Monthly Archives: November 2019

Day 2547: Families

It’s not unusual for “Families” to show up  in my Coping and Healing groups.

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Yesterday, the group chose to focus on families, telling stories about families they were born into and families they had chosen. I shared my experience of the world seeming less safe after my mother died in 2008 — when I realized I was now an orphan.

GoodReads has four thousand, eight hundred and eighty-nine quotes about Families (but who’s counting?).  Here are a small percentage of them:

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is different in its own way.” — Leo Tolstoy

“The capacity for friendship is God’s way of apologizing for our families.” — Jay McInerney

“Parents were the only ones obligated to love you; from the rest of the world you had to earn it.” — Ann Brashares

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city. “– George Burns

“When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family. “– Jim Butcher

“My dear young cousin, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the eons, it’s that you can’t give up on your family, no matter how tempting they make it.” — Rick Riordan

“If you can’t get rid of the family skeleton, you might as well make it dance.” — George Bernard Shaw

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” — Oscar Wilde

I think this topic and these quotes are especially timely, because

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… the holidays are here!

Let’s see if there are families in my other photos from yesterday:

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Albert Schweitzer (shown above) is a member of the family I choose,  as evidenced by these quotes from him:

“Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

“Sometimes our light goes out, but it is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being.”

“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.”

Here’s one means of refuge from the misery of life …

… and another:

Feel free to share thoughts and feelings about families, below.

I am grateful for all my family members out there, including YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 2546: It’s not unusual

It’s not unusual for me to

  • spend time worrying about something that doesn’t come to pass,
  • make assumptions about what somebody is thinking only to find that I was way off,
  • avoid checking the latest news,
  • wish better people were in power,
  • be shy about asking for help,
  • write on white boards at work,
  • talk to anybody who will listen about the healing power of groups,
  • pose a question and then find out the answer is more complicated than expected, and
  • appreciate being alive, every day.

In yesterday’s blog post — Day 2545: Transformation — I asked people to identify the guitarist on the 1965 Tom Jones hit, “It’s Not Unusual.”

While I was told the guitarist was Jimmy Page, it turns out that the guitarist was either Jimmy Page or Joe Moretti AND the keyboardist was definitely Reginald Dwight, more famously known as Elton John.

It’s not unusual for me to send an email like this to Michael:

Who was the keyboardist on “It’s Not Unusual”?

One of the most famous keyboardists in rock and roll history!

Don’t cheat! Answer provided tonight!

Love,
One of the least famous keyboardists in history

It’s not unusual for me to share my latest photos.

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It’s not unusual for a cat to look at a king or a blogger.

It’s not unusual for me to share definitions, like this one:

A CAT MAY  LOOK AT A KING

A cat may look at a king is an English proverb that means even someone of low status has rights. A cat may look at a king implies that all people have certain minimal rights by virtue of being alive. Like many proverbs, the origin is unknown. The first printed version of the idiom a cat may look at a king was published in 1562, in The Proverbs And Epigrams Of John Heywood, “What, a cat may look on a king, ye know!” It is almost certain that the proverb existed in oral tradition long before it was written down. A cat may look at a king is a proverb that is not as popular as it was in the past, perhaps because inalienable human rights are more recognized in the present time, or perhaps because the power of kings is not what it once was.

It’s not unusual for me to appreciate any comments you might share, below.

It’s not unusual for me to express gratitude for all who help me create these daily blog post, including YOU!

 

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

Day 2545: Transformation

When I search my old blog posts for “transformation,” I immediately find this:

Day 2395: Self-Transformation

When I wrote that post last June, I was definitely performing some self-transformation, as I often do with this blog.  That day, I was transforming the sadness, anger, and shock I felt about somebody’s behaviors into a positive and upbeat blog post.  I left some subtle clues about that transformation in my photos of book titles (which include lots of “f-cks,” one “sh-t”, and a “You Can’t Hurt Me”).  That behind-the-scenes transformation helped me cheer up, move on, and face another day.

Today, I want to share transformation of a different kind.  Yesterday, my Coping and Healing group transformed our roving thoughts into focused mindfulness by using the angel cards which a past transforming group member left me years ago.  One of the members chose this card:

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I chose this card  …

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… which was one of the few blank cards in the pack.  When I focused on that card during the mindfulness exercise, I noticed a transformation.  Somebody had tried to write something on that card, with a pen that had no ink.  Can you see it?

I tilted the card into the light, to try to discover the hidden markings.

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At first, I thought the hidden word (which definitely started with a “T”) was “Thankfulness” ( probably because I find thankfulness so transformative). After many moments of mindful scrutiny, I finally discovered what somebody had tried to write on that angel card, years ago.

Transformation

Then, when it was my turn to check in, I shared that transformation with the rest of the group.

Do you see transformation in any of my other recent photos?

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One of the group members yesterday asked the rest of us how we would transform ourselves, if transformation was possible.   Somehow, that transformed into a conversation about ducks, including

  • how some of us are ducks — calm on the surface with lots of action below,
  • the transforming coping strategy of letting things roll off one’s back, like a duck, and
  • how to duck other people’s negativity.

Here‘s “Vital Transformation” by John McLaughlin and The Mahavishnu Orchestra, which I experienced as very transformative during the 1970s.

Now it’s time for another transformation — I shall transform this blog post into a guessing game!  Last night, Michael chose this classic Tom Jones song for us to dance to after dinner:

Michael told me that the young guitarist playing on that track later transformed into one of the most famous guitarists in rock and roll.  After I guessed Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and others, I finally came up with the right answer.  Can you?

Feel free to transform your thoughts and feelings into a comment, below.

As always, I end these posts with a transformation of thankfulness for all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU!

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

Day 2544: Flow

Two days ago, I drew this flow chart on my office white board for somebody who was trying to decide what action to take in a very difficult family situation.

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Then, in a flow of  synchronicity, somebody who used to participate in my Coping and Healing groups sent me this flowchart in an email:

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I love the way that flow chart keeps flowing into the same conclusion.

Are you ready for the flow of lots of other photos?

 

Last night, my dear friend Jeanette flowed into town from Philadelphia and shared our dinner, flowing conversations, photos of a Nailed It! cake and her trick-or-treating dog Gidget, and also this:

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It looks like that kitty has some opinions.  Go with the flow and don’t worry about it!

Here‘s a review of the book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:

 

Here’s “Flow” by Shawn James:

 

I look forward to the flow of comments below, because

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Are you ready for the flow of gratitude for all who help me create these daily posts, including YOU?

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

Day 2543: What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?  This blog post?

What is Harley looking at?

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What am I looking at?  The clock, because I overslept and I’m supposed to be at work early today. I’ve got to get this blog post done!

What are we looking at?  Some of my other photos from yesterday.

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I made it!

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Thanks to all who helped me create this very quick post for you to look at, here and now.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, theater | Tags: , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2542: Quid Pro Quo

Lately, there’s been a lot of  this-for-that activity in the news using the phrase “quid pro quo.” 

If I include  a definition of “quid pro quo”  for you here, will you  leave a comment for me below?

quid pro quo

noun
\ kwid-ˌprō-ˈkwō \

: something given or received for something else
also : a deal arranging a quid pro quo

Synonyms:

back-and-forth, barter, commutation, dicker, exchange, swap, trade, trade-off, truck

Quid Pro Quo and the Apothecary:
In the early 16th century, a quid pro quo was something obtained from an apothecary. That’s because when quid pro quo (New Latin for “something for something”) was first used in English, it referred to the process of substituting one medicine for another—whether intentionally (and sometimes fraudulently) or accidentally. The meaning of the phrase was quickly extended, however, and within several decades it was being used for more general equivalent exchanges. These days, it often occurs in legal contexts.

Examples of quid pro quo in a Sentence:
In politics nobody does something for nothing: there’s always a quid pro quo involved.

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Recent Examples on the Web:
The investigation revolved around suspicions of a quid pro quo — whether the Interior Department rejected a casino application in exchange for campaign contributions from other tribes that opposed the project.
— Ian James, azcentral, “He took down dams, freed wolves and preserved wildlands. Bruce Babbitt is still at work,” 14 July 2019
Sullivan, who secretly recorded the meeting, disputes that characterization and says the two lawmakers offered him a quid pro quo.
— James Barragán, Dallas News, “What was motive for Texas House Speaker’s secret meeting? ‘Target list’ or effort to keep GOP majority,” 23 Aug. 2019
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘quid pro quo.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of quid pro quo
1582, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for quid pro quo
New Latin, something for something

I shall now share two things I noticed in that Merriam-Webster definition.   Might you do the same?

  1. I don’t know what a truck is doing there.  These days, I would much rather see a fuel-efficient vehicle than a truck, no matter where it is.  (For my readers in the UK, when I say “truck” I mean a lorry or a wagon.  Now that I’ve cleared that up for you, what will you do for me?)
  2. I can’t believe that those are the most recent examples on the web.

Here are some Quid Pro Quo-tes, from elsewhere on the web.

“Rich people show their appreciation through favors. When everyone you know has more money than they know what to do with, money stops being a useful transactional tool. So instead you offer favors. Deals. Quid pro quos. Things that involve personal personal involvement rather than money.  Because when you’re that rich, your personal time is your limiting factor.”  — John Scalzi, Lock In

“True friendship has no checks or balances.  Once somebody starts Keeping Score, the game is over.” — Kate McGahan

“… and no man gave you a fur coat without expecting to receive something in return. Except for one’s husband, of course, who expected nothing except modest gratitude.” — Kate Atkinson, A God in Ruins

“Yes, you scratch my back and I scratch yours. But shouldn’t we, one of these evenings, sit down to figure out why our backs are always so itchy in the first place?” — Rajesh’, Random Cosmos

Let’s see if there are any quid pro quos in these recent quid-pro-photos.

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I gave compliments to the chef in exchange for last night’s delicious meal.

I’m now going to post a song, from the musical Rent, which I think illustrates quid pro quo.

If you know any similar songs, feel free to share them with us all.

Many thanks to veterans, writers, performers, cooks, cats, and all those who helped me create this quid-pro-quo post, including YOU.

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Categories: definition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2541: It all worked out

When things are challenging at work and elsewhere, I like to share my personal epic stories with my fiancé, Michael.

Michael (who until recently was just my boyfriend) used to respond — after I had finished weaving my latest saga of ups and downs, twists and turns, backs and forths, and tos and fros — like so:

Everybody loves you, Ann.

Maybe because we’re all sadder and wiser these days (as we realize that not EVERYBODY loves us), Michael’s go-to response to my personal stories is now this:

It all worked out.

“It all worked out” as a response to my stories evokes ups and downs, twists and turns, backs and forths, and tos and fros in me, including:

  • laughter,
  • annoyance,
  • calm,
  • mind-reading,
  • agreement,
  • worry that my story might not have been as riveting in the telling as I had hoped,
  • acceptance,
  • sarcasm,
  • epiphanies, and
  • often a resolution to tell the same story to somebody who was there or who knows the people who were there (because, as they say, “you had to be there”).

Yesterday, I told Michael that my next blog post was going to be titled “It all worked out.”  We’ll see how that works out.

Last night,  I went to the 25th anniversary of Cam Neely‘s huge charity event, Comics Come Home, at the Boston Garden.  I had some anxiety and worry about parking and getting to the venue, where I was meeting Julie, one of my co-workers.

This anxiety and worry seemed well founded when I encountered troubling signs at the parking garage where I had pre-paid for a space through the app Park Whiz.

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It appeared that I was going to have to pay $36 – $48 to get my car out, after paying $17 last week to Park Whiz to reserve a space at this garage.  I called the phone number in the Park Whiz app and reached a nice human being who told me that, when I returned from the event at the Garden, I should buzz the attendant who should let me out. SHOULD, I thought, wondering how this was going to work out.

I then worked my way over to the Boston Garden through twists and turns, backs and forths, and tos and fros, as Google Maps gave me confusing and sometimes incorrect information.  (I am thankful there were minimal ups and downs, because I do not like working out on hills.)  When Google Maps was telling me that I was still a five-minute walk away from the Garden, I asked two nearby policeman, “This may be a stupid question, but where’s The Garden?”  As I expected, they pointed and replied, “It’s right here.”  Then, when I told the security people at the doors that I had a pacemaker, they worked it out so I could avoid the metal detectors, which can make pacemakers stop working correctly. Soon I was back inside the Garden, where I had seen Larry Bird, Robert Parish, and the other Boston Celtics work out so many wins during the 1980s.

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It might be difficult to work out from those photos that the comedians last night included host Denis Leary, Bill Burr, Steven Wright, Pete Holmes, John MulaneyLenny Clarke, and Kelly MacFarland (who WORKED it, girl!).

After the amazing show, my co-worker Julie accompanied me back to the parking garage because neither of us were sure how this was going to work out.  We buzzed the attendant, who said he could NOT let me out and that I was going to have to pay full price and settle up with Park Whiz.  When we argued with him, he hung up on us.  I called Park Whiz again and when I started to explain the situation, a different nice human being on the other end asked, “Is this Ann?”  She apologized for the hassle and told me that they had spoken to management of the garage and that they were supposed to let me out.  Then I lost phone reception with her.  Julie contacted the attendant again and the nice Park Whiz person called me back and asked if she could somehow talk to the attendant. As I was trying to work this out, I heard the parking attendant say this to Julie through the intercomm:

You know what? I’m sick of this!  People are telling me different things. I’ll just let you out. Okay?  Bring your car around.  I’ll recognize you.

I got into my little yellow car, drove to the exit, and, after a few moments, the unseen parking attendant lifted the gate so I could work my way out. After driving into better phone reception, I called Park Whiz again. It was after midnight, past the time the first nice Park Whiz person had said they would still be answering the phones.  However, I easily reached more nice people, who apologized for the confusion and the miscommunications and who gave me a credit for future Park Whiz bookings.

Julie insisted on working her way home via an Uber, refusing my offers to drive her there.  Later, I texted her this:

Thank you so much!  You are my hero!

She replied:

Thanks for a fun night!

I look forward to seeing her tomorrow, back at work.

When I got home to Michael last night, the first thing I said to him was, “It all worked out.”

Here‘s Denis Leary working it out in a song he performed last night with The Enablers.

 

That’s how they work things out in Boston.

Thanks to all who help me work things out at this daily blog, including YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 2540: Please pardon our appearance

In the past, when I have had red eye (which I am prone to developing because I’m on anti-coagulant medication for the rest of my life), I have asked people to please pardon my appearance.

I assumed that

  • people were bothered by my appearance and
  • I needed pardoning.

No more!  From now on, whenever I get red eye, I shall ask for no pardons.  Why should I?  After all,

  • I am appearing as best as I can,
  • I love the color red, and
  • nobody’s appearance needs pardoning.

I am also not going to ask you to please pardon the appearance of my latest photos.

 

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I’m also not going to ask you to pardon the appearance of last night’s special at the Birch Street Bistro in Roslindale, Massachusetts, which was delicious.

Personally, I find it very freeing to stop asking for pardons about appearances.  Does anybody want to join me in that?

Here‘s “Guide for the Perplexed” from PARDON OUR APPEARANCE by The XVIII  Century Greats.

 

I like the appearance of that dog and I look forward to your appearance in the comments section, below.

Please accept the appearance of my gratitude, here and now.

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

Day 2539: Don’t assume

To assume that I and I alone have all the answers is to eventually find myself entirely alone without any answers. — Craig D. Lounsbrough

I always assumed that everybody shared my love for overcast skies.  It came as a shock to find out that some people prefer sunshine.  — Glenn Gould

Assumptions are quick exits for lazy minds that like to graze out in the fields without bother. — Suzy Kassem

Before you assume try this crazy method called “asking.” — curiano.com

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I don’t assume there’s a song called “Don’t Assume.”  I’m going to ask YouTube about that.

It took a while, but I found “Don’t Assume” by Nichols’n’Nu (Maggie Nichols and Peter Nu).

Don’t assume that Maggie’s name is always spelled correctly on that album cover.

I don’t assume

  • what feelings or thoughts you have about this post or
  • whether you’ll leave a comment below.

Don’t assume that people know how much you appreciate them.  Thank them every day.

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

Day 2538: Coping and Healing

Coping and Healing” is the name of the therapy groups I offer at the Primary Care Practice of a major teaching hospital in Boston.

Because I’d like as many people as possible to be coping and healing, I designed the flyer for Coping and Healing to invite everybody in.

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Anybody interested in coping and healing would likely be on board with

Do you see signs of coping and healing in my other photos from yesterday?

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Here‘s the Coping and Healing song I wrote last year (to the tune of “Mack the Knife”):

If your patients need support, dears,

For anxiety, depression or stress.

Coping and Healing is a group, dears,

They can start in a week or less.

 

It meets five times every week, dears,

And the patients can attend when they choose.

Good for sharing and learning skills, dears,

And it helps to deal with blues and the news.

 

Tuesday afternoons,

Wednesday mornings, a-ha,

Twice on Thursdays,

And Fridays at lunch.

If you refer some patients to me,

We will all thank you a bunch.

© Ann Koplow, 2018

Sharing helps with coping and healing, so feel free to share any thoughts and feelings in a comment, below.

Gratitude is also good for coping and healing, so thanks to all who help me create these daily coping and healing posts, including YOU!

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

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