Day 971: You just never know

On Thursday evening, a long-time participant in my Coping and Healing groups — after listening to what other members were sharing and discussing — offered this  helpful conclusion:

You just never know.

You just never know what somebody else intends to communicate, but I felt like I knew what that person meant.

You just never know:

  • what is going to happen next,
  • another person’s experience,
  • why people make the choices they do,
  • another person’s thoughts,
  • all the feelings somebody else is having,
  • how and why other people behave the ways they do,
  • what our leaders are thinking,
  • how everything that happens might have an effect,
  • how other people see you,
  • what it’s like to be another creature on this earth,
  • how to keep up with rapidly evolving technology,
  • how we’re all going to survive,
  • how to make meaning out of senseless cruelty,
  • how people go on after traumatic experiences,
  • what beauty you are going to encounter,
  • how kind strangers can be,
  • how much time we have in this world,
  • what the heck I’m going to blog about any given day, and
  • which images are going to capture my attention, as I make my way through this world.

For example,

… you just never know what I’m going to bring back from Scotland.
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You just never know what’s going to show up outside a hospital gift shop.

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You just never know what beautiful natural scenes exist close to where you are.

If you know anything about me from reading this blog, you probably know that I’ll be doing my darnedest to get outside for lunch on a Friday. You might also know, if you’re a long time and faithful reader,  that my Friday lunch choice, from the cafeteria where I work, is kick-ass macaroni and cheese (not pictured).

You just never know what people are going to say at a goodbye party, although that usually includes words of appreciation never before spoken. After I took that last picture above, I witnessed many others expressing love and hopes for my wonderful co-worker, Mary, who is retiring from our hospital-based practice.  Mary, when saying goodbye to me in front of everybody, mentioned Friday macaroni and cheese! You just never know how well somebody can get to know you, in only four years. I told people at that going-away party that if I didn’t know I would definitely see Mary after she leaves next week, I knew I’d be bursting into tears.

You just never know how many connections you’re going to make in one day.


  
  
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You just never know what  amazing things you’re going to see when you’re spending time with somebody you love.


  
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And you just never know when the inspiration for a blog post title is going to hit. Yesterday, on my drive home to spend Friday evening with my boyfriend Michael, I noticed something I’d  never known before, and I pulled over to the side of the road to photograph it:

    
  

You just never know when a local marching band is going to appear on a main street.

You just never know when auto-correct is going to slow you down — it just took me many attempts and minutes to write “Main Street” in that last paragraph without initial capitals.

You just never know when I’m going to give up fighting auto-correct.

You just never know what music I’m going to choose on a Saturday.

You just never know when a beloved friend is going to raise you up by inviting you to go to a musical, like my friend Barbara did yesterday. Six hours from now, know that Barbara  and I will be at a matinee of Kinky Boots, in Boston.

You just never know how others are going to comment on something you create. I guess we’ll find out, below!

Unknowing and knowing thanks to those who helped me create this post today and to you — of course! — for all you know.

Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Day 970: Just the ticket

Here’s just the inspiration for today’s post title, taken after a day at work when I was speeding around doing so much that I could have easily gotten a ticket from a pedestrian patrol officer, if there were such a thing:


Maybe it’s just me, but I wonder if it’s just or fair for any one car to accumulate so many tickets.

That photo may be just the ticket, but is today’s topic  “Just the ticket” just the ticket for me to create a just and righteous post for you this morning?

Or am I just giving myself a one-way ticket to nowhere?

How could my ticketed title relate to the stories I heard and the lessons learned in therapy sessions yesterday?

It’s not like anybody needed a ticket to get into those individual and group therapy sessions.

Also, how does “Just the Ticket” relate to the other photos I had time to take yesterday?


Hmmm. I suppose that truck — up on the sidewalk to make a delivery near Fenway Park in Boston — deserves to get a parking ticket. Also, I might pay for a ticket to see lots of bold characters in one play.

That photo could also be ticket-related, since clothes on sale have tickets attached to them.


Hearts are just the tickers, I mean tickets, for keeping us all alive. I hope that — for one of my non-ticketed patients yesterday  — using a jeweled, ticker-shaped “worry box” will allow  her put to her worries away at night and get some sleep.

“Learning” was just the ticket for a discussion topic at one of the non-ticketed therapy groups I facilitated yesterday.

I should probably buy a ticket to a hand-writing improvement seminar (and perhaps an art class, too). Here’s what I wrote on one side of that flower:

The flower doesn’t have to learn how to grow.

And on the other side:

Certain things we learn get in the way of growth and we have to unlearn them.



When I saw the moon during my walk away from work last night, I thought, “There’s a spectacular full moon coming up soon. Thank goodness I don’t need a ticket to view that. ”


I don’t know how and when I took that photo, but isn’t it just the ticket for a post like this one?



I don’t know what was going on at Fenway Park last night. It was definitely not a baseball game, but something was playing on the Jumbotron. I’m assuming that

  • people needed to have tickets to get in there and
  • I deserve a ticket for using the word “Jumbotron. “


I wonder if the person who posted that sign  on their car has the authority to give out tickets to people who park too close?

Okay! I managed to come up with tickets for each of those photos. Isn’t that just the ticket?

Now, are you — my non-ticketed reader — ready for a one-way ticket to a ticket-related tune?

The Beatles sold lots of tickets to that 1965 performance of “Ticket to Ride” at Shea Stadium, another famous baseball park in the U.S.

What do you think was just the ticket, in today’s post?

Ticketed thanks to the Beatles, to everybody who helped me create this “just the ticket” post, and to you — of course! — for being just the ticket, for me.

P.S. Here are some more tickets I remembered to include after I published this post:

  1. I bought tickets last night for my son and I to see Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music in Boston next month and
  2. my son, my ex-sister-in-law Deborah, my niece Laura,  her daughter Victoria, and I  have tickets to see Anthony Rapp from Rent (whom I recently saw at a ticketed show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe) in a one-man show in September.

Just the ticket for a great September!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 969: Hooks

Yesterday, while I was walking to work, I was hooked by the title and by the music of a Sting song, “Sky Hooks and Tartan Paint.”

If you are hooked by that song, you can find it here on YouTube, which contains a lot of musical hooks.

Immediately after I was hooked by that tune, I was hooked by the sight of an actual hook in the sky:


  
When I got to work, I was hooked by my Wednesday morning therapy group, especially by their expressed relief and gratitude about my return from a two-week vacation.

I was also hooked by some anxiety, because:

  • I felt a little out of practice, facilitating a group, and
  • I had a 2 PM appointment with my wonderful dentist, Dr. Del Castillo, and — for the first time in years — I  would NOT be hooked up to an IV an hour before a dental procedure to receive endocarditis-preventing antibiotics.

Lest you be hooked by any concern about that, my doctors have decided that taking a single oral antibiotic is enough protection to prevent my heart from the dastardly hooks of endocarditis-causing bacteria (which have gotten their hooks onto my heart valve three times in the last 18 years).

As I am writing this hooky post, I’m being hooked by an unpleasant reaction to the oral antibiotic which is “off the hook, as the kids like to say” (which my boyfriend Michael likes to say). I shall be ringing my doctors’ phones off the hook, and  I won’t let them off the hook until we find an oral antibiotic with fewer yucky side effects.

I’m going to let you off the hook, now, and quit writing about my antibiotics. Instead, here are some other images that hooked me, yesterday:


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

Which one of those hook-y shots hooked you?

I am now going to unhook myself from writing this post and take some more probiotics. I wonder if one can get hooked on those?

Sky-hooks-and-tartan-paint thanks to Sting, everybody playing musical hooks in that video,  Michael, Dr. Luis Del Castillo (who is hooked on reading this blog), my therapy groups, PetSmart, Whole Foods Market,  probiotics, every single hook I encountered yesterday, and you — of course! — for getting hooked here, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, staying healthy | Tags: , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 968: Interesting

Yesterday, I met with a very interesting person who, interestingly enough, feels uninteresting. Feeling uninteresting causes this person to avoid interacting with other people, for fear of being seen and judged as not interesting.

It’s interesting to me how many interesting people suffer from these kinds of fears. I, as an interested psychotherapist, am very interested in helping people reduce the interestingly common cognitive distortion of labeling themselves

  • uninteresting,
  • unworthy,
  • unlovable, and
  • other harsh, judgmental, painful and interestingly destructive adjectives.

Therefore,  I gave this interesting person two interesting prescriptions yesterday, of different strengths:


As with all my interesting prescriptions, there is an interestingly low risk of

  • overdosing,
  • side effects, or
  • dependency.

Here are some other interesting photos I took during my interesting yesterday.


              

Which photo did you find most interesting? I was most interested in the last one. I was so interested in it, I had the interesting plan of giving  this interesting post today the interesting title of “No Title.”

Well, as interesting Scottish poet Robert Burns


interestingly wrote:

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men

Gang aft agley

I find it interesting how my iPhone — on which I write these interesting  posts — recognized  the interesting word “agley.”  My phone is more interesting than I realized.

Interested in what interesting music I might choose for this interesting post?

Here‘s the interesting tune that was playing in my interestingly yellow Honda Fit when I took that last interesting photo:

I also think it’s interesting how Weird Al Yankovic parodied “Zoot Suit Riot” by the interestingly named Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, as follows:

That interestingly reminds me that I should probably go on a grapefruit diet before my high school reunion, which is sure to be interesting, next month.

As always, I am interested in what you find damn interesting about this post.

Interesting and interested  thanks to all the interesting people who helped me create this interesting post and to you — interestingly enough — for being interested enough to read it.

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

Day 967: The meaning of life

Yesterday evening, after we’d sat down to dinner, I asked my son Aaron, “What would you like to talk about?” He replied, “The meaning of life.”

I thought for a moment (because that topic deserves careful consideration) and quoted something my late mother would often say:

Life is what you make it.

When that got no response from Aaron, I tried again, with something closer at hand: “Maybe Michael’s mashed potatoes explain the meaning of life.”


That photo of my boyfriend Michael’s mashed potatoes (taken when the meal was over) means I was too busy eating them — and thinking  about the meaning of life —  to capture those delicious potatoes on my dinner plate.

What do you think? If asked about the meaning of life over dinner (or anywhere else) by a 17-year old, how might you respond? Would your opening gambit include something you heard growing up, something close at hand, or something else?

Might any of my other recent photos provide useful talking points about the meaning of life?


  
  
  


  

Allow me to explain the meaning of the life shown in those last four photos. On my first day back at work, yesterday, a co-worker I like very much showed me pictures of the recent  16th birthday party of her sister’s cat, Simba, who was diagnosed with a fatal disease four years ago. To me, Simba looks quite healthy and happy, partaking of some ice cream birthday cake.

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That reminds me!   Last night, Michael finished his own birthday ice cream cake, pictured in its entirety here:


I see how that photo — taken on Michael’s birthday, August 21 — includes the word “trust.” I trust that word might come up in some discussions about the meaning of life.

If you were writing a blog post about the meaning of life, what music would you include?

I have to choose something meaningful  from Monty Pythons’s The Meaning of Life.

If “The Galaxy Song” doesn’t provide enough meaning of life, here’s a more familiar song from a different Monty Python movie. 

Meaningful thanks to my late mother, my son Aaron, my boyfriend Michael, Monty Python, Michael’s mashed potatoes, my co-workers, Simba, survivors everywhere, creatures who enjoy ice cream birthday cakes, and every other person, animal, place, and thing that helped me make meaning in today’s post. Special thanks to you — of course! — for any meaning you are making in your life, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 45 Comments

Day 966: Call me lucky

Call Me Lucky is an amazing movie  — about the beloved, much-respected political humorist/children’s protection activist, Barry Crimmins — that I was lucky enough to see yesterday at the Somerville Theater, near Boston USA.


  

I hope  you are lucky enough to see this great film, which I believe is now available on iTunes.

You could call me lucky because:

  • my 17-year-old son Aaron — after spending lots of time with me recently in Edinburgh, Scotland — was still happy to spend the afternoon with me watching that funny, wrenching, illuminating and, ultimately, life-affirming film,
  • in the 1980s, I got to see Barry Crimmins and all the other great  Boston-based comedians who appear in Call Me Lucky, many times,
  • in the 1980s, when I performed my own stand-up routine at two Open Mic nights, one of those nights was the Boston-comedy-club debut of the director of Call Me Lucky, Bobcat Goldthwait,
  • I have seen and heard many wonderful films and performances at the Somerville theater over the years, including several shows by my guitar hero, Pat Metheny, and
  • like Barry Crimmins, I am passionate about my chosen work, to which I am returning, today, after a two-week vacation.

You might also call me lucky because yesterday I could see


with non-red eyes, all these other interesting and wondrous things around me:


  


  
  
  
Might you call any of those shots particularly lucky?

Call me lucky for so easily finding the trailer for Call Me Lucky, on lucky YouTube.

Are there any reasons why you might call yourself lucky, here and now?

Lucky and copious thanks to Barry Crimmins, to my son Aaron, to Bobcat Goldthwait, to stand-up comedians in Boston and elsewhere, to all the brave children’s protection advocates in the world, to the Somerville Theater, and to you — of course! — whom I am lucky enough to call “my reader,” today.

Categories: film review, gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 965: Getting unstuck

Do you ever get stuck in a behavior, a feeling, or a thought? Do you ever repeat patterns of acting or thinking you KNOW are neither positive nor helpful?

If you answered “yes,” you are NOT alone in your stuck-ness.

If you answered “no,” could you let the rest of us know how you stick to being unstuck?

Here’s why I’m stuck thinking about getting unstuck today:

  1. Tomorrow I go back to work helping others get unstuck in their lives, after two weeks of being wonderfully unstuck from my regular routines, on vacation.
  2. One article I read while in Social Work graduate school — that has stuck with me for decades — suggested that all mental/behavioral health diagnoses could be replaced with a single, one-word diagnosis: “Stuck.”
  3. While I’ve made a lot of progress in my own life, I still get stuck in certain ways of thinking, reacting, and behaving  I KNOW are unhelpful, outdated, and automatic.

Let’s stick to the title of this post — “Getting Unstuck.” How do those of us who know we get stuck start unsticking from  old, unhelpful habits of thinking and behaving?

Before I share some getting-unstuck advice,  I invite you to stick to your own wisdom and experience.

What’s one thing you’ve learned in your life about getting unstuck, even temporarily?

Stick with that question, for a moment. What memories, images, or other associations about getting unstuck are sticking with you, now? If you stick any of those in a comment here, you might help others get unstuck, too.

Because I’m stuck with that promise I made to share something I have learned, in my long life,  about getting unstuck, here it is:

When you feel stuck, get in touch with your experience and your intuition and do ONE THING differently. Then, notice the other changes that one simple change creates. 

With all of you as my witnesses, I now pledge to do one thing differently when I return to work tomorrow.  In order to get unstuck from old and unhelpful post-vacation habits, I  am going to consciously allow the many wonderful feelings, thoughts, and images from eight glorious days in Edinburgh, Scotland to stick around, for a long time.

We’ll see how long I can stick with that.

If I had brought my Scottish walking stick back with me to U.S., perhaps that stick would help me stick to sustaining and change-inspiring  memories of freedom, creativity, beauty, and growth. However, I left that stick behind on the streets of Edinburgh, stuck with the hope that walking stick might help somebody else — who might need support — move forward through that cobble-stoned city.

Because I have no pictures of that stick, I’ll stick to other images, old and new:


                                                                    
       
What music might help us all stick to those things that help us get unstuck in our lives?


I’m sticking with a song that’s familiar to me:  the Scottish Gerry Rafferty and Stealers Wheel performing “Stuck in the Middle with You,” stuck back in the United Kingdom circa 1973.

Unsticking thanks to all who helped me stick to this topic, today, and to you — of course! — for sticking around for the end of this post.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

Day 964: Who has the time?

Who has the time to do what’s important?

Who has the time to even figure out what those important things are?

Specifically, who has the time to:

  • read blog posts (besides you)?
  • write blog posts (besides me and several other people who read this blog)?
  • take photos of things that evoke personal memories and associations and which might be interesting to others?


  
  
  

  • go to the movies?

  • wear unusual hats at work (e.g., on the anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland)?

  • play?

  

  • take much-deserved rests?

  • celebrate birthdays?

  • write clever, eye-catching marketing materials (besides these guys)?

  • attend to aches, pains, and sprains, taking the time to choose among different cold-delivery systems?


   

  • and, finally, express appreciation (for new shoes and everything else)?


In the end,  we all have the time to get better at setting priorities and making choices. Not unlimited time, but all the time we need.

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Who has the time to choose the music for this post?

Thank goodness, the Beatles had time to write timeless music like “The End.” I also have the time, right now, to notice that 3K people had the time to like and 59 people had the time to dislike that video of “The End” on YouTube.

I have the time to make one more point: now that we know that 59 people can go out of their way to take the time to dislike THAT, why do the rest of us take any time at all worrying about what other people might dislike about us?

Who has the time to express any thoughts and feelings about this post?

I now have the time to thank the Beatles, my boyfriend Michael, my cat Oscar, my downstairs neighbor Karen, Faxy the dog who loves and lives with Karen, Mingus the dog who’s visiting before he leaves to love and live with Karen’s daughter and new son-in-law, the staff person who was wearing the Alice in Wonderland hat at Heathrow Airport, Marathon Sports, the produce department at Whole Foods, Penny from Pop Pop! at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (who threw small potatoes at the audience), and you — of course! — for taking the time, today, exactly the way you are.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Day 963: How to choose the title for a post

 1. Check recent photos for a good-enough  post title. 


   
  
  
  
Which of those photos might inspire a post title, for you?

 2. Acknowledge a special event.

For example, today is my and my son Aaron’s first day home after an incredible vacation in Edinburgh, Scotland with our excellente relative Deborah. Plus, it’s my boyfriend Michael’s birthday.

 3. Go with your first instinct. 

Okay!

Before I end this well-enough-titled post, here’s a song inspired by one of my photos, above.

Everything IS awesome, sometimes.

Awesome and aptly titled thanks to Aaron, to Michael, to my ex-sister-in-law Deborah,  to everybody else appearing in this excellently-titled post (mostly from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015), and to you — of course! — no matter what your title is.

Categories: blogging, gratitude, Happy Birthday!, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 962: Cream of the Crop

On our last day in Edinburgh, I saw this on a stage at the Festival Fringe:


When I saw “Cream of the Crop” (the name of a fictional game show), I thought, “That’s a creme de la creme title for tomorrow’s post.”

That post title rose to the top, for me, because:

  • this vacation/holiday has been the cream of the crop in so many ways,
  • on our last day at the 2015 Festival Fringe we had many cream-of-the-crop experiences, and
  • that title allows me to just post the best-of-the-best photos I took yesterday, before we leave the hotel to catch a really early  plane to return home to Boston, USA.

Here’s the cream of yesterday’s crop:


   
  


  

 


I don’t have time to separate out and explain each of those cream-of-the-crop photos, but I will tell you we saw wonderful performances yesterday — including Sanctuary and Pop Pop —  and we ate some great food at the Vittoria Restaurant (owned by Tony on the right, above).

One thing that was missing, before yesterday, was the cream of the crop local Edinburgh comedian, Tom Joyce, whom my son Aaron and I had luckily encountered during our two previous visits to the Festival Fringe.

Yesterday was such a cream of the crop day, that we ran into Tom when we left the restaurant … 

… and then got to see him on stage as a member of The Improverts.


If you’ve read a bumper crop of my previous posts, you’d know that I LOVE fireworks. Sure enough, on our final night in Edinburgh, i saw those, too:



Here’s to next August in Edinburgh, lads and lassies, and Auld Lang Syne. 

Top thanks to my son Aaron, to my ex-sister-in-law Deborah, to Susanne Sulby for Sanctuary, to Penny Greenhalgh for Pop Pop, to Tony and Angela at Vittore, to Tom Joyce, to the Improverts, to the Scottish people, to the wonderful city of Edinburgh, to all the performers and other folk who helped make our stay here so magical,   and to you — of course! — for being Cream of the Crop readers, every one.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

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