Monthly Archives: June 2015

Day 901: FM

Friday Morning,

Feeling Mindful,

Freshly Motivated,

Found Myself the

Following Montage:



Found Music:


by Fagen (and becker), Man.

Found Message:

Fenway, Massachusetts:


Finding MASCO:

Finding Mazda:

Fine Mess:

Fancy Mercedes:

Floating Magnificence:


Fueled Machines: 

Furry Mousers: 

Funny Man, (boy)Friend Michael:



Friday Machinery:

Foliage. Meaning? 


Flags. Meaning?

Forlorn. Meaning? 

Flowers Multiplying:

Final Message:

Freeing Minds!

Fabulous, Marley.

Found Meaning in Friday Meanderings?

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

Day 900: The opposite of empathy

Last night at a therapy group, we talked about many things, including personal injuries and the horrific murders in a Charleston, South Carolina church.

As usual, the topics covered the board in the group room.

At one point, I said to the group members, “It looks like we’re talking about the opposite of empathy. What is the word for that?”

And then we all struggled, together, to come up with one word to describe the overriding theme in the room — a word that could do justice to the pain people had suffered. We were able to put some words on how it felt to encounter a lack of empathy, but it was difficult to come up with one word for the opposite of empathy.

I didn’t take a picture of the whiteboard, with the words we tried, but I do remember these:

  • Non-sympathy
  • Coldness
  • Shamelessness
  • Heartlessness
  • Evil

One of the group members used her phone to look up antonyms of empathy, which were only three:

  1. Apathy
  2. Misunderstanding
  3. Unfeelingness

Here are some more words I wrote down — after that group discussion — about my personal experience with the opposite of empathy:

The opposite of empathy

I don’t know what word to put on it

I know it when I encounter it.

The first time I did, it

was a Resident named Hyatt

at Children’s Hospital.

I was 10

in pain

and he said

“You are not in pain

You are a spoiled brat

And you are taking our time

away from children who are

really sick.”

My response was


then finding a

doctor or nurse

empathic enough

to listen to me,

to believe me,

and, using their skill and power,

to stop the pain.

I wonder what happened

to Dr. Hyatt?

Did he learn and get

better at dealing with

children in pain?


Here are some photos I took yesterday, before and after I learned about the killings in Charleston:

Here’s one I took today:

Just as the group last night had trouble finding one word for the opposite of empathy, I’m having trouble finding one piece of music for this post.

Here’s one that was playing last night, as I walked back to my car, after the group:

I found “Tears of Rain,” performed by Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny,  Roy Haynes, and Dave Holland, on YouTube.

What words or music might you choose, for the opposite of empathy?

My gratitude to all  who contributed to my writing this post and to you — as always — for reading it.

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

Day 899: Waiting for the other ____ to drop

Rather than have you wait for the point of this post to drop, I’ll start by telling you that I hear this phrase a lot, in therapy sessions:

I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I’m pretty sure I’ve already dropped a previous post or two about the topic of

Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

If that’s true, I’ll drop some links to those posts after I drop this post on WordPress.  (Pssst! Here,  here, and here).

Here’s my main drop, for today:

People often express dread about what might be coming next, whether their current experience is particularly negative OR positive.

Waiting for other points of this post to drop?

  • Many positive things have been happening to me lately — including a successful workshop about my therapy groups, good recovery from my surgery in May, positive feedback at work, meeting up with fellow blogger Mark Bialczak last weekend — and yet, two days ago, I was waiting for some other shoe to drop,  as nervous as a cat.

  • Oscar’s not particularly nervous, but our other cat, Harley, usually is. Perhaps Harley’s waiting for another shoe to drop, on him.


  • Maybe when things go unexpectedly well OR poorly, we prepare ourselves for the unknown future by being on alert for the next whatever to drop, thinking that will help us deal with it.
  • Waiting for the next anything to drop drops us out of the present moment, in which there are lots of wonderful things dropping all around us, including …


…  kids, cones, clouds, cats, hats, peace, pizza, pups, people, watches, and — yes! — real (not imaginary) shoes.

What else have you noticed, dropping in this post?

Lately, I’ve been  waiting for other things to drop, including:

  • My 900th consecutive daily post, here at WordPress and
  • My 2000th follower, who dropped in last night.

No need to wait for the other music to drop. Here it is:

My bf Michael just dropped a couple of guesses on me before he identified “Pressure Drop” by Toots and the Maytals. He also dropped the observation that there’s a cool version of “Pressure Drop” by the Clash:

Waiting for my gratitude to drop? Many thanks to every kid, cone, cloud, cat, hat, peace sign, pizza, pup, person, watch, and shoe contributing to my dropping this post.  Also, special thanks to you — of course! — for picking things up, here and now.

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

Day 898: [Idiot]

I keep getting emails with


as the first word in the subject heading.

That startles me, every time, because I sometimes call myself


when I make a mistake. 

I get so many emails every day (with or without the word


in the subject),  I sometimes miss responding to one, here and there. 

If I call myself


when I miss an email (or for any other reason), that is the cognitive distortion of Labeling, defined as follows:

We generate negative global judgments based on little evidence. Instead of accepting errors as inevitable, we attach an unhealthy label to ourselves or others. For example, you make a mistake and call yourself a “loser,” a “failure,” or an “idiot.” Labels are not only self-defeating, they are irrational, simplistic, and untrue. Human beings are complex and fallible, and in truth cannot be reduced to a label. Consider this: we all breathe, but would it make sense to refer to ourselves as “Breathers”?

Yesterday, in a therapy group at work, we talked, at length, about the cognitive distortion of labeling.

I could label myself


right now, because

  1.  I can never remember if labeling has two or three l’s,
  2. I didn’t take a picture of the topics we discussed in the therapy group (including labeling), and
  3. I haven’t explained why I’m getting emails with the subject heading


However, instead of calling myself


… I would rather

  • Forgive myself for inevitable mistakes.
  • Share this antidote for the cognitive distortion of labeling:

If you label yourself negatively, such as “a fool” or “a loser,” remind yourself that such absolute terms are subjective and meaningless, and that human beings are too complex to be reduced that simplistically. Also, consider the possibility that somebody else may have given you that idea about yourself, and that they were wrong.

  • Explain that those [Idiot] emails refer to my son’s participation in a local production of Green Day’s American Idiot.
  • Show you these non-labeled photos I snapped yesterday (like the “blogger” that I am):



How might you label those photos? I would much prefer that you label them, instead of negatively labeling yourself.

Here‘s a song from the group labeled Green Day:

I am labeling myself “grateful” to all who helped me create this post today and to you — of course! — for being my “reader.”

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 44 Comments

Day 897: Facts you should know, no matter what your age

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, here are facts you should know, no matter what your age:

  1. That is a very unlikely and uncharacteristic post title here, considering this blog is about letting go of judgment (including shoulds).
  2. That is a very unlikely and uncharacteristic post title here, considering I rarely write about age.
  3. That is a very unlikely and uncharacteristic post title here, considering its focus on facts (without feelings).
  4. That uncharacteristic and unlikely title was inspired by two signs I saw yesterday:

No matter when you were born, is there a fact you think others should know? If there is, you should know this as a fact: I would love for you to include that (or anything else) in a comment.

Since I do believe there are facts that can be helpful (although you should know, if you read my blog, that I avoid the word “should”), here are some things I do know, here and now:

  • There was rain, yesterday, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



  • People (including me) often take photos near Fenway Park.

  •  Yesterday, there were only four candies and two colors in a candy bowl at work.

  • There is greenery (and pinkery) inside and outside in Boston, during this time of the year.

  • Stairs are still not easy for me, in June of 2015.

  • My discomfort with stairs may be a result of (1) my age, (2) my recovery from cardiac-related surgery last month,  and/or (3) the possibility that I should be exercising more.
  • My discomfort with stairs, last year, did not interfere with my enjoyment of the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland.

This is a prediction (rather than a fact), but I believe that discomfort with stairs will NOT interfere with my enjoyment of the 2015 Festival Fringe, when my 17-year-old son Aaron and I return there, in two months.

Here’s another fact you should know (if you read this blog): I like to include music here.

Born from 1945 – 1965?    You might know this song.

Here are facts you should know: “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen is available for viewing at YouTube.

One more fact you might know: I end a post with thanks to whomever and whatever helped me write it and to you, especially, for reading it.

Thanks (no matter what your age)!

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

Day 896: I Spy (Part 2)

I’m not going to Spy all Posts I’ve Presented Previously, in the Present, but I’m Pretty Positive I’ve Presented You with  a Previous (and Perhaps Precious) Post “I Spy.”

After I Publish this Second “I Spy” Post, I’ll Spy the Previous Post, and You’ll Spy a link to it, here.

Ready for today’s game of “I Spy”?

I Spy with my little eye Some things that Start with the letters “S,” “P,” or “Y” (Spied Yesterday by YourS trulY):


As You Spied those Spying Photos, did You agree that that I was Showing Pictures of “S”  “P” or “Y” things? Y did You think that? Could you name any “S” “P” or “Y”  things in a comment, if I gave You a Special Prompt?

Here’s a Special Prompt, You,  to name other Special Parts You might See in more Spying Pictures from Yesterday:


I Spy with my little I that it’s

… Seven, So I’ll Swiftly Pick You Some “I Spy” Sounds.

I’m Pretty Sure I Picked the “I Spy” theme for the Previous Post, So I’ll Pick You

“Spy in the House of Love” Performed by Steve Winwood and …

“Spy in the House of Love,” by waS (not waS).

Shall I SPY anY commentS from You?

“I Spy” thankS to all PeoPle, PondS, SwanS, PoSSum dog toyS, SignS, and StateS (SPecificallY, MaSSachuSettS),  helPing me Produce thiS PoSt. And thankS to You, eSPeciallY!

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

Day 895: Simultaneously

For the past two years, Mark Bialczak and I have simultaneously been blogging daily here on WordPress.

Yesterday, we simultaneously took a photo of each other during a beautiful afternoon at “The Happy Cottage” on Cape Cod.

Doesn’t Mark look happy in that photo? Simultaneously, I was happy too, getting my picture taken while spending a simultaneous and fabulous three-and-a-half hours (but who’s counting?) with Mark, his lovely wife Karen, and their wonderful dog Ellie B (simultaneously known as Dogamous Pyle).

Earlier in the day, Mark and I were simultaneously snapping photos for today’s blogs (while Karen was simultaneously being patient and kind with the both of us). I am posting my pictures here (perhaps simultaneously with Mark sharing his own view of our simultaneously shared day):


Doesn’t that look like Ellie B. is simultaneously being a dog and a wine steward?

I wonder if Mark, like me, will simultaneously report that our meeting yesterday was

I also wonder if there’s a simultaneous description of this dialog from yesterday (after Karen mentioned Mark’s ability to do that male thing of simultaneously having doctor-approved good  hearing and also hearing her selectively):

Me: I know! Somehow, my boyfriend Michael hears every word my son Aaron says, but he can’t hear what I’m saying. Michael claims it’s the frequency of my voice.

Mark: Yes, it’s the frequency. How much you’re talking.

While  typing the  dialog above on my iPhone keyboard, I was simultaneously wondering whether I quoted Karen, Mark, and Michael correctly and also simultaneously remembering Mark passionately giving me instructions yesterday about how to avoid blogging on this friggin’ annoying keyboard. Simultaneously, while I was ignoring Mark’s attempt to make my blogging life easier yesterday,  he and I were joking and reminiscing about other times — over the past two years — when I have ignored other helpful suggestions from him.

Here’s another thing that happened simultaneously yesterday:  Mark and I declared it unfair that NEITHER OF US HAS BEEN FRESHLY PRESSED here at WordPress, despite our simultaneous blogging diligence and consistency.

Perhaps, as we simultaneously publish posts about our shared day today, we will simultaneously

  1. be freshly pressed and
  2. go viral.

After I got home yesterday evening, Michael was able to hear me well enough to talk about my delightful day and to decide to go food shopping last night. While he and I were at the supermarket, a group therapist who had simultaneously attended my workshop on my therapy groups last weekend was simultaneously shopping there, too. She and I were simultaneously thrilled to see each other, and she showed me this:

That’s the stone she had chosen while everybody in the workshop was simultaneously doing a mindfulness exercise,  a week ago.

Simultaneously, I know that Mark is NOT going to show a picture of that.

Before I end this post and check if Mark’s simultaneous blog is posted (and we do often publish posts simultaneously), here’s a song that I simultaneously thought of, in honor of my perfect day spent simultaneously with Mark, Karen, and (for part of the day) Ellie B.

Simultaneously, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are singing “I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends” (and part of a joyous encore) on YouTube.

Simultaneously, I’m curious about what comment you’re going to leave here (and perhaps simultaneously at Mark’s simultaneous blog, too).

Simultaneous thanks to Mark, Karen, Dogamous Pyle, Cape Cod, Michael, the therapist from my group workshop, all the Beatles, and you — of course! — for simultaneously reading, today.

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

Day 894: What kind of week was it?

What kind of week was it?

It was a week of relative safety.

It was a week when my hair, among other things, looked blue:


(If it’s a week when you are having trouble reading that blue t-shirt, it says

Everybody is a


but if you judge a


by its ability to

climb a tree,

it will live its

whole life

believing that it is


It was a week when my cardiologist,  Dr. Mark Estes, was pleased with my recovery from my May 4 heart-related surgery.

It was a week when I put aside my fears of singing in public and auditioned  for a musical.

It was a week when I did NOT get  a call-back for that musical.

It was a week when the  “rejection” of not being called back neither dampened my mood nor my hope to perform more in public. While it’s true that I had the

of telling myself I was “rejected” because I could not make any Thursday rehearsals …

…  my rapid recovery from that disappointment may have been the best part of my week.

It was a week when the question “Where’s Waldo?”  was finally answered.

It was a week of lots of work in therapy.


It was a week of many cats.


It was a week of lots of  music.


It was a week of different people and different perspectives.



It was a week of messy and clean.


It was a week of wildlife — fake and real.


It was a week when I attended — and gave a workshop at — a group psychotherapy conference.

It was a week that’s not quite over and which will include — today! — my meeting fellow WordPresser Mark Bialczak and his lovely wife Karen.

It was a week when I sang “Green Finch and Linnet Bird” many times, some better than others:

What kind of week is it, for you?

Many thanks to everyone who helped me create this week-in-review post and special thanks to you — of course! — for being here.

Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism, taking a risk | Tags: , , , | 30 Comments

Day 893: Mood Changes

I wonder if this post will change your mood, or mine?

Here’s something that changed my mood yesterday, at Tufts Medical Center.

It was not that sign that changed  my mood. What changed my mood was Bob —

the great guy who has been checking my pacemakers for many years — and Dr. Mark Estes (not pictured), telling me that everything is good with my new Implantable Cardiac Device.

Here is some dialog, from yesterday, that changed my mood:

Dr. Estes: Ann, you look better than you have in years.
Me: Maybe that’s because of this (gesturing to my new blue hair extension).

Last night, at the Coping and Healing therapy group I facilitated, the group members chose “Mood Changes” as the the topic. Here’s something I created, at that group session:

Here are some other mood changers, from yesterday:




Here are some potential mood changers, in my near future:

  1. Today, before noon, I will find out whether I’ve been called back for the Concord Massachusetts Players production of the Sondheim musical “Follies.”
  2. Tomorrow, I’ll be meeting fellow WordPresser Mark Bialczak and his lovely wife Karen.
  3. In August, my 17-year-old son Aaron and I (and, perhaps, my excellente ex-sister-in-law Deborah) will be attending the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  4. In September, I’ll be going to my 45th high school reunion.

What mood changers are in your life, today?

Here‘s a mood-changing tune:

“Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington is changing moods on YouTube, right now.

Thanks to all things that change my mood, including the people, creatures, places, and apparel in this post. And thanks to you — of course! — no matter what mood you’re in, today.

Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Day 892: Best

Here’s my best attempt to start today’s post:

What’s the best word or phrase you’re using, these days, to end your emails, letters, or other best  communications?

Maybe here’s the best way to ask my question:

Before you write your name, do you write “Sincerely,” “Yours truly,” or some other best word or phrase?

I’ve noticed that a lot of people write


… to best sign their written messages.

My best sign-off phrase, these days, is

All my best,

I am doing all my best not to judge things, so I truly believe that there is no better or best way to end a communication. “All my best,” is simply  my personal choice, when I sign my name.

Here are all my best images, from yesterday:




All my best attempts today could never describe how excellent it was to be at the Boston Pops last night with my best son, Aaron, and my Ex-Sister-in-Law (ESIL) Deborah, at the Simply Sondheim concert.

Yesterday — after I had given you all my best in Day 891: Remnants — best WordPresser Maureen suggested it was NOT best to call Deborah my “Ex-Sister-in-Law.” After doing all our best, last night,  to discuss what Deborah and I best call each other, Deborah used all her best to suggest


… instead of ESIL.

What do you think is all the best?

Here‘s all my best, for the best musical addition to this post.

Despite all my best efforts, I’ve never seen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, considered — by all the best people — to be one of his best.

All my best gratitude to all who helped me do all my best with today’s post, including Aaron, Deborah, Maureen, the Boston Pops, Stephen Sondheim, some of Boston’s best landmarks, and — of course! — you.

All my best,


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

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