A few minutes later, I saw this:

IMG_9557 I’m always interested in people, working or otherwise, so I stopped to look up.  This is all I could see:

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Again, I was confused and befuddled. Where were those working people?

Well, it’s time for me to end this post. My son, who still feels lousy — but well enough to go to school — just left for the day, and I’ve got to get ready for work.

Not to further confuse things, but I do need to ask myself this: what feels left unsaid for me, here and now?

Just this.  You may have noticed that — despite my elaborate set-up regarding “Anagrams” —  there were no more (conscious) anagrams in this post.  Or, you may NOT have noticed that. However, I noticed it, and I was thinking

To make this post complete, I need to end with an anagram.

But I guess anagrams are not that easy for me to see. Darn it!

Then, I remembered a card, from my nostalgic stash that I may — or may not — have already included in this blog. (I’m still mixed up, aren’t I?)

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While that isn’t a typical anagram, it works for me.

Thanks to my son, to my father, to mixed up people everywhere, and to you — of course! — for mixing it up with me here, today.

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

Day 631: The Dark

Why am I writing about The Dark today, for the first time?

I’ve dealt with several dark issues here over the last twenty-one months (yes, I counted), including:

  • depression,
  • anxiety,
  • childhood illness,
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,
  • suicide,
  • and many more.

So why this title, today?

Is it because Mambo has moved in, next door?

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I don’t think that’s the answer. Mambo moved in a couple weeks ago.

Is it because it’s the beginning of autumn (also called “fall” in these parts) and it’s going to get dark, earlier and earlier?

Perhaps.

Is it because I took this photo, two nights ago?

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Maybe.  I took that photo in the middle of the night, hoping to capture a shadow on the wall that looked like a giant menacing bat, after I had managed to wake myself up out of a nightmare.

I knew that if I had the flash on while I took that photo, the shadow would go away. But, as you can see, the image came out completely dark, with no shades of gray.

Why was I trying to capture that big, bat-like shadow?  I’m not sure. I suppose I wanted to contain it and — perhaps — to share it with others, as a way of reducing its power.

I WAS able to capture something else that same night, immediately before I took that very dark photo:

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A cat, not a bat.

Which reminds me of a song I’ve been meaning to share with you lately:

(“Mammal” by They Might Be Giants, illustrated by thehoosieret, found here on YouTube)

After I took that picture of The Dark, the night before last, I saw some other mammals, in the light.

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Imagine!

Thanks to Mambo, to They Might Be Giants, to thehoosieret, to John Lennon, and to all the other mammals that contributed to and who are reading — of course! — this post.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, tribute | Tags: , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 630: Stolen Moments

I’m going to start this post off with one of my favorite jazz tunes.

(YouTube video of “Stolen Moments” by Oliver Nelson found here)

Even if you have trouble stealing moments to play videos here, I recommend you listen to Stolen Moments, by Oliver Nelson. (If you can steal some more moments, look at the comments at YouTube.)

I’m sorry that YouTube starts that video  with some advertising moments (which can feel stolen, to me, away from things I’d prefer doing).

All weekend, I’ve been stealing some moments away from other things I could be doing, in order to attend my 40th college reunion.  Originally, I did not plan to attend the farewell Sunday brunch, yesterday, between 9:30 AM and noon, at one of the campus gyms. However, yesterday morning, I decided those would be stolen moments, well spent.

After I left the house (before I felt ready), I walked by the place I lived during freshman and sophomore year.

 

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When I got here to one of the gyms

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… I discovered I was at the wrong place!  I thought

Lost again!

I could have thought

What’s the matter with me?

but having any self-judgmental thoughts, at that point, would have been wasted, stolen moments. Instead, I relearned a momentous lesson: it’s okay to be lost and it’s okay to be late.

And here are some moments I stole, on my way to the right place:

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When I found the right place for the brunch I thought, “Well, that’s perfect.”IMG_9487

Each moment we experience is stolen, in a way, don’t you think? (whether we feel lost or found)

Before I had left the house, yesterday morning, I had decided to bring along the big Class of 1974 Report, so I could ask classmates to sign it, during the farewell brunch.

I wonder, now,  if any of them thought I was stealing moments away from them …from something else they’d rather be doing. In any case, everybody I asked was gracious enough to sign my Class Report. Here’s one example:

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Between 10 and 11:30 AM, yesterday, I spent many moments, stolen and otherwise, with people from my class. I saw people I knew:

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… and people that seemed new to me, yesterday.

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That’s Edith, who grew up in Arlingon, MA, telling me lots of interesting things about that town (which has appeared in many of my previous blog posts).

All of my stolen moments, spent yesterday morning, were valuable. Then, I said “goodbye” to my classmates, and managed to steal some moments to see my favorite musical with two of my favorite guys.

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In case I am stealing your moments, right now, by not being clear enough about yesterday afternoon …. my son Aaron and my boyfriend Michael and I saw a production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” at Boston’s Lyric Stage. “Sweeney Todd” is tale about a barber, in Victorian England, who steals people’s lives, in revenge for time and other precious things being stolen, unfairly, from him.

I loved the production yesterday so much, I was moved to tears.

I could say moments I spent in the hospital, when I was a kid, were stolen from me, but I don’t know if that’s a helpful way to tell the story.  Yesterday, I also found more cards and letters people sent to me, while I was in the hospital, including this, from my 8th grade math teacher:

IMG_9505Also, I found one of many cards my  late father sent me, in the hospital.

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That card was perfect, because

  1. my cardiac pacemaker — which needed to be replaced so many times when I was young — was located in my abdomen and
  2. as usual, my father didn’t sign his name, but rather included names of things and people I loved. (In that case, he signed the names of the cats I knew, at that time.)

Can I steal one more moment of your time before I end this post, and show you something I saw on a food shopping trip with Michael, yesterday evening?

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Who’s chicken? Not I (nor anybody else in this post).

Thanks to courageous people everywhere and to you — of course! — for stealing some moments to be here, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

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