Day 3056: The places that scare you

What are the places that scare you?

New places can be scary, so when I travelled to Nashville earlier this week, I took along this book:

On the plane, which is one of the places that scares people, I read that wise and wonderful book. I didn’t go to any of the places that scare me, including the news and the catastrophizing part of my mind.

Do you see places that scare you in any of my images for today?

Despite that message I recently got on my phone, freethinkersanonymous.com — the fabulous blogging place of Chris Waldrop, my brother from another mother — is not a place that scares me.

Here are some places I find on YouTube when I search for “the places that scare you”:

I hope the comments section of this blog is not a place that scares you.

No matter what places I go to these days, I go there with less fear and more gratitude, so thanks for joining me in this place today.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 3055: Highest standards

Yesterday, I saw this sign …

… when I was in the midst of activities that met my highest standards, including a highest standards walking tour of Nashville conducted by the very entertaining and insightful Ryan.

I told Ryan that he met my highest standards for tour guides, and that I thought he would make a highest standards stand-up comic or group therapist, because he is so funny, really knows how to read people, and remains true to his values.

Speaking of group therapists, when Ryan pointed out that Chet Atkins was a c.g.p….

… I considered that Chet might have been a Certified Group Psychotherapist like me, but, of course, he was a Certified Guitar Player of the highest standards.

Ryan’s highest standards recommendation for Chet Atkins was “Yankee Doodle Dixie,” which sounds like two guitarists playing at the same time instead of a single highest standard one.

Ryan also meets my highest standards for thoughtful responsiveness, because when I texted him last night when I couldn’t remember the Chet Atkins tune he mentioned during the tour, he sent me the link above.

I hope these other photos from Ryan’s highest standards walking tour meet your highest standards.

There were many other important sites and sights on this highest standards walking tour, like the starting point of the horrific Trail of Tears, the tipping point for women finally getting the right to vote in the USA, plus major developments in the American Civil Rights movement. If you are ever in Nashville, I highly recommend you contact Ryan for a highest standards tour.

After the walking tour with Ryan, I finally met fellow blogger Chris Waldrop, who meets my highest standards for writing and communications of all kind.

There’s Chris, enjoying a highest standards milkshake at the famous Ellison Place Soda Shop, which re-opened on Tuesday after months and months of the COVID pandemic, which met nobody’s highest standards. Chris and I had highest standards conversations yesterday about topics including how we met our spouses, cats, dogs, Nashville, work, priorities, decisions, losses, challenges, health, catastrophizing, conflict, compliments, unfairness, our childhoods, people’s reactions to us, story-telling, the strangeness of in-person meetings, and, of course, blogging. Because we meet each other’s highest standards for human beings, Chris and I agreed to be friends for life.

I hope these other photos I took during my precious time spent with Chris meet your highest standards.

Chris meets my highest standards in so many ways, and I hope he, his wife Holly (who is camera-shy like my highest standards husband Michael) and their adorable Dalmatians visit Boston some day.

For my last night in Nashville, I found a restaurant that meets my highest standards — Margot Cafe & Bar.

My Lyft driver to Margot Cafe & Bar …

..: Anthony a/k/a Majikmanheru, told me I met his highest standards this particular way: I was his first passenger ever who looked like their photo.

Here’s Ian at Margot Cafe & Bar …

… who met my highest standards as a server by recommending two of the most delicious items on the ever-changing menu: the endive beet salad and the duck.

I hope you can tell by my clean plates that both met my highest standards for fresh ingredients prepared superbly.

While I couldn’t finish the banana and chocolate cake …

… it still met my highest standards.

Ian told me that when a tornado hit near the restaurant in March 2020, Margot made a huge barbecue for her neighbors. Margot and Ian are highest standard human beings.

I’ve been so busy enjoying my days in Nashville that I forgot to include the highest standards Daily Bitch calendar, so here’s what you missed:

I’m flying back today to my highest standards home by the bay near Boston to rejoin Michael and our highest standards cat Harley (who definitely does not have rabies, because he always stays indoors).

In case you couldn’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed all my experiences of highest standard American hospitality in Nashville.

In conclusion, please accept my highest standards thanks to all who helped me create today‘s blog and — of course — to my highest standards readers, including YOU!

Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 3054: Distinctly Nashville

Yesterday, while I was spending many hours exploring Nashville, I heard myself distinctly say out loud “That’s my title for tomorrow’s blog!” when I distinctly saw this:

Nashville seems to be distinctly in its own category. I am having trouble distinctly comparing it to any other place I’ve been.

If you have any assumptions about Nashville, I would distinctly recommend that you let go of them. During a bus tour I took yesterday, the guide distinctly corrected common misconceptions about Nashville:

  • Country music is not the top selling music in Nashville — gospel is.
  • The person who first called Nashville “Music City USA” was Queen Victoria, because she was so impressed by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in 1873.
  • The biggest industry in Nashville is not music but rather health care.

The tour guide distinctly shared many other interesting facts about Nashville, but I was distinctly distracted by my mask blowing away under the seats in front of me as we drove over the distinctly windy Cumberland River. I kept trying to find it (“where the hell did it go?!?” I distinctly said to myself over and over again) while also remaining seated and trying to pay attention to what the driver was distinctly saying. I do distinctly remember him saying that in Nashville, macaroni and cheese was considered a vegetable, and he distinctly made fun of the public art we saw from the bus and especially how much it cost. I distinctly didn’t take any photos of the art or anything else I saw on that bus tour because my phone was distinctly running out of power.

At the end of the tour, I was distinctly relieved when a big family sitting near the front located my mask for me. I distinctly remember them telling me how much they liked it, probably because of the distinct smile of the Mona Lisa, which you can distinctly see in this photo from yesterday’s blog.

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Which of these following photos seem distinctly Nashville?

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I distinctly remember telling Bridget …

and Randall …

… that I was going to mention them in today’s blog, and now I have distinctly done so.

Here’s a brief documentary about the Fisk Jubilee singers, who inspired Queen Victoria to assign Nashville its distinct title of “Music City, USA.”

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I am distinctly grateful to all the distinct aspects of Nashville and to you!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 3053: Best strangers

While I was waiting for my driver yesterday morning to take me to Boston’s Logan Airport, I got these notifications about best strangers from Lyft:

The concept of “best strangers” is no stranger than anything else that is happening during these stranger times. Also, it felt stranger to me to be traveling to Nashville on my own, but so far I have met many best strangers here.

That’s my Lyft driver in Nashville, John, who was a best stranger in so many ways. He thought my song “Everybody’s Somebody’s Asshole,” was great, and he didn’t seem to think that it was stranger of me to sing it for him before my Open Mic last night. He also predicted that I wouldn’t want to leave Nashville on Thursday and, believe me, I’ve heard stranger predictions.

Here are two best strangers at the Graduate Hotel in Nashville — Alyssa and Luke.

Best stranger Luke showed me a photo of best dog Skippy.

At the Open Mic at the Tennessee Brew Works last night, I met best strangers Tio and Laura.

Tio and Laura also performed at the Open Mic and they were the best! Note that they both worked on creating Tio’s best jacket.

Tio and I were best strangers for each other when we recorded each other’s performances. Here’s mine, with lots of background noise from many best strangers.

Gracie, who was the best M.C. of the best Open Mic I’ve ever seen, told me she spent four years in Boston as a student at Berklee, which I didn’t find strange at all.

Do you see other best strangers in my other best photos from yesterday?

It’s crazy how many best strangers there are out here.

Don’t be a stranger; please leave best and/or stranger comments, below.

Gratitude makes any best stranger into a good friend, so thanks to all who read my best AND stranger blog posts, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 3052: Do you feel like people get you?

Yesterday, I asked this question on Twitter:

Apparently a lot of people got that, as you can see by all the retweets, quote tweets and likes I got, which I usually don’t get.

Very soon, a Lyft driver is going to get me and take me to the airport for my flight to Nashville, so I’m sure people will get me if I publish a short post today.

Do people get my activity on Twitter yesterday?

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People didn’t seem to get me there. Maybe more people will get my photos.

I get the Daily Bitch and sometimes I feel like the Daily Bitch gets me.

I wonder if friends, enemies, or anybody else will get me at the Open Mic tonight at the Tennessee Brew Works between 6 – 8 PM. I hope somebody who gets or doesn’t get me will record the performance, so I can share it tomorrow with people who get me here.

By the way, whenever I pack for a trip, I feel like I’m forgetting something important. Do you get that? It helps to remember that whatever I forget, I’ll be able to get it in Nashville.

When I search YouTube for “Do you feel like people get you?” I get this:

I get it now that I am NOT a highly sensitive person. But I feel like I get others who are.

Do you feel like I get you when I end each blog post with gratitude for YOU?

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 3051: Comfort zones

In all the time zones of the USA, today is Mother’s Day, and I am comforted by good memories of my late mother. My mother tried her best to give comfort to others and created many comfort zones during her long life.

Here’s my mother creating a comfort zone for my late father when they were young…

and for my father and their two best friends many years later:

Memories of my mother are comfort zones for me. And as you can see, we both experienced zones near the ocean as comfort zones.

Trying to make Twitter more of a comfort zone, I posted this tweet a few minutes ago:

Today, I’m getting ready to travel for the first time since the pandemic created so many discomfort zones. I’m expecting some discomfort flying tomorrow to an unfamiliar place in a different time zone — Nashville.

Last night, I had discomforting dreams about singing my original songs in Nashville. One of them — “I Left the House Before I Felt Ready” — is about comfort and discomfort zones. Strangely, I woke up comforted after that dream, thinking, “Well, I doubt things will go THAT badly.”

Tweeting used to be out of my comfort zone, but no longer.

Do you see comfort zones in my photos from yesterday?

Here’s where my thoughts are going — to my debut performance of “I Left the House Before I Felt Ready” when I FORGOT my own words, which always throws me out of my comfort zone:

Sharing vulnerabilities can create comfort zones for yourself and others.

I just increased my comfort zone by booking my 6:30 AM Lyft to the airport for tomorrow.

Also, the person who created Mother’s Day for me just contacted me from Scotland, which really expanded my comfort zone.

Please make this blog more of a comfort zone by expressing your thoughts and feelings in the comments zone below.

Gratitude always increases my comfort zones, so thanks to all who help me get into the blogging zone every day, including YOU!

Categories: life during the pandemic, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 3050: Questions and answers

There are many questions and answers in the post, so I recommend you listen to “Question and Answer” by Pat Metheny while reading it.

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Letting go of self consciousness, I asked a question on Twitter that someone in a Coping and Healing group had asked this week, and I got A LOT of answers.

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To answer any questions about my Twitter handle of “@inqdragon2,” the “inq” stands for “inquisitive.”

Are there are any questions or answers in the photos I took yesterday?

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There’s no question that I love it around here.

Feel free to leave any questions and answers in the comments section below.

Q: How do I end my posts?

A: With gratitude.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 3049: Trust

Because of experiences in my past, I sometimes find it difficult to trust. I trust that I am not alone in that.

Trust — in myself and in others — is especially important when I’m doing something new, like traveling to Nashville on my own in three days.

Do you see trust in my photos for today?

Harley, like the rest of us, needs to feel safe enough to trust.

Here’s “How to build (and rebuild) trust” with Frances Frei.

I trust that you will find value and inspiration in that TED talk.

Please trust your thoughts and feelings enough to express them in a comment, below.

Trust me to end these daily posts with gratitude for all who trust my blog, including YOU.

Categories: inspiration, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 3048: Too much

Yesterday, people in my Coping and Healing group said they were dealing with too much.

There was too much

  • physical pain,
  • emotional pain,
  • stress,
  • anxiety,
  • uncertainty,
  • loss,
  • conflict,
  • pressure,
  • frustration,
  • disappointment, and
  • worry.

It didn’t take too much time for people in the group to understand, connect, and support each other.

People talked about death, a topic some find too much to take on. The person who had used the term “too much” early in the group asked the group this question: “How would you choose to die?” While a few people found that question too much to answer, several people said they would choose to die in their sleep. Because I have too much fear of heights, I wondered if my choice were to be leaping off a tremendous height, soaring all the way down, that might ease my acrophobia.

Sometimes I think I’m too much.

Let’s see if there’s too much in my photos today.

Because Jet Blue charges too much to check a bag, I’m not taking too much with me to Nashville.

Here’s “Too Much” by Marshmello x Imanbek featuring Usher.

Here’s “Too Much” from The Spice Girls:

Don’t worry about sharing too much in a comment, below.

There can never be too much gratitude, so thanks to all for visiting my blog today!

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 3047: Worst feelings

Yesterday in my therapy group, people shared worst feelings, including disappointment in oneself and disappointment in others. At the end of the group, members said that sharing those feelings and realizing they were not alone helped them feel better.

Do you see worst feelings, best feelings, and in-between feelings in today’s images?

Are you the master of your feelings, besides being the master of your judgments, decisions, and actions? Do you let ALL feelings flow through you, without judgment?

Speaking of feelings, here is the saddest song I’ve ever heard:

As I like to say in my group, all feelings are welcome.

One of the best feelings is gratitude, so thanks to all who visit this blog, including YOU.

Categories: group psychotherapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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