Monthly Archives: December 2014

Day 720: How much is enough?

Do I ever have enough ….

  • chocolate (or marshmallows)?

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  • gifts?
  • warmth?
  • connections?
  • sweetness?
  • security?
  • readers?
  • color?
  • storage space?
  • mittens, gloves, scarves, or other cold-weather protection (especially since I’ve lost enough of those)?

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  • animals?
  • people?
  • solitude?
  • thoughts?
  • feelings?
  • possessions?
  • patience?
  • preparation?
  • truth?
  • worth?
  • music?

(Is Jean-Luc Ponty‘s “Is Once Enough” enough,*  here on YouTube?)

  • time?
  • ways to pass the time?
  • food?
  • ideas?
  • air?
  • water?
  • guarantees?
  • hope?
  • data?
  • validation?
  • photos?

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  • products?
  • moments?
  • humor?
  • safety?
  • resolve?
  • organization?
  • cleanliness?
  • exercise?
  • sleep?
  • awareness?
  • peace?
  • love?
  • understanding?
  • seasonal spirit?

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  • acceptance?
  • attention?
  • freedom?
  • structure?
  • work?
  • appreciation?
  • expertise?
  • courage?
  • dreams?
  • motivation?
  • reassurance?
  • space?
  • fun?
  • questions?
  • answers to questions?
  • confidence?
  • news?
  • light?**
  • words?

Enough!

The answer to all of that is …..

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Yes (despite my mind telling me I need more, more, more).

Is it enough (or more than enough) for me to request your thoughts about “enough” (or anything else you can or cannot get enough of)?

‘Nuff thanks to all who have had enough for now (including you!).


*If jazz isn’t for you, here‘s another song:

And another one:

Is that enough?

** Starting today, there’ll be more light every day. That’s enough for me.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Day 719: Mean girls

The word “mean” has several meanings. Would it mean  I was being  mean if I didn’t list those meanings, but didn’t mean to be mean? Does your meaning of mean include what somebody means to do?

I don’t mean to be mean, but sometimes I am. The mean — and there I mean average — girl, boy, man, or woman is mean sometimes, although individual mean rates may vary.

I wonder if my post title “mean” is mean?  Is the word “girls” mean?

What does any of this mean?

I meant to start this post with yesterday’s visit to  cardiac rehab. What does “cardiac rehab” mean?   I hope it’s not mean if the meaning of “cardiac rehab”  is here,  here, here, here, here, here, here, here,  or here.  (I wonder: what’s the mean number of “here’s” I include in these here posts?) (I also wonder if WordPress is being mean lately or if I’m just not used to some new changes yet. This is what I mean: the mean time it takes me to write my mean or non-mean posts is longer these days, if you know what I mean).

Honestly, I didn’t mean to digress that many times in this  already mean post. (Don’t get me started on my mean number of digressions. That would just be mean.)

There were several mean girls at cardiac rehab, yesterday.

I mean to start with mean Danise:

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Does Danise look mean there?  How about here?

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Did Danise mean to be mean when she showed me how to do weights yesterday? What’s  the mean number of pounds a mean girl can lift? I did four pounds yesterday.  What does that mean?

Here’s Danise being mean to her mean boss, Kathy:

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Mean girl Danise is making fun of Kathy not being able get the meanings of all the mean things all the mean people at cardiac rehab were saying, because Kathy has some trouble hearing, especially when she is wearing stethoscopes in her ears. Isn’t that mean?

In case you don’t know the meaning of “stethoscope,” Kathy is wearing that mean thing around her mean neck.

Here is mean girl Carla:

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Carla, among other mean things, told me about some mean girls she met on her first day of middle school. I wonder if those mean girls meant to be mean?

Here’s mean girl Danise, again

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and again, with mean patient Michael:

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I didn’t mean to take such a blurry photo of  Michael and Danise. I meant to capture how mean they were both being  very quickly, so I could go back to my mean exercises. Michael told me what “Michael” means, in Hebrew:

Who is like God?

Michael meant to include the question mark in the meaning. What did he mean by that? Was that mean?

I didn’t mean to ask so many questions in this mean post, but questions are  a way to make meaning, aren’t they? It would definitely be mean of me, though, to ask you to answer all the questions in this post.

Speaking of mean questions, before I left cardiac rehab to go to work, I asked Danise, “Do I look like a mean girl?” Danise said “yes” and “no.” I guess it depends on

  • the meaning of “mean”
  • my facial expression
  • what I’m wearing
  • and other things, too.

When I got to work,  I asked people

Would you be in my blog post tomorrow, titled “Mean Girls”?

Here are the people who were mean enough to say “yes”:

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That’s Jan, Susan, Mark, Michelle, Desirel, and Kathryn (who said, “I don’t want to see the picture!” I wonder what that means?)

Mean girl Jackie was so mean yesterday she insisted on sending me her own photo!

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What did that mean?

Here are more mean photos I took, after work, of mean girls, chefs, and other mean things:

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In case you don’t know what I mean by “mean” in this post, the mean number of times I’ve used mean today, I actually mean

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I mean to end this post with three mean girls, who are outside the mean.

(Carol Burnett singing “Meantime” is found here on mean YouTube)

(If you mean to find Bonnie Raitt playing a mean guitar and singing a live, mean song, go here.)

(Aretha Franklin is being mean about “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” here on YouTube)

I always mean to end my posts with meaningful thanks.

Thanks to Danise, Kathy, Carla, Michael, Jan, Susan, Mark, Michele, Desirel, Kathryn, Jackie, Carol, Bonnie, and Aretha,* and all the mean and non-mean girls, boys, men, and women everywhere who make my life more meaningful by reading my mean posts.

That means you.


*I always think it mean if I forget a name or spell it wrong. Do you know what I mean?

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

Day 718: Cool cats

As I often invite other people to do, I am interrupting my focus on the future (as reflected in recent blog posts regarding uncertainties about my health) to be more in the moment.

What is happening in the moment?

  1. I feel pretty darn healthy.
  2. Nothing terrible is happening to me or to those I love.
  3. I have shelter, food, and work I value. And,  if those three weren’t enough (which they are),
  4. I am surrounded by cool cats.

In case you have any doubts about #4, look in the mirror, please. Also, I have ample photographic proof of other cool cats surrounding me:

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Already, this post is cheering me up. And if I looked around more closely, I’m sure I would find many more cool cats to show you.  However, I need to end this post and go to Mount Auburn Hospital, to work out with cool cats including Carla, Danise, and Kathy:

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whose picture appeared previously in this here cool-cat post.

Is there anything, in the moment, that would prevent ME from being as cool a cat as possible? Well, I am having some uncool worry, especially regarding some year-end challenges at work.

Here’s my resolution: I shall be as cool as all the other cats pictured in this post, as I face any obstacles or worries  today.

Because, you know what?  I’m a cool cat, too! If I weren’t, how could I be surrounded by so many other cool cats?

The only thing that could make this post cooler or cattier is some cool-cat music:

(“Stray Cat Strut” performed live by the Stray Cats found by this cool cat here on YouTube.)

If you want to join all the other cool cats in this post, just pass me a stray cat-class or cat-style comment below.

Cool, cats?

Many thanks to all the cool (or warm) cats who read any of my stray thoughts, ever!

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

Day 717: Interrupting

Before I tell you the story of

Ann and Some Cardiologists, Yesterday

by Ann

I interrupt this blog post to tell you that I have no idea how I am going to shape this story well enough, especially since I am prone to interrupting thoughts AND I have a lot of thoughts about the topic of “Interrupting.”

For example, I want to interrupt, right now, to mention that one of my favorite knock-knock jokes has to do with interrupting. Let me interrupt the writing of this blog post to see if that knock-knock joke lives, anywhere, on YouTube.

It does!

The “Interrupting Cow” joke, as told by South Park characters, lives here on YouTube. I first heard that joke on “Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.”  Let me interrupt this interruption to see if I can find that.

I couldn’t find it, but I found another telling of “The Interrupting Cow”:

Why am I focusing on “The Interrupting Cow” now, instead of on

Ann and Some Cardiologists, Yesterday

by Ann?

Here’s why: because

  • my son Aaron and I liked “The Interrupting Cow” joke very much, when he was little,
  • Aaron and I made up variations on that joke when he was young, including “The Interrupting Abe Lincoln” and “The Interrupting Therapist,”*
  • this past weekend, Aaron starred in a play where “The Interrupting Cow” joke made several appearances,
  • I like telling stories about my son Aaron,
  • I tend to interrupt others and myself when I (a) am anxious, (2) have a lot on my mind, (3) understand the point somebody is making and want to move on, and (4) am stalling for time, when I’m not sure how to tell a story (like now).

I imagine some of you might be interrupting this post now, thinking

What the *(*#@%!?@)* happened with the cardiologists yesterday, Ann?????

Ann and Some Cardiologists, Yesterday

by Ann

The first cardiologist I saw yesterday was somebody I met on Monday, for the first time.

Let me interrupt this story to give you some context, to why I am seeing a bevy** of cardiologists, these days. I and a herd** of cardiologists are trying to figure out (1) what is going on with my very unusual heart and (2) what to do about that.

The cardiologist I met for the first time, on Monday, is named Dr. Mark Z.   I am not disguising his name to protect his identity, I just can’t remember his last name. It’s too long.

I don’t think cardiologists should be allowed to have long names, should they?

Man, I don’t know where THAT interrupting thought came from. It doesn’t even make sense.

Anyway, so I met Dr. Mark Z for the first time on Monday. He was part of a team** of cardiologists, whom my primary cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem, wanted me to meet with.

I interrupt this post to tell you my first impression of Dr. Mark Z.  I didn’t particularly like him.

Why?  Because

  • he didn’t smile,
  • he asked me a question that I experienced as challenging and not completely respectful, and, most importantly,
  • he was a member of a pack** of cardiologists whom I was meeting for the first time, and even though I am a group therapist and I passionately believe in the healing power of groups, a group of unknown people makes people nervous.

I interrupt this story to bring you the interchange between me and Dr. Z., on Monday, so you can decide for yourself about it (although if you were there in the examining room and heard everybody’s tone of voice and saw everybody’s body language, you might come to different conclusions):

Me:  This is why I think I am not feeling as well, lately.  Because I am in atrial fibrillation, my pacemaker can’t speed up on hills and stairs …

Dr. Mark Z (interrupting):  How do you know that?

Me: (giving him a dirty look, because I hate being interrupted, especially by doctors, because I’ve been dealing with this my WHOLE FRIGGIN’ LIFE): Because I can feel it. And,  I take my pulse.

Dr. Mark Z: Oh.

I interrupt this post with the realization that Dr. Mark Z might NOT have been disrespectful or doubting of me or dense or anything else judgmental I might think of him. He might just have been doing what I do, sometimes: interrupting to get more information.

The group** of cardiologists I saw, on Monday — of which Dr. Z. was one — decided that I needed more tests to ascertain whether I need heart surgery, which could be

  • valve replacement surgery or
  • a heart transplant

I have already gotten different opinions about this, depending upon whom I talk to, among the pride** of cardiologists involved in my story.

Dr. Mark Z., who is a pediatric cardiologist, offered his opinion on Monday that  I needed yet another echocardiogram, before any of the swarm** of cardiologists involved in my life could figure out what to do with me. Before I could ask, “Why?”, he told me that the special echocardiogram they have in the pediatric division of Tufts Medical Center (where my usual congregation** of cardiologists practice) might give more useful information about my heart than the usual echocardiogram I get, every six months or so.

I interrupt this post to explain that droves** of cardiologists have trouble deciding (1) what is going on with my heart and (2) what to do next because

  • in my heart, the ventricles and the valves are doing work that they are not designed to do, which is exceedingly rare, and
  • nobody can get good friggin’ pictures of what’s going on with me, in order to decide about next steps, because everything is in a different place, heart-wise. (Pardon this interruption, but when I said to the nice woman doing my echocardiogram yesterday, “my heart is not photogenic,” she replied,  “yes, your heart is not echo-genic.”)

I interrupt that interruption to tell you that when I showed up for my echocardiogram in Pediatrics Cardiology yesterday,  and the nice people at the desk did not seem to know why I was there, I said — interrupting their work:

” You’re not used to seeing people my size, are you?”

“You don’t know why I’m here, do you?”

“Would you like me to give you a clue about who scheduled this echocardiogram for me?”

“On Monday, I saw a doctor named Mark who never smiled, and he wanted me to get this echo done here, today.”

I definitely saw smiles on some faces when I described Dr. Mark Z that way, and after waiting for a short time (during which I snapped this photo, in the waiting room of Pediatric Cardiology):

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… I was ushered into a room with Dr. Mark Z.’s extra special echocardiogram machine:

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…which to me, didn’t look particularly special, but I have to have faith that my committee** of cardiologists knows what they’re doing.

I didn’t take the name or photos of the nice woman (mentioned above in a previous interruption) who did the echocardiogram on me, yesterday.  The test took a long time, as it usually does, because of my unusual anatomy. In the course of the test, we discussed many things, including:

  • my experience of other echocardiograms in my life (and I have had a flock** of those, believe me),
  • my son, and
  • her teenagers.

After the echocardiogram was over,  Dr. Mark Z made another appearance in my life and told me, in no uncertain terms, that he and a surgeon had looked at the pictures of my heart and, in his opinion, I needed

  • heart valve surgery and
  • ASAP (probably next month).

When I was talking to Dr. Mark Z about this, I expressed many feelings, including fear and sadness, and I told him about some difficult experiences I had, as a child, when doctors didn’t know much about how to deal with kids with cardiac problems. Dr. Mark Z was very sympathetic.  At one point, he said to me, “Do you want a toy?”  which struck me as very kind.

I said, “Of course.”

Here are some photos of Dr. Mark Z., giving me a toy:

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As you can see, I was wrong about Dr. Z never smiling.  He also gave me a free t-shirt:

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which reminds me of another time I got a free t-shirt but — don’t worry — I’m not interrupting this story to tell you that one.

After the echocardiology test, I had an appointment to see Dr. Deeb Salem. Let me interrupt this post now, to tell you some important facts about Dr. Salem:

  1. When I was in my 20’s, I decided to leave Children’s Hospital in Boston and choose a cardiologist I wanted to work with, now that I was an adult,
  2. I interviewed several cardiologists at several famous hospitals in Boston,
  3. I chose Dr. Salem, because he treated  me with respect and said things  like “You  know more about your situation than I do” and “You’re obviously very smart,” and
  4. he was obviously very smart.

On my walk to see Dr. Salem, after the echocardiogram and the discussion with Dr. Mark Z, I was trying to adjust to the idea that I was going to need major heart surgery and soon. As I had admitted to Dr. Z., I have a lot of fear about heart surgery, because of experiences I had as a kid.

Then, I had a looong meeting with Dr. Salem. We interrupted each other a lot, as we always do.  At one point, he interrupted me to tell me that he always schedules me as his last appointment of the day, to give us time to talk.

Here is Dr. Salem, being interrupted by a phone call from his son:

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I could hear his son, during this phone conversation, asking his father about a worrisome stomach problem he was having. Dr. Salem and his son kept interrupting each other,  and I kept laughing, as I was listening to them. When Dr. Salem hung up, here’s what we said to each other:

Dr. Salem: Let me ask you this.  Who do you think, out of all my children, reminds  me most of you?

Me: That one.   I was thinking, “He interrupts you more than I do!”

Dr. Salem: Yes.  That was my son, Michael. He is very smart and he asks a lot of questions. Thank you for helping me prepare for Michael.

I can’t tell you everything Dr. Salem and I talked about yesterday. I don’t have time. I mean, we talked for way over an hour!!

I have to interrupt the telling of this story, so I can get to work on time.

However, I do want to interrupt any conclusions you might have drawn about what is going to happen to me in my heart in the near future by letting you know all this:

  1. Dr. Salem thinks that the data is still inconclusive.
  2. He discontinued one of the heart medications the committee** of cardiologists started on Monday, because (a) it was making me feel sick and (b) it’s probably not going to help that much, at this point,
  3. He went over all the possible and likely outcomes for my future, including (a) heart valve replacement and (b) heart transplant,
  4. He doesn’t think surgery needs to be done in January,
  5. He knows that I am seeking a second opinion from yet another cardiologist at my old hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and he said, “If you like this guy, tell him I would be happy to talk to him,” and
  6. Even though we talked about very scary things, I believed, at the end of this conversation, that Dr. Salem will do everything in his power to meet my request: “I want to live as long as possible.”

I interrupt this post to tell you this.  After seeing Dr. Salem yesterday, I feel MUCH BETTER.

Feel free to interrupt with any comments, whatsoever.

Ooops!  I forgot to interrupt this post with more photos from yesterday:

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What song would I like to interrupt this post with, now?  I honestly can’t remember, at this point, what songs I heard yesterday. Are there any songs I know about “Interrupting”?  Can’t remember that, either.

How about this one, about gratitude?

(If you want to interrupt your reading of this post to find “Thank You,” performed live by Sly and the Family Stone on YouTube, look here.)

Thank you to the gaggle** of doctors I have seen over the last 61 years — most especially Dr. Deeb Salem — and to you, for reading this interrupting post so kindly and patiently, with or without interruptions.


*  The  Interrupting Abe Lincoln  and Interrupting Therapist jokes include these lines: (1) “Four score and seven years ago” and (2) “We have to stop now.”

** While that first footnote would have been a perfect way to end this post, I need to interrupt here to direct you to this Wikipedia page, for collective nouns like “bevy,” “gaggle,” “team,” “committe,” “flock” etc.

Categories: personal growth, tribute | Tags: , , , , | 56 Comments

Day 716: Cheer up

People who are dealing with depression, especially around the holidays, sometimes hear family and friends say:

Cheer up!

Wanting others to be happy is a wonderful sign of kindness, but saying

cheer up!

does not always work. That is, somebody who is feeling down might hear

cheer up!

and feel

  1. misunderstood
  2. criticized
  3. invalidated
  4. pressured, and
  5. cheered down.

Lately, I’ve been having some down moments — here and there —  related to changes and uncertainties about my heart health. Nobody has said “cheer up” to me, in so many words.

As best I can, I’ve been working on cheering myself up, by

  • focusing on work I love,
  • taking photographs,
  • writing blog posts,
  • listening to music,
  • exchanging gifts,
  • wisely indulging in chocolate,
  • and connecting with great people, in the blog-o-sphere and the Greater-Boston-o-sphere.

For example, last night, my boyfriend Michael and my 16-year-old son Aaron met up with my long-time friend Jon and his wife, Debbie.

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Don’t Jon and Debbie look cheery? Spending time with them last night cheered me up, for sure.

Jon reads my blog every day and Debbie often reads it, too. Last night, over dinner, Jon recalled his most recent blog post appearance, which I shall repeat here:

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That’s a card Jon sent me in the hospital, when we were both much, much younger. (The thought of being younger doesn’t necessarily cheer me up right now. Instead, knowing I have a good chance of getting considerably older would REALLY cheer me up.)

By the way, that’s a COMPLETE COINCIDENCE that Jon’s card from way-back-when actually says “cheer up!” I had no memory of that when I decided on the title for today’s post. What are the chances of that kind of synchronicity, dear readers?

For some reason, coincidences and synchronicity cheer me up, every time. (It also cheers me up that I haven’t yet written a post titled “Coincidence” or “Synchronicity.” I guess I still have many more posts left in me.)

Here’s something else that cheers me up: Just now, I was easily able to locate something else that Jon wrote to me, long ago. Here are Jon’s words, on my 9th grade yearbook, which cheered me up when I was 14 years old:

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In case you can’t read those cheering words from Jon(ny), they say “Good luck to a literary master and a good V.P.” To explain:  I ran for Vice President of our 9th grade class and when I won that election, I was

  • cheered up and
  • surprised.

Here’s hoping it will cheer us all up if I present some other photos I took yesterday:

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Some of those cheering displays, shown in the last eight photos above, had motion sensors. After we were looking at those happy snowmen, Michael said, “Did you notice that the snowmen were frowning at first, and when we walked by, they all smiled?”  I’m not sure, but I think Michael said that to cheer me up.

Before we walked away from that amazing Christmas display, some bells sensed Michael-and-me motion,  and they played this song:

(If it would cheer you up to do so, you can find a cheer-filled “Carol of the Bells” performed by my hometown orchestra here on YouTube.)

I shall now repeat the following photo from this weekend post, for some musical Chanukah Cheer:

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One more photo to cheer myself up, before I end this post and (1) cheer up people where I work this morning (I hope) and (2) get cheered up by my long-time, trusted, and faithful cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem this afternoon (I hope).

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I took that photo a few days ago (if you follow me), outside the Art Center where my son was appearing in a play over the weekend. I couldn’t figure out how to include that image in the next day’s post, and I’ve been missing its presence here. It cheers me up, right now, because it shows:

  • color
  • home
  • learning
  • smile
  • peace.

What do you see around you that cheers you up?

Thanks to Jon, Debbie, Michael, Aaron, Dr. Salem, all the creative people shown in this post, and everyone else, everywhere, who has been cheering me up (including you — of course! — with your visit here, today*).


* Many minutes after I published this post, (1) it is not showing up in my reader here  and (2) I haven’t received any likes.  Here’s how I’m going to cheer myself up about  another (WordPress**) change I cannot control: (1) let it go and (2) go on.

** Here’s another WordPress change I just noticed: despite my having close to 2,000 followers four days ago (see “Follow Me” for more about that), WordPress is now telling me I have approximately 1600 followers. I apparently lost 400 followers, including myself. Was it something I said, did, or wrote?  In any case, I’m going to (1) let that go and (2) go to work.  Cheer up!

Categories: blogging, friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 715: What a pill

I don’t like taking pills.

A new cardiologist I saw yesterday suggested that I take two new pills, as a possible way to relieve effects of my leaky heart valve and to postpone — or even avoid! — heart surgery.

Pills are a lot easier to take than heart surgery, right?

So why would I NOT want to take a pill?

Maybe it’s because

  • pill = illness, in my mind,
  • before I got my first cardiac pacemaker at age 10, the doctors gave me a terrible, horrible-tasting pill to speed up my heart, and
  • the word “pill” means, among other things, “a tedious or unpleasant person.”

I don’t want to be a pill about pills, but it does seem like pills are often used as a quick fix for a variety of ailments that, perhaps, could be relieved by other means.

For example, yesterday morning I did lots of exercise at cardio rehab and I felt great, without the use of any pills. I — along with many patients I see for individual and group psychotherapy — believe that exercise can be fabulous medicine for the heart, mind, and soul.

When I bragged to the cardiologist yesterday about how great I felt doing exercise, he replied that my feeling that good exerting myself does NOT necessarily correlate to my heart being as healthy as we’d like. If I didn’t think he was such a nice and competent doctor, I might say about that cardiologist:

What a pill!

… for giving me that kind of a reality pill when I was feeling so much hope.

Does that sound like I took a mean pill?

Maybe it’s time for a chill pill.

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I found that chill pill here. I wonder if I’ll get into trouble for using that photo?  I might need another chill pill about that fear, now. But if I use another stock photo of a pill, will I be afraid of the consequences of that, needing yet another pill?

Is this an endless feedback loop?

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(I found that image here.)

Speaking of endless feedback loops, I was talking to somebody in a therapy session, yesterday morning, about breaking the seemingly endless negative feedback loops of self-criticism, fear, and anxiety. How?  By doing one small thing differently.

Maybe, just maybe, my taking the different, new action of swallowing an extremely small pill today will help my very unusual heart (despite my negative thoughts about taking pills).

Another thought about pills:  yesterday, right before I left work for that doctor’s appointment,  I suggested to another patient in a therapy session that she use a helpful thought as if it were a pill.  I prescribed her the phrase “good enough,” to take frequently as an antidote to perfectionism.

I like telling people to take non-medicinal items (like exercise, helpful phrases, the company of animals, the company of kind human beings, etc.) as if they were pills.  I often say, “You can take that as often as you like, without side effects.” If you’d like to take some (I hope) easy-to-swallow previous posts about non-medicinal antidotes, you can find them in my blogging medicine cabinet here, here, here, and here.

Take those and call (or comment) me in the morning (or whenever you like) about how they work, including any side effects.

Speaking of side effects, the new pills prescribed to me today may cause some side effects, including light-headedness.

As if my head weren’t light enough already.

To lighten the mood around here, I’m going to show you some photos I took yesterday, as  medicine for myself:

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Now, perhaps to cure what ails you, I prescribe the following song:

What else is in store for me in the days ahead, besides popping new pills? Seeing my old pill-jockey,* Dr. Salem. We’ll see how much of a pill he is (and I am), on Wednesday.

Thanks to all pills and non-pills out there, especially you (of course!) for taking  any medicine you could find here, today.


* That’s new slang I just made up, for doctor. Do you have any particularly medicinal ways of describing the doctors in your life?

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 714: Let’s Go Bongos

Eleven days ago, I wrote a post called “Go Ham,” wherein I defined and riffed on an expressive term used by the fabulous Danise

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from Mount Auburn Hospital Cardiac Rehab. I am now coining my own term

Go Bongos

which is similar to “Go Ham,” “Go Crazy,” and “Go Bonkers” (the latter defined on Wiktionary.com as

go bonkers (third-person singular simple present goes bonkers, present participle going bonkers, simple past went bonkers, past participle gone bonkers)

(informal) To lose one’s sanity.
We all knew he’d gone bonkers after he started speaking only gibberish.
(informal) To have a good time.
Everyone should just go bonkers at my next birthday party.

Synonyms
(go insane): go nuts, lose one’s marbles
(have fun): cut loose, go bananas, have a blast, have fun, let loose.)

Why “go bongos” today?

I thought you’d never ask.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been suggesting to my boyfriend Michael that we get his twin brother a pair of bongos for Christmas. Despite Michael telling me this was not a great idea, I kept going bongos over what a terrific present I thought that would be.

Also, I’m seeing a new cardiologist today and my current cardiologist(s) on Wednesday. I might go bongos when talking to them, as we try to figure out what the &*#!!@#!!  is going on with my bongoin’ heart and cardiac pacemaker.

Before I go bongos any more in this post, I think it’s time for some music, don’t you? I shall not go bongos today by using “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince,  because I already bongo’d out with that in the aforementioned  post 11 days ago.

I just searched YouTube for “bongos” and went bongos over this:

I wonder if that guy playing bongos to Santana‘s version of “Oye Como Va” is going bongos because he has OVER 232,000 VIEWS on YouTube. I wonder if my singing along to Pat Metheny’s “Third Wind” will ever get views like that!?

I’d definitely be going bongos if I believed that.

Here are some photos I took yesterday, as I was going bongos over my son playing the lead in a play in Arlington, Massachusetts, USA  and during my walk around that town looking for bongos (among other things) before the play started):

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That’s Alan Tauber, from Drum Connection, going bongos on an African drum and helping me go bongos too, literally, after we had a long and interesting conversation about cardiologists, general practitioners, psychotherapists, drums, the therapy groups I do, and several people we knew in common. How does one literally go bongos?  By buying some bitchin’ bongos,* that’s how.

After I went bongos in these different ways, I went to the third showing of the absurdist play “Being Borrowed” that Aaron, among other talented teenagers, has been going bongos in all weekend. I hope it didn’t drive Aaron bongos that I was sitting up on stage — very close to his starring performance — this time.

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Those last two photos don’t show my son (he’s the one going bongos with the red beard and no pants). That’s Aaron’s cousin Victoria as The King and Aaron’s friend Dan, who (1) bongo’d around the stage during a “Time Race” celebration, (2) played a box in the play, and (3) was going bongos when he, Aaron, and I went to see comedian Norm MacDonald Friday night.

A couple more things to go bongos over before I go bongos today with Danise, people at work, the new cardiologist, and a sleep specialist.

First, here’s a bumper sticker of somebody who is most definitely NOT going bongos:

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Here’s some things Michael and I went bongos over, yesterday evening, at our local supermarket:

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I think my mother would have gone bongos if she had lived to see the day there would be THAT MANY VARIETIES OF PAM (a cooking spray she really liked).

In conclusion, here’s Harley

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our cat who goes bongos over most loud noises, like the doorbell. However, when I went bongos on these last night

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Harley didn’t go bongos, at all.

Therefore, I’m keeping those bitchin’ bongos* FOR MYSELF.  End of story.

Thanks to anybody who has ever gone bongos, in any way, at any point in their lives (including you,  of course, since anybody who visits here makes me go bongos in the best sense of that made-up phrase).


* I’m calling these my bitchin’ bongos because sometimes I have trouble expressing anger and I’ve already found it VERY helpful and healing to accompany myself on the bongos while I’m bitching about (1) mixed messages from doctors, (2) not enough sleep, (3) tasks I don’t want to do, and (4) things I cannot control in the moment, like computer interface changes that are supposed to be “improvements” but actually make things  more difficult for me.**

** All of which tend to make me go bongos.

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

Day 713: Follow Me

Yesterday, I took the TIME to follow some new WordPress blogs. And some new people decided to Follow Me. Indeed,  I saw the following message:

You are following this blog, along with 1,947 other amazing people (manage).

If I’m following that message correctly,

  1. lots of people throughout the world are doing me the huge of honor of valuing this blog enough to follow it.
  2. WordPress is inviting me to manage something here, which I’m finding increasingly difficult these days (but I’m figuring it out, as I go along).
  3. WordPress agrees with me that my readers are amazing.

Yesterday, I also followed

  • my son Aaron to his keyboard lesson and to the play he’s appearing in and
  • my heart, intuition, and wishes as I walked around Arlington, Massachusetts, USA, listening to the Pat Metheny Group play (in my headphone/earmuffs).

If you need to, you can follow me to “Follow Me” by the Pat Metheny Group on YouTube.

Follow me now, amazing readers, to the images I followed yesterday in Arlington and then Watertown, Massachusetts, USA:

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To help you follow me through those pictures, I’ll give you a clue:  Aaron and I went to the Deluxe Town Diner (a favorite location previously appearing in posts here, here, here, and here) for lunch after his piano lesson, and that’s Kelly in the last shot (who has been following, with her kind regard, both me and son Aaron through the years). Previously, as you were following me through my walk through Arlington, you also encountered a music store and my son’s keyboard teacher, Tim Maurice.

I wonder if any readers who follow me can translate any of the difficult-to-follow signs above?

Follow me now, for a few more photos:

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That’s my sister, Ellen in the last shot, showing me the beautiful time piece she was wearing, as we watched my son Aaron acting on stage, last night.

That reminds me that it’s time for me to finish this post, so I can follow my son to today’s performance.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you might know that I seek within to see if anything seems left unwritten, before I end a post.

This is what follows that, here and now.

Fear sometimes follows me around, as I follow my way through this world.  I hope you follow me in this: please do your best to let go of fear. Marvelous things may follow.

Thanks to the Pat Metheny Group, Aaron, Tim, Kelly, Ellen, people who follow or are followed, and to all those who follow their own path (including you, if you follow).

Categories: blogging, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 43 Comments

Day 712: TIME

Okay, bloggers and bloggettes, it’s TIME for me to write a post about TIME and it’s TIME for you to read it, although we’re talking about two different TIMEs, already.

Speaking of different TIMEs, it’s TIME for me to include a song about TIME:

When I woke up this morning, not on TIME for a workday but definitely on TIME for a weekend, “TIME!” from this song (by the Chambers Brothers) for which “TIME!” was an important lyric, was timing in my head. If you have TIME to listen to this extended, live version, you can hear it here or visit there on YourTime, I mean YouTube.  If you don’t have enough TIME for that, the original version which the radio had TIME to play in the 1960’s is timing here on YouTube and playing here at the same time:

Yesterday, I SOMEHOW had enough time to

  1. Get up, get out of bed, check in with my son’s progress doing the same, get ready for work, start up and drive my car, and other TIMEd routines I do all the TIME,
  2. Work out on exercise machines while people and machines tracked my heart and cardiac pacemaker the entire TIME,
  3. Spend TIME at work with medical professionals and patients wanting therapy support,
  4. Take TIME to have a combination of mac & cheese and salad which I took TIME some TIME ago to write about here,
  5. See my son star in a play all about TIME, at the same TIME that other talented teenagers were on stage with him,
  6. Watch comedian Norm MacDonald spend some quality TIME on another Boston-area stage, making those of us who had taken the TIME for humor on a Friday night laugh at his TIMING and his thoughts about cannibalism, Cosby, crankiness, chops, chubbiness, cheese sandwiches, and crying (and those are just the C word topics I can remember, at this TIME).

The entire TIME I worked on that TIME list above

  • the words, every TIME I typed one, were jumping up and down on the screen, often out of my sight, because of recent interface changes WordPress took the TIME to implement without apparently taking the TIME to test whether these changes were actually improvements or approved by their users, forcing me to take more TIME creating this post and
  • this video — about Lester Chambers and the rest of the Chambers Brothers not getting residuals over TIME from “Time Has Come Today” — was playing, TIMEd to start automatically:

If I haven’t taken enough TIME, so far, to explain  well enough to you how much harder it is for me to take the TIME to write my daily post for you today, let me take more TIME, right now:

WordPress, the boss of me right now, yesterday trafficked in changes that make it markedly more difficult and TIME-consuming for me to create a post at this TIME. Whether this requires me and other people taking the TIME to advocate for change here … TIME will tell.

I shall now take the TIME to include photos I took the TIME to take yesterday:

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Thanks to my son, Lester Chambers and the Chambers Brothers,  the cardiac rehab peeps from Mount Auburn Hospital, everybody I saw yesterday at work, Kevin from Starbucks, the Arlington Children’s Theater, Declan Keefe, Matt Lundeen, Norm MacDonald, other people who helped with the creation of this post, WordPress (for giving me the opportunity and TIME to work on my patience), and MANY thanks to you, for taking your precious TIME here today.

Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism, pride | Tags: , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 711: Traffic

In a therapy group I facilitated last night, people talked a lot about traffic.

A traffic jam is seen during the rush hour in Beijing

(Image of Beijing traffic found here.)

The group members discussed ideas about ways to deal with and reduce the stress of traffic, including:

  • listening to classical music,
  • letting go of self-judgment, especially “shoulds” (e.g., “I should have left earlier,” “I shouldn’t have taken that turn,” “I shouldn’t have listened to my &*%$#!!&@# GPS system”),
  • having a dog with you in the car,
  • pretending that you are sitting on a sofa and chilling, and
  • loving the traffic.

Loving the traffic is really difficult to do. Usually, when we encounter an obstacle to where we want to go or what we want to do, we get angry.

Speaking of obstacles to getting where you want to go and doing what you want to do, WordPress has apparently changed ALL of its interfaces since yesterday, so I am feeling lost in unexpected traffic as I try to create this post. Feeling lost in unfamiliar WordPress territory like this is also interfering with my need to be somewhere by 7:30 AM —  that is, Cardiac Rehab with Danise, Carla, Kathy, and other people with heart.

How should I deal with all this traffic, letting go of stress about what I cannot control?

I could listen to classical music as  somebody suggested at the group last night (and I DO listen to classical music in the car), but  this morning I’m choosing this instead:

That’s “Forty Thousand Headmen” by Traffic,  which I found here. There aren’t a lot of live performances by Traffic trafficking on YouTube, so I’m happy to run into one of my favorite tunes by that 1970s group.

What else could I do now, to relieve the stress of traffic today?  I could take more advice from the group last night and have a dog on my lap or happily looking out the window, but this will have to do, instead.

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In the group last night, I made the point that it’s the traffic of thoughts in our head that causes us stress, worry, and fear —  not so much the external traffic around us.

So what’s my internal traffic report, right now? Well, I detect some thought fender-benders and pile-ups about:

  • doing too little and
  • doing too much.

Here’s what I notice about that: worrying about opposites like that doesn’t give me a lot of room to maneuver. The result?  Gridlock!

Here’s some traffic I encountered yesterday, as I was moving through my day:

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If you’ve braved the traffic in this blog lately, you might notice that the last photo is my second try at making some sort of visual pun regarding Christmas stockings and the Red Sox. I could probably drive that joke home more effectively if I had time this morning, but I don’t.

I will be driving in traffic many times today, including twice tonight:  (1) to see my 16-year-old son appear in a play and (2) driving him and a friend afterwards to see comedian Norm MacDonald in a 10 PM comedy show. Yes, it’s another day of pin-point timing.

How shall I let go of stress about that?  Well, I think if I don’t make everything perfectly on time, everybody will forgive me, including Norm MacDonald.

Speaking of Norm MacDonald, here he is in a comedy bit that fits the topic of today’s post:

 

You can find Norm talking about designated drivers here, on YouTube.

Contemplating all the traffic I’m going to face today is driving me to listen to more music, before I send this post into the traffic of the Blog-o-sphere.

If you want to find “Sunset Drive” by Jean-Luc Ponty, drive by here.

Gotta go love me some traffic!  Many thanks to all who drove me to write this post and to all driven here to read it (including you, of course).

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

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