Day 1246: Focus

Often, when I focus on starting a post,  I like to focus on past times I’ve focused on a similar subject.

Here’s how I’ve previously focused on Focus:

Day 13: Focus on what you’re doing (rather than on what you’re not doing)

Day 249: If you are having trouble focusing

If you focus on the numbers in those posts, you might focus on the fact that I wrote both previous posts about “focus” in the first year of my several years of daily focused blogging.

I’m focusing on “Focus” today because I wrote this quote about focus last week:

There is nothing like imminent heart surgery to beautifully focus the mind.

I’m now wondering about the focus of the latest focused photos on my phone.

Let’s all focus on them together, shall we?

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What do you think about the focus in those photos?

What music am I going to focus on  in this focused post?

Ready to focus in on the next two paragraphs to find out?

When my sister Ellen and I drove to and from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota last week, we focused on the album of the musical Hamilton.

After Lin-Manual Miranda had focused on the idea of writing a hip hop musical about Alexander Hamilton for about a year, he was able to present his first focused musical number “My Shot” at the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word on May 12, 2009. Here‘s Lin-Manual Miranda and his piano accompanist Alex Lacamoire, wonderfully focused at that 2009 event.

If you’d like to focus any thoughts or feelings you have, here and now, in a comment below, please give it a shot.

Focused thanks to all those who helped me create this post about focus and to you — of course!  — for focusing enough to read it.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 1245: What we choose to see

Yesterday, I chose to see two performances of student-directed one-act plays at my son Aaron’s high school.

I chose to see both those performances because they included Aaron’s latest play (co-written with his  friend Cameron, whom he chooses to see a lot).

Before the performances, I chose to see this:

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What do you choose to see in that photo?

I choose to see

  • the new notebook my son had just chosen to write down any comic idea or inspiration he chooses,
  • the  choice yellow Honda Fit I chose last year around this time, and
  • the beauty of those two yellows together.

Soon after I chose to see the beauty there, I chose to see the humor here:

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That’s the toy that my downstairs neighbor’s dog chooses to leave around our property.  The first few times I saw that toy I chose to see it as a dead animal. Now that I’m familiar with it, I choose to see it for what it is.

After I chose to see the humor there, I chose to walk to my son’s high school to see the 4 PM and 7 PM performances of the student-directed one-acts.   On the path I chose to walk to the high school,  I chose to see this:

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and

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I choose to see things I like.

Here’s more I chose to see yesterday:

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I choose, here and now,  to see my amazing son Aaron (with the tie), his creative friend Cameron (in the green), the other talented student directors who chose one-acts by George  Bernard Shaw and other published playwrights, and the wonderful cast of Aaron and Cameron’s original play, “The Great Spa Fire.”

If Aaron chooses to allow it, I’ll post a video of Aaron and Cameron’s play soon.  Then, you can choose whether to see it.

Here’s the last photo I chose to take yesterday, which helped me choose today’s topic.

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Somebody  who chose to sit in front of me last night chose to wear a shirt from Cape Ann, a location near where I grew up on the North Shore of Boston.

Soon after I chose to see my name in that guy’s t-shirt,  I heard my name called as the winner in a raffle for two tickets to a play at the Huntington Theater in Boston, which I’ll probably choose to see with my friend Barbara, if she chooses to accompany me.

What we choose to see affects us in so may ways.  For the next few months, I choose to focus in on me …

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… as I prepare myself for major new challenges ahead, including

  1. Aaron starting college far from home and
  2. my  having heart surgery —  also  far from home — very soon after I say goodbye to him.

Even though I might not have chosen the timing of those two things, I choose to see hope and opportunity in both of them.

Now, I choose to present this beautiful music, which you can choose to see and hear here on YouTube.

 

What do you choose to see in today’s post?

I choose to see gratitude towards all those who helped me create this and to you — of course! — no matter what you’re choosing to see today.

 

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

Day 1244: Rescues

Yesterday, I saw a bumper sticker about rescues, which I’m now rescuing from my iPhone:

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I feel rescued by that, here and now, because

  1. It rescues me from having to worry about using the word “whom” in future blog posts.
  2. We have two cats, Harley and Oscar, that we’ve rescued from animals shelters.
  3. I’ve been thinking a lot about rescues since a cardiologist who’s an expert in my unusual heart condition told me she wants to rescue me with major heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic as soon as possible.
  4. I had a day at work yesterday where I rescued and also was rescued by others.
  5. I believe that healing connections among people AND animals rescue us, every time.

Who is rescuing who in my other photos?

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Who rescued who through the inter-office mail yesterday?  My co-worker Susan sent me that rescuing humor, shown above.  The joke about the clown reminds me that I’ll be seeing my son’s new play The Great Spa Fire today, wherein a clown and many others will not be rescued. I think my son deserve a No-Bell prize for what he’s written, including this knock-knock joke:

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

The town detective.

The town detective who?

I’ll be asking the questions around here.

 

Here’s some music I just rescued from YouTube:

Thanks to my son, my kind co-workers, our cats, Irvin Yalom, Elvis Costello, Casey Johnston, rescuing cardiologists,  and all those who helped me rescue the words, pictures, memories, music, thoughts, and feelings in this post today. Special thanks to you — of course! — for rescuing me with your visit.

 

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

Day 1243: Today I am exactly where I am supposed to be

When it was exactly 907 days prior to today, I wrote a post titled  Day 336:You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

Yesterday, when I saw this …

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… I knew it was up to me to write today’s post.

Today I am exactly where I am supposed to be because I am

  • home in Boston, after consulting with Dr. Carole Warnes at the Mayo Clinic about my very unusual heart,
  • getting more used to the idea of heart valve replacement surgery in September back at the Mayo Clinic,
  • with those I love,
  • ready to go back to work, and
  • writing my daily blog post, with my faithful cat Oscar on my lap.

Are these photos from yesterday exactly where they are supposed to be?

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I am exactly sure that my name is misspelled above, but Ann Koplow is still exactly where she is supposed to be.

Are you exactly where you are supposed to be?

Now I am exactly at the end of this post — where I am supposed to thank all those who help  me blog (including you, of course) — so I shall

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

Day 1242: Decisions

Dear Readers,

Thank you for making the decision to read my blog post today.

Yesterday, I met with a very decisive cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  She has decided that I should get my  heart valve replaced, sooner than later.

While this was not the decision I wanted to hear, I am now weighing decisions in my mind and in my heart. I have almost decided to have the surgery done at the Mayo Clinic in September, after getting my son settled in Edinburgh Scotland for his first year at university there.

Here are some decisions I’ve made regarding what decisive images to share with you today.

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I used to be indecisive, now I’m not sure. However, I’m sure that some decisions are easier than others.

Here’s my decision about today’s song.

 

I hope that if I do make the decision to let the Adult Congenital Heart specialists at the Mayo Clinic replace the valve in my decisive heart in September, that they don’t go breaking my heart.

What are your decisions about this post?

Decisive love to all,

Ann

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 77 Comments

Day 1241: How ’bout them apples?

How ’bout that title?  Do you know what it’s ’bout?

How ’bout a definition from the Urban Dictionary?

How bout them apples?

Rur. What do you think of that? (Often used to express admiration; bout is short for about.)

Tom: I got first prize! Mary: Well! How bout them apples? Joe got a job as a newspaper reporter. How do you like them apples?

How ’bout these apples?

IMG_2371 How ’bout that sign on the elevator of the hotel where my sister and I are staying in Rochester, Minnesota?

I’ve only got ’bout ten minutes this morning before I have to leave for ’bout eight hours of medical tests and doctor consults at the famous Mayo Clinic.

How ’bout that saying that an apple a day keeps them doctors away? Because I eat ’bout one pink lady apple per day, I’m ’bout to give up on that idea.

How ’bout them pictures I took yesterday?

 

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How ’bout them …

  • quotes from “Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death” by Irvin Yalom,
  • giant corn,
  • Minnesota sunsets, and
  •  other images.

How ’bout this post?

How ’bout a bout of thanks to my sister Ellen (for accompanying me on this bout of cardiac consultations) and another bout of thanks to every other helpful person ’bout me, including you (of course!).

 

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

Day 1240: Things we don’t know

No matter how wise and experienced we are, there are always things we don’t know.

Here are just some of the things I don’t know as I’m writing this on Tuesday, May 24, 2016:

  1. What my sister and I are going to talk about on the flight to Minnesota today,
  2. How my son’s new one-act play will go  over this coming weekend at his high school,
  3. What the doctors at the Mayo Clinic are going to say about my very unusual heart,
  4. How the restaurants are in Rochester, Minnesota,
  5. What Oscar the cat is going to do during my four-day absence,
  6. The words to any of the songs in the musical Hamilton,
  7. What was said yesterday at work during some special appreciation events, which included cake,
  8. Why anybody would choose or eat a cake that doesn’t include chocolate,
  9. What we’re going to do during 25 hours of down time between my last test at the Mayo clinic tomorrow and a late afternoon meeting with a surgeon on Thursday,
  10. Why our cat Harley acts scared of me unless he’s situated off the floor,
  11. Where we’re going to stay when we return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August,
  12. Where my son will be living as a student at University of Edinburgh,
  13. What it’s going to be like for me to board a plane in Scotland at the end of August, leaving my only child behind in a different country,
  14. What music I’m going to include in this post, if any,
  15. How my tryout for “The Voice” in June is going to be different from my first one in February,
  16. What you’re really thinking as you’re reading this,
  17. The title of my post tomorrow,
  18. What I’m going to eat on the plane today,
  19. What my sister and I are going to see from the rental car as we drive from Minneapolis to Rochester,
  20. The names of all the players on the 2016 Boston Red Sox,
  21. What I dreamt about last night,
  22. Most of the diagnostic codes people use in American medical institutions,
  23. Why the letter “K” is the abbreviation for strike in baseball,
  24. The origin of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,  and
  25. What pictures I’m going to take in the future.

You don’t know what pictures I took yesterday, but that can be easily remedied, here and now:

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What are some things you don’t know, now that you’ve read this blog post?

Here are two songs about how little we know (here and here on YouTube):

How little we know! And yet, I know that blogging daily helps me more than you’ll ever know.

Knowing thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for you-know-what (reading it).

Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 1239: Favorite words

Do you have any favorite words?

If I look at recent photos from this blog, I’m sure I’ll find some favorite words.

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Word to  these words I saw on this greeting card yesterday …

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… which inspired the words and pictures in this post.

Any favorite words in the other photos I took yesterday?

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Any favorite words in this favorite song by the amazing vocal group Take 6?

I L-O-V-E that.  Did U?

Now, some favorite words to end this wordy post.

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

Day 1238: Relax

Relax, dear readers.  It’s time for another relaxing installment of The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally.

In all these years of trying to relax into living non-judgmentally, I’ve written only one other blog post with the word “relax” in the title — Day 552:  It’s time to relax. Not surprisingly, I wrote that one previous relaxing post when the New England weather was  relaxingly beautiful and I was with Barbara, my relaxed and relaxing friend.

What helps you relax?  What makes it difficult to relax?

When I’m focusing on the future rather than relaxing into the here and now, it can be difficult for me to relax. It’s difficult for me to relax, right now, because this week I’m flying 1400 miles to the Mayo Clinic  to consult with a new cardiologist  which, for me, is not the ideal way to relax.

Yesterday, I took this photo when I was trying to relax with my boyfriend Michael:

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I’m relaxing, now, remembering Michael’s comment: “That’s easy for a rock to say.”

Relax! I’ve got more rocking photos from yesterday.

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It’s easier for me to relax at home, especially when I’m listening to relaxing music.

What music would you choose to relax? YouTube recommends “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and a 15-minute meditation video 

Worried  I’m so relaxed I’d forget to thank all those who helped me create this post and also you for reading it?

Relax.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, self-care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1237: Immortality

Some say that human beings are the only creatures aware of their own mortality. I say that a yearning for immortality, of some kind, affects most of us.

People can seek immortality through

  • art,
  • religion,
  • their children, and/or
  • their work.

Where I work, I found this message about immortality:

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Should I submit any of my other pictures from yesterday to the hospital’s research study on human immortality?

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Last night, at live piano karaoke, I sang an immortal song:

Speaking of (im)mortality, I killed it.

Any thoughts or feelings about immortality? If you leave a comment, it will live forever in my heart.

Immortal thanks to Judy Garland, my handsome son Aaron, the Red Sox, the hospital where I work,  piano karaoke, people who are so good and so caring and so close, and you — of course!  — for reading this all-too-mortal post.

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

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