Monthly Archives: November 2021

Day 3256: How do you make decisions?

As someone who can struggle making decisions, I am very curious about how others make decisions.

One of the reasons I struggle with decisions is that I’m a high Perceiver according to the Myers-Briggs test, which means I feel more comfortable collecting additional data rather than making a decision.

So I’d like to collect some data, here and now. How do you make decisions when

  • you are definitely out of your depth?
  • you get conflicting data from experts?
  • there can be considerable costs (monetary or otherwise) if you make a wrong decision?
  • you secretly wish the problem would just go away magically?
  • you tend to catastrophize worst case scenarios?
  • you’re afraid of getting trapped on a path you can’t escape?
  • you distrust your ability to figure out who and what to trust?
  • you wonder about people’s motives?
  • there is so much miscommunication and misunderstanding among humans, that it’s difficult to get to the “truth”?
  • you don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings or otherwise cause them trouble?
  • you have trouble asking for help?
  • different people give you very different advice?
  • you would much rather be focusing on situations within your comfort zone?
  • you’re not psychic and can’t predict the future?
  • you feel like you don’t belong in the role of decision maker?

Right now, I’m having trouble making decisions about what to discuss in this blog post! Should I write about my struggles with decisions regarding getting the repair work done on our home? Should I share my problems deciding about next steps related to Joan the cat’s recurring ear infections? Should I discuss the kashmillion decisions I make every day, with varying levels of comfort?

Well, I’m making the decision to share these images.

How do you make decisions about which of those National Days to consider today?

How do you make decisions about which of these videos (which I found by searching YouTube for “how do you make decisions?”) to watch?

How do you make decisions about what thoughts and feelings to express, here and elsewhere?

I have no trouble making decisions about expressing gratitude, so thanks to all who made the decision to visit this blog today, including YOU!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Day 3255: What’s a good next step for you?

Last night before I went to bed, a good next step for me was to ask this question on Twitter:

A good next step for some was to answer my question.

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A good next step for me is to share these images in today’s blog:

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “a good next step”:

A good next step is for me to share how that video reminds me of an Opening the Heart retreat when we all danced blindfolded and staff made sure we didn’t bump into each other. That was a good next step for me, decades ago, to experience joy of movement without self-consciousness.

A good next step for me, here and now, is to get ready for my one day each week of in-person work at the hospital.

What’s a good next step for you?

A good next step is gratitude, so thanks to all who took the step of visiting this blog, including YOU!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 3254: Joan wants to know

Joan, our newish shelter cat, wants to know a lot, because she is a very curious kitty. She is not alone: I am very curious, too.

Yesterday, I posted this question on Twitter, claiming that Joan wants to know.

Joan wants to know why I chose to include her in that question. Good question, Joan! I know that if I do include Joan, I’m likely to love the responses even more.

Joan wants to know what you think about the images in today’s blog.

Joan wants to know if you are going to be celebrating National French Toast Day and/or Chanukah.

This is what I find when I search YouTube for “Joan wants to know.”

Joan wants to know if you knew there is a musical group named “Joan.”

Joan wants to know your thoughts and feelings about this blog post.

Finally, Joan wants to know if you know how grateful we are for you!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 3253: Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim, musical genius and creator of tunes, words, and musicals that have sustained me for decades, died yesterday.

I just took this photo of these books that are always near me:

Those books — “Finishing the Hat” and “Look, I Made a Hat” — contain his lyrics for all his musical numbers and descriptions of his creative process. I love his creations so much that two years ago, my request to Michael for a birthday present was that he just find the blue book, which was packed away in boxes after our last move.

Stephen Sondheim’s music moves me like no others’. I’m sure there are hundreds of blog posts here that feature his music.

Stephen Sondheim’s music has always spoken to me, even when I didn’t know it was him. One of the first songs I chose to sing in front of an audience was “Do I Hear a Waltz” when I was a little kid. Years later, I found out that he had written the lyrics for that. When I was 13 and struggling to physically and emotionally survive heart issues, I was completely captured by a TV production of “Evening Primrose,” which sent me to John Collier‘s incredible short stories. Years later, I found out that Stephen Sondheim had written the lyrics and music for that. When I was dealing with heart problems in 2016, I chose to share this beautiful song from “Evening Primrose” in this blog.

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Before A Little Night Music opened on Broadway in 1973, it came through Boston and I saw it with my beloved late parents, who took me to many, many musicals. I was completely enchanted by all the music, including this:

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Today’s Daily Bitch Calendar mentions clowns!

Honestly, everything is going to evoke Sondheim for me right now.

When I was in my early 20’s, I was part of The Vocal Minority for a local production of Company. Sitting on stage with the musicians, I hit all those high notes and, to this day, the score feels like it’s a part of my mind, body, and soul. Eleven days ago, I saw the latest version of Company on Broadway with my son Aaron, (who appeared, when he was in high school, in a local production of Assassins in the role of John Wilkes Booth).

My cherished, late friend Michelle loved “Being Alive” from that musical, and her partner, Joe, recounted at her memorial how Michelle insisted he listen to that song the night they met. Joe played “Being Alive” for us as we gathered in 2018 to grieve her loss.

Stephen Sondheim, who is no longer being alive on this earthly plane, has helped so many of us in being alive.

One of my most memorable experiences in the theater was seeing the original production of Sweeney Todd on Broadway in 1977. I can still feel the startling whistle blast and see the stage in my mind, as the chorus sang the opening — “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd.”

A few years later, in the early 1980’s, I tried out for a local production of Sweeney Todd, hoping to be in the chorus to sing this amazing music. For days and days after I auditioned, I waited painfully to hear back from the production. I did not get the call and rehearsals began, as I grieved the chance to participate. The day after the first rehearsal, I got a call from the show’s producer. She said, “Ann, why weren’t you at rehearsal last night?” I said, not adjusting to this new information, “I wasn’t there because I didn’t get in.” She said, “What? Nobody called you? Oh no! You’re in!” I was ecstatic, and that was a peak experience of my life, learning and singing that profoundly gorgeous music for months.

Sondheim seemed to focus on and create works that have deeper meanings for me. In the 1980’s, I became obsessed with the Italian film Passione D’Amore. A few years later, Sondheim created the musical Passion based on that film, which includes this incredible song:

One of the reasons I cry and grieve today is that, at the time of his death, Stephen Sondheim was working on a new musical that is based on two films of Luis Buñuel, one of my favorite film directors. I wanted to see and hear that musical, but I also have faith that Sondheim has left us enough.

I could go on and on with more memories about how important Stephen Sondheim’s music has been to me. Instead, I’ll just share images from yesterday, captured before and after I heard the news of his passing.

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Here is “No One is Alone” — the profound Sondheim words and music I shared last night on Twitter:

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No one is alone. To Stephen Sondheim, to all who have interpreted and been moved by his artistry, and — of course! — to you, for sharing this with me, here and now, thank you so much!

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

Day 3252: How I spent Thanksgiving 2021

How I spent Thanksgiving 2021 included:

  • blogging,
  • taking a walk,
  • spending time with people I love,
  • missing those who weren’t there,
  • eating vegetarian “turkey” and pie,
  • observing precious creatures at play,
  • facing fears,
  • staying safe,
  • reaching 16K followers on Twitter,
  • giving thanks for every precious moment, and
  • listening to Anaïs Mitchell’s 2010 concept album “Hadestown.”

Now I’m thinking about how I’m going to spend the day after Thanksgiving (which will include working from home and reading your comments about this blog post).

No matter what day it is, I give thanks for you!

Categories: life during the pandemic, life in the USA, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 3251: Who is grateful for you?

On Thanksgiving Day in the USA, many people consider who and what they’re grateful for.

Yesterday, on Twitter, I asked this question;

I’m going to answer my own question, which is only fair. The people who are grateful for me (I assume) include

  • family members,
  • friends,
  • patients,
  • strangers I’ve been kind to,
  • Twitter followers, and
  • my blog readers.

I am grateful for you, my dear readers, and I gently request, here and now, that you consider who is grateful for you. If you can let go of fears about asking yourself that question, I think it’s helpful to embrace the possibility that you might be inspiring more gratitude than you suspect.

I am grateful for your attention to today’s images.

This is what I find on YouTube when I search for “who is grateful for you?”

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Who is grateful for you, besides me?

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 3250: Numbers

I’ve written many numbers of blog posts about numbers and here is another 1!

I have difficulty remembering numbers. There have been a number of times when somebody tells me a number and I forget it before I have a chance to write it down. (By the way, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve rewritten that previous sentence.)

When I’ve been scheduling therapy appointments for next year, I consistently enter the year number as 2021, and the hospital computer system replies “PAST.” I can’t get the number 2022 into my head.

Repairing the damage to our home because of the leak from the upstairs shower is going to cost a lot of money, but I don’t know the exact numbers yet.

1 day before Thanksgiving, I give thanks that I have 1 son, 1 husband, 1 ex-husband, 2 cats, and a good number of friends.

Do you see numbers in my images for today?

Personally, I’m glad that my 1 kid is in my house.

It took Michael 3 times to perfect this tofu dish …

… so that all 3 of us loved it.

Here is song #1 from Anaïs Mitchell’s 2010 concept album Hadestown, 6 years before it debuted as a stage musical.

I’ve listened to that beautiful track a number of times.

I look forward to the comments about this “numbers” post, below.

I’m very, very, very grateful for the numbers of people who read this blog, including YOU.

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

Day 3249: What are you reading?

What are you reading, besides this blog?

I’m reading this …

… and finding it very helpful, including this excerpt:

The words I remember were: The boundary to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom. During the silence that followed, memories flashed through my mind revealing how much I had been defended against. I could feel the walls I had erected to keep out those people who were different from me, those who intimidated me or demanded too much from me. I recognized my aversion to physical discomfort, to feeling fear and loneliness. I realized how unforgiving I felt toward myself for hurting others, for being judging, obsessive, selfish.

What are you reading into that and the other images in today’s post?

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I’m reading into people’s responses these days that there is a great need for grieving and healing.

This is what I find on YouTube when I search for “what are you reading?”

I look forward to reading your comments, below.

Thanks to all who read this blog, including YOU!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 3248: November 22

On November 22, 1963, I had my first heart operation, got my first cardiac pacemaker, and got a promise from my mother that I could get my first cat.

Two days later, while I was dealing with many physical and emotional wounds, I found out that President John F. Kennedy, whom I loved and admired, had been assassinated on November 22.

Since that day, November 22 has always been an important anniversary for me. Often, I get depressed and anxious, and I’m relieved when the day is over.

Today, I’m just grateful to be alive and well, 58 years later.

Here are my images for November 22, 2021:

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On my walk yesterday, I was listening to the sounds of nature and the music from Hadestown, which I’m still hearing in my head, here and now, on November 22.

What are your thoughts and feelings about November 22?

Thanks to all who have helped me make it to this November 22, including YOU.

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

Day 3247: Harmony

I notice that “harmony” is a common theme in my images for today.

In harmony, several people on Twitter said they could listen to “Nessun Dorma” over and over again.

I look forward to the harmony in the comments section, below.

Thanks to all who bring some measure of harmony into this often dissonant world, including YOU!

Categories: definition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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