Day 878: Bangs!

Bangs are:

  1. loud noises and
  2. a hairstyle.

Bang!

I knew “Bangs!” would be the post title today.

Bang!

I am sensitive to noises, so loud ones can make me jump.

Bang!

I’m seeing Mia, my fabulous hair stylist, in two days and I have an idea for a perhaps bangingly radical new look, which includes bangs.

Bang!

I saw my EMDR therapist yesterday, and we are working on getting rid of the following unhelpful, habitual, very old thought that can bang around, painfully, in my head:

My needs and feelings don’t matter.

Bang!

Every so often, I have a moment of fear regarding the June 6 workshop presentation I’ll be giving about my therapy groups (coming up in bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang 9 days).

Bang!

I let go of that fear, in the very next moment.

Bang!

If my heart stops, for any reason, my new Implantable Cardiac Device (ICD) will automatically start it again, with a

Bang!

bang, bang,  bang, bang, bang,  bang, bang …

Every time my ICD paces my heartbeat, I can feel that, in my core.

Bang!

I sometimes have trouble sleeping, when there are too many thoughts banging around in my head.

Bang! I took each of these photos yesterday;

      

                                                      


Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Those guinea pigs my bf Michael and I saw at PetSmart last night kept jumping, as if they were hearing bangs.

Bang! Bang! Bang!  Michael and I made these comments at PetSmart:

  • “Look! It’s the Orson Welles of guinea pigs.”
  • “According to that vaccine date, Squeaky’s a cat from the future.”
  • “Those guinea pigs jump like pop corn.”

Bang! Bang! 

Here are two songs about Bangs:

Bang!

That’s the sound of you, leaving a comment.

Bang! I’m thanking Michael the boyfriend, Mia the hairstylist, George the EMDR therapist, Harley and Winston and Squeaky the cats, my ICD and other things that go Bang,  the Orson Welles and the popcorns of guinea pigs, They Might be Giants, Nancy Sinatra, and — bang! — you, for whatever noises you make today.

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

Day 877: Lulls

During a welcome lull in my day yesterday, I saw this:

With all the stress around us, we need to learn to take lulling breaks, wherever and whenever we can find them.

Here are some photos I took yesterday, during some rare lulls in my office:
    

 

Regarding that last lulling image: I observe how there are few lulls in people’s ongoing searches for healthy intimacy in their relationships — with a good balance of connection and personal boundaries.

After yesterday’s  good balance of hard work and rejuvenating  lulls, I took more photographs,  during some lulls in my journey home:


 
      

You may be so lulled, right now, that you miss what I was trying to capture in that last lulling image.  Please take advantage of this lull in today’s post to tell me what you see there.

Personally, I am thinking about these lulls:

  1. The lull before the excitement of the June 6 workshop I’ll be presenting about my therapy groups,
  2. The 3-day lull between that workshop and my audition for a local musical,
  3. The 2-day lull between now and the debut of a non-lulling one-act play which my 17-year-old son Aaron and his friend Cameron wrote and directed,
  4. The lull of  a vacation I’ll be taking in August, perhaps returning  to the lulling and non-lulling Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland with Aaron, and
  5. Hoped-for and helpful lulls in worries about the future and regrets about the past, for myself and others.

Here’s a lullaby I just found on lulling YouTube:

And after a very short lull, here’s another lullaby:

What are your favorite kinds of lullabies and lulls?

Here’s a helpful lull of gratitude for Aaron, Cameron, Doris Day, Gene Nelson, Brahms, people healing in therapy, heavy machinery, creatures obvious and hidden, healthy intimacy, expressive faces, bleeding hearts, the Red Sox, the planet Earth, lullabies on Broadway and elsewhere, those who sleep when it’s dark and those who sleep when it’s light, and you — of course! — for visiting here,  during a lull in your day.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Day 876: New items arrive each week 

New items arrive on my iPhone camera, each day. Here’s one from yesterday:

That’s true, isn’t it? We all have many new items arriving in our lives, each week, to deal with. Some of those new items we might choose; other arrivals  we might do anything within our power to prevent.

No matter what we think, feel, or do, though, the new items keeps arriving. Shouldn’t we keep arriving, too, as best we can?

Here are some of the new items that arrived, for me, within the last week:

  • Hearing about the death of a high school classmate I hoped to see again,
  • More feedback —  from loved ones and trusted medical treaters — that I am looking and seeming healthier after my recent cardiac-related surgery,
  • Continued proof of my healing and recovery from that surgery,
  • A representative of an insulation company refusing my request for further repair to  damage done  to the outside of our building, and
  • Many wonderful things I had never seen, heard, nor otherwise experienced before (as demonstrated by each and every post I created last week).

Here’s my latest shipment of new items, arriving yesterday:


                                 

   

Who knows what items will arrive this week? I shall do my best to arrive, greeting every arrrival, every moment.

Here’s an old song that arrived in a new way, for me, last week:

“People Get Ready,” by Curtis Mayfield, is now ready for you to arrive, on YouTube.

One more item arriving now, for you:

New thanks are now arriving for my late classmate Marina, for Curtis Mayfield, for Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA, for creatures on land and sea, for Genki Ya, for T. J. Maxx, for mothers, for chocolate, for kisses and hugs, for anything that heals us, and for you — of course! — for your new arrival here, today.

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 46 Comments

Day 875: Identification

Now that I have a new medical device (implanted a few weeks ago), I need to identify myself to others that way, for my own safety. Here’s the temporary identification (ID) card I now carry with me, at all times:

That temporary identification card identifies me as having an Implantable Cardiac Device (ICD). The manual they gave me at my identified hospital identifies me as having a CRT-D (Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillator):

For the past 52 years, since the age of 10, I’ve identified myself as having a pacemaker. Part of my identification as a writer at WordPress is reminding people that adjusting to change — including a new identification — takes time. I am reminding myself, now, that it may be a while before I easily use the identifications ICD or CRT-D, about myself.

Part of my identification as a blogger at WordPress is taking photos that focus on different types of identification, like yesterday:                                   

That last photo identifies the reality that identification can sometimes be … confusing. I shall now identify my main question about that: How can one product be unreal AND 100% real at the same time?

If you can identify an answer to that (or anything else), I hope you identify yourself in a comment.

You may have identified — from my previous posts — that my identity also includes sharing music which identifies well enough with the topic. I’ll identify, right now, that I’m having trouble ID-ing an appropriate musical identification today.

What identification song might you identify, for this post?

Well, part of my self-identification, as a human being, is loving the music from West Side Story. Last night, as I was falling asleep, the Boston classical radio station (identified by the call letters WCRB-FM) played Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances” from that musical:

How would you identify your reaction to that?

A little more identification before I identify the end of this post … I just snapped these identifying pictures of Harley:

  

Michael (whom I identify as my boyfriend) said, “Harley likes to look out the window and watch the world go by.”

Personally, I think Harley is trying to ID some birds.

I shall now identify and thank — for helping me create this Identification post — pacemakers, ICDs, CRT-Ds, Dr. Estes, Belmont Massachusetts, Captain Stephen Frost, pleasant streets everywhere, those who put smiles on others’ faces, unidentified establishments, dogs of any kind, people who see-saw, tennis players, Star Market, flowers,  the real and the unreal, West Side Story, WCRB, Leonard Bernstein,  Harley, birds, Michael, and you — of course! — for identifying with me today, in any way.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 874: Find a Stillness

Last night, my boyfriend Michael and I went to a jazz event called “Celebrating The Great American Songbook” at a Lexington, Massachusetts church. While we were waiting for it to begin, Michael and I found this:

Earlier in the day, I was able to find a stillness and a description of last night’s event:


When I read that, I found a stillness and an excitement about seeing the amazing Lee Konitz, in person.

Before the event, I was able to find all these (and a stillness) in Lexington, Massachusetts, with Michael:


                                                    

That’s one of the organizers of “Celebrating the Great American Songbook,” breaking the stillness before the performance to tell us that Lee Konitz would not be appearing. A moment later, I found a stillness when he announced that the performers would include the amazing drummer Terri Lyne Carrington.

Here’s the memory I found, in that stillness:

Two decades ago, when I was in my first year of social work school (transitioning from a career in marketing and advertising), Berklee College of Music asked me to create a video for an event celebrating a big anniversary for the school. The narrator for that little documentary I created for Berklee was Terri Lyne Carrington.

I found a stillness last night as I listened to the terrific music and wondered if Terri Lyne had any memory of our working together, so long ago.


       

I found a stillness and a joy when Terri Lyne’s father, Sonny Carrington (left), was invited up from the audience to scat-sing to the last number, a Charlie Parker tune.

After the wonderful performance, I found a stillness to wait for Terri Lyne and to remind her about the voice-over she had provided — in the stillness of a Berklee College of Music recording studio — so many years ago. Terri Lyne found the stillness and grace to tell me she had some distant memories of that experience.

After I spoke with Terri Lyne, I found this stillness, in the church:

About a half- hour later, I was able to find a stillness and some Malt Hydrox ice cream:

When I got home, I found a stillness, but not the photo I have of Terri Lyne Carrington and me at that long-ago Berklee anniversary celebration.

Someday, I’ll find that photo and the videotape I created for Berklee, both still in the stillness of my home, somewhere.

Will I find that photo and video today, in the stillness of this beautiful Sunday in May? I find a stillness, here and now, to say “Time will tell.”

Here‘s something else I just found, very easily, in the stillness of YouTube:

That shows you how Terri Lyne Carrington has been bursting through stillness with her incredible drumming, from a very young age. And I can find a stillness to tell you she is still doing that, today!

Now, I find a stillness to thank Beverly (who told me about “Celebrating the Great American Songbook” yesterday), Michael, Terri Lyne Carrington, Sonny Carrington, Dr. Lewis Porter, Gary Bartz (on saxophone), the bass player last night (whose name I still can’t remember), Charlie Parker, the great American songbook,  Lexington Massachusetts, Lexington Community Education, Rancatore’s Ice Cream, Berklee College of Music, Arsenio Hall, the creator of the hymn “Find a Stillness,” and you — of course! — for finding a stillness (I hope), today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 873: Just Deserts

I just looked up “just deserts,” because I believe we all deserve a good definition today.

According to wiktionary, “just deserts” means:

A punishment or reward that is considered to be what the recipient deserved.

Wiktionary also believes we deserve to know this:

Usage notes

  • Deserts here is the plural of desert, meaning “that which one deserves.” “Desert” is now archaic and rarely used outside this phrase.
  • The spelling just desserts is non-standard. It is sometimes used as a pun in, for example, restaurant names.

Synonyms

  • payback, poetic justice, comeuppance

Now that you’ve read through that definition, how about the just deserts of some of my photography from yesterday?


                    


                      

At this point in my day yesterday,  I realized that just deserts, for me, included some delicious ice cream.

Your just deserts include knowing that Boston Massachusetts USA is  just desert-ly famous for offering delicious ice cream  all year round (despite the harsh winters,  which are NOT just deserts for its many residents).

However, I did not get my just deserts in Boston yesterday, because — no matter where I looked — delicious ice cream was just not to be found.

While searching for my just deserts — and  encountering  a veritable desert of ice cream — I saw all this:


              

  

 

 
      

 

… but no ice cream, which I found particularly ridiculous, because I was mostly searching on

… and wasn’t Louis Pasteur somebody who helped us all get our just deserts of ice cream?

I believe that, as human beings, our just deserts include help from others, especially  when we’re trying to get our needs met. Therefore, I asked Robert

… from

… why I was having so much trouble getting my just deserts of ice cream, especially in an area with so many hospitals, where people justly deserved that kind of comfort. Robert  told me the only place to get ice cream nearby was

I then replied, justly (I believe), that our just deserts included better ice cream than that. When Robert agreed with me, I suggested he open up an ice cream place and get his just deserts of lots of money, but Robert thinks he won’t get his just deserts that way.  Here’s Robert

offering me the just desert of some ice cream he would keep frozen at Beantown Burrito just for me.

I don’t think I deserve that!

Here are more just deserts I deserved to see yesterday, after my work day was done:


                  

While I didn’t get my just desert of ice cream after lunch yesterday, I DID get that just desert after dinner, last night.

Which of those just deserts do you think I — or you — might deserve?

What music do you think would be a just desert for this post?

This was a musical just desert for me, yesterday, as I was snapping some of the photos for this Just Deserts post:

The first three words of “Mammal” by They Might Be Giants are

Glass of milk.

Is that not a just desert?

Just deserts to Louis Pasteur, Robert, the Longwood Medical and Fenway Park areas of Boston, Rancatore’s Ice Cream, They Might Be Giants, Katie Cunningham for the “Mammal” video, and everybody else whose just deserts include gratitude from me, including you!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 872: Better keep it real — or whatever

I better keep it real — or whatever — by immediately confessing to you that I LOVE The Steely Dan tune “Pixeleen.”

I better keep it real — or whatever — by telling you that, before today,  I hadn’t figured out a way to work that song into a post.

I better keep it real — or whatever — by sharing my surprise at my inability to use that song before in any of my 871 previous daily posts, since

Better keep it real — or whatever

is a lyric from “Pixeleen” and could be a motto for this blog.

I better keep it real — or whatever — by telling you that there are other lyrics in “Pixeleen” I could have used as titles for previous posts, including

Dream deep.

Just a girl in girlie trouble.

Can we cut to the chase?

Everything about me is different. 

I better keep it real — or whatever — by showing you why I decided to use “Pixeleen” and this post title, today:


I better keep it real — or whatever — by admitting to you that once I’ve chosen a theme for a blog post that keeps it real (or whatever), I include a whole bunch of photos I’ve taken the day before that keep the post real — or whatever.


                                  

I better keep it real — or whatever — by admitting that yesterday I facilitated two therapy groups (using some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques) at my workplace, which is located near Boston’s Fenway Park.

Did I keep it real — or whatever — in today’s blog post?

Real thanks (or whatever) to all who helped me create this whatever post and to you — of course! — for keeping it real, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Day 871: What’s taking up space in your head?

What’s taking up space in your head?

… is the question that was taking up space in my head, when I woke up earlier this morning.

Why was that question taking up space in my head?

Here’s why: Some negative people and difficult situations are taking up too much friggin’ space in my head, right now. And, I do NOT want to be renting them so much — if any — of my valuable mental space.

Why do negative people and difficult situations take up so much space? I mean it’s my head, dammit! Why, on earth, am I NOT renting more space to positive people and things, including

  • my ongoing recovery from my recent cardiac-related surgery,
  • my extremely good chances, according to my trusted cardiologists, of avoiding dreaded major heart surgery in the near future,
  • people and animals I love,
  • my wonderful experiences here in the blog-o-sphere,
  • the therapy groups I get to do every week at work,
  • my upcoming presentation on these groups, at a group therapy conference the first weekend of June, and
  • my upcoming chance to sing a song I love — Sondheim’s “Green Finch and Linnet Bird” — and KILL it at an audition (if I’m not too nervous)?

I would prefer to be giving ALL my mental space to those and other positive things in my life, today. So why am I spacey enough to give any head-space, at all, to:

  • negative people and
  • disappointing situations?

Here’s a possible answer to that, which is taking up space in my head:

Perhaps we spend a lot of time and energy on difficult people and situations because our mind is doing its best to solve “the problem.”

Well, giving those things too much head space can be a problem, too.

So how can I start giving negative people and difficult situations less space, right now?

I could:

  • recognize that those negative people and situations do NOT have as much power as I fear,
  • rent space to those negative people and situations only during times when I am able to take some helpful action in response,
  • serve them an eviction notice, over and over again,
  •  deliberately make space for other things (for example, these pictures I took yesterday, in chronological time and space):

                      

  • and, finally, focus my head on interesting puzzles, like …. what was the word on that sign, above, before it got damaged?

Is there space in your head, right now, for some music? How about renting some space to something from the musical Rent?

In my head, the song “Santa Fe” is about people renting new space,  in their heads,  for hope and for change.

If your head has space to leave a comment in the space below, my head will become less spacey and more happy, I’m sure.

Finally, I shall now take up more space in your head with my space-filling gratitude for all the positive situations and people in my life …. including you!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Day 870: What are you taking a picture of?

Yesterday, I took this picture of a trash barrel being rolled —  by a guy, pictured on the left — near Boston’s Fenway Park.


Immediately after I took a picture of that, the guy asked me the question du jour.

What are you taking a picture of?

My immediate response, as I pointed at the trash barrel, was this:

Sucks.

… which was an interesting communication, when you think about it.

Imagine what might happen, if somebody were to point toward a stranger and say:

Sucks.

Here’s what happened to me, yesterday. I asked him if I could also take a picture of his t-shirt.

While I think my answer left something to be desired, I believe his question

What are you taking a picture of?

… is a very good one.  So, I am going to invite all my readers, today, to similarly question the other pictures I took yesterday.

Ask yourself, what WAS I taking a picture of?

 
                      

What was I taking a picture of, right there? That’s Fanon — from my workplace garage — showing his reaction to how I look to him, after my recent cardiac-related surgery.

What else was I taking a picture of, after I took a picture of Fanon?

    

 

If, while you were reading this post, you wondered

What ARE you taking a picture of?

… or you thought

Sucks.

… or there was anything else you’d like to share,  I hope I have the option of taking a picture of any comment you make, below.

Hey! What’s Deborah Harry —  from the group Blondie —  taking a picture of, in this 1978 performance of “Picture This”?

What might you take a picture of, now?

As we used to say when I was a kid:

Take a picture, it’ll last longer.

Can you picture me now, thanking (1) everybody who helped me create this post and (2) you?

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 869: Jerks

At my appointment yesterday morning, with Dr. Estes at the Cardiac Arrhythmia Center of Boston’s Tufts Medical Center,  it became obvious that today’s post should be called “Jerks.”

That’s NOT because I think Dr. Estes is a jerk — quite the contrary. Dr. Estes is the opposite of a jerk. (Am I a jerk for not knowing the right word for opposite-of-jerk? Would you be a jerk if you knew that word and didn’t share it here with the rest of us?)

No, I realized that today’s  post should be titled “Jerks” because:

  1. I could have felt like a jerk for jerking a little with anxiety over the weekend about how swollen my new pacemaker/ defibrillator was, after my implantation surgery two weeks ago.
  2.  Dr. Estes reassured me that my knee-jerk, worst-case fear — that the implantation site was infected — was not true.
  3. I wasn’t being a complete jerk asking to be seen by him yesterday, since the site really was quite swollen.
  4. The swelling is due to the increased jerking of my arm (as I am returning to normal movements), combined with my need to be on anticoagulants because the upper part of my heart is constantly jerking with atrial fibrillation.
  5. I can feel like a jerk if (a) I bother a doctor for no reason AND (b) I don’t bother a doctor when I need to, which doesn’t leave me a lot of room to feel non-jerky.
  6. When Dr. Estes asked me to assess my return to work  (full-time, starting just one week after the surgery), I replied, “Work is great, except for the jerks.”
  7. Dr. Estes jerked a little with suppressed laughter as he gave me this medical advice in response:  “Maybe when the jerks are giving you a hard time, you can …” and he mimed grabbing the shoulder location of an implanted device and jerking with cardiac distress.
  8. When I told Dr. Estes that — ever since the May 4th surgery — my heart beating can cause  a strong jerk in my rib cage, depending upon my position, he said, “Avoid those positions.”
  9. Dr. Estes didn’t jerk with surprise or treat me like a jerk  when I  reminded him about this old joke:

Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I do this.
Doctor: Then don’t do that. 

The whole time that Dr. Estes and I  were taking about jerks, I was thinking about this Gary Larson cartoon, which I told my friend Maxine about, two days ago: 

tumblr_m0ug5hPmrP1r7supao1_500

Do you see any jerks (who make life interesting, according to that Gary Larson cartoon) in the photos I jerkily took yesterday, after my morning appointment with Dr. Estes?

              

Actually, I am the one being the jerk in that last photo, calling out, “Hey, Jerks!” to the supremely non-jerky Jan and Arvetta at Starbucks, just to get a good “Jerk” photo for today’s post.

Any evidence of jerks in these photos, also from yesterday?

        

I have a question about those last two photos. Do you think my boyfriend Michael was a jerk for leaving me a yummy meal of bluefish to microwave for supper, because he was working last night helping his brother John?

The final three “Jerk” photos from yesterday show my son Aaron rehearsing his dramatic monologue for a play audition tonight:


  

Aaron (right) is playing Biff Loman to Oscar’s Willy Loman, and his reading got better after he used the method of saying out loud  to himself before the monologue, “Oscar’s a jerk!”

Speaking of Aaron’s audition, he’ll be performing a punk classic about a famous jerk:

“Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads is a great try-out song for Green Day’s musical, American Idiot, don’t you think?

I’d obviously be a jerk at this point if I didn’t thank Dr. Estes, Gary Larson, Maxine,  Jan, Arvetta, Aaron, Oscar, Michael, Arthur Miller (for the play Death of a Salesman), Talking Heads, and everybody else who helped me create this jerky post, today.*


* What a jerk! I forgot to thank YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

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