Monthly Archives: March 2014

Day 455: Guess

In yesterday’s post, which had lots of sentences, this was one of them:

Guess where Bernard blogs?

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I love guessing games.  I often ask people to guess things, and I enjoy when people ask me to guess, too.

I’m guessing I love guessing games because that was a tradition in my family. When I was growing up, my father, mother, sister, and I would try to guess something somebody was thinking about, by asking Yes or No Questions.  For example, my father might say, “Guess who I saw today?”  and the game was afoot.

Later, I remember driving with my sister and my young son to visit my mother, and the three of us playing that same game in the car. “Guess what I did last weekend?”  Or somebody would start a story, “Something happened … ” and somebody would say, “Wait!  Let us guess what it was!”

I think it’s fun to guess.  Although — as I’ve written about before (guess how many times!) —  guessing things, without balancing that with reality testing, can sometimes lead to confusion, errors, and pain.

Something I’m not sure of: Should there be a question mark at the end of a “Guess” invitation, like the one about our fellow blogger above?  Is that a question or a statement?

Guess!

I have to end this blog post early today.  Would anybody like to guess why?

One more game, before I go:  Guess what item in my local supermarket has this incredible price per pound:

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This is too much fun!  I don’t want this post to end.

I just HAVE to tell you this:  Here’s actual dialog between Michael and me, earlier this morning:

Ann: I’ve got to go blog.

Michael: What’s today’s topic, baby?

Ann: “Guess.”

Michael: Work?

Ann: No. That’s the topic.

Michael: What?

Ann: “Guess.”

Michael: I can’t. What is it?

Ann: (laughter)

Guess what that reminds me of?

Thanks to my family, to Michael, to guessers everywhere, and to you — of course! — for reading (and, I hope, guessing) today.

Categories: Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , | 37 Comments

Day 454: My brain is like a sieve

Here’s another post, people, where I riff on something that was in my brain …

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… when I woke up.

 

My brain is like a sieve …

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… is a phrase that has been bouncing around in my mind, lately, because

When my friend wrote “my brain is like a sieve” on Facebook, she may have meant

I forget too many things

but I did NOT use the helpful skill of reality testing, so I’m not sure what she meant, exactly.

However, I do hear people in my office saying, in one way or another

I forget too many things

as they grow older (as we all do) or if they have any history of memory ailments in their families. When people express concern about their memories, sometimes they use metaphors like

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(which was the first Google Image for “my brain is like a sieve). But, no matter how people express it,  I often witness worry and anxiety about forgetting.

And, worry and anxiety can make people’s brains more like sieves. I think I’ve demonstrated that, quite nicely, in several of my blog posts. I can’t tell you which ones, exactly, right now.

My brain is telling me, now, that I should turn to what Thomas Dolby means, when he says

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(image found here).

Since I don’t know what Mr. Dolby was thinking when he wrote that song, the best I can do is to present his words:

My brain is like a sieve
sometimes it’s easier to forget
all the bad things you did to me,
you did to me.
my brain is like sieve
but it knows when it’s being messed with
if you wanted you could come in,
so come in.

When you said you loved me
when you told me you cared
that you would be a part of me,
that you would always be there
did you really mean to hurt me?
no, I think you only meant to tease.
But it’s hard to remember,
I lost my memory. See,

my brain is like a sieve
sometimes it’s easier to forget
all the bad things you did to me,
you did to me.
my brain is like sieve
but it knows when it’s being messed with
if you wanted you could come in,
so come in.

You ought to be ashamed of your behaviour
when you’re treating me this way
as if I had deserved to be a place to vent your ire
some day I’m gonna douse that bonfire
we make a crucial team for a dying world
and style is a word I never even heard
in your vocabulary, victim of a murder mystery
…murder!

My brain is like a sieve
sometimes it’s easier to forget
all the bad things you did to me,
you did to me.
my brain is like sieve
but it’s a place where we both could live
if you wanted you could come in,
so come in.

 

Now I’m

  • wondering what your brain is telling you, about the meaning of those lyrics and
  • noticing my own thoughts about them.

I can’t know what you’re thinking (unless you share your interpretations in a comment), so I’ll stick to my own ideas about those lyrics, for now.

Unlike Thomas Dolby, I do NOT find it easier to forget the bad things that have happened to me (whether caused by people or other things).  No, quite the opposite.  As I’ve written about here, many times,  the bad things — the painful experiences — are the things that tend to stick.

As a matter of fact, here’s another possible title for this blog:

The Year(s) of Making My Brain The Opposite of a Sieve, Regarding the Good Things, and Making My Brain More Like a Sieve, Regarding the Painful Things

… but that’s too long, don’t you think? Even if somebody had a perfect memory — a brain with absolutely no sieve-like holes in it — that title would be very difficult to remember. And, it would be much harder to communicate, when I’m telling people about this blog.

Which reminds me of the opening I went to, last night, of the Photography Exhibit, Ravishing, which includes works by Leonard Nimoy, Bear Kirkpatrick, Alicia Savage, Jeffrey Heyne, and — last, but certainly not least — Jonathan Stark, who is my long-time friend AND my ex-partner from Koplow Stark Creative.*

Here’s a photo I snapped at that event, last night:

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Left to right, that’s Alicia Savage, Jonathan, Bear Kirkpatrick, and Jeffrey Heyne. Leonard Nimoy couldn’t attend, but he may appear, via Skype from California, when Jonathan gives a talk at Gallery 555, in South Boston on April 19.  The photos, in my photo above, are by Jonathan, which he’ll be speaking about in April.

Here’s one more image I captured last night, at the photography exhibit opening:

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I snapped that work, by Bear Kirkpatrick, at the same time I took my other photo: during the panel discussion with all the photographers.

My brain, right now, is reminding me of a transition I left dangling in this post, above, regarding the length of the title of this blog.

Remember?

If you don’t remember, that does NOT prove that your brain is like a sieve. Not at all.

This is what I’ve left unfinished, in this blog post:  Last night, I typed, into somebody’s cell phone, the title of this blog, which took a little while, because it’s so friggin’ long already.

Here’s what happened: As Michael and I were leaving the gallery and saying goodbye to Jonathan, Jonathan introduced us to Bernard Murphy.  Bernard  immediately noticed my Chakra Bracelet:

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(which has appeared previously in this blog, here).

In response to Bernard’s compliment, I said, “That’s a bracelet I purchased from another blogger.” I then declared, with some pride, “I’m a blogger!”

And Bernard said, “I’m a blogger, too!”

Guess where Bernard blogs?

Here’s the link to Bernard’s blog: http://redlights2graythoughts.wordpress.com/

I just visited there, and it looks like Bernard and I have some things in common.

I wonder if Bernard posts goofy photos, like me?

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Thanks to Wikipedia (for the photos and entries for “brain” and “sieve”), to my friends (on Facebook and elsewhere), to Thomas Dolby, to Jonathan and the other wonderful photographers I saw last night, to Bernard and the other WordPress bloggers I’ve been honored to meet (including Irene, who made the Chakra bracelet), to those who express their fears and other feelings as best they can, and to people whose brains are like sieves or like anything else. And — of course! — thanks to you, for visiting my brain, today.


* Koplow Stark Creative was an advertising/marketing company that Jonathan and I co-founded and ran in the 1980s and 1990s. We did some great work together, if I do say so myself (and if my brain is not a sieve).

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 453: Different languages (and dances)

Yesterday, I saw a woman who had never seen a therapist before.  Her source of pain: “My 24-year old son has no friends.” Her worst fear: that he would end up alone and unhappy.

As she spoke to me about her son, giving more details about his behaviors, I developed an initial theory. Her son was an extreme introvert, in a family of extroverts.

As an introvert, he valued time alone. As extroverts, the rest of the family valued time with other people. As a result, the family:

  1. worried about him and
  2. tried to get him to behave more like them.

I told the mother about a book, which she had seen:

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We agreed it might be helpful for her to read this book, to better understand her son.

In the course of our discussing how she might change her interactions with him, I used this metaphor:

It’s like he is speaking a different language than you … as  if he is living in a different country. To connect more effectively with him, it might help to understand his language better, when you’re visiting him.

As we talked about what she might do differently (because we both agreed that she could alter only her own behavior, not her son’s), we discussed another metaphor:

When you’re interacting with somebody, you are doing a dance together. People get into habits in how they dance.  If you alter your steps, even just a little, the other dancer has to adjust, somehow. As a result, the dance changes.

She left the session resolved to learn more about his language and to alter her dance steps, to see what would happen.

.

On Thursday night, I saw Pat Metheny, the jazz guitar player, in concert.

The first time I saw Pat play was in the late 1970’s, at the Paradise in Boston.

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(I found that image at Wikipedia, here.)

When I first saw and heard Pat play, that night in 1979, I felt as though he was speaking my language, in a very profound way.

Very soon after my first encounter with Pat Metheny, he was in NYC, where — coincidentally — I was visiting for the weekend.  I made sure to see him again. I felt the same way, all over again.

From that day forth, I have seen Pat Metheny, countless times, in concert, whenever and wherever I can.

Every concert — every concert! — has been sublime.  And that’s an amazing statement for me to write, because — despite the title of this blog — I can be very judgmental (especially regarding music).

For many years, Pat always opened his concerts with the tune “Phase Dance.”

Here’s Pat, in 1991, opening with “Phase Dance” in Portugal:

(thanks to Martin Sepulveda for posting that on YouTube)

This past Thursday night, at the Wilbur Theater in Boston, Pat did some things differently.  That is, he didn’t open with “Phase Dance.” That was expected, because he hasn’t done so, for many years.

Pat played for us, with his Unity Group, for almost three hours. That was expected, too. As I told Michael, when Michael asked when I would be home for the concert: “I’m not sure.  Pat loves to play.”

The show included:

  • The entirety of Pat’s latest album KIN (←→)
  • Duets Pat played with each and every member of his group — Ben Williams on bass, Antonio Sanchez on drums, Chris Potter on saxophone and flute, and Guilio Carmassi on many instruments, including keyboards.
  • Some of the self-playing instruments Pat has created, beginning with his 2010 project “Orchestrion.”

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(I found that 2010 image here.)

The first encore, on Thursday night, was “Are You Going With Me? which Pat played with the entire group. I’ve mentioned that song, along my blogging journey, several times before (including a few days ago, here).  I love “Are you Going with Me?”  whenever and wherever Pat plays it. Each time, it’s expected but also unexpected. That is, the tune is familiar, but with a new, amazing solo by Pat.

For Thursday night’s second encore, Pat returned to the stage alone. He sat down, picked up his acoustic guitar, and played a medley of songs he’s written, each of which was so familiar to me, it was beyond language.

Because I’ve heard these songs very differently before — with  a group and with many instruments —  I had trouble putting names on some of them.

I had no such trouble with “Phase Dance.” And I followed it, every step of the way.

Thanks to Pat Metheny, to Susan Cain (the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking), to  group players and soloists everywhere, and to you — of course! — for following me here, today.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 452: Random Shots

Since I started blogging, on 1/1/13, I’ve created several posts with “Random Thoughts” in the title (including here, here, here, here, here and here), about topics including — but not restricted to — doctor’s appointments, sleep, fun, and love.

Today,  I can’t promise any coherent thinking — random or otherwise — the morning after I:

  1. Underwent a sleep study in a hospital.
  2. Had a full day at work.
  3. Saw my favorite musician, Pat Metheny, in concert.

So, I’m completely taking myself off the hook here, promising only random shots I took with my iPhone, yesterday.

Shall we begin?

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This is Lori, a co-star of yesterday’s post, before she removed all the stuff she had put on me, the night before, for the sleep study. In further proof of her kindness (which I wrote about, yesterday), she had told me, “I love my job, but do you want to know what I HATE most about it?” and then answered her own question, “Ripping tape off of people.”

.

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Despite proof in several previous posts that one of my socks comes off, during the night, this process was incomplete, during the sleep study. Does this portend inconclusive results, in general?

.

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I took this shot of the shower at the sleep study to show the effects of anxiety, especially when one is rushing oneself (usually needlessly).  I had been thinking, “Oh, no!  I have to take this shower FAST because check-out time is IN TEN MINUTES and I don’t want to make them stay later because then they’ll HATE me” (or thoughts to that effect). So, I left the bathroom to ask Lori, “How do I turn on the shower?  I can’t figure it out!!!”  And Lori, in even further proof of her kindness (1) told me not to worry about being rushed and (2) did not make fun of me.*

.

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For those of you who are curious about sleep studies, above are the kinds of questions they ask you afterwards. Here’s the second page of that post-study survey:

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My suggestion for better communication was inspired by Lori, who said to me, “Did you bring conditioner to help get the stuff out of your hair?  If you had spoken to me ahead of time, I would have told you to do that.”

If you’ve read yesterday’s post, I introduced you briefly to Allie, Lori’s daughter. Here she is:

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And here’s the inaccurately named Mr. Brown:

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More, and perhaps conclusive, proof of Lori’s kindness: Check-out time for the sleep study was 7:15 AM. Note the time on Lori’s cell phone. She still wasn’t rushing me, at all.

I had some time, after I left Lori & Company, before I needed to leave for work. So I moseyed over to the Cardiology Department, to see if I could find people I knew. Lo and behold, I saw one of my cardiologists, Dr. Mark Estes, in a meeting:

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While I’ve written about Dr. Estes before, I haven’t included any photos of him in this blog. That’s him, furthest to the left.

Here’s another shot of him, seated at that meeting:

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Now, it might seem that I was being inappropriately bold and snoopy, taking those two photos. I assumed it would be okay AND I did check it out with Dr. Estes, soon afterwards.  Dr. Estes not only was cool with the photos, but he invited me into that meeting room, to introduce me to everybody there. I can’t remember exactly what Dr. Estes said in his introduction, but it included phrases like, “This is one of the most famous patients at this hospital,” and “November 22, 1963 wasn’t significant only because of JFK being shot. That was also the date of Ann’s first pacemaker implant” and “My first meeting with her  got me into this specialty.”

Those aren’t exact quotes, I know, but what he said was all pretty amazing. He also recommended that everybody there read this blog. So if those quotes AREN’T accurate, maybe they can let me know.

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That’s Melanie, a beloved, familiar face I saw immediately after I entered the meeting.  That helped me feel comfortable and open, as Melanie always does, at my Pacemaker Clinic appointments.

As I was leaving, I was taking more surreptitious shots of the meeting, but — this time — Dr. Estes caught me. He invited me in again, asking those assembled if it was okay if I photographed them. They all agreed, recognizing that this was for a future blog post.

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I heard Dr. Estes say, as I was leaving, “We’ll be viral, by this afternoon.”

My parting shot: “I WISH!”

Thanks to Lori, Allie, Mr. Brown, Dr. Estes, Melanie, other assorted cardiology people, and Pat Metheny (who didn’t make it to this blog post but who gave a KICK ASS concert last night). And thanks to you — of course! — for helping me go viral, in any way.


* If you’re having trouble with this, as I was, you turn the shower on with the giant lever on the top.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 52 Comments

Day 451: Studies in Sleep

So I bring my laptop with me to my sleep study, see, and WordPress is blocked at this hospital. Lori, my sleep study specialist, tells me she is surprised by this, since the blog “Boobs & Loubs” is allowed. I ask, natch, “How do you know that?” And she explains it and it’s entirely innocent, but I can’t tell you the details because I am distracted by all the stuff she’s putting on me.

So why is my writing tone so different in this post? Personally, I’ve been hearing a movie gangster voice, like Jimmy Cagney’s, in my head, since I started writing this.

I think my tone is different tonight for several reasons: (1) It is entirely new and alien for me to be writing a post on my friggin’ phone (have I mentioned that I do NOT like the iPhone keyboard?!!), (2) I don’t know how to access many of my beloved writing options like bullet points and numbered lists right now, (3) isn’t that enough? and (4) oh, yeah, there’s the little matter of my writing this from a hospital room, at 10 PM, the night before a posting.

Actually, this doesn’t look like a hospital room, to me.

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Nice, huh?

So what else do I want to tell you, before I put this post and myself to bed?

I wanted to tell you that Lori and I talked non-stop for the 30 minutes she spent attaching all the sleep-monitoring equipment to me.

 

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She told me lots of interesting info, including the fact that she has a guinea pig named Mr. Brown, who is really a female, but whom she and her 6-year-old daughter Allie couldn’t switch to calling something else, after they discovered their mistake.

Before I took the photo of Lori, above, I told her I like to put pictures of kind people in my blog. Lori said, “Oh, I don’t know if I’m really that kind.”

I said, “0h, I think you are.”

The story about the guinea pig clinched it.

I am going to save this post, right now, so I can relax and get ready to be sleep studied by Lori and company. My plan is to get this posted tomorrow morning, around Standard Posting Time. (Added in the morning: The automatic scheduling I tried didn’t work, for some reason. I’ll post this when I get to work.)

We shall see if trying new things go well, here in Sleep Central.

Thanks to Lori, to other people who love what they do, to those who study and are studied (including guinea pigs), and to you — of course! — for reading this, today.

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

Day 450: ABC’s (and an F).

Ann’s Ambivalence and Associations

Yesterday — in Day 449: Variations on “I Don’t Want to Go” — I wrote about the past and the future, regarding some hospital stays of mine, including a sleep study scheduled for tonight.

In a comment, Kate @ Did That Just Happen wrote:

Well, I’m not sure if you wrote all of this just to avoid saying you don’t want to go, or if you are okay going… You’ve been hearing “I don’t want to go” out of others, and you shared some of your own experiences – but since you didn’t say you didn’t want to, then I just have to go with your written words and wish you well! I would imagine that it won’t be pleasant, but I bet you get a lot of good information out of it and that information can only help as you go forward!
Plus, you have a concert to look forward to!

… which I’ve been thinking about a lot. I wrote a reply yesterday, but I want to write another one, now:

Dear Kate,

I’m not sure, either.

I seem to have some fear, that is all out of proportion to what’s going to happen tonight in my sleep study at the hospital. At the same time, I agree that I will probably get a lot of useful information out of it.

I know that tonight’s sleep study will not be like my hospital stays when I was a kid.

Actually, that’s not true.  I’ve been told that they are going to put gook and electrodes in my hair and electrodes on my body tonight.  When I was a kid in the hospital, I REALLY hated that (especially the gooky hair part, which only happened once).

So, Kate, I would say that I Do Want to Go AND I Don’t Want to Go.

Your fan,

Ambivalent Ann

As I was writing that reply to Kate, I was having associations to the Gooky Hair thing they did to me was I was 8 or 9 (they did an EEG study on me, in the hospital, to rule out epilepsy, because I was fainting, because of my heart).

I thought,

If I  google images for  “sleep study,” maybe I’ll find something that will make me feel better and less anxious about tonight.

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Eeeeek!  I found that image from “Sleep Studies Suck Ass.”   I’m not kidding.

Here’s a Googled Image that didn’t scare me, quite as much:

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I found that image at newscenter.philips.com.

For some reason, I’m feeling less anxious now.

Beautiful

In response to yesterday’s post, Sitting On My Own Sofa wrote:

This is beautiful. A beautiful piece of writing and a beautiful glimpse of what it is to be human and fragile and 13 or any age at all.

 And I replied, “I was wondering what you would write about this piece. And, of course, it was beautiful.”

For some reasons, I’m feeling less anxious now.

 

Compassion and Cats

In response to yesterday’s post, Mel Wild wrote:

Ann, I think God must’ve installed a very good heart full of tenderness and compassion in you at that young age. It shines every time you write (your cats know it too!). You can certainly know that our thoughts and prayers ARE going with you.

Also, Cat wrote to me, blessedly soon after I posted:

beautiful cats. hope everything works out okay

For several reasons, I’m feeling less anxious now.

Friends

In response to yesterday’s post, two readers — Louise Gallagher and Mark Bialczak  — posted comments, where they called me “my friend.”

For many reasons, I’m feeling less anxious now.

Thanks to Dooley Noted (for the first photo, for his awesome attitude, AND for being from my beautiful Boston … I think), to all my amazing readers — those I quoted here AND those I did not — and to you, of course, for being here, today.

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

Day 449: Variations on “I Don’t Want to Go”

I don’t want to go.

That’s something I’ve been hearing people say a lot, lately.

I don’t want to go …

  • to work
  • to school
  • to the hospital
  • to this appointment
  • outside
  • anywhere.

I don’t want to go to this place (or event) that I should (want to) go to.

“I Don’t Want to Go” Variations

Variation #1:

When I was 13 years old, I was in the hospital to have my cardiac pacemaker replaced.  I can’t remember exactly why the pacemaker needed to be replaced, that time. It could have been:

  • the battery wearing out
  • the wires breaking
  • the casing of the battery being permeated by body fluids
  • or something else.

I needed to go to the hospital many times between the ages of 10 and 13, because

  • cardiac pacemaker technology was very new, back then, and
  • things break.

During this particular hospital visit, after the operation, before I was sent home, I felt some irregular heartbeats, which signaled to me, “SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG.”

Should I tell anybody, or keep that a secret?

If I told an adult, I knew what could happen: Another operation, before I could begin to heal from this last one. And, based on everything I knew, at age 13, that next operation would be:

  • big
  • painful
  • hard to heal from.

Should I keep it a secret?

I couldn’t.  I told one doctor, whom I trusted above all.

I said, “Doctor, my heart is skipping.”

He looked at me carefully.

He replied, It’s probably nothing, Ann.

You can go home.

I went home.

My heart was still skipping.

A few days later, I was sitting in the car with my mother, knowing that I had to go back to face the Worst Thing I Could Imagine.

Another heart surgery.

I sat there, in the passenger seat of the car, with my mother next to me, in the driver’s seat.

I was sobbing.

“I don’t want to go.”

My mother replied, What else can you do?

You have to go, Ann.

I had to go.

I went.

That was the worst.

Variation #2:

When I take animals to the vet, I imagine they’re telling me:

I don’t want to go.

I can’t tell them why they’re going, or that they’ll be home soon.

That’s the worst, too.

Variation #3:

I have seen the “I don’t want to go” look, on this animal

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when he’s had to go to the vet.  I’ve also seen that “I don’t want to go” look on the face of this animal

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when we were bringing him home, from the shelter.

What are both those animals sitting on?

A bag I’m bringing to the hospital with me, tomorrow, for my sleep study.

Maybe they don’t want me to go, either.

.

Thanks to anybody who has ever had to go (or bring somebody else) somewhere they didn’t want to go. And many thanks to you, for going with me* today.


* Echoing, in my head, as I wrote that last line,

the title of my favorite Pat Metheny tune, ever.

“Are You Going With Me?”

Which YouTube version to choose?

How about the first one there?**

** Thanks to ff0000

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 26 Comments

Day 448: More Fortune Telling

Yesterday’s post included some interesting and perhaps unexpected Fortune Tellers, including

  • Zoltar from the movie Big,
  • Sherlock Holmes,
  • Big Al,
  • a deep sea diver,
  • a chef (actually, Zoltar wearing a chef’s outfit),
  • a bird named Chad, and
  • me.

You can find most of these Fortune Tellers at the Characters Unlimited, Inc., website. Personally, I was so captured by that site, that after my first trip there yesterday,  I’ve come back to it several times.

I’ve re-visited that site because of (1) my interest in the human habit  of Fortune Telling — our thoughts going to the future, no matter how much we may try to stay “in the moment” — and (2) the many interesting characters there, sitting in fortune-telling booths, including many I have not shown you.

Yet.

In this post, I am going to take you, again, to That Fortune Telling Land of Unlimited Characters.

Why?  Isn’t it obvious? There are some great characters there, people!

Also, I need to go there, for some fortune-telling assistance, because this week holds some challenges for me. The biggest challenge, for me, is a one-night journey to The Hospital. Now, this week’s hospital visit is much different from times I spent in the hospital when I was a child, because:

  • I am going voluntarily, for a sleep study.
  • It’s a different hospital.
  • I am an adult.

I had some trouble thinking of differences, just then, which doesn’t surprise me.   Fortune Teller Cool Cat says:

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“When you encounter things now, that remind you of scary things from your childhood, you can go cold with fear, and forget how safe you are.”

Fortune Teller Bear says:

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“When you focus on things you’re looking forward to, that makes things more bearable.”

Thank you, Fortune Telling Cat and Bear. That was very helpful.

This week ahead, the day after my sleep study, I am going to see a jazz musician I’ve loved for a long time.

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Ooops!  Wrong jazz musician. Let’s try again.

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(I found that image here)

On 3/27/14, I’m going to see Pat Metheny and his Unity Group with my friend Peggy (who went to Panama with me).

After going through that sleep study, I hope I can stay awake for the concert.

Fortune Teller Old Pirate says:

fortune_teller_044

“Arrggh, Matie! Don’t you worry about that!”

Thank to Characters Unlimited Incorporated again; to ntexas99 for catching the secret identify of the Fortune Teller Chef yesterday; to Pat, Peggy, and other old friends of mine;  to fortune tellers everywhere (whether they be characters or not); and to you — of course! — for visiting me here today.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 447: It will come back to you

Here’s something I often hear people say, with mild confusion, worry, or distraction:

I forgot what I was going to say.

Because of my vast years of experience observing this phenomenon, I reply:

It will come back to you.

Before I developed my current level of confidence, I used to hesitate making a prediction like that. I mean,  who am I to say that a thought — or anything else —  will come back?  What do I think I am, a fortune teller?

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Perhaps, at this point, it has come back to you that I like to include visuals in my posts, either (1) from my phone or (2) using a picture that comes back to me from Google Images, after I’ve typed in a relevant word or phrase. Thanks, Google Images, for that picture above. Also, thanks to Character’s Unlimited, Inc., where that “Fortune Teller” image lives, along with lots of “Custom, Animated, and Talking Characters,” including

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Deluxe or economy fortune tellers,

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Fortune Teller Sherlock,

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Fortune Teller Big Al,

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Fortune Teller Diver,

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Fortune Teller Chef, and

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Fortune Teller Chad.

I got so distracted by the plethora of interesting images at that site, I lost track of what I wanted to tell you, this morning.

It came back to me!

I wanted to let you know  I have more confidence, these days, in saying “It will come back to you,” when people get distracted by other thoughts, because … it almost always does.

I’ve been developing more confidence in things coming back to people, in general.

Case in point: Yesterday, just after I had parked the car in front of my son’s piano teacher’s apartment, my son said,  “Oh no! I dropped something! ”  He reached down, to his right, trying to retrieve it.  I was thinking, “Arrgghh! That happens to me all the time! I’ll drop something in this car, it gets trapped and then you can’t retrieve it. I hate that! I really should write a post about that, someday. I wonder what he’s looking for?  We don’t want to be late for his lesson,” when my son suddenly tossed something in my direction. It was not what I expected, but I was very glad to see it, coming back to me:

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If it’s not coming back to you why I was so happy to see that, see Day 379: I’m a Loser.

Before I end this post, I’d like to include a favorite song, which has been playing in my head this morning:

Thanks to Aretha Franklin, to backinvault for posting that YouTube video, to the movie Big (where I first saw Zoltar),  to fortune tellers of all kinds, to unlimited characters, to thoughts and other things that come back, and to you — of course! — for coming back here, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 446: Criticism is easy. Good is hard.

Have people heard this death-bed quote, allegedly said by Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his time, in the 19th century?

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Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.*

I use the word “allegedly” in that introductory sentence because:

  1. I have trouble believing that anybody, on their way out, would have the presence of mind to say something that pithy, witty, and ageless.
  2. I have some skepticism about people’s ability to hear, remember, and quote accurately what other people say, especially for moments of high emotion, and
  3. References to that quote —  like here and here — raise doubts about the truth of that story, as well as who said it. Other pithy and witty dying suspects, regarding that quote, include Edmund Gwenn (who, by the way, played one of my favorite fathers in literature, Mr. Bennet** from Pride and Prejudice):

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As often happens when I’m writing a weekend post, every move I make brings me further away from my original intent, which was to write about how difficult it is to tell good stories well.

To try to get us back on track, let me tell you this:  Last week, several times, I  quoted something I heard, in the 1980s, at a Film Criticism writing class.

It’s a lot easier to write well about a bad movie, than about a good movie.

My memory is failing me, regarding what the instructor,  Nat Segaloff, actually said, in that film school class. But I can picture Mr. Segaloff, standing in front of us, saying something similar, as he gave us this very memorable assignment: Write an interesting, well-written review for a great movie you really like.

Or, to cast that film-school writing assignment in the light of a dying actor’s witty quote:

Criticism is easy. Good is hard.

And that WAS the most difficult piece to write well, for many of us.

Yes, dear readers, it is difficult for me to write or speak effectively, about the good. I find it much easier to be interesting — to tell a “good” story —  about things that are going wrong and about things I don’t like, than about things that are going well.

This issue came up for me, several times this past week, when I tried to communicate well about these stories:

  • My intern, who is leaving in five weeks, is doing a wonderful job in her training as a therapist.
  • Many people I work with, as their therapist,  have been telling me they’re feeling markedly better.

This past week, I struggled, several times, with telling good stories about the good. In each case, I was neither pithy nor witty. Instead, I said … almost nothing. I gave up, because it felt too hard.

It helps me to remember, today, that I got a great grade on that film school writing assignment.

Thanks to Edmund Kean, Edmund Gwenn, and other dead or witty actors named “Edmund;” to Jane Austen; to Nat Segaloff;  to funny fathers;  to those who have names difficult to spell; to people who struggle with telling good stories for whatever reason; and to you — of course! — for reading this story, today.


* You very well may have heard this quote, especially because of a recent celebrity feud between Shia LaBeouf and Jim Carrey, after Jim Carrey used the quote at the Golden Globe Awards, in January:

Neither Shia LaBeouf nor Jim Carrey were on my mind, when I started writing this post. Thanks to HollyscoopTV, for posting that interesting story on YouTube.

* Another reason that “Comedy is hard” quote has been on my mind: my son has been performing stand-up comedy, lately, at Open Mic nights.

** I looked high and low for a good list of Mr. Bennet quotes, from Pride and Prejudice.  That IMDb link to 1995 and 2007 productions was the best I could do, for now.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

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