Monthly Archives: March 2019

Day 2317: Signs of spring

I’m often looking for signs, including signs of the advent of spring (my favorite season).

The “sign” post I  just linked to in that signature opening paragraph — Day 1319: Subtle signs — has subtle signs that I wrote that blog post shortly before two major life signposts: my open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.

Since the 2016 election, I’ve noticed signs that I — and the United States — have somehow changed.  I see signs of that in every blog post I’ve written since then.  Of course, everything changes and everything changes us, although this saying

The more things change, the more they stay the same

is a sign that perhaps I should change my mind about that, also.

Here are some other signs on my mind:

  • The tears in my eyes, as I write this, are signs of some unresolved grief about past events.
  • Older people often look for the signs of dementia in themselves and others.
  • When I procrastinate doing something — like writing a Letter from the President for a newsletter — that’s a sign that I need more information or need to resolve some fear about the outcome.
  • We tend to look for signs, in the present, that replicate our experiences as children, sometimes ignoring richer, more diverse signs of a wider range of possibilities.
  • I am making a concerted effort to be open to signs that conflict with my expectations.
  • I’ve dealt with signs that I’m catastrophizing more than most people by writing a song about that (included in yesterday’s blog post, here).
  • I went looking for actual signs of spring, yesterday.

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Signs of spring remind me that I’ll be seeing Pat Metheny in concert this spring. Here‘s “Spring Ain’t Here” by the Pat Metheny Group.

 

I’ll be looking for signs of your reactions to this post in the comments section, below.

No matter what the season, you’ll always find signs of my gratitude — for those who help me write this daily blog and for readers like YOU — at the end of every post.

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

Day 2315: Loud and extra loud

Tonight, I’ll be using a loud and extra loud “egg shaker” for accompaniment when I’m singing three songs at a party of social workers.

Yesterday, in a therapy group, we wondered aloud together about why internal critical voices and anxious thoughts seem extra loud. My loud speculation was that critical voices and anxious thoughts are extra loud to help us survive.  If sounds of danger are more loud to us, we might be able to avoid them better. However, the loudness of negativity can drown out the positive voices within and around us.  That kind of loudness creates extra anxiety, worry, shame, and stress. For a lot of people, coping and healing includes allowing the positive messages to be as loud as the negative ones.

Do you see anything loud and/or extra loud in today’s photos?

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Sorry about the soft focus in that last photo.  Allow me to pump up the volume for the bumpa sticka on the left:

BAD POLITICIANS ARE ELECTED BY GOOD PEOPLE WHO DON’T VOTE

Here‘s “loud Indian music” with over one million views on YouTube:

Two comments about that video seemed extra loud to me:

¡ʞɔɐq sı dǝǝW
1 month ago
Play this at my funeral

Dee Are
8 months ago
HOW DO YOU SET THIS AS YOUR RING TONE

I look forward to the volume of all the comments, below.

I try to make my gratitude extra loud, so thanks to all who helped me create this loud-and-extra-loud post and — of course! –to YOU.

 

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 2314: Look at me!

Look at me, writing a second blog post titled “Look at me!” almost exactly two thousand and two hundred days after the first one.  (Who’s counting?  Look at me!)

Look at me, sharing what I drew in a therapy group yesterday, when the topic chosen by the group was “children.”

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Look at me, seeing my wonderful dentist for the first time since his double lung transplant eight months ago.

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For the first few years of this blog, I didn’t let anybody look at me!

Look at me, sharing all my other photos from yesterday.

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Look at Harley, letting me look at him without running away.

When I searched YouTube for “Look at Me”, I found this ear-splitting, dubbed video of a 7 year old allegedly rapping the late  XXXTentacion’s “Look at Me!” on America’s Got Talent.

Look at me, warning you not to watch that unless you lower the sound before you get to the dubbed rapping.  Here‘s  7-year-old Mir Money‘s actual performance on the show:

Look at Howard Stern hugging Mir Money after he made him cry.

Look at XXXTentacion performing “Look at Me!” live in 2017, almost exactly a year before he was murdered at age 20.

Look at me, looking forward to looking at all your comments about this “Look at Me!” post and also thanking all who helped me create it.

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

Day 2313: Finding the joy

Yesterday, in a therapy group, we talked about finding the joy amid

  • physical pain,
  • emotional pain,
  • illness,
  • loss,
  • avoidance,
  • confusion,
  • feeling worse,
  • guilt,
  • the government,
  • being fooled,
  • bad news,
  • tears,
  • anxiety,
  • depression,
  • difficult people,
  • distraction,
  • depression,
  • dizzyness,
  • disconnection, and
  • dentists.

Speaking of dentists, I’m finding joy in the fact that  I might see my wonderful dentist — who reads this blog and who is recovering from a major surgical procedure — today.

Can you find the joy in all my photos from yesterday?

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I find joy in Michael’s meals and also in knowing that we can all be change agents.

Millions of people have found joy in this flash mob “Ode to Joy” video on YouTube.

Every day, I am finding the joy in expressing my gratitude to all who help me create these posts and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 2312: Big thinking

I’m thinking that it’s time for some big thinking, especially when there’s so much small thinking from big people.

Here’s what’s got me thinking about big thinking:

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Let’s build on big thinking by avoiding small and petty thinking.

Do you see any big thinking in my other photos from yesterday?

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Here‘s an animated book review of  The Magic of Thinking Big.

Here‘s “Thinking Big” by Alumo.

I’m looking forward to some big thinking in some small comments, below.

Big thanks to all who helped me create this big thinking post and — of course! — to YOU!

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

Day 2311: You can’t please everyone

You can’t please everyone. Please remember that.

You can’t please everyone, so please yourself.

You can’t please everyone, especially if you don’t have enough time to do something well (like write a blog post after you’ve overslept).

I hope my photos today please somebody.

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It pleases me to share “Garden Party” by Ricky Nelson, with relevant lyrics for today.

I can’t please everyone but I can thank everyone, including you!

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

Day 2310: It’s never what you expect

“Ir’s never what you expect” is what I expect my boyfriend Michael to say, along with these other expected sayings from Michael:

“It’s all coming together.”

“Everybody loves you.”

“But do you love …… OSCAR?” (whenever I tell Michael I love him).

“Has he shaved off his filthy beard?” (when I tell Michael that I’ve FaceTimed with my son, Aaron).

It’s never what I expect whenever I do my taxes, including yesterday, when I discovered that all that time and effort I had spent keeping track of  the usual job-related education expenses was for nought, because of changes to the U.S. tax laws.  After my tax software had prompted me to calculate and enter these expenses (like conferences, air travel, hotels,  meals) yesterday morning, it unexpectedly flashed a screen that said,

Because of tax reform, job-related expenses are no longer deductible, unless you are

  • A qualified performing artist .
  • A fee-basis state or local government official
  • A member of the National Guard or Military Reserve who had unreimbursed travel expenses for guard or reserve duties more than 100 miles from home
  • Disabled and claiming expenses related to the impairment
  • Provided with a minister housing allowance

I would have expected my tax software to tell me that BEFORE it prompted me, for about two hours, to enter all those expenses, but it’s never what you expect, is it?

I wonder if I’m a qualified performing artist because of the songs I’ve been writing, like this one:

I expect not.

My son Aaron told me yesterday not to expect to perform at the Edinburgh  Festival Fringe this August, because neither of us have received notice of an assigned show venue yet. Aaron expects that if you lower your expectations, you won’t be disappointed. I still expect to perform, somehow.

You probably expect me to post photos from yesterday, but these photos might not be what you expect.

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You might expect to see photos of other cats here (namely Oscar and Harley), but it’s never what you expect.

You might expect me to express gratitude at the end of my daily blog posts. but did you expect all this?

 

 

 

 

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

Day 2309: What I Don’t Want to Do Today

What I don’t want to do today includes:

What I DO want to do today includes sharing my photos from yesterday …

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… and this wonderful original creation by Jacob Collier.

What do you not want to do today?

I do want to thank Jacob Collier and everyone else who helped me do today’s blog and — of course! — YOU.

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

Day 2308: Anger and The Skill of Doing Nothing

Yesterday, in group and individual therapy, several people talked about anger. Those discussions included:

  • wishing there were some good role models for dealing with anger,
  • acknowledgement that the current U.S. President unprecedentedly expresses anger every day through Twitter or a microphone,
  • brainstorming better ways to deal with anger (like walking away, owning the anger, respectfully expressing the anger, or writing angry letters, emails, text, or tweets that one does NOT send),
  • recognizing that anger is just another feeling that should not be judged or repressed,
  • defining anger as the human response to one’s needs not being met,
  • realizing that judging or repressing anger blocks it from being discharged in a healthier way,
  • role-playing healthier expressions of anger,
  • deciding to deal with the “wish to break something” by going to a dollar store and buying an inexpensive breakable item, and
  • considering the skill of doing nothing.

I’m wondering if there will be any anger about the amount and quality of my photos today. If so, please consider expressing that anger in a healthy way.

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Harley is contentedly demonstrating the skill of doing nothing.

Here‘s Johnny Duke covering James Taylor’s “Angry Blues:

If I were Johnny Duke, I might be angry about that having only 458 views and nine likes on YouTube. Maybe not, though, because he seems like a very cool cat.

Feel free to express yourself in the comments section, below, or to practice the skill of doing nothing.

I shall now practice the skill of expressing my thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

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