Monthly Archives: June 2014

Day 546: A place in the world

Yesterday, after I created an important post (for me), I went for a walk by the Charles River, in Watertown, Massachusetts, USA.

A tune I love, by Pat Metheny, called “A Place in the World” was playing on my iPhone.

This was my place in the world, as I saw it:

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Then, my iPhone died.  And I heard and saw many more wonderful things, in that place in the world. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Then, last night, I returned to Central Square in Cambridge — a place in the world originally featured here, on Day 511: All-request Weekend.

This time, I was there with my son, for a comedy show with one of our heroes.

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(I found that image — plus an interview — here.)

That’s Jonathan Katz. (His official website is here.) On the left, he’s in his animated role of “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.” That Comedy Central Show, airing from 1995 to 2002, is one of my favorite TV shows ever — probably not surprisingly, since it combines two of my passions: stand-up comedy and psychotherapy.  I loved each episode, all over again, when I watched them with my son, Aaron, who is also a student of stand-up comedy.

The comedians appearing on Dr. Katz’s couch ranged (alphabetically) from

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Tom Agna to

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Steven Wright, and included so many other amazing comedians, like

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Louis C.K.,

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Kevin Meany,

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Emo Philips,

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Ray Romano,

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Garry Shandling, Jon Stewart (whose animated image I can’t find, right now), and dozens more.

Also appearing on that great TV Show, with Dr. Katz, was one of my favorite Boston-based (and now Los Angeles-based) comedians …

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Ron Lynch, whose stand-up comedy class I took in the 1980’s.

Last night, at Improv Boston,   Jonathan Katz was wonderful, and not just because he included me, briefly, in his act. Aaron and I literally laughed out loud, many times.

Then, after the show, for the first time on any stage, Jonathan Katz and my son appeared together:

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I’m so glad there’s a place in the world for such things.

Many thanks to Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, and all the other amazing musicans playing “A Place in the World,” to Corporal Joseph U. Thompson, to Jonathan Katz, to Improv Boston, to Ron Lynch, to every comedian who’s ever inspired me or Aaron, to professional (and other types of) therapists, and to you — of course! — for visiting this particular place in the world, today.

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

Day 545: Embracing the shadows

This past week, I’ve been dealing with some shadows.

Of course, we all deal with shadows, like these:

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If the sun — or another source of light — is shining, shadows are going to be part of the picture, somehow.

This past week, I’ve been dealing with lots of different shadows, including:

  • the shadows of envy,
  • the shadows of disappointment,
  • the shadows of annoyance/anger, and (most especially)
  • the shadows of fear.

These shadows have been within me and, I think, within others, too. However, I only know my own experience.

So, keeping the focus on what I DO know, I know it helps me to recognize and embrace the shadows that are there.

I could give you several examples of that, from this past week. For instance, as the week went on, I became more aware that I’m afraid to go to the dentist, this Wednesday.

I’m afraid to go to the dentist, this Wednesday, because

  • I am prone to a heart infection called endocarditis (and have gotten it several times before),
  • In order to prevent that, I have been receiving intravenous (also called “drip”) antibiotics, right before a dental appointment, for several years,
  • My team of doctors recommended that I switch, for this next cleaning, to oral antibiotics, because that would probably do as good a job and, in ways, would be better for me,
  • Nobody knows, for sure, why I get (or don’t get) endocarditis, and
  • While I trust my doctors very much, they are not psychics, and if somebody gets endocarditis … it’s going to be me.

Last week, as the dental appointment got closer, I found myself experiencing shadow-y reactions and feelings, in response to different people and situations. And I kept losing track of why that was.

When I was at work last week, I kept the door to my office closed, all the time. Since my usual style is to keep my door open when I’m not seeing patients, that felt weird. Unbalanced. Like I was hiding.

Each time I took a breath and looked more closely at my inner shadows, I was able recognize the biggest one: the fear of going to the dentist and, as a result, perhaps putting my life in danger.

That, my friends, felt very dark.

This all may sound overly dramatic. This may be an example of the very human cognitive distortion of catastrophizing.  But there were reasons I was having these thoughts (as there always are).

When shadows are all around, I know what helps. It helps me to

  1. shine a light on the problem and
  2. share it with other people.

So, on Friday, I wrote an email to my team of doctors, which included this:

Hi, fabulous team,

So, Dr. Kogelman and I, at our last meeting, decided to shift from 3 to 4 months between teeth cleanings and also from IV to oral antibiotics.

Now that the time is approaching for my teeth cleaning, at Dr. Del Castillo’s practice next week, I’m feeling a tad … anxious. Perhaps because of the two changes in the protocol. Perhaps because I still don’t completely understand why I’ve come down with endocarditis all the times I have before.

So this is just an anxiety-reduction email to my team, to get some reassurance.

As soon as I sent it, I immediately got an automated message that my chief cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem, was away from the hospital, and not returning for another week. Knowing Dr. Salem, I wasn’t surprised when I soon got this email, from him:

Ann
There is nothing wrong with being anxious–keeps all of us rightly alert
Deeb

I wrote back, to Dr. Salem:

It keeps you alert, even when you’re away from the hospital!

Are YOU anxious, at all, about this plan?

If the answer is no, no need to answer this email. I will see you soon (as a matter of fact, I’ll schedule something today).

Ann

 I didn’t hear back from Dr. Salem (which is a good sign). Also, I got too busy at work to follow through on my promise about scheduling a cardiology appointment with him.  We might call that procrastination, or avoidance, on my part. Or we might just say, “Hey!  Give me a friggin’ break!  I’ll make the appointment next week!”

Later, I got an email from Dr. Kogelman, who is my medical team’s endocarditis expert, which included this:

Ann If you would feel more comfortable only changing one thing at a time, I have no problem with continuing the pre-procedure IV antibiotics.  I was trying to switch to the PO just to make things a little easier for you.  I do think either the PO or the IV would work fine, but if you want to just switch the schedule for cleanings first, try that for say a year, and if all goes well, then switch to PO, that is totally reasonable. Just let me know so I can work with Kerri to set this up.

Kerri is my IV nurse, who has appeared before in this blog:

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When Dr. Kogelman and I agreed, a couple of months ago, about switching from IV antibiotics to oral ones, I said, “Here’s my one regret. I’m really going to miss Kerri.” Dr. Kogelman replied, “I’m sure you can figure out a way to still see her.”

When I got Dr. Kogelman’s email, I realized that the decision was up to me. I like being an adult, being treated like one, and making my own decisions, but …. there are shadows to all that, too.

What would you do, in this situation, if you were me? How would you assess the risks, balance the familiar with the new, embrace all the shadows,  and make a choice?

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Time’s up!  I’ll tell you what I decided, by showing you what I sent back to Dr. Kogelman this morning:

Hi Dr. Kogelman,

Thanks for this great email.

This is what I’ve decided:

(1) If you can book me for an IV at 12 noon this Wednesday, July 2, let’s do that.  (My dental appointment is at 1:15). That would be my preference, at this point.

(2) If that is not possible, please call in an Rx for Avelox to my pharmacy.

All the best,

Ann

Here’s what I’m noticing about that: I expressed a preference, accepted both possibilities, and left some room for luck, too.

Thanks to shadow-makers everywhere, Dr. Salem, Dr. Kogelman, Kerri (who I may or may not see on Wednesday), everybody on my team, and to you — of course! — for the shadows and light you bring today.

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

Day 544: Themes

I notice themes, in therapy groups I do and elsewhere.

Here’s something I say to people before they join my groups: “No matter who else is in the room with you,  as everybody speaks, shared themes will emerge.”

It might seem like I’m using the cognitive distortion of fortune-telling,  there.  I mean, aren’t I predicting the future?  Will that really happen, every time?

So far, so good. In every session I’ve done, each group identifies a theme they want to explore together, whether it’s family, loss, other people, hope, shame, expressing feelings, sense of self, internalized negative messages, fear of rejection, what helps, what doesn’t help, failure/success, joy, disappointment, accepting positive feedback, self-care, and so on.

Yes, I think about themes, a lot. And I write about them, here at WordPress.

Yesterday, I wrote about the theme of “Reflections.” About a month ago, I wrote a post called “What is the theme of this post?” which reflects my preference for inviting others to notice themes for themselves.

After 543 days, I am finally writing a post titled, simply, “Themes.”

This post is a kind of continuation from yesterday’s post, showing more themes I tend to notice, all around me.

As usual, I’ll show you some photos I’ve recently taken. One more thing: I like creating structure, as a way of leaving room for play, so I’ll make the order alphabetical.

 

Animals:

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Buildings:

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Coincidences:

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Diagonals:

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Paths:

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Signs, signs, signs:

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Solving Problems:

I had to include this, on my list of themes today, so I could brag about a trivial — but incredibly long-standing — problem I finally solved this week.

For as long as I can remember, this has been hanging around in my office:

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Here’s a closer look at it:

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It’s a slip of paper that has been stuck in the vent on the ceiling of my office.  When air comes through, it flutters around, but it never lets go. People, when they’ve noticed it, have commented about it, wondering what it might be.

What does it look like, to you?

People who have noticed it have also named the obstacles to removing it. The ceiling of my office is quite high (way taller than any person who has entered my office) and there’s no ladder around.

In the meantime, the paper and the people in my office have been happy to coexist. However, I have been curious about that paper, and have wanted the option of removing it.

Two days ago, after getting a very good night’s sleep at a hospital sleep study, I looked at the problem differently. Using some tools at hand, including ….

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… I solved the problem.

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I wonder if anyone will notice?

Thanks to those who notice themes,  people in my groups, animals, buildings, coincidences, diagonals, paths, problems and their solutions,  sleep studies, slips of paper, anything or anyone that has contributed to the creation of this post, and — especially — to you, for noticing what you have, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | 19 Comments

Day 543: Reflections

I take photos very intuitively, for this blog.  I usually don’t have a plan for how I’m going to use any particular picture. I just capture images that capture me,  without much reflection or thought.

At the same time, there are definitely themes in what I choose to snap with my iPhone, as I move through my day. One of those themes, I’ve noticed, is reflections. Reflections in water, windows, and elsewhere.

Here are two recent examples, from a walk away from work:

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As with any kind of communication, I never know whether I can really reflect to you what I saw, felt, and thought, when I took those pictures.  The reflections, as I walked by them, captivated me. But can I translate them, in a meaningful way, as I pass them on to you?

Do you see what I saw?  Probably not.  But do you see something that has any value, for you? And have I conveyed, in any way, the wonder of my original experience?

Here’s another way I could reflect, about any photo:  could I have done a better job, in  communicating what I wanted to?

For example, maybe this is a more effective framing, for that second shot:

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Perhaps that framing focuses better on the tree and its reflection. Or maybe not.

Maybe this framing is better:

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So many options for each presentation …. and so little expertise and experience in this photographer!   So how on earth should I decide how to present any image to you?

And yet, I do decide. Like anyone, I make countless decisions, every day, about what to do, reveal, or communicate — with a photo, with a word — from moment to moment.

Sometimes the reasons for the decisions are intuitive, and sometimes they’re more obvious to me. For example,  I, personally, would not choose that last framing of that tree-reflection photo. It’s too close.  For me, it’s lacking a sense of context.

I believe this: effective communication, of any experience, reflects a balance of closeness and context, of specific and general, of present and past.

How am I doing, communicating now?

No matter how that’s going, I can show you more, before I’m done here today.

For example, I could show you more photos of reflections, without verbally reflecting on them, letting you experience each one for yourself:

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Let’s end this post with a closer look at that last photo (which appeared in a recent post, here):

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Here’s one truth, for me, about reflections, photographic or otherwise: I see more, every time I look.  For example, while I had noticed, previously, the reflection of that big, beautiful bird in the water, I did not realize I had captured the bird itself, until just now.

Isn’t that amazing?

I’m glad I reflected back, again, today.

Thanks to all things that reflect; to Boston and Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA);  to blue herons; to people who do their best communicating experiences; to waffles and wafflers; to those who reflect back to children (and adults) their in-born and unique worth; and to you — of course! — for reflecting, here and now.

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

Day 542: Making Meaning

When something happens we can’t understand or explain, what do we do? Often, we try to make meaning of what just happened.

Sometimes, we can’t.  

If something upsetting happens, we often look to ascribe blame — against ourselves and others.

I actually don’t know why I’m writing these words right now. They do relate to a discussion I witnessed in a therapy group yesterday, but I can’t make meaning of how this topic fits with some photos I want to show you.

I think I should have stuck with my original title for this post: “Some photos I took on Wednesday.” That would have worked, really easily.

Why did I change the title, the way I did? I can’t make meaning of that, right now.

Now what should I do?  And who is to blame for this less-than-optimal blogging situation? Me, you, or somebody else?

Who cares? Let’s just look at the photos.

Here’s a little item I got many years ago, which I keep in my office:

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How do we make meaning of THAT?  What the heck is it?  Is it animal, vegetable, or mineral?

I’ll tell you this: it’s made out of wood.

Any guesses?

I’ll give you a hint. It’s a kind of transformer.

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 I mean, it’s like a transformer because it (1) has moving parts and (2) turns into something else.  However, I may have misled you with that last image, or raised your expectations too high. My thing is not quite that intricate, flashy, or up-to-date. I hope you still like it, though.

Here it is:

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Here’s the meaning I ascribe to that: it looks, to me, like a wondrous, special and unusual place to stay.

Sometimes I do stay in unusual places. Like, last night  I had a sleep-over at a hospital.

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Now I’m misleading you, again. That is NOT where my sleep study was.  That’s actually a hospital for children.

I’m not a child, so I don’t belong there. How do I feel about that?

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If you have trouble making meaning of that, I’ll be more direct. I’m very glad I’m no longer a child.

One of the many advantages of being an adult? You get more freedom of expression.

For example, you can take whatever pictures you like and present them as you choose:

 

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I’m actually not sure what I’m trying to convey in this post. Which might make it difficult for you to make meaning of it all.

I will tell you some feelings I had while I was writing this post: I prefer being home to being in hospitals. I don’t like medical machines attached to me, at night. And, based on this part of my sleep-study, I will, most likely, getting a CPAP machine, to bring into my home:

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(I found that image here.)

Eeek!  I just freaked myself out, just as I did when I googled “sleep study” in March.

Now I want to show you something I saw at home before I left before my sleep study,  asleep without a machine:

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Right before I snapped this photo, my boyfriend Michael said this about Oscar:

I can’t make head or tails of that cat.

 Which, of course, is another way to make meaning.

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Before I end this post, I want to tell you this:  I wrote most of this last night, before I left for the hospital.

I’m writing this ending at yet another hospital, where I work.

The sleep study went better than I expected.  I slept fine with the CPAP machine. And I think it’s actually going to help me feel better (despite my old, childhood-acquired negative feelings about medical machines).

I will probably write more about this, perhaps in tomorrow’s post. For now, here are some images from this morning (and feel free to make meaning of them, or not):

 

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Thanks to transformers of all kinds, to Boston-based hospitals and medical centers; to  people who do their best in making meaning (and changes in their lives); to sleep-study expert Lori, her daughter Allie, and Allie’s friend Isabella; and to you — of course! — for the meaning you are making, today.

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

Day 541: American Beauty

American Beauty is a movie I like, very much.

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It was written by Alan Ball, who later created one of my favorite TV shows, Six Feet Under (which I referenced in this post).

Have you ever had the experience of really liking something, but someone you love and respect feels very differently about it?

My boyfriend Michael dislikes American Beauty.

Somehow, that doesn’t matter.   But I do find our very different judgments imponderable, since I am so very fond of that film.

I thought of that movie yesterday morning, when I saw this, on my way to work.

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Here’s the scene I remembered:

(clip at YouTube here)

 It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. Right? And this bag was just dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know that there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember. I need to remember. Sometimes, there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it, and my heart is just going to cave in.

Here’s more American beauty I’ve encountered, very recently:

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I’m wondering, now, if I should have saved some of this beauty for tomorrow’s post, because  I’m staying at the hospital tonight, in the follow-up for my sleep study last March.

There’s no reason to be afraid, ever.  It helps me to remember. I need to remember. Sometimes, there’s so much beauty in the world…I feel like my heart is going to cave in.

Thanks to Alan Ball, Michael, Thomas Newman (for American Beauty and Six Feet Under music), beautiful things I’ve felt,   Saint John’s Seminary, the Summer Shack, incredibly benevolent forces, bags and bunnies, American beauties everywhere, and to you — of course! — for visiting here today.

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

Day 540: I Spy

I chose this title today because:

  • “I Spy” reminds me of an old game (“I spy with my little eye …”),
  • I Spy” reminds me of an old TV show (and its theme song)

(video on YouTube here)

  • and “I Spy” is one of those topics that lets me post whatever images I want.

Let us begin!

I spy, with my little eye, something that begins with the letter “d”.

 

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Hmmm. That’s probably difficult to see, with the angle of the picture and the barrier of that fence.

Let’s do that one over, with something closer, more recent, and easier on the eyes. Again, I spy, with my little eye, something that begins with the letter “d.”

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That’s my neighbor Karen’s new dog, whom I met yesterday morning.  That puppy spied me, too:

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Let’s face it, I might as well just end this post here. Everything from now on is going to fade in comparison, cuteness-wise.

But there’s more to life than cute, right?

I spy, with my little eye, things that begin with the letter “t.”

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Again, I’m making this difficult, aren’t I?  Indeed, when I saw that, this weekend, in Arlington’s Bicentennial Park, I remarked to bf Michael, “Can anybody really tell what those are?” Michael pointed out that stone carvings were not easy to execute, and he suggested I not be so judgmental.

I’d like to give you a better chance with that one, too. I spy, with my little eye, things that begin with the letter “t.”

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Those are all trees I saw at Tower Hill Botanical Garden, shown previously in this post. I am happy to present them to you again, in their true colors, since I inadvertently was filtering all my photos back then.

I have to tell you, when I look at those filtered photos (in posts starting here and ending here), I still feel a little bad. Slightly green, perhaps. As a matter of fact, I have been avoiding revisiting those posts. And when I do, I have thoughts like these:

What was I thinking? How could I have NOT noticed how odd all those photos look?  It’s SO obvious to me, now.  And I pride myself on my ability to see and observe! Ha!

But then I remember how it helps to

  1. let go of the actions of the past, and
  2. embrace the idea of “good enough.”

And sometimes, you get a do-over. Like here, today!

As for those original posts with the greenish photos, I am leaving them as they are, for the most part.  However, I’m going to change all the photos of people in my life, because I want them to appear to others, as they do to me, with all their beautiful colors.

I spy, with my little eye, things that begin with the letter “f.”

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“Friends.”

Before I’m something that begins with the letter “l” — “late” — let’s do one more game.  I spy, with my little eye, something that begins with the letter “c.”

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you might guess that it’s …

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But it’s actually this:

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That can’t possibly be good for me, could it?

Thanks to “I Spy” (both versions), dogs, my downstairs neighbor Karen, people who do their best, trees (no matter what color), friends, cats, chia, chocolate, and — of course! — you, for spying here, today.

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

Day 539: Waffles

Here’s a post where I decided on the title — without waffling — hours before I started writing it. That’s unusual.

Yesterday, I met my friends Janet and Ray for brunch at the Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown. While sometimes I have trouble making decisions about what to order at a restaurant, I didn’t waffle yesterday. I knew I wanted to order waffles, only available on weekends. I did waffle, a little, about what kind of waffle to get, but — with Janet and Ray’s help — I soon settled on the sweet potato special:

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Don’t those deluxe waffles look delicious?  In case you’re waffling on how to respond, my answer is: they were!

Janet and Ray both tried them, and agreed the waffles were wonderful.

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Ray and Janet are looking at houses to buy, now that they’ve moved back to Massachusetts, and they told me about a place they definitely want to own. There was no waffling, for either of them, as they shared details about this home:

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I don’t know why, in particular, I chose to take a photo of the house’s doorknobs, except (1) I was waffling about other pictures to take and (2) those doorknobs are quite adorable.

We also talked about my blog, and I told them I had been waffling, a little, about quoting Ray yesterday without checking with him first.  I do have concerns about (1) misquoting people  and (2) hurting their feelings. Ray replied, without a hint of waffling in his voice, that I could write whatever I wanted to about him, without any fear whatsoever. Indeed, Ray strongly requested that I misquote him, deliberately.

Here’s a shot of Ray pledging, on his corned beef hash, that he wants me to misquote him in a blog post:

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For all you know, I may have done this, already.

After sharing waffles with my fine friends Janet and Ray, I returned home and asked my boyfriend Michael if he would like to accompany me on a walk.

Michael waffled at first, as we discussed the details, but then we came up with a mutual plan.

Our first stop was the cat shelter in Cambridge, where we had gotten our cat Harley, last October. We saw this cat:

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… who had a most excellent name:

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Waffles’s nervousness reminded me of Harley’s, who — when he was in the shelter — did not budge from his side cubby, kind of like Simba, here:

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Michael, yesterday, was non-waffling in his preference for Simba over all the other cats in the shelter, although he liked them all,  including this one:

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who had a most excellent name, too:

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After we visited with all the shelter cats, we headed out toward some very scenic paths. On our way, we passed by some buildings that appeared in yesterday’s post:

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Those kind of look like waffles, don’t they?  I usually waffle about which of those three buildings are shorter — or taller — than the others. It’s really difficult to tell, from most perspectives.

Once Michael and I reached the walking/bicycling paths, we waffled on which path to take first, because there were so many to choose from. It didn’t really matter, because they all were interesting and beautiful:

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As I was was taking that last shot, a magnificent blue bird, previously unseen by either of us, took off and flew away. I didn’t waffle for a second, and said, “It’s a blue heron!”   Michael was astonished, and told me he had recently seen a nature show about how elusive these birds are.   I replied I had seen quite a few, recently, in my walks near Boston, although I often waffle about my bird-identification expertise.

I hoped I might have caught that beautiful bird in my shot, but I was truly grateful just to see it.

What about you? If you see something special in that last photo, would you waffle about letting me know?

Besides the heron, Michael and I did see other creatures yesterday, who may have waffled about staying close to humans, but were still pretty easy to capture:

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Wait! That’s not a real turtle.  We didn’t see any turtles yesterday,  but we saw this big fish:

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… which we think was probably an alewife.  We also saw a large family of ducks. Here’s my best shot of them:

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Beyond a shadow of doubt, with or without waffles, I saw some marvelous things yesterday.

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Well, it’s time to stop waffling about how to end this post.

Thanks to waffles (and wafflers) everywhere, to Janet and Ray, to homes (no matter what the details), to Michael, to Hope (and all other shelter cats), to Broken Tail Rescue, to the Alewife Brook Reservation, to beautiful birds and other creatures, to people who keep the peace (in any dimension), and a special thanks to you, no matter how much waffling you do.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 50 Comments

Day 538: Shorter

This title of this post is inspired by a text exchange I had yesterday, with my friend Ray. Ray has shown up in this blog — along with his wife/my friend, Janet — in several previous posts, one of them being shorter.

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Here is the inspirational exchange:

Ray: Hi Ann!  We’re looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. We’re wondering if we could meet a little earlier for brunch. Maybe 9? We may go to open houses afterwards and want to get an earlier start. Let me know what you think.

Me: 9 is fine. I’ll just have to write a shorter and crappier post. See you then!

Ray: Thanks for lowering your standards for us! See you at 9. It’s called the Town Diner in Watertown, right?

Me: Deluxe town diner.

Ray: Ooh!  Deluxe!

Here’s what I’d like to point out about that dialogue:

  •  Ray and Janet are back in Massachusetts, after several years away in Ohio. Although their absence may have been shorter than it seems to me, it was still too long.
  • My favorite line, in the exchange between Ray and me,  is the one that is shorter than the others.
  • The other adjective I used in my message to Ray, after “shorter,” was on my mind  because of yesterday morning’s post, which marked the first appearance of bird poop in this blog:

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  • The words “shorter and crappier” could be construed as judgmental, couldn’t they?

This reminds me of one of several discussions — some shorter than others — I had yesterday with my cousin, Lani:

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That’s Lani and her precious cat, Jewel.  Lani and I haven’t seen each other for over a year, even though she lives a  shorter distance from me than Ray and Janet.

Lani and I had a terrific time yesterday — talking about people and judgment, our parents and other family members, my blog posts (Lani is a faithful reader), and other topics (short and long). I resolve to see Lani again soon, after a much shorter time.

That would be wonderful.

Although this post is probably going to be shorter than my usual weekend post, I still have time to post more images from yesterday:

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That’s from brunch, with Lani, at Brio in Chestnut Hill. I took that photo because the butter there was shorter (height-wise) than I remember ever seeing before at any restaurant.

On my way home from my too-short-time with Lani yesterday, I snapped this picture:

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The two tallest buildings in Boston — appearing above —  also showed up in yesterday’s post. Which do you think is shorter: the one on the left or the tower on the right?

Later in the day, bf Michael and I returned to Fresh Pond in Cambridge, also featured in several previous posts (some appearances being shorter than the others).  Our walk yesterday was shorter than usual, because of a restoration project:

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I remarked to Michael that I had never heard the term “off-wheel vistors” before. It took me a moment to realize I was a member of that group, despite the helpful illustrations. I guess that was a shorter way to describe “those who aren’t riding bicycles.”  You know … walkers. (Or runners, too, I suppose.)

Despite the shorter route, we still saw several new and interesting things:

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Maybe this post wasn’t so crappy, after all.

Thanks to Ray, Janet, Lani, Jewel, Michael, off-wheel visitors everywhere, story-tellers (and walkers), people with standards (no matter what their height), those who find their way home,  anybody letting go of unhelpful judgments (for shorter or longer amounts of time), and — especially! — to you, no matter how short your visit today.


* You  may notice that some of the photos in this post are shorter than others.  WordPresser AmyRose, at Petals Unfolding, has told me that the size of my photos might be slowing down post-loading for my readers and eating up storage space.  (Storage space DOES seem to be running shorter, everywhere.) Thanks for letting me know, Amy.

Another, shorter footnote: Those of you getting my posts via email — and finding me on WordPress Reader — might find those initial readings shorter today, assuming I successfully followed Mark Bialczak‘s helpful instructions about re-routing readers home, here.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 537: Barriers and Obstacles

Yesterday, barriers and obstacles  were very much on my mind.

What are the barriers to our getting what we want or need?  What obstacles get in the way of our moving forward, and why?  How do we judge ourselves and others, when we encounter these?  And are there other, more helpful ways to view these situations?

As usual, when something is on my mind, I see evidence and examples, everywhere I look.

Barriers sometimes get in the way of seeing clearly, figuring out what’s ahead:

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Sometimes, we just can’t figure out what’s there, no matter how we look at it:

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No matter what’s in front of you, there’s no shame in asking for more information, or other types of help.

Some obstacles can appear suddenly, leaving no room to proceed as planned:

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With other unexpected obstacles, sometimes we can see a way to stay our course, by slightly altering our steps.

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Obstacles can seem different, depending upon our perspective:

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For example, stairs are more tiring for me these days, so I see them differently. However, the stairs are the same as they ever were.  I just need to go more slowly, negotiating them.

 

Something might stop us, temporarily:

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But if we wait patiently, and proceed with care, we can keep moving forward.

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Sometimes, people might seem to be blocking our way.

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However, we might be over-rating a person’s importance and permanence, in our lives.

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If we give somebody too much power, we might lose track of what surrounds us.

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Speaking for myself, I tend to focus on problematic people — their thoughts, their actions, the harm they might possibly do.

It helps to let go of worry about that (and other things):

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It also helps to focus on supportive people around you:

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… even if you can’t come up with many names, initially.  Chances are, there’s a team nearby

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… even if they’re difficult to recognize, at first.

Sometimes, obstacles can block our ability to see the most obvious things around,

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but going a short distance can help us see more of what’s there.

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And while there might be lots of things telling us not to proceed,

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… sometimes we just have to cross a line, and keep on going.IMG_6061

Thanks to all those who deal with barriers and obstacles as best they can, to supportive people everywhere (named Mark or otherwise),  to the guys at my parking garage (who have told me that bird poop on my car is lucky), to creatures that poop, to anybody who needs help interpreting anything I ever write or say (because of inevitable barriers to communication), and to you — especially! — for overcoming any obstacles to get here, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 30 Comments

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