Day 403: Practice, practice, practice

In yesterday’s post,  where I contended with (1) Mother Nature and (2) new information about my health and my heart, I wrote a very odd section. Or, at least, I kept thinking that section was odd, as I re-read that post throughout the day. Here’s the section:

  • I DO know how to drive in the snow (I HAVE had lots of practice)
  • I have a fine little car, for that purpose: it’s a 5-speed manual, and
  • I’ve had lots of practice with that.

And every time I reached that section of the post, I thought:

Gee!  That’s weird, isn’t it?  I know I rewrote that section (adding bullet points, at the last minute) to try to make it more clear, but now that whole “practice” thing is repetitive.  I mean, that third bullet point seems totally extraneous!  I know that when I wrote that, that second “lots of practice” seemed important to express — somehow different — but now, it doesn’t seem to be giving any new information.

So every time I re-read (and I did re-read that post many times, throughout the day), I would stop, ponder, consider rewriting, and then move on.

It was like that third bullet point needed to be there, to express something that I could no longer put into words.

But, because I can be — picky? perfectionistic?  JUDGMENTAL? — about my own writing, the repetitiveness bothered me.  So, eventually, I edited that section by adding a “too” to the end.

So, dear readers, why am I writing about all this, this morning?

Well, it all makes sense to ME.  But, that’s not enough. I also want this post to make sense to others. So, here’s my best attempt at making sense, right now. First, some background, for this post:

  • Today is my last day at work, before my vacation.
  • At my current job, I  feel more stressed the week before my vacation. (By the way, I’m not alone in that. I’ve been asking other people at work, all week, whether they share this experience, and my poll results have been 100% affirmative.)
  • When I woke up this morning, I decided to interrupt that cycle of stress.

And the way I did that? I told myself:

You’ve gone out on vacation from this job before, Ann.  You have lots of practice.

And, ladies and gentlemen, that thought, above, helped me.  And — Voila! — my blog topic, for today.

As usual, I checked my old posts, to see if “Practice” had appeared in the title before. Why did I check?  Because I do not like to be repetitive, as a writer. (She wrote, repetitively.)

After I checked my previous posts, I was surprised that the Word Du Jour was making its first appearance today.  Why was I surprised?  Because I think — and talk — about practice, a lot, and how important practice is for changing old, unhelpful habits (including thoughts that increase anxiety).

So, thank you, Practice, for making your first official appearance, here, today, in Ann’s Blog!

Now that Practice is officially here, what shall we do with it?

I know!  Let’s have some fun!

Here’s a joke I know, about practice: (which I found this morning on Wikipedia, here):

Carnegie Hall  joke

Rumor is that a pedestrian on Fifty-seventh Street, Manhattan, stopped Jascha Heifetz and inquired, “Could you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” “Yes,” said Heifetz. “Practice!”

Ooops!  I spoiled the punchline there, didn’t I?  To try to make that up to you, dear readers, here’s some more information about that joke, from that same Wikipedia article:

This old joke has become part of the folklore of the hall, but its origins remain a mystery. According to The New York Times, the main player in the story has been described at various times as either an unnamed man, violinist Jascha Heifetz or the pianist Arthur Rubinstein.

On its webpage, Carnegie Hall quotes the wife of violinist Mischa Elman as having perhaps the best story of its origin: “One day, after a rehearsal that hadn’t pleased Elman, the couple was leaving Carnegie Hall by the backstage entrance when they were approached by two tourists looking for the hall’s entrance. Seeing his violin case, they asked, ‘How do you get to Carnegie Hall?’ Without looking up and continuing on his way, Elman simply replied, ‘Practice.’”

I don’t know. Maybe that additional quote wasn’t that much fun. Maybe it was too repetitive, also.

Let’s see .. how else might we have fun with “Practice,” today?

Hmmm. That reminds me of something.  When I played piano as a kid, I remember my mother saying, “Ann doesn’t really like to practice.”  And she was right.  I really wasn’t crazy about practicing.

But I sure did like to play.

How about this? For more “practice” fun, let’s check Google Images:

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

Image 5

Image 6

Image 7

Well, that WAS fun.  Although,  I was a little out of practice doing that —   finding and inserting a bunch of Google Images into a post.

But here’s an image —  and a saying — that also occurred to me this morning, soon after I woke up.  Putting images in this blog post is like riding a bicycle …

Image 8

It’s also like … going out on vacation, leaving anxiety behind.

I guess practice, of all kinds, bears repeating. AND, you can always improve, by doing something new!

Thanks to Mark Stivers, Joshua Wells,  Chris Piascik, Mark Anderson, and Wallace Kirkland (for some 9 of the images in this post); to Jascha Heifetz, Arthur Rubenstein, an unnamed man, Mr. and Mrs. Mischa Elman, and tourists (for the Carnegie Hall joke); to Mahatma  Gandhi; to people in and out of work today; to anybody who needs to practice anything;  and to you — of course! — for reading today.


  1. I found that image here.  2.  I found that image here.  3.  I found that image here.  4.  I found that image here.  5. I found that image here.  6.  I found that image here.  7. I found that image here.  8. I found that image here. 9.  Check out those links preceding this, for a full list of whom I should thank, okay?
Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

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27 thoughts on “Day 403: Practice, practice, practice

  1. Peggy

    The way I’ve always heard the end to the Rubenstein quote was “practice practice practice”. Same for Zen :)

  2. I like this post. And, I love the selection of cartoons!

  3. My kids used to tell me, “Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect!” :) It’s a really interesting concept for a tennis player since each shot in tennis takes about 7 different abilities to pull off. Something has to become muscle memory. Although, it seems different muscles fail me at different times. So is anything ever really muscle memory, or do I have to keep practicing everything?

    Just some thoughts to add to your stress. ;)

  4. Practice does make “almost perfect.” Unfortunately, our being human stands in the way sometimes.

    This is a great inspirational post for Friday! Have a great weekend!

    • Being human is quite fortunate, though, don’t you think? I’m so glad you liked the post, Christopher. That helped make my Friday great, for sure.

  5. Yup. You make me smile.

    And as to the Heifetz story… maybe he wasn’t even listening to the tourists and was just repeating to himself what he needed to do! :)

    Hope you have an amazing holiday! It’s a great opportunity to practice letting go (of stress and thinking about work!) — tee hee!

    • Hi, Louise! I love the way you came up with another interpretation for the Carnegie Hall story. Thanks for your hopes for my holiday. It’s actually amazing already!

  6. Wow, I think the start of this post was an example of how we all see our flaws so much clearer and brighter than anyone else! And the beginning of the post made perfect sense to me, until you told me the point of the post and I realized I was way off! I was feeling really good that I wasn’t a real writer and didn’t feel the need to obsess over what I had written… Come to find out – it was about practice! You’ve practiced lot in your life :) Loved the jokes!

  7. Enjoy your vacation Ann.
    Irene

  8. Great post! The comics put a smile on my face. Thanks! :D

    • I’m so glad you liked the post. Your comment — and your photo with your cat — is putting a smile on my face right now.

      • She pretends she doesn’t like kisses, but then she will follow me around the house like a puppy! :D

      • Those cats! They pretend to be indifferent, but they don’t fool us, do they?

      • Not one bit! ;) That same kitty fetches and takes showers! I don’t think she is a kitty at all! Have a glorious day Ann!

  9. How do you tell the iconic Carnegie Hall joke correctly, Ann? Practice. Of course. I’d love to have a hot pastrami sandwich from the Carnegie Deli right about now. I always go for the pastrami over the corned beef. That’s my practice. You will be off from work to vacation. Will somebody be minding your practice while you’re away? I think I have covered practice from all its angles. If I missed any, it’s because I’m rusty. Did somebody say out of practice? Oh, Ann, you deserve a vacation from all of this.

  10. I like the joke quotes you included today. They were funny. Have a great holiday.

  11. I understand what you mean :-)

  12. Pingback: Day 429: A return to Boylston Street, Boston, on 3/4/14 | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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