Monthly Archives: February 2015

Day 779: Leave behinds

Before I leave behind any readers who haven’t heard the term “leave behind” before, here’s a definition that my Google search for “leave behind” left behind:

  1. (verb) to forget or neglect to bring or take.
  2. to cause to remain as a result or sign of something ⇒ the storm left a trail of damage behind.
  3. to pass ⇒ once the wind came up, we soon left the land behind us.

 Here’s something I want to leave behind for you now, in this post. The examples in that definition, from, remind me of the brutally snowy and cold weather I left behind in New England this week.

What that  above definition left behind, though, is the noun version of “leave behind,” which I definitely want to include as a leave behind in this post. Since every other definition I found online left that behind too, here’s my own definition, as a leave behind for you all:

leave behind

(noun) a memory or an actual thing that remains after an encounter, especially one that can be transformed into something helpful in the future.

I don’t know if that’s the best definition to leave behind in this post, but it will have to do as a good-enough leave behind, for now.

Believe me, I won’t mind if you come up with a better definition in a comment, thus leaving my definition behind yours, because that will make this post a better leave behind for everybody.

Before I leave behind anything else, I shall leave behind some of the reasons I thought of the title “Leave Behind” this morning:

  • Yesterday, my son and I had to leave behind our hope to see our friend Ron Lynch appear on the Conan show when Ron got back to us with the message that the Conan show couldn’t leave behind two tickets for us.
  • We then left behind Los Angeles and our wonderful hosts Krystal and Jim to drive up the coast towards San Francisco.
  • So we could leave behind too much consecutive driving on our way to visit my college roommate Marcia (whose wonderful leave behinds are included in previous posts I’ve left behind here, here, and here), Marcia suggested as a stop-over San Luis Obispo, the city that has, apparently, left behind unhappiness:


  • Last night, as we were about to leave behind our San Luis Obispo hotel room — for which left behind an excellent recommendation — for a walk and some dinner, we discovered we had left behind coatless weather in Los Angeles.
  •  I discovered I had left behind my most excellent raincoat at Krystal and Jim’s lovely home.
  • Krystal, who leaves most people behind in her thoughtfulness and generosity, offered to mail my left-behind raincoat to my friend Lawry, who — like Marcia — left behind the northeastern USA to move to a warmer and more hospitable climate (like every other person who hasn’t somehow left behind their senses*).

Here are some photographic leave behinds, from our travels yesterday through Santa Barbara , a local candy store, a San Luis Obispo ice cream shop, and other locations:


IMG_5654 IMG_5658 IMG_5661 IMG_5660 IMG_5659 IMG_5662 (1) IMG_5663

IMG_5668 IMG_5669

I didn’t leave behind any photos, above, of the beautiful scenery we drove through yesterday, because I didn’t take any. If you haven’t left behind your home at any point in your life to visit the coast of California, I suggest you leave behind any obstacles getting in the way of your doing that, as soon as possible.

I would be leaving behind my usual posting routine if I didn’t invite you to leave behind any comments you choose, here.

One more leave behind,  for this post, before we leave behind San Luis Obispo for a visit to the Hearst Castle:

At my age of 62, I sometimes think about what legacies I’m leaving behind me in this world. I hope those include kindness, humor, some leave-behinds about ways to leave behind fear and unhelpful thoughts, and other positive gifts for the people I’ve encountered.  No matter what, though,  here’s my best leave behind:


My son Aaron.

Many thanks to Krystal, Marcia, Lawry, everybody and everything that contributed to my creating and leaving behind this post,  all those we’ve temporarily left behind in New England, and you (of course!) for leaving behind other things to visit here today.

* While this might seem unduly judgmental of all those who haven’t left behind New England to move someplace warmer, those are the current views and feelings of the writer leaving behind this footnote.

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

Day 778: Getting back to each other

Yesterday, in beautiful, non-New-England-ish* Southern California, my son and I had fun in the sun and mild weather while we were waiting for Ron Lynch to get back to us.

If you don’t know who Ron Lynch is, let me get back to you about that, right now. Getting back to my 20’s, Ron Lynch was an amazingly funny stand-up comedian in Boston and an incredibly great teacher of stand-up comedy to me and many others. Getting back to  August 2014, Ron Lynch did his midnight Tomorrow! show daily at Scotland’s Festival Fringe, which Aaron and I got back to after spending August 2013 at the (getting back to Wikipedia) “world’s largest art festival.” (Getting back to clarity, Aaron and I first visited Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe in 2013 and returned there in 2014, during which we saw Ron perform there, several times.) (Getting back to previous blog posts, you can read about our experiences at the 2013 Fringe here, here, and here and then get back to our 2014 Fringe experiences here, here, here, here, and there.)

Getting back to yesterday, here are some photos  I took in the Los Angeles area while Aaron, Ron, and I kept getting back to each other about our plans to spend some time together later in the day:

IMG_5614 IMG_5622 IMG_5623  IMG_5625 IMG_5621  IMG_5627 IMG_5628  IMG_5631 IMG_5632  IMG_5633 IMG_5636

One thought that’s getting back to me when I look at those photos: Aaron borrowed my boyfriend Michael’s sunglasses for this trip, and I know he wants to make sure to get those sunglasses back to him, in Boston.

While Aaron and I were at the Griffith Observatory, Ron got back to us with finalized plans to meet for dinner and a comedy club, where Aaron might be able to perform, getting back to doing Open Mic. We picked Ron up  in Glendale and met his girlfriend’s cat, Eric …

IMG_5639 (1)

… who got back to us, for a moment.

Over dinner, Ron told us that somebody at the Conan O’Brien Show had just gotten back to him, hiring Ron to get back to impersonating Abraham Lincoln on tonight’s show.   Ron, who is always funny, generous, AND kind, asked us if we wanted him to try to get back to us with two tickets for tonight’s show.

I  said Aaron and I would get back to Ron about that, because our original plans were to leave Los Angeles today and start driving up to the coast to see friends in the San Francisco area. Ron said he would get back to us this morning about whether (1) he would be appearing on the show live or on tape and (2) people from the Conan show could actually get back to him with two of these in-demand tickets.

Also during dinner, I followed my own recent blog post advice of “Just Ask” and just asked Ron why he always got back to us so quickly when Aaron and I asked to hang out with him. Ron got back to us immediately with this: “Because I like you guys.”

Getting back to the comedy Open Mic plans for last night, when we got to the comedy club in Echo Park, there were already 90 people signed up to get back to the audience with three-minute sets. While we were waiting for people to get back to us about whether Aaron could perform, I took this photo:


I can’t get back to you now with the name of the club, but I CAN get back to you with why I noticed that art work: I’m waiting for cardiologists back in Boston to get back to me about possible future surgery for my very unusual heart, where my ventricles and arteries  face in a direction that is backwards to yours.

Soon, people got back to us and Aaron was able to get back up on a comedy stage:


After Aaron’s performance, Ron got back to us with this analysis: Aaron was one of the best we saw last night.

Now, I have to get back to preparing for the day, including getting back to my friends in Northern California about different possibilities of getting back to seeing each other after we leave LA and before Aaron and then I get back to Boston.

I hope you get back to me with comments or questions about this post, including your thoughts of what “Getting back to each other” means to you. And, I want to get back to sharing some favorite music with you, too:

You can get back to the Beatles performing “Get Back” here on YouTube.

Thanks to Aaron, Michael, Ron, Conan, the Beatles, Los Angeles, cats lost and found, comedy clubs with hearts, James Dean, rebels with or without causes, anybody who has ever gotten back to anybody in any way, and — especially! —  to you, for getting back here today.

* In case there’s any need for me to get back to you about this, I’m in no hurry to get back to New England.

Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 777: Update panic

Update: Santa Monica, California. February 16, 2015.

Dear Readers,

I am having multiple cases of Update Panic, right now.

Wait!  I need to update this blog post, already.  What IS Update Panic? And how can I have multiple cases of a mental and/or physical disorder that perhaps I just made up?

Arrghh! Now I need to update this post, again!  Why? Well,  I just assumed, in that previous paragraph, that “Update Panic” is not listed anywhere else on the internet, but I didn’t research that, first, by using a search engine like, say,  “Google.”

Gee!  I wonder if I have the latest update of Google?!?!?

Oh, it probably doesn’t matter.

Eeeek!  “It probably doesn’t matter” is what I sometimes tell myself about things I use on my computer, and then something changes  — like my ability to load photos from my iPhone to my laptop easily by using a cable connection — and I DON’T KNOW WHY!!!!

And THAT reminds me how my cursor has been freezing recently when I write blog posts and I don’t know if that has to do with WordPress updates or updates for my laptop or SOMETHING ELSE!!!

Update Panic!!!!

Here’s another update from me. I have put aside my Update Panics about uploading photos and my cursor freezing, for the moment, in order to give you another update regarding my aforementioned Google search for “Update Panic.”

When I searched Google for “Update Panic,” I saw this:

“About 40,900,000 results (0.27 seconds)”

… but no indication that “Update Panic” is a previously documented mental or physical problem.  Therefore, in the moment, I believe I can update this post by claiming, truly, that I have created something new and unique here, with “Update Panic.”

Wait!  I’m having another form of update panic, now!  I’m wondering if in my panicked states about updates, I am confusing my readers with all these updates within this post! Also, I’m realizing that I haven’t updated this post by doing something I like to do: just asking you how YOU might define a new term called “Update Panic.”

Yikes!  Before I panic any further about updates on the internet or the outernet, here is my personal definition of “Update Panic:”

  1. A rational and/or irrational fear of losing things,  screwing things up, and/or confusing matters, because of constant updates to software, hardware, and humanware, chosen or not chosen.
  2. The fear, deep within the gut, that ensues when humanware cannot tell whether updates installed or NOT installed are to blame for the unexpected inability to perform tasks using the same routines that worked before.

Aarrghh!  Now I have to update this post, AGAIN, with a definition of the “outernet” and of “humanware,” both of which I think I also just made up.

Okay, here’s my best shot at those updates:

outernet (noun).  Anything that is not the internet.

humanware (noun).  Humans (ironic).

I’m sure I could do a better job at defining those terms, but I’m IN THE MIDDLE OF UPDATE PANIC, PEOPLE!!

Why am I update panicking?

Here are more specific reasons for my current update panics, which I haven’t updated you about, yet: In an attempt to fix my recently developed inability to load my photos easily from my iPhone to my Mac Air laptop, I just updated both my phone AND my laptop with the latest operating systems available.

Question: Why didn’t I make those updates before now?

Answer: Update Panic!

Question: Why did I decide to do both updates at the same time, this morning?

Answer: Update Panic!

I tried to talk myself down from my Update Panic this morning, as I updated both my phone and my laptop, before I started writing this post.

Here’s another update: I had Update Hope,* too, as I waited for both my iPhone and laptop operating system updates to complete, because I thought that updating those might fix my photo-uploading problems.

Here’s another update!  Are you ready?

I still can’t load pictures between my iPhone and my laptop, even though I now have the latest possible versions of updates for my phone and my laptop!


Here’s another update: When I just googled, AGAIN, “iPhone photos not loading to mac air,” I found information that seems to indicate that iPhoto — the photo management software I’ve been using since I first joined the Apple World a few years ago — is OBSOLETE, now that I have updated to Yosemite, the latest operating system available for my Apple laptop.

Here’s another symptom of my Update Panic:  I’m even more easily distracted than usual. Therefore, “Yosemite” is reminding me of the last time I visited California, in 1997. I was here with my ex-husband, for the wedding of a friend. We also visited my long-time friend Lawry, whom my son, Aaron, and I will be seeing in a few days, when we drive up the coast of California.

Back then, in 1997, my then-husband and I also visited Yosemite, which was incredibly beautiful.


(Photo found on Wikipedia page)

Sometime, during that 1997 trip to California, even though I had given up on the possibility of our ever having a child, my ex and I conceived our now almost-17-year-old son, Aaron.  I was 44 years old.

Now I’m having this Update Panic.  After a memory like that, can I even return to the present?

Yes, I can and here’s another update:  When I discovered earlier today that iPhoto might be obsolete, incompatible or whatever other updated word we want to use, now that I have updated my computer with the Yosemite Operating System, my Update Panic seriously increased. As a matter of fact, I feared that ALL MY PHOTOS HERE AT WORDPRESS  MIGHT NOT SHOW UP.

When I visited WordPress after that Update Panic, I found that the photos were still all here.


Here’s another update: How do I know if I am suffering from a serious and documentable case of Update Panic, when I just made up the whole syndrome?  And if Update Panic is a new and previously undocumented problem (perhaps shared by me and others in the internet and outernet) … how can I or anybody else treat it ?

Well, I assume the treatment is the same as for any other type of panic. That treatment often includes the following:

  • Breathe.
  • Notice that you are safe enough, where you are.
  • Be aware of cognitive distortions, like catastrophizing, that are increasing the panic.
  • Tell yourself that the current source of panic — for example, not being able to transfer photos to the blog as easily as you did before — is NOT a life-and-death situation.
  • Breathe again.
  • Recognize that any change, even ones you choose, can cause fear.
  • Remember that you have the skills and experience to do “work arounds” to get the result that you want (for example, posting photos), even if it takes more time and patience than you originally allocated for the task.
  • Remind yourself that even though you might project expectations on to others (for example, assuming that your loyal readers will be disappointed if you do not post lots of photos every day you post), those projections may not be accurate.
  • Be aware of those you love and other supports near or far (for example, as you’ve been updating your travel plans).
  • As you do your best with all of the above, notice whether the updates and changes have had any positive effects.

Hmmmm. All those techniques, above, are helping me, right now.  And, I’m noticing that my cursor hasn’t frozen, yet, since I started writing this post.

Oh, wait. Here’s another update: my cursor just froze.

I am still not panicking.  I guess all those suggestions are still helping me.

I shall now further reduce any residual Update Panic by emailing myself some photos I took yesterday in California. I assume that solution will work, even after all these system updates.

Here are some photos I took yesterday, as my son and I enjoyed beautiful and warm Santa Monica, California:

IMG_5531 IMG_5532

Those two photos show the only thing I’ve seen, so far, that really reminds me of the snow I left behind in New England. Here’s an update about what those white speckles are: Pear tree blossoms in the patio of Krystal and Jim’s lovely home in Santa Monica.


Here’s another update: that’s something I see, whenever I look for it, everywhere I go.

Any Updates you want to add to this post, in the comment section below? I promise you I won’t panic.

Many thanks to Aaron, Krystal, Jim, Lawry, my ex-husband, Yosemite, Santa Monica, pear tree blossoms, love, and — of course! — to you, for reducing my update panic today, with your visit to this post.

* Final update for this post: “Update Hope” is another term I just made up.  I’m not panicking about that, either.

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

Day 776: Just Ask

If you have any questions or if you need anything, just ask. What have you got to lose?

Sometimes I hesitate to just ask, out of fear of a negative reaction. However, not asking means I will get no response, at all.  If I ask, at least I have a chance of getting something in return!

Yesterday morning, I just asked the universe for good enough weather, so my very-soon-to-be-17-year-old son Aaron and I could fly out to Los Angeles, California.

Here’s the first answer I saw:


That looks promising, doesn’t it?  However, the weather, as expected, deteriorated as we approached our flight time of 5:20 PM.

When Aaron and I were at Boston’s Logan airport yesterday, waiting to see if our plane would escape through Winter Storm Neptune to take us to sunny California, we saw this:


Of course, I couldn’t resist. So I walked up to the counter, acknowledged the invitation in the sign and just asked: “Will you be in my blog?”

Juan (on the right) didn’t just ask or say anything, but I took this photo anyway:


Juan just asked that I take a better photo of him, so I did:


Rico just asked me the name of my blog, and we agreed that he was more judgmental than Juan.


Then, Rico and Juan  just asked me: “What was your question?” And I repeated what I had just asked, “Will you be in my blog?”

The answer, if you didn’t already guess, was “yes.”

Then, I got some things I did not just ask for, including:

  • a flight delay, because of ice on the wings,
  • a return of my dreaded fevers, during the entire flight to California, and
  • Aaron and I missing our only chance, this trip,  to see the weekly midnight show of comedian Ron Lynch (appearing, if you just ask, in previous blog posts including here, here, and here).

Here and now, I am also getting much more than I would ever think to just ask for, including

  • my friend Krystal and her husband Jim’s generous and kind welcome to their lovely home in Santa Monica,
  • dinner with Ron Lynch on Monday, and
  • a return to a normal temperature, for me.

You might just ask me to show you some pictures of Santa Monica, but instead, I’ll just ask you to look at these photos I took before we left Boston:


IMG_5496 IMG_5499 IMG_5504 IMG_5510 IMG_5520 

If  you have any questions about those pictures — or anything else — in this post, just ask.

Many thanks to Aaron, Krystal, Jim, Juan, Rico, Ron, our cats, my boyfriend Michael (who I just asked to be my Valentine yesterday), to anybody anywhere who has had the courage to just ask, and to you — of course! — for just asking to read this post, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

Day 775: Awkward

Yesterday (my last work day before a two-week vacation),  I decided that the right thing to do was to go into work for a few hours in the afternoon, despite my running an awkwardly inconvenient fever two evenings before.

During my time at work yesterday, this was the only thing I awkwardly wrote on my white board:


I hope I can explain, non-awkwardly and clearly, why “Awkward” was hanging around on my white board yesterday, awkwardly alone like that.

I wrote “Awkward” during a final “termination” session (terminating therapy is described further and perhaps somewhat awkwardly in this here post), when a patient and I said goodbye to each other after working together for several months.  This termination session had been cancelled and rescheduled several times over the last week or so, because of the extreme Boston winter weather, which is making it supremely awkward to get anywhere these days.

I asked the patient, in yesterday’s termination session, what it was like for him to say goodbye to me (or to anybody else), and that’s when “Awkward” showed up.

Personally, I did not feel awkward about the word “Awkward” showing up in that way, because I think a lot of people feel awkward when saying “goodbye,” and I think it helps make the situation less awkward by naming the awkwardness.

What do you think of that awkward sentence, above?

I hope you don’t feel awkward about expressing your thoughts and feelings about anything I’m awkwardly including here today.

(I feel a little awkward writing this now,  but I think I might have too much to show and tell today about the topic “awkward,” which might make this post awkwardly long and confusing.)

Where was I, before that awkward digression?

Oh, yes. After I took that first photo yesterday, I knew “awkward” would be the topic today, and then I saw “awkward” everywhere, especially when I was trying to make my way home through the very awkward snow, ice, and super-cold temperatures in the Boston area. But I didn’t want to stop in the middle of any road and take photos — that would have been awkward, for lots of reasons.

I did manage to capture this one shot of the awkwardly-not-so-great outdoors:


Hey!  That photo reminds me, awkwardly, that it’s Valentine’s Day today. However,

  • we’re all awkwardly cold and snow-bound, where I live,
  • it’s awkward to get out to buy flowers, candy, and other non-awkward or awkward gifts (depending upon your thoughts and feelings about Valentine’s Day), and
  • my son and I are flying to California today, leaving my boyfriend Michael behind with our cats, which seems like a particularly awkward Valentine’s Day present.

Also, the name of that shop  — “Paradise Flowers” — is awkward, considering the current circumstances in the Northeast USA.

A few nights ago, when I was unknowingly coming down with an awkward fever and awkwardly taking these photos at Whole Foods Market (awkwardly presented before in this blog post, here) …

IMG_5428 IMG_5429 IMG_5430 IMG_5432 … I awkwardly slipped away from Michael and found a Valentine’s Day card for him. Then, I awkwardly ran to an open line and asked a nice cashier to RING THIS UP, QUICK! because I was buying it for my boyfriend who might awkwardly appear at any moment, and she got awkward and frazzled, but we managed to complete the transaction without Michael awkwardly spoiling the surprise.

I just took an awkwardly fuzzy photo of that Valentine’s Day card, but uploading photos has been awkwardly inconsistent for me lately (which is particularly awkward timing, because of the previously awkwardly mentioned two-week trip to California), so I’ll just awkwardly tell you this: the card has a picture of a duck.


More “awkward” thoughts from your awkward WordPress host, in the awkwardly cold and snowy here and now:

  • For some awkwardly unknown reason, writing these blog posts is very technically awkward for me these days —   my cursor is awkwardly freezing; linking to other sites, fixing typos, etc. are now all awkwardly and unexpectedly difficult;  and I am awkwardly thrown out of each post I’m composing at least once.  I awkwardly don’t know who to blame …  WordPress, my laptop, or me.  Here’s an non-awkward solution: I shall blame nobody and just keep awkwardly posting on.
  • With post creation here more obviously awkward and difficult for me, I’m awkwardly catastrophizing that WordPress might awkwardly go away some day, AND WILL ALL MY HUNDREDS OF POSTS DISAPPEAR, TOO?  That would be VERY awkward.
  • I awkwardly read a WordPress post by another blogger whose name I’ve awkwardly forgotten the other day that put that catastrophic scenario of LOSING EVERYTHING awkwardly into my head, but when I tried to follow the instructions for saving all of my awkward and non-awkward posts for posterity, that awkwardly did NOT work.
  • I can easily feel awkward in new situations, so I may very well feel some awkwardness when I awkwardly encounter all the adventures ahead of me for the next two weeks in California. I believe I am awkwardly ready enough for all that.
  • Yesterday, when I was awkwardly looking at the awkward weather forecast for the Boston area (which included ANOTHER !*!!(@)!!!?@ AWKWARD BLIZZARD), it seemed like the timing of that blizzard might awkwardly delay the flight later today that my son and I have been awkwardly anticipating for several weeks. For now, I am awkwardly keeping my awkward fingers crossed.
  • That next awkwardly anticipated blizzard has already caused the awkward public transportation system in the Boston area to totally and awkwardly shut down for tomorrow, Sunday. That’s going to make things awkward for a lot of people.

Here’s another awkward segue: After I got home from work, yesterday, my downstairs neighbor Karen’s dog, Faxy, ran upstairs into our apartment and had a close-if-not-awkward encounter with our very non-awkward cat, Oscar. I would feel very awkward if I did not show you some of these pictures, as I promised Karen yesterday I would, but it’s awkward for me to decide which ones of the many photos I awkwardly took yesterday to awkwardly share with you now.

IMG_5459 IMG_5462 IMG_5463 IMG_5465 IMG_5467 IMG_5468 IMG_5469 IMG_5471 IMG_5479 IMG_5481 IMG_5486 IMG_5491

That last awkward photo includes the awkwardly elusive and shy Harley under the table, who actually seemed to feel LESS awkward with a STRANGE DOG than he does with two of the humans who live with him (including one who actually CHOSE AND RESCUED HIM FROM THE SHELTER).


Here is one more awkward image I noticed last night:


That’s an awkward birthday card I unexpectedly received from one of my old college roommates, Nancy. I just tried to change the awkward sideways orientation of that photo the way I usually do, but that didn’t work.


Would it be awkward for me to ask you what awkward music you might include in this awkward post?

Last night, I decided to choose this song, which has some awkward lyrics about California:

Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald are singing “The Lady is a Tramp” here at YouTube.

I shall now awkwardly ask, again, for any comments, awkward or not.

Thanks to all awkward and non-awkward humans, animals, weather systems, and computer interfaces who/that (awkward!) helped me compose this here awkward post and I hope it doesn’t seem awkward that I’m particularly grateful to YOU, for visiting today.

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

Day 774: What’s the right thing to do?

“What’s the right thing to do?” is a question I can ask myself, quite frequently.

Lately, I’ve been asking myself that question about:

  1. Preparing for a trip to California, starting tomorrow.
  2. Preparing for tax day, April 15.
  3. Preparing for my high school’s 45th reunion, some time in 2015.
  4. Preparing for the rest of my life.
  5. Interacting authentically with people, balancing my needs with their needs.
  6. Deciding, with the help of a cadre of cardiologists,  how to keep my very unusual heart beating, for as long as possible.
  7. Writing today’s blog post.

While asking

What’s the right thing to do?

can be important and helpful,  focusing TOO MUCH and TOO OFTEN on

“What’s the right thing to do?”

can be paralyzing and overwhelming, especially when right or wrong is not obvious.

When I am leading therapy groups at the Boston hospital where I work, I often say

There is no right or wrong way to do this.

I like saying that. And, people in the groups seem to like hearing that, too. Maybe that’s because we can all get caught up in the “cognitive distortion” of all-or-nothing thinking:

All-or-Nothing thinking (also known as “Black-and-White thinking”).
Things are either all good or all bad, people are either perfect or failures, something new will either fix everything or be worthless. There is no middle ground; we place people and situations in “either/or” categories, with no shades of gray, or allowing for complexities. Watch out for absolute words like “always”, “never,” “totally,” etc. as indications of this kind of distortion.

Today, Friday the 13th, February 2015, I hereby resolve to let go of right-or-wrong, all-or-nothing, and black-and-white thoughts that get in the way of my moving forward.

Instead, I’m going to allow room for shades of grays and the full spectrum of colors, like in these photos:


IMG_5428 IMG_5429 IMG_5430 IMG_5432 IMG_5431 IMG_5436

Yesterday, I couldn’t figure out

What’s the right thing to do?

… to load all those photos from my iPhone to my laptop.  Sometimes, just waiting patiently resolves a problem.

That last photo shows a new snow shovel that my wonderful downstairs neighbor, Karen, recently bought for us, to help us deal with all the !!@&!!!! snow in Boston  (see here, here, here, here, and here, for more details and images about that).

I don’t have to worry about

What’s the right thing to do?

with that shovel, until I get back from California.

I’m going to ask myself, just one more time:

What’s the right thing to do?

… before I publish this post.  What’s the right music to include here?

Do you have any ideas? Because I’m a little distracted today.

Maybe I should take my own advice:

 Sometimes, just waiting patiently resolves a problem.

Got it!

Dr. John performing “Right Place, Wrong Time” is in the right place here on YouTube.

Thanks to doctors everywhere, to anybody who has ever asked “What’s the right thing to do?” and to you — of course! — for being the right place at whatever time, today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 47 Comments

Day 773: Getting warmer

I am so looking forward to flying to California in two days to get warmer.

California will definitely be warmer than Boston, these days.

Here’s an unexpected way I’ve been getting warmer.  I’m running another fever.

Sometimes when I’m upset and  having catastrophizing thoughts, like “I won’t be able to fly to California on Saturday!” I feel warmer, too.

I’m trying to stay cool about all this, by letting my doctors know, staying home from work today, and letting go of worst-case thinking.

I’ve also been feeling uncool this morning, because none of the photos I took yesterday on my iPhone are loading to my laptop. I thought I’d be getting warmer to fixing that problem by using a new cable, but the photos still won’t load.

That’s okay. I’m staying cool about that, too, by including these never-before-blogged photos, demonstrating how Boston is a long way from getting warmer:

IMG_5383 IMG_5384 IMG_5388 IMG_5405 IMG_5413 IMG_5418

What song would help with getting warmer today?

(This cool scene from West Side Story found here on YouTube.)

Thanks to all who keep their cool when things get warm and to you — of course! — for the warmth of your visit here today.

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

Day 772: Grapevines

Today’s word and topic, dear readers, is “Grapevines.” I know at least three definitions of the word “grapevine.” Let’s see what the on-line defining experts say.

1. a vine native to both Eurasia and North America, especially one bearing fruit (grapes) used for eating or winemaking. Numerous cultivars and hybrids have been developed for the winemaking industry.

I’ve never seen the word “cultivars” before, but maybe I’ll find out about that and other grapevine-related information when I visit Wine Country in California, very soon.


When I grapevined over to Google Images and entered “Wine Country California,” I received the above sign of that grapevine-y image (found here).

Here’s the next definition of “grapevine”:

2. informal
used to refer to the circulation of rumors and unofficial information.
“I’d heard through the grapevine that the business was nearly settled”

Perhaps you’ve heard it through the grapevine — or through your own experience of my blog — that I like to include music I love in these posts. Yesterday, I heard it, through my headphones, THREE versions of a favorite song in a grapevine row, as I was walking and grapevining to my car after work.

Gladys Knights and the Pips are grapevining through “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” here on YouTube.

Yes I am also hearing this live performance of Marvin Gaye singing “I Heard it Through the Grapevine on YouTube:

Creedance Clearwater Revival also are hearing it through the grapevine (here on YouTube, with lyrics):

Whenever I hear Creedance’s version of “Grapevine,” this thought grapevines through my mind: What accent is assigned, when “heard” sounds like “hoid”?

Before you hear this through the grapevine, I’ll tell you that I also like Michael McDonald‘s version of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” (here on YouTube):

You may have heard it through the grapevine — or just read it in this post — that I know a third definition of grapevine.

Can you guess what that is?

That third definition did NOT grapevine back to me in my first search online for grapevine defines.

When I grapevine over to, I find these grapevine signs:

First Known Use of GRAPEVINE

circa 1736
Rhymes with GRAPEVINE

A-line, affine, airline, align, alkyne, alpine, assign, at sign, balkline, baseline, beeline, benign, bloodline, blue line, blush wine, bo…

The Merriam-Webster grapevine gives us the date of first usage and the beginning of an obviously long list of rhymes, but no sign or line of the fine wine of that third way to define.

One more grape from the vine of Merriam Webster:

Definition of GRAPEVINE

city N Texas NE of Fort Worth pop 46,334

I shall now grapevine more online defines until the defining stars align in a way that’s benign and in line with mine.

Arrghh!  I can’t find that definition for which I pine!  Although I did find these fine lines, at

In the Civil War, a grapevine telegraph was a gadget used for communicating. From there, people started talking about “the grapevine” as a source of information, especially gossip. If you heard from a friend of a friend that another friend is getting married, you heard it on the grapevine. If your cousin’s cousin told you about a family scandal, you heard it on the grapevine. The grapevine is unofficial and full of hearsay: what you hear might not be accurate.

Perhaps it’s unofficial, hearsay, and inaccurate that there is a third definition of “grapevine.” However, I shall not resign, but bee-line to this fine define at Wikipedia:

Grapevine (dance move)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Grapevine is a dance figure in partner dancing that shares a common appearance, with some variation, in ballroom, club, and folk dances. It includes side steps and steps across the support foot. The step is used, for example, in the Foxtrot, Polka, Electric Slide and Hustle as well as in Freestyle aerobics.

Here are some signs and lines I saw as I grapevined through yesterday:

IMG_5385 IMG_5387 IMG_5392IMG_5393IMG_5395IMG_5396IMG_5397IMG_5399  IMG_5400

IMG_5403 IMG_5406 IMG_5409 IMG_5414 IMG_5416 IMG_5417



One final grapevine sign: I have yet to hear — through the medical grapevine — anything defined about my heart’s (alleged) decline (while I feel fine enough to grapevine).

That won’t stop me from grapevining up the coast of California, starting in three fine days!

Thanks to grapevines, grapeviners, definers, all those who composed, sang, or played on any version of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” the Fenway Park area of Boston, and to you — of course! — for grapevining your way here, today.

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

Day 771: When it’s cold outside

Yesterday, I asked the blogging question “Am I blue?”

And then, for much of the day yesterday, I was blue.

When it’s cold outside and relentlessly snowy, I can be blue. Also contributing to my blueness yesterday was

  • snow covering my car and the driveway when I went outside, because our “Mr. Plow” was stuck somewhere else,
  • my panicking about being late on a day where I was the On Call social worker to my hospital’s Primary Care Practice,
  • having to drag my boyfriend and son outside to get me shoveled out ASAP (with some help from warm neighbors), and
  • my realizing that — despite my goals for non-judgment and acceptance — I am done and beyond over-done, with New England winters.

And something I’ve learned — no matter what temperature it is outside or inside — once you realize you’re done with something, it’s more difficult to tolerate.

Lots of things went wrong yesterday, when it was cold outside. For example, the ATM machine at the hospital decided to keep $40, as a tip for its services:


In addition to that cold and greedy ATM machine, I saw all this yesterday, when it was cold outside:

IMG_5339 IMG_5341 IMG_5344 IMG_5354 IMG_5356 IMG_5358 IMG_5359 IMG_5362 IMG_5365 IMG_5367 IMG_5369 IMG_5372 IMG_5373IMG_5370


It was warm inside, yesterday, when I allowed myself to feel it.

IMG_5352  I took photos of two people who LOVE the winter, hoping I would catch their enthusiasm for when it’s cold outside:



That’s Mark and Julia, who’ve appeared in this blog before, when it’s been different temperatures outside. It’s always warmer, inside, when they’re around.

When it’s cold outside, I like to demonstrate how cold it is with pictures. And I just took some new photos to show you,  this morning. However, my computer is not sensing my iPhone through the cable extension. Maybe that’s because I’ve dropped my iPhone in the snow, one too many times, when it’s cold outside.

When it’s cold outside, I need to come up with alternate solutions for problems. So, I just emailed myself these photos:

IMG_5376 IMG_5377 IMG_5379 IMG_5382

“When it’s cold outside” is actually a line from a song I loved, during the 1980’s.

Anybody want to guess what song that is?

Would it help you to guess if I included a few more of the lyrics?

Spare a little candle
Save some light for me.
Figures up ahead
Moving in the trees.

Darkness on the edge
Shadows where I stand.
I search for the time
On a watch with no hands.
I want to see you clearly
Come closer than this
But all I remember
Are the dreams in the mist.

Going to California with my son in four days seems like dreams in the mist to me, right now.

But that’s NOT a dream.

Neither is “These Dreams,”  by Heart (warmly playing here, with lyrics, on YouTube):

Gotta go back out there this morning, when it’s cold outside.

Heart-felt thanks to Mr. Plow (for plowing this morning), my son Aaron, my boyfriend Michael, my neighbors,  Mark, Julia,  Heart, all those who brave the cold, and to you — of course! — for visiting today, no matter what it’s like outside.

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

Day 770: Am I blue?

Am I blue?

I have some reasons to be blue, this morning:

  1. More white-and-sometimes-blue snow is piling up around here, in Boston USA.
  2. Mary — whom I was looking forward to seeing, after her return from  a two-week vacation — won’t be coming in today to the hospital where we work together.
  3. I’m going to be the only Social Worker On Call, all day, for the very large primary care practice where I do individual and group therapy.
  4. I’m waiting on some possibly blue-making news from cardiologists of many colors, regarding future surgery on my red-and-blue heart.

I have reasons to be blue, but am I blue?

Am I blue, from the cold?

No, I’m not.  I might be blue from cold, by the time I get to work this morning, but I’m not blue yet.

Am I blue, because I have a very unusual heart that pumps blood in unexpected ways?

No, I’m not. Medical people, when they’ve seen pictures of my heart, have looked at my fingers and toes expecting them to be blue (because of the strange route my blood takes), but I’m always pink (unless I’m outside too long in the !!&#@!!#@!! New England cold).

Am I blue, in any way, this morning?

I shall check in with myself — internally and externally — in this moment.

I have discovered two ways in which I am blue, right now.

Before I reveal those, will it make you blue if my thoughts turn to blues in the recent past?

I saw these blues last night, while Grammys for blues, rock, R & B,  and other kinds of music were being awarded in Los Angeles, California.*

IMG_5298 IMG_5303 IMG_5305 IMG_5311 IMG_5313 IMG_5322 IMG_5326 IMG_5330 IMG_5333

Here’s a link to the complete list of all the (probably-not-blue) winners of Grammy awards this year. It always makes me a little blue that more musical genres — like bluegrass — aren’t included in the Grammy awards TV show. However, it makes me the opposite of blue (whatever color that would be) to see, this morning, that some of my favorite entertainers won Grammys this year, including:

  1. Chick Corea (appearing in blog posts here and here),
  2. Weird Al Yankovic (appearing in the comment section of this here blog post),
  3. Pharrell Williams (appearing in this blue-and-non-blue blog post AND consistently making me the opposite of blue with his song “Happy”) (including right now, as I’m composing this “Am I Blue?” post),
  4. Joan Rivers (appearing in this here blog post), and
  5. John Williams (whose music appears in this blog post).

As I’m looking at that list of winners of 2015 Grammy Awards, I’m noticing that a Black Jack AND a White Jack might both reply “NO!” to “Am I Blue?” this morning.

Is anybody out there saying, “YES!” to the question “Am I Blue?” … for any reason?

And, am I blue that I’ve gone such a long, slow distance away from those two ways I am blue, this morning?

NO! Here are the two ways that I’m blue, here and now:

IMG_5334 IMG_5335

Am I blue that a terrific song “Am I Blue?” was written in 1929 by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke?

I’m not blue that “Am I Blue?” — as performed by Hoagy Carmichael in the movie To Have and Have Not  — is here on YouTube.

Will you be blue if I don’t include more versions of “Am I Blue”?

Ethel Waters sings “Am I Blue?” here on YouTube.

Billie Holiday sings “Am I Blue?” here on YouTube.

Ray Charles and Dick Cavett (who has battled the depression blues most of his life) sing “Am I Blue?” here on YouTube.

Batman sings “Am I Blue?” here on YouTube.

Linda Ronstadt sings “Am I Blue?” here on YouTube.

Cher sings “Am I Blue?” here on YouTube.

Am I blue right now, after listening to such a great song performed in so many ways?  What do you think?

Many blue and non-blue thanks to all those who have ever been blue in any way, including you!

*My son Aaron and I are flying to Los Angeles, California in five days. I am definitely NOT blue about that.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 57 Comments

Blog at