Monthly Archives: June 2015

Day 911: Does that ring a bell?

Does the expression “ring a bell” ring a bell for you?

Here’s the definition, from Google:

1. informal

 revive a distant recollection; sound familiar. 

“the name Woodall rings a bell”

For me, the name Woodall does NOT ring a bell. Does that name ring a bell for you?

Here are some things that have been ringing bells for me lately, but differently than they’ve rung in the past:

  • Technology and machines have been misbehaving. For example, my WordPress phone application froze this morning, so I deleted it (despite the daunting  message “If you delete WordPress you will delete all data”) and then reinstalled it — feeling almost no fear  about that.
  • I’ve been summoned to a meeting today at work that’s supposed to be very important, with somebody I don’t know, with no explanation about who, why, or what I am expected to do, and I am feeling almost no fear about that.
  • As I’m writing this, I’m aware of my newly implanted large  cardiac device that’s causing me some physical discomfort, and I am feeling almost no fear about that.
  • I’ve been asked to give a training presentation about my “Coping and Healing” therapy groups in August, and I am feeling almost no fear about that.
  • I am realizing that I may conceivably hurt somebody’s feelings or offend somebody at some point  (an inevitable occurrence in human interactions), but I am feeling almost no fear about that.

Is this post ringing any bells for you, so far?

I thought of the  title for today’s post yesterday, when I was walking and listening to music that rings bells for me.

Does that ring any bells?

Here’s the tune — which used to be my phone ring tone — that rang that bell for me, yesterday:

Booker T & the MGs are ringing bells and playing lots of instruments  on  “Green Onions,” here at YouTube.

Typing “Booker T & the MGs” just now rang this bell for me:  Talking to WordPresser Mark Bialczak, a few weekends ago, about spelling the names of bands accurately.

Perhaps these photos I took yesterday will ring some bells:


If you leave a comment about this post, that will definitely ring my bell.

Bell-ringing thanks to all people, pets, food, and places that helped me write today’s post and special thanks to you — of course! — for whatever bells are ringing, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 910: What do you hear?

All my therapy groups start with a mindfulness exercise, where we use our senses in silence. One of my favorites  is listening to whatever we can hear in the room. 

If you were to do that exercise right now, what would you hear?

What do I hear? 

Birds chirping. The dishwasher humming. The sound of my typing this on my iPhone keyboard. My breathing. My cat Oscar jumping up on the table and positioning himself. 


A coat on the back of my chair falling to the floor. 


Yesterday, after hearing the sound of rain for many hours, I left the house wearing my “left the house before I felt ready” t-shirt.  I was still hearing rain as I approached my car, only to discover I had left the driver’s side window open, all night long. 

What would you have heard, if you were there?

Just these sounds:

  • A sigh. 
  • A car door opening. 
  • The sound of my placing down carefully, in the back seat of the car,  the bowl of potato salad my bf Michael had made the night before.
  • My  feet on the back steps up to our place.
  •  “Guess what? I left my car window open all night. I haven’t done that in a while,” spoken to my 17-year-old son, Aaron. 
  • A kitchen drawer opening. 
  • Two garbage bags being removed from their container. 
  • My feet on the steps back down. 
  • The sound of two garbage bags being placed to cover the driver’s seat. 

After I heard all those sounds, I drove off to attend the annual summer gathering of the doctors, nurses, and other people working in the same suite as me.  What sounds do you think I heard, on my way there?



On the radio, I heard “Do I Hear a Waltz” — with music by Richard Rodgers (whose birthday it was) and words by Stephen Sondheim.

Then, I heard the sound of my memories of 

  • loving that song the first time I heard it, when I was a kid, 
  • choosing it to sing at a performance, when I was a kid, and 
  • forgetting the words on stage. 

I also heard, yesterday, the sound of these thoughts:

Gee! I guess I loved the words of Stephen Sondheim from the very first moment I heard them. They’re not so easy for a kid to remember!

What did I hear at the party yesterday, in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston?

The sounds of people who work together at a Primary Care Practice in a large Boston teaching hospital,  connecting in different ways. 

What do you hear (or see) as you look at the few photos I took at that gathering ?


What did I hear, once I got home afterwards?










Now, I need to make the sounds of going to work, on a Monday morning. 

Do you hear the sounds of gratitude to everybody I heard and saw yesterday, and to you, too? 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 41 Comments

Day 909: I Heart Accuracy

Two days ago, somebody came to therapy wearing this t-shirt:

I ❤  accuracy,  but I would never wear that t-shirt. To be accurate, my heart (because of my congenital heart condition) does not look like that.

To be accurate, I ❤ many things, including:

  • Accuracy
  • My heart
  • Other people’s hearts
  • My son, Aaron
  • My boyfriend, Michael
  • Blogging
  • My readers
  • Spontaneity
  • Walking
  • My work, as a psychotherapist 
  • My friend Jeanette, whom I met at Film School in Boston in the 1980s and who lives too far away (in Philadelphia), which I do not <3.

Yesterday, I spent 1 hour walking, while my son was at his keyboard  lesson in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Then, I spent 5  hours with Jeanette.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

I ❤ these photos:

I ❤ Spy Pond.

I ❤ signs.

I ❤ green and shadows.

I ❤ several things about that picture. 

 I ❤ that paw print and “Run!”

I ❤ loving couples.

I ❤ celebrating pride (at 11:30 or any time). 

I ❤ “Turn Around.”

I ❤ “Still movin? That’s right you are!”

I ❤ the 4th of July and how my late father used to ask people this question:

Does England have a 4th of July?

I ❤ people taking naps, although I usually don’t take them.

I ❤ Jeanette.

I ❤ Jeanette’s smile.

I ❤ those t-shirts, but I didn’t ❤ them enough to buy them.

I ❤ the way Jeanette and I riffed about the big-headed bird on that moving van.

I ❤ Jeanette,  at our home.

I ❤ Jeanette and our cat Oscar.

I ❤ Aaron, Michael, Oscar, and Jeanette (l. to r.)

I ❤  Oscar and Aaron.

To repeat, I ❤  Accuracy.

What do you <3? I would ❤ it if you’d let us know.

I ❤ that Neil Young is singing “Heart of Gold” on YouTube.

I do NOT ❤ how WordPress keeps leaving off parts of this post, as I’m trying to publish it.

I ❤ thanking Jeanette, Aaron, Michael, Oscar, my late father, Arlington, Belmont, people who show their hearts, Neil Young, and you — of course! — no matter what you <3. 

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

Day 908: You are not alone

You are not alone

Worth repeating.

You are not alone

Difficult believing.

You are not alone

Crucial to remember.

You are not alone.

Powerful and healing.

You are not alone

Challenges old suffering.

You are not alone

Group therapy’s  lesson.

You are not alone

Attention will perceive it.

You are not alone

Do you see it in these photos?



No matter what you think, feel, or express,

You are not alone.

“You’ll Never Walk Alone” is being sung by the Liverpool F.C. and 95,000 other people in Australia, here on YouTube.

Never-alone thanks to all who helped non-alone me create this post and not-alone thanks to you,  who are not alone.

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

Day 907: Groups

Where we live, we’ve been invaded lately by groups of tiny ants.

Yesterday morning, before I left to do therapy groups at work, I grouped these words together in an email to my bf Michael:

Subject: Cinnamon Girl

Hi sweetheart,

The ants were attacking particularly ferociously this morning, so I researched natural repellents for ants. Several people said ground cinnamon worked well. So if you see red sprinkles when you’re cleaning, IT’S MY FAULT. (People did particularly note that ground cinnamon was easy to clean up.)


Here’s a group of things I’m noticing now about that email:

  • If I had included a video of “Cinnamon Girl” by Neil Young, I could have added that email — as is — to my group of 906 daily blog posts.
  • I included a group of two of the same word — “particularly” — within a small group of words.
  • How does a group of tiny ants attack “ferociously”?

On my way to work, I didn’t notice groups of ants, but I took this group of photos:


Soon after I took that last group shot, the woman holding one of a group of Infiniti barriers stopped me and asked:

Are you with the group?

Here’s a group of things I could have replied:


What group do you mean?

We are all with groups.

Are you?

Instead, I grouped together a “No,” a laugh, and an eyeroll, since nobody has ever asked me that question nor has rerouted me before, in all the groups of times I’ve walked the same group of Fenway streets over the last four years.

Here’s the group of shots I took for the rest of the day, thinking about groups I do and do not belong to:


Here are some groups I belong to:

  • People who love groups.
  • People who love to walk.
  • People who take groups of pictures, every day.
  • People who cast shadows.
  • People who can read upside down.
  • People who love bright colors.
  • People who can worry.
  • People who have issues with sleep.

Here are some groups I do not belong to:

  • People who drink Coca Cola (or any other soft drink).
  • People who park on sidewalks.
  • People who ride bikes.
  • People who ride scooters.
  • People who tend gardens.
  • People who explain all their photos in their blog posts.

There is one group, of those listed directly above, that I wish I were a member of. Can you guess which group that is?

I’m going to group together another guess request, here and now. Can you guess which song — among the group of myriad possibilities — I’m including in this post?

Neil Young is performing “Cinnamon Girl” with a group of other musicians on YouTube.

Now I’m wondering what group of comments I’m going to get about this post.

Group thanks to all the groups in this post (even the ants) and special thanks to you — of course! — for reading this today.

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

Day 906: Everything is an opportunity 

Everything is an opportunity

is one of my beliefs about life.

I don’t always feel that way, especially when

everything is an excruciating pain

but, even then, I’ll come around to the belief that

everything is an opportunity

sooner than later.

Allow me to take this opportunity to explain why

Everything is an opportunity

is the post topic for today.

  1. I had EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy yesterday, which is giving me the opportunity to let go of some old, painful memories.
  2. Yesterday, after a therapy group I facilitated, one of the group members  and I discussed the unique structure of my groups, including the resulting challenges AND opportunities.
  3. Yesterday, my iPhone became mute, inexplicably taking the opportunity to stop all sounds,  including music.

After I took the opportunity to search the web for quick and dirty fixes for my phone, my phone’s continuing silence gave me opportunities to:

  • pay more attention, visually, during my walks to and from work and
  • go to the Burlington Mall yesterday evening, with my boyfriend Michael, to get my phone fixed.

As usual, I took the opportunity to document these opportunities, through the still-working eye of my iPhone:

Allow me to take this opportunity to tell you that my iPhone is now fixed. The nice Verizon rep (whom I did not take the opportunity to photograph) did a “soft reset” on my phone, and now I can listen to music again.

Speaking of music, I shall now take this opportunity to include some music here. But what elite ideas do I have about that? Will my choice — or the song — be quick and easy? Will I leave dirt at the door? Should I choose a song about numbers? Is there a tune called “Splat Ball”? Or “Soft Reset”?

What I usually do — when I choose music for a post — is take the opportunity to share something that came up on my iPhone the day before. However, since you’ve taken the opportunity to read this post, you know there was no such music yesterday.

However, because I had no music on my iPhone, I took the opportunity to listen to some music on my car radio. And I heard the ending of a song with these lyrics:

Your heart never stops beating
I love you long after you’re gone

I took the opportunity to write those lyrics down, but I didn’t get the opportunity to find out the name of the song or the performer(s):

When taking the opportunity to search the opportunistic web for the first line of those lyrics, I found this:

Let me take the opportunity to say that was not what I heard on the radio yesterday, but I appreciate the opportunity to hear and share “Shellshock” by New Order.

When I took the opportunity to Google both lines of the lyrics I heard yesterday, I found this:

I’m glad I had the opportunity to share “Gone Gone Gone” by Phillip Phillips today, along with everything else in this post.

If you take the oppprtunity to share your thoughts and feelings here, I’ll write an answer, as soon as I have the opportunity.

I love the opportunity to thank everybody and everything that gave me the opportunity to write today’s post. And — of course! — thank you, for taking the opportunity to read it.

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

Day 905: Michael from Boston

Many blog posts ago, I expressed a wish to perform  a new rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Michael from Mountains,” dedicated to my boyfriend, Michael.

Michael is not from mountains. He’s from the Hyde Park section of Boston.

Here are the lyrics to “Michael from Boston” (as adapted by Ann from WordPress):

Michael wakes up from a sleep
He takes me up streets for a coffee run
Sidewalk potholes are so steep
With birdies that cheep, bunnies having fun
There’s kitties and puppies and possum-y pet toys
That lie on the lawn
in colored arrangements I snap with my camera
At dusk and at dawn

Michael from Boston
Go where you will go to
Know that I will know you
Someday I may know you very well

Michael brings me to a park
It’s light and it’s dark with the clouds up high
Kids on zip lines and on swings
Like puppets on strings hanging in the sky

He cooks us great suppers in second floor kitchens
They’re yummy and bold.
And Michael will hold me
To keep away cold when the winters come by
Michael from Boston
Go where you will go to
Know that I will know you
Someday I may know you very well

Michael leads me up the stairs
He wants me to care and he knows I do
Cats come crying at the door
And he feeds them more with a dish or two
There’s rain in the window
There’s sun in the paintings that smile on the wall
I want to hear all
But his accent’s so thick that I never do

Michael from Boston
Go where you will go to
Know that I will know you
Someday I will know you very well.


While I’ve snapped pictures, over my blogging years,  to illustrate almost every point in that song, Ann from WordPress  likes to show  photos she’s taken since her last post. I hope the following photos will reflect aspects of Michael, Boston, and/or those song lyrics.

What do you  — from mountains, Boston, WordPress, or wherever — think of all this?

Now, I need to record that song with the new lyrics. Not sure how good my voice is going to sound this early in the morning. Also, who knows if I’ll get all those new words right?

Well, Ann from WordPress is having trouble recording a video of “Michael from Boston” because I’m getting no sound on my iPhone from Apple.

Because of the help and support of Michael and other kind people from Boston, I am not panicking about technical difficulties these days. However, I’ll need to restart my iPhone to try to fix this. So, I shall post this now and add a performance video later.

Okay! Still no sounds from my iPhone, but the YouTube video has sound, so here it is:

Many thanks to Michael and others from Boston, to Joni from Canada, and to you — of course! — no matter where you’re from.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, taking a risk | Tags: , , | 32 Comments

Day 904: Free Associations

Did you know that some  psychological tests ask people to make free associations with pictures?

What associations do you have with this photo, which I took early yesterday morning?

What thoughts and/or feelings do you have  when you look at that image?

Here’s my first association, when I look at that:

Don’t drop the ball.

I wonder how a psychologist might interpret that first reaction from me?

Wait! I’m not a psychologist, but I am a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW), which means I’m a legit psychotherapist. Therefore, I could interpret my own interpretation  — that is, explore what’s going on in my life to explain why

Don’t drop the ball

… immediately popped into my head when I saw that yesterday.  However, I’d rather just riff on the meaning of “Don’t drop the ball.”

To me,

Don’t drop the ball

… means “take your responsibility for getting things done. ”

Here’s my free association with that thought: Why would dropping a ball be so terrible? If I do drop a ball, I could always just pick it up again.

Yesterday, I probably did drop a ball or two. We all do, because we’re imperfect human beings. However, I also did my best to pick those balls up again.

Here’s my current free association, as I’m writing this: I wonder if anybody is smiling at my use of the word “balls”?

Speaking of smiling, soon after I took my first  photo of the day yesterday (see above), I took this one:

Here’s my free association with that photo: soon after I took it,  I dropped the ball of my concentration as I was walking, tripped, and fell to the ground.

What’s your free association about tripping and falling in public?

Yesterday, I tried to fall as well as possible, and then I tried to let go of any sense of shame about falling. I sat there on the ground for a moment, realizing I most likely had not hurt myself (even though I take a blood thinner and recently had surgery).

A construction worker (not pictured in this post) walked by me and we had this exchange, while I was  sitting on the ground:

Construction worker: Are you all right?
Me: I’m okay. That was pretty impressive, wasn’t it?
Construction worker: I actually didn’t see it. I thought you might just be sitting here. But I did hear the noise.

(As I’m telling you this story, I’m free associating about what noise he might have heard. I know it wasn’t my voice — I don’t cry out when I drop anything, including myself.)

Then, the nice construction worker helped me up, as I made some comment about falling.

Construction worker: It happens.
Me: I know.

Soon after that, I free associated as to why  I might have tripped,  fallen, and dropped to the ground for the very first time in all my walks to work — through rain, snow, sleet, and sun  — for almost four years. I free associated the fall with my brand new shoes:

I also free associated by taking two photos of the one place on myself that had dropped most heavily on the ground, my right hand:

I wondered if that would bruise by the end of the day, because I’m taking Xarelto.

Then, I free-associated the rest of the day, regarding

Dropping and picking up the ball (and other things)

… and I freely picked up these photos, so I could drop them on you today:



Here are my current free associations with those photos:

  1. The sunglasses are something my friend Jan found and picked up on a street in Maine, this past weekend, and
  2. That last photo demonstrates that I did not bruise, at all, from my morning drop to the ground.

What music might I free associate with, about balls dropping or anything else I dropped in this post?

This tune just dropped into my head:

I just dropped “Cloudy” by Simon & Garfunkel on you, here and now.

Freely associate about anything you choose, in the comments below.

Free-association thanks to all those who helped me drop this post and thanks to you — of course! — for dropping by, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 41 Comments

Day 903: Would this face lie to you?

Yesterday, I saw this:

I know you can’t see that face nor my face, usually, in this blog.

I still hope you can believe that this face would not lie to you,  when I tell you the following:

  • I am recovering well from heart-related surgery on May 4.
  • My emotional recovery — from the ordeal of living with uncertainty and different medical opinions about my heart for a very long and difficult six months — has been going well too, especially since I finally cried and also expressed anger yesterday.
  • If you don’t believe this face when I tell you that it’s healthy and healing to accept all your feelings — including sadness and anger — please see the new Pixar/Disney movie Inside Out

Would the faces at Pixar or Disney lie to you?

Would any of these faces (which I saw yesterday) lie to you?

Those last two faces are Harley’s and Oscar’s. Those faces never lie, as far as I can tell.

Would this face lie to you, when it says I truly want to know what your face might say about anything in this post?

Would  J.J. Cale lie to you, with the song “Lies”?

Would this face lie to you when expressing gratitude to my boyfriend Michael (whose hand but not face is in this post — no lie), the late  J.J. Cale, Inside Out, all my feelings, Pixar and Disney, elephants, Pet Supply Outlet Store, Baby the Macaw, cats everywhere (including Harley and Oscar), and Children’s Hospital? And I’m not lying when I say special thanks to you, for bringing your face, feelings, and truth here, today.

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

Day 902: What is that a sign of?

Since January, 2013, I’ve been writing a post every day, through:

  • rain,
  • snow,
  • light
  • dark, and
  • three Father’s Days.

What is that a sign of?

I can never remember where to put the apostrophe in “Father’s Day.”

What is that a sign of?

My father died in 1997 and I still think about him, almost every day.

What is that a sign of?

I often see something — in my daily journeys — that inspires the title of my next blog post.

What is that a sign of?

Once I decide on the title of a blog post, many things I see seem to fit that title.

What is that a sign of?

Are these signs of anything, to you?


I could easily think that everything I encountered yesterday was a sign of SOMETHING. For example,

… my initials and my father’s initials are the same.

What is that a sign of?

When I’m thinking of my father, Aaron Koplow, the song “Trans-Island Skyway” by Donald Fagen often shows up, as it did yesterday.

What is that a sign of? I’m not sure, but the lyrics include the following:

We reach the sprangle
Just at dawn
These little streets I used to know
Is that my father
Mowin’ the lawn
C’mon Daddy get in let’s go
C’mon Daddy get in let’s go
C’mon Daddy get in let’s go
C’mon Daddy get in let’s go
C’mon Daddy get in let’s go
C’mon Daddy get in let’s go
C’mon Daddy get in let’s go

I don’t know what a “sprangle” is.  What is that a sign of?

Whenever I hear that song, I can see my father on our lawn.

What is that a sign of?

If you leave a comment, I won’t necessarily take it a sign of anything, but I will definitely appreciate it.

Many signs of gratitude and thanks to my father, to signs everywhere, to Donald Fagen, to sprangles (and other things I don’t know the meaning of), to sky-ways and by-ways, to everything  I saw and heard yesterday, and to you  — of course! — for reading this Father’s Day 2015 post, here and now.

Categories: in memoriam, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 53 Comments

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