Monthly Archives: January 2019

Day 2258: Notice connections

Yesterday, in a therapy group where I notice connections among people, I did a mindfulness exercise using these mindfulness cards:

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Most of the people in the room took their time noticing the different cards and choosing one they felt a connection with.  The two people who were left-handed (including me) randomly chose a mindfulness card without looking.   I noticed that connection and then  noticed the card I had randomly pulled:

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Then, I noticed color connections between that card and my water bottle:

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I notice, here and now, that  I’ve used the word “connections” only twice before in a blog title. If you want to make connections with those older blog posts (both written in my first year of making connections on WordPress), you can connect to them here and here.  I also notice that the first blog post that popped up in my “connections” search was Day 1002: What makes anxiety worse?   Because I notice that  connections often reduce anxiety,  I wonder what connections WordPress noticed there.

I  notice connections between the word “older” (which you may notice I used in my previous paragraph) and negative judgments.  I’m especially noticing that connection two days before I turn 66.

I also notice connections between my reading the news and my anxiety getting worse, so I am careful to notice  news items that help restore and reconnect  my faith in humankind, including this one:

Quincy Police rescue tiny owl from roadside

QUINCY — It appears as if Quincy Police has its very own Dr. Dolittle.

Officer Tim Kaes helped a rescue a small saw-whet owl Tuesday night on Victory Road just before 7 p.m. This is the third owl that Kaes has helped rescue.

A person found the injured owl and flagged down a police cruiser, according to Quincy Police Sgt. Karyn Barkas. With animal control off for the night, the officer called in Kaes who Barkas said loves animals.

The owl was brought to the New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth for treatment.

New England Wildlife Center Executive Director Katrina Bergman said that Kaes had just brought in an injured hawk last week that was trapped in the Quincy Center MBTA station. She called Kaes the “slighted animal hero of the South Shore.”

Bergman said the saw-whet appeared to have been hit by a car and has a severe concussion. The small owl, common to the area, was in a bird head trauma protocol, similar to one for humans. If the animal survives its injuries it will be released back into the wild.

The Audobon Society says the bird gets its name from the call it makes, which is supposed to sound like a saw being sharpened against a whetstone. The bird is one of the smallest owl species.

I notice connections with people like Quincy officer Tim Kaes and phrases like “the slighted animal hero of the South Shore.”  I notice connections between expressed appreciation and being less slighted, so I hope Tim Kaes notices and connects to that news article.

Do you notice connections in any of my other recent photos?

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I notice connections between being near the water and feeling better.

I notice many connections in the song “Connections” by OneRepublic (who notice connections between their music and the BeatlesU2, M83and Prince).

I notice connections between gratitude and positive growth, so thanks to those who helped me notice the connections in this post and — of course! — to YOU, for all the connections you notice.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 2257: Dirty looks

The other day, I thought somebody gave me a dirty look.  When I perceive somebody giving me a dirty look, I can feel dirty.  That’s why I wrote these lyrics for my latest original song, What are Other People Thinking About You?

Was that person’s dirty look about you?

Was that person annoyed by something you did?

Could it be he’s thinking instead of his family,

Like his most distressing and stressing kid?

© Ann Koplow, 2019

I hope that I don’t get a lot of dirty looks from the audience when I debut that song in two days at an Open Mic.

Do you see any dirty looks in my photos from yesterday?

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Do you see any dirty looks in these other recent photos?

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While dirty looks can feel like laser beams, we can protect ourselves with mindfulness mantras like “It’s safer than it feels” and playfulness, as explained on this mindfulness card:

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I playfully gave a look at this sign  on my way home from work last night:

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I looked for the 1965 UK TV debut of the Who on YouTube. I couldn’t find it, but look at what is there!

 

Look at this Peter Gabriel song with the lyric “if looks could kill they probably will.”

What are your thoughts about dirty looks and the other looks in this pos?  I will give a non-dirty look at all your comments, later.

I look at the world with gratitude, every day, so thanks to all who helped me create this “dirty looks” post and — of course! — to YOU, for looking at it.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2256: Heartbreak to Happiness

Yesterday, I went from heartbreak (about my wonderful, trusted, and long-time cardiologist Dr. Mark Estes leaving Boston) to happiness about the kindness, caring, commitment, and competency of my new cardiologist, Dr. Munther Homoud.

While I was waiting to see Dr. Homoud for the first time, I noticed all this:

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I’ve gone from heartbreak to happiness about my unusual congenital heart disorder many, many times during my almost sixty-six years on this planet.   At this point, after a miraculous and happy time when my heart reverted to a normal rhythm after my valve replacement surgery in 2016, my heart is back in atrial fibrillation for the rest of my life.  I have no heartbreak about that, only happiness because of my caring and committed team of cardiologists.

Do you see any paths from heartbreak to happiness in my other photos from yesterday?

 

 

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My boyfriend Michael (who makes my heart happy  with his nutritious, delicious, low-salt home-cooked meals) helps me go from heartbreak to happiness, every day.  Last night, after a  typical heartbreak-to-happiness-to-heartbreak-to-happiness day, we danced to this:

What helps you go from heartbreak to happiness? For me, gratitude always helps.

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Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 2255: Trust your crazy ideas

Yesterday, I trusted my crazy ideas to

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I will now trust my crazy ideas to share some of those photos at full size:

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If you want to look at other full-sized versions of my photos, trust your crazy ideas and click on the photos, above.

Today, I’m going to trust my crazy ideas and meet the new cardiologist replacing my long-time cardiologist  Dr. Estes, who trusted his crazy ideas to leave Boston and move back to Pennsylvania with his family. If you want to read more about my encounters with Dr. Estes over the years, trust your crazy ideas and visit my previous blog posts here, here, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.  (I trusted my crazy ideas to find and list about half of my blog posts that featured Dr. Estes.)

Now I’m going to trust my crazy ideas to look for some trust-your-crazy-ideas music and finish this post, so I won’t be late for my first visit with Dr. Munther Homoud, who my primary cardiologist Dr. Deeb Salem trusts and has some crazy ideas about (including “he is the most compassionate doctor I have ever met”).

Here are characters from a production of Rent trusting their crazy ideas to move from NYC to Santa Fe:

If you have any crazy ideas, please trust them and make a comment, below.

Now I’m going to trust my crazy ideas to alway end these blog posts with gratitude.

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

Day 2254: What’s not inside

What’s not inside our home is this sign, which I saw inside a supermarket last night:

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Have you seen what’s not inside?  How we can we something that’s not there?

What’s not inside my heart and mind, here and now, seen or unseen, includes

  • hate,
  • resentment,
  • fear about the future,
  • regret about the past,
  • expectations about my birthday on Groundhog Day,
  • concern about what other people are thinking about me,  and
  • all the words I wrote, earlier this month, for my latest original song, which I’ll be debuting at an Open Mic in five days.

What IS inside this post are the lyrics for that song, because typing them here might help place them more firmly inside my mind.

What are Other People Thinking About You?

by Ann Koplow

What are other people thinking about you?

Is it something good or something bad?

Who’s to say if you’re somebody they’ve noticed

And what they would be thinking if they had.

Was the person’s dirty look about you?

Was that guy annoyed by something you did?

Could it be he’s thinking instead of his family

Like his most distressing and stressing kid.

People’s thoughts go everywhere,

Of you they’re often not aware,

And even if their thoughts end up on you,

Thoughts can’t hurt you anyway,

Their thoughts will move and go away

Unless you let them stick to you like glue.

What are other people thinking about you?

I think we spend too much time thinking that.

Other people’s thoughts can’t really touch us,

Even judgments, like we’re stupid, old, or fat.

People’s thoughts go everywhere,

Of you they’re often not aware

And even if their thoughts end up on you,

Thoughts can’t hurt you anyway,

Those thoughts will change and go away,

Unless you let them stick to you like glue.

What are other people thinking about you?

Face it, you will never know for sure,

Then why not think they’re thinking that you’re gorgeous,

Talented and smart and secure.

© Ann Koplow, 2019

What’s not inside this post is the second ending to that song, which I wrote in response to what my son, Aaron, was thinking about those lyrics.

What is inside this post, as usual, are my recent and previously unshared photos.

 

What’s not inside that photo montage is a picture of my son’s keyboard, which I plan to put inside my car on Friday and bring with me to the Open Mic.

What’s not inside YouTube are  videos about what’s not inside things. Instead, searching on “What’s not Inside” at YouTube yields videos about what IS inside all the following:

What’s not inside this post, so far, is music. Here is “The Calm Inside the Storm” by Cindi Lauper:

What’s not inside this blog, yet, are comments on this post.

What’s always inside my posts are thanks to all who help me create them and — of course! — to YOU.

 

 

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

Day 2253: Cave

Because I caved, despite my avowed avoidance of social media, I just saw this from Merriam Webster on Twitter:

We’re seeing a 1500% spike on “cave” this evening.”

When we descended into the cave of television news last night, I asked my boyfriend Michael, “Why is everybody characterizing the temporary end to the government shutdown as a cave?  Why is that news agency calling Trump “Cave Man?” Is that going to help? How can there be cooperation when there are no exceptions to this win-or-lose philosophy? Does everybody have to act like they’re seven years old?  Where are the adults in the room?”

Michael agreed with me.  Was that a cave?

Maybe this result of searching for “CNN cave man” can throw some light on the subject:

There’s a little cave man in all of us.

I’m not going to cave and make some stupid joke about that headline, but I will share this more inspiring result of searching for “CNN cave.”

The Thai cave rescue ended in success. But only two weeks ago, it all seemed hopeless

I remember, last July, when the world seemed to be caving in, that story about the rescue of the twelve young boys and their soccer coach from the Thai cave helped us all emerge from the cave of hopelessness, at least temporarily.

Is it a cave if you look at my photos from yesterday?

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While that might look like scrawlings from  a cave, that last photo shows my writing all the topics from a group therapy session on the wall of a group room.

Walls and caves.  Caves and walls. Will we ever escape this cave of  confusion?

Michael loves Nick Cave.

If I ask you to leave a comment below, is it a cave if you comply?

Even when I’m in a dark cave, I look for the light of gratitude.  Thanks to all who helped me create this cave of a post and — of course! — YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2252: Nourishment

Here’s hoping you get some nourishment from today’s post.

When people focus on food in my therapy groups, I invite them to think about nourishment. And people have been talking about food A LOT lately, especially comfort and junk food. In group, we’ve been discussing how the body craves that kind of nourishment during difficult times, including cold, dark, and stormy weather.

Last night, the group members decided to write down their thoughts and feelings about nourishment.  Here’s what I shared about nourishment:

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Here’s some more nourishment I found around me yesterday:

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Here‘s what comes up on YouTube for “nourishment music.”

Any comments about nourishment would be nourishment, for me.

Here’s another daily source of nourishment: gratitude.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 2251: What am I?

“What am I?” recently showed up on my office white board.

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What am I that I didn’t write the discussed follow-up to that question: “Chopped liver?”

What am I if I don’t explain that “What am I?  Chopped liver?” is a way some people express feeling expendable, unappreciated, and less-than.

What am I if I don’t link to this entry from knowyourphrase.com and quote this from there?

WHAT AM I, CHOPPED LIVER?

Meaning:

A rhetorical question used by a person who feels they are being given less attention or consideration than someone else.

Synonyms: None.

Origin Of ‘What Am I, Chopped Liver?’
​The origin of this phrase is not really clear. I have, however, heard of two theories that may indicate how this expression came to be. The first is that liver is not always viewed on the same level as others foods. For example, if a person is cooking a chicken, they’ll oftentimes throwaway the giblets, you know, like the liver or gizzard. Or instead of throwing the giblets away, the person will cook them, not for themselves, but for their pets to eat. Hence, since liver is not usually as desirable to eat as other foods, the expression might spring from such an idea.

Another explanation, as Wikipedia explains, is that “chopped liver was traditionally served as a side dish rather than a main course.” So the idea would be that sometimes, a person might feel like their thoughts or feelings are not being considered as fully as they should, so they feel like they are being treated as if they were a side dish.

Example Sentence(s)

1. Jake, a friend of mine, asked what my sister and I thought of his new clothes, but he seemed to specifically ignore my comments… what am I, chopped liver?

Have you read my similarly titled blog posts — Day 1313: Who am I? and Day 625: Where am I?  Why not?  What am I, chopped liver?

What are my photos, chopped liver?

 

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What is that, chopped liver?  No, it’s delicious salmon, brussels sprouts, and quinoa.

What are these videos (found here and here)? Chopped liver?

What are you, chopped liver?  No, you are my valuable and much appreciated readers, so many thanks!

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Categories: definition, personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 2250: I will never fear again

Yesterday, at the end of a day when I had feared many outcomes that did not come to pass, I texted my friend, Jenn:

I will never fear again.

I will never fear again making statements like that.  I have felt too much fear in my life and I fearlessly love the idea that I will never fear again.

I will never fear again sharing my photos with you.

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I will never fear again sharing details of my life with you, like these:

  • On my way to Disney World I got the results of my 23andme DNA genetic test, which said I had “less than the average tendency to be afraid of heights.”  After a life where I’ve been afraid of heights, I decided to believe that report and never fear heights again.
  • While my boyfriend Michael and I feared that he had seriously scratched up my little yellow car with an ice scraper, I was able to get most of them off by fearlessly and vigorously running my thumb over them while it was still cold as ice.  I will never fear again somebody doing damage to my car.
  • People in my group yesterday found it helpful to make lists of “Too Much” and “Too Little.”  I will never fear again suggesting an exercise in one of my groups.
  • One of my patients made me a beautiful red hat.  I will never fear again accepting a gift like that.

I will never fear again asking my readers a question like this: what do you think would happen if you decided to never fear again?

I will never fear disco or Panic! At The Disco again.

I will never fear again requesting comments for a blog post.

I will never fear again expressing my authentic feelings, including gratitude for all who helped me create this post without fear and — of course! — YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 2249: Cold as ice

Yesterday, when it was cold as ice, I  ventured out only once, to try to start my little yellow car.  The car was totally covered in ice and it took me many tries to get one of the doors open.  I used the first tip in this online article — “How to Open a Frozen Shut Car Door” —and got the passenger side door open by pushing on the door first before opening it. Even though I’ve lived in New England my whole life, where the winters are as cold as ice, I’ve never heard of nor tried that method of opening a cold-as-ice car door.  It warms me when a simple fix to a seemingly difficult problem works so well!

This morning, my instinct is to stay inside, because it’s cold as ice, again. However, I have to get to work by 9, so I’ll use all the methods I know  — new and old — to make it on time without becoming cold as ice. Because my trip to work includes a twenty-minute walk, those methods include layering, layering, layering. Two people who are doing my therapy groups have quoted this  saying about living in weather that’s cold as ice:

There is no such thing as bad weather; there is only bad clothing.

The two people who shared that quote ascribed it to different countries, both of which have winters that are cold as ice.

Because of my cold-as-ice words in this post, I now have two songs running through my warm brain (here and here on YouTube):

Takin’ care of business in this blog includes sharing my recent photos, no matter how cold it is.

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What warms you when something in your life (the weather, a person, etc.) is as cold as ice? I’m warmed by

  • people I love,
  • creatures I love,
  • food made with love,
  • fun movies,
  • enlightening books,
  • cool music,
  • fireplaces, and
  • warm memories.

It’s time for me to get ready for my cold-as-ice world.  See you on the other side of this cold-as-ice weather, tomorrow.

And it would be cold as ice for me to forget to thank all who helped me create this cold-as-ice post and — of course! — YOU, my warm readers.

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

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