friendship

Day 3209: What’s a perfect gift for you?

Last night, after a day of many gifts, I asked this question on Twitter.

My perfect gift of a friend and college roommate, Marcia, gave me those chocolates when she visited us with her daughter Ellen and her son-in-law, Tim.

My perfect gift of a husband, Michael, took those two photos. Spending time with wonderful people you cherish and love is always a perfect gift.

Earlier in the day, I received the gift of a text from our vet saying that Joan the cat’s skin problem was looking much better (but not perfect).

The vet suggested that we get this product …

… to spray on Joan to prevent her from licking herself there, so we could give her the perfect gift of removing her cone.

Joan thought the Bitter YUCK was perfectly tasty, so the perfect gift of throwing away that cone is going to have to wait.

Joan is the perfect gift, cone and all.

Do you see any perfect gifts in my other images for today?

Desserts and being free sound like perfect gifts to me.

Here’s “Gift of a Friend” by Demi Lovato, which I think is perfect for this blog post.

What’s the perfect gift for you?

Many thanks for the perfect gift of your visit here, today!

Categories: friendship, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 3096: The people who are grabbing your attention now

Who are the people who are grabbing your attention now, besides me?

I often grab people’s attention by pointing out that the people who are grabbing our attention are often the difficult ones. They grab our attention because we experience them as a problem, even a danger, and our mind wants to find a “solution” to make our environment safer.

Last night, when I thought I might lose sleep because of people who were grabbing my attention, I tweeted this:

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This response to that tweet grabbed my attention:

Thank goodness, one person who was grabbing my attention yesterday was my old student, Chris Delyani, writer extraordinaire, who wishes me well and who has previously appeared in this blog (here, here, and here). I hope the word “old” doesn’t grab Chris’s attention in a negative way, because he looks great!

Chris and I grabbed each other’s attention yesterday by reminiscing about when he was a student in my writing section at Boston University in the 1980s. Now he is grabbing people’s attention with his wonderful books.

Chris and I grabbed my husband Michael’s attention when we told the story of how Chris and my other students had graded the printed directions I had given them to find my place for a celebratory party at the end of the semester. Mimicking the way I had graded and commented on their papers, they wrote (among other things):

“These directions were okay — they got us there, but we couldn’t tell how you FELT about it.”

“You show unspeakable talent… C+

Chris and my other students also grabbed my attention back then by correcting my one spelling mistake on the directions — I wrote “wonderous” instead of “wondrous.” That grabbed my attention so much that I’ve never misspelled that word since.

What grabs your attention in my other images from yesterday and why?

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Is “Cool” from West Side Story grabbing your attention now?

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It’s grabbing my attention now that this …

… was my attempt to photograph Michael’s attention-grabbing, very cool flounder-with-mango dish last night. Oh well.

Feel free to grab my attention with any comment you leave, below.

Images of gratitude always grab my attention, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post, including YOU!

Categories: friendship, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, psychology | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 3079: Compliments

Many people I know — through therapy and elsewhere — are uncomfortable with compliments and often don’t believe or even recognize compliments when they receive them.

I hope wonderful blogger Mark Bialczak and his lovely wife Karen consider it a compliment that I always want to spend time with them when they are visiting Cape Cod. Yesterday, I drove many miles and minutes to spend a delightful few hours with them and their adorable, 10-year-old rescue dog Ellie B.

As we spent time together in beautiful Dennis Port, Mark and I gave each other compliments about our blogs — which both are experiencing dwindling readership. Also, Mark — who used to review music for many years at the big daily newspaper in Syracuse — gave me inspiring and almost- hard-for-me to-believe compliments about my original songs which, honestly, meant the world to me.

I hope everybody considers it a compliment that I wanted to capture all these images of a fabulous day and to share them with you, here and now:

If the noble and irresistible Ellie B read my blog, I assume she’d consider it a compliment that I took so many photos of her yesterday.

I wanted to specifically compliment Karen on her “diamond painting” ..

… which Mark called “my wife’s beading.”

Mark also complimented me yesterday on my Twitter interactions, so I feel more confident sharing these with you today:

It’s more difficult being nice when you’re uncomfortable and our central air conditioning is not working, just in time for a heat wave here. I have to compliment my husband, Michael, who still cooked for me last night …

… and who is going to try to fix our air conditioning system today by locating and replacing the air filter, which is probably somewhere here:

I’m sure our air conditioning system …

… doesn’t consider it a compliment that we’ve never replaced the filter in the FOUR years we’ve been here.

Here’s one of my original songs that I performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, which Mark complimented me on yesterday:

I’ll consider it a great compliment if you comment on this blog post, below.

I’m grateful for all compliments, for great friendships, and, of course, for YOU!

Categories: friendship, life during the pandemic, original song, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 3061: Moving

My very good friend Megan, who has appeared in several moving blog posts (including here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) is moving to Connecticut with her beautiful family. Yesterday, I got moving in my little yellow car to say goodbye to Megan in person.

Megan and I hugged each other twice yesterday, which was very moving after all these months of moving through this hugless and otherwise horrifying pandemic.

Megan and I are telling each other that her moving away doesn’t matter. We will stay friends no matter how life is moving us. We will be moving to other kinds of communication, including regular zooming.

I know that Megan and her family are moving on to better opportunities and I am truly happy for her. And yet, I had trouble moving through a sense of loss yesterday, knowing that Megan would be moving further away. As I said to her yesterday “It has helped so much knowing you’re nearby” and what’s always so moving to me is that Megan ALWAYS gets me. We both spoke about moving through and accepting all of our feelings about her moving. We said we were “happy sad” while moving through her neighborhood on a walk.

Now it’s time for me to be moving on to the other photos I took while I was moving through yesterday:

The Daily Bitch helps me as I’m moving through these moving days, especially when I’m feeling bitchy.

I didn’t snap a photo of Megan yesterday as we were moving through our feelings and her neighborhood, but I’m sure if I spend a little time moving through the almost 41,000 photos I have on my phone that I’ll find one to share with you now.

Megan told me yesterday that she and her family are moving next month to a new home within walking distance of a beach. After staying there for a year, they might be moving to another new home on the campus of the school where her husband Paul will be working. If they will be moving to that new home, they will need to host some parties for people during the year and also maintain that house’s skating pond, which means that I might be getting moving pictures in the future of Paul, Megan, and their two children moving around on a Zamboni.

If you don’t know what a Zamboni is, let me see if I can find one moving around on the internet.

Here‘s a moving rendition of “I Want to Drive the Zamboni” by Gear Daddies.

If you want to leave a comment on this “Moving” post, please be moving to the comments section below.

No matter where I and others are moving, I’m always expressing gratitude to those who are moving with me here, including YOU.

Categories: friendship, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 3060: Motifs

Motifs (defined in this article about Motif No. 1 in Rockport as themes within a work of art that often repeat themselves) which often repeat themselves in this daily blog include the following:

  • friendship,
  • family,
  • food,
  • feelings,
  • healing,
  • hearts,
  • the here and now,
  • nature,
  • music,
  • groups,
  • gratitude,
  • whimsy,
  • work,
  • play,
  • time,
  • travel,
  • the truth,
  • memories,
  • home,
  • flora,
  • fauna, and
  • art.

Yesterday, several of those motifs were in play as my lifelong friend Deb and I revisited Rockport and other environs close to our shared hometown of Swampscott. Deb and I saw Motif No. 1 — “the most often painted building in America” (or maybe the world!) — and many other motifs on an incredibly beautiful and hopefully reopening day.

What motifs do you see in today’s images?

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Cats are definitely a motif in this blog.

This photo …

… reminds me of a motif in my conversation with Deb yesterday, when we came up with an idea for a new game show called “Awesome or A-hole” in which people would try to guess as quickly as possible whether somebody was one or the other. The background motif for this conversation in Deb’s car were other Massachusetts drivers, often called “Massholes.”

Other motifs in this blog are ice cream and clarity, and I wanted to clarify that this …

… is a “kiddie cone,” which made no sense to me until Deb pointed out that the cone itself was kiddie-sized, even if the ice cream on top of it wasn’t.

YouTube videos are another motif in this blog, so here and here are two videos about Rockport …

… and two (here and here) specifically about Motif No. 1:

Gratitude is definitely a motif for me (as I mentioned on Twitter yesterday …)

… so thanks to Deb and all my other friends who help me share motifs in this daily blog, including YOU.

Categories: friendship, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 3055: Highest standards

Yesterday, I saw this sign …

… when I was in the midst of activities that met my highest standards, including a highest standards walking tour of Nashville conducted by the very entertaining and insightful Ryan.

I told Ryan that he met my highest standards for tour guides, and that I thought he would make a highest standards stand-up comic or group therapist, because he is so funny, really knows how to read people, and remains true to his values.

Speaking of group therapists, when Ryan pointed out that Chet Atkins was a c.g.p….

… I considered that Chet might have been a Certified Group Psychotherapist like me, but, of course, he was a Certified Guitar Player of the highest standards.

Ryan’s highest standards recommendation for Chet Atkins was “Yankee Doodle Dixie,” which sounds like two guitarists playing at the same time instead of a single highest standard one.

Ryan also meets my highest standards for thoughtful responsiveness, because when I texted him last night when I couldn’t remember the Chet Atkins tune he mentioned during the tour, he sent me the link above.

I hope these other photos from Ryan’s highest standards walking tour meet your highest standards.

There were many other important sites and sights on this highest standards walking tour, like the starting point of the horrific Trail of Tears, the tipping point for women finally getting the right to vote in the USA, plus major developments in the American Civil Rights movement. If you are ever in Nashville, I highly recommend you contact Ryan for a highest standards tour.

After the walking tour with Ryan, I finally met fellow blogger Chris Waldrop, who meets my highest standards for writing and communications of all kind.

There’s Chris, enjoying a highest standards milkshake at the famous Elliston Place Soda Shop, which re-opened on Tuesday after months and months of the COVID pandemic, which met nobody’s highest standards. Chris and I had highest standards conversations yesterday about topics including how we met our spouses, cats, dogs, Nashville, work, priorities, decisions, losses, challenges, health, catastrophizing, conflict, compliments, unfairness, our childhoods, people’s reactions to us, story-telling, the strangeness of in-person meetings, and, of course, blogging. Because we meet each other’s highest standards for human beings, Chris and I agreed to be friends for life.

I hope these other photos I took during my precious time spent with Chris meet your highest standards.

Chris meets my highest standards in so many ways, and I hope he, his wife Holly (who is camera-shy like my highest standards husband Michael) and their adorable Dalmatians visit Boston some day.

For my last night in Nashville, I found a restaurant that meets my highest standards — Margot Cafe and Bar.

My Lyft driver to Margo Cafe and Bar …

..: Anthony a/k/a Majikmanheru, told me I met his highest standards this particular way: I was his first passenger ever who looked like their photo.

Here’s Ian at Margot Cafe and Bar …

… who met my highest standards as a server by recommending the two most delicious items on the menu: the endive beet salad and the duck.

I hope you can tell by my clean plates that both met my highest standards for fresh ingredients prepared superbly.

While I couldn’t finish the banana and chocolate cake …

… it still met my highest standards.

I’ve been so busy enjoying my days in Nashville that I forgot to include the highest standards Daily Bitch calendar, so here’s what you missed:

I’m flying back today to my highest standards home by the bay near Boston to rejoin Michael and our highest standards cat Harley (who definitely does not have rabies, because he always stays indoors).

In case you couldn’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed all my experiences of highest standard American hospitality in Nashville.

In conclusion, please accept my highest standards thanks to all who helped me create today‘s blog and — of course — to my highest standards readers, including YOU!

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

Day 2794: Categories

If I were to categorize my associations with categories, they would include

  • a kid’s game I used to play with my friends in which we sang “categories, names of, (some category)” while clapping our hands and naming things in the category back and forth until somebody couldn’t think of one, which I cannot find categorized on YouTube (which I categorize as disappointing)  and
  • this online definition:

category[ kat-i-gawr-ee, -gohr-ee ]
noun, plural cat·e·go·ries.
any general or comprehensive division; a class.
a classificatory division in any field of knowledge, as a phylum or any of its subdivisions in biology.
Metaphysics.
(in Aristotelian philosophy) any of the fundamental modes of existence, such as substance, quality, and quantity, as determined by analysis of the different possible kinds of predication.
(in Kantian philosophy) any of the fundamental principles of the understanding, as the principle of causation.
any classification of terms that is ultimate and not susceptible to further analysis.
categories. Also called Guggenheim. (used with a singular verb) a game in which a key word and a list of categories, as dogs, automobiles, or rivers, are selected, and in which each player writes down a word in each category that begins with each of the letters of the key word, the player writing down the most words within a time limit being declared the winner.
Mathematics. a type of mathematical object, as a set, group, or metric space, together with a set of mappings from such an object to other objects of the same type.
Grammar. part of speech.

During these days, which I would categorize as staycation days for me, my son Aaron is trying to teach me about categories in mathematics (see above and see here).

Leon, who I would put in the categories of ex-husband, father of my son, friends, and people I love, showed up recently in this diagram of categories my son drew …

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… and also showed up yesterday …

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… with a framed photo of mine he put into the category of photos worthy of framing when he saw it in a recent blog post.

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I would put Leon’s actions —  printing out my picture,  framing it, and giving it to us  — into the categories of kind, creative, thoughtful, unexpected, and also very, very flattering.

What categories might we put these other recent pictures into?

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Jeanette, who I would also put into the categories of friends and people I love sent me this beautiful card …

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… which I would put into the category of condolence card for the loss of our cat Oscar, and so much more.  The  PictureThis app  (categorized as “Botanist in Your Pocket”) couldn’t place it into the category of flowers or plants.

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Dave Smith, who I would also put into the categories of friends and people I love as well as into the category of talented teacher and musician, provides today’s musical selection — “Time Waits for No One” from the album Dave Smith & Friends:

I’m looking forward to any comments of different categories, below.

Whatever categories I might put my blog into (which today includes “personal growth,” “photojournalism,” “friendship,” “definition,” and “life during the pandemic”), I should always include the category “gratitude.”  Thanks to all who help me create these categorized posts every day, including YOU!

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Categories: definition, friendship, gratitude, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2754: Reasons you should speak up

Are you ever in situations where you don’t speak up, and you’re not sure why you are silencing yourself?

I’ve noticed this in myself and in others. And this tendency to not speak up is especially critical these days, when silence can equal violence.

Besides that article about speaking up against racism (linked to in the previous paragraph), I’m also looking at a helpful article by Kevin Daum that discusses 5 Reasons You Should Speak Up (Even When You Think You Shouldn’t).  For me, the highlights of that article are that

  • Silence is deemed approval and is not an effective way to avoid conflict.
  • Many stay silent because they don’t want to do any harm by criticizing or offending someone.
  • It’s important to show your commitment to the process by being vocal.
  • Honesty builds trust, especially when combined with tact and empathy.
  • What’s obvious to you might not be obvious to others.
  • You may not be alone in your thinking.

Are there other reasons to speak up? What might get in the way of you speaking up about that, here?

For me, what gets in the way of speaking up includes:

  • fear of doing harm,
  • fear of being misunderstood,
  • fear of feeling alone,
  • fear of being attacked for my opinion,
  • fear of exposing myself or others,
  • fears that are difficult to describe but which have lived in my heart for a long time,
  • wanting to maintain harmony whenever possible,
  • internalized sexism,
  • internalized ageism,
  • the saying “silence is golden,”
  • not being sure, in the moment, of what I want to say,
  • wishing to hear all sides before I decide what I want to say,
  • denial about what is going on (if the situation feels uncomfortable),
  • believing that the time  to speak up has passed,
  • distraction,
  • exhaustion,
  • mind-reading, catastrophizing, and other cognitive distortions.

However, when I don’t speak up, I usually regret it. It’s helpful for me to

  • remember that I CAN  speak up next time and
  • forgive myself for my past silences, because guilt and shame are silencers.

Are there reasons to speak up about my pictures from yesterday?

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Please don’t be afraid of those right and wrong buzzers and speak up in a comment, below.

I also want to speak up about my friend Megan

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… who gives me the courage to speak up. Yesterday, we spoke up to each other about the pandemic, racism, privilege, our work as therapists, the death of a shared patient from COVID-19,  difficult people, uncertainty, masks, politics, hopes, our children, the past, the present, the future, and our long-time friendship.

Here‘s “Speak Up, Speak Out” from Melinda Carroll:

 

Nothing gets in the way of my speaking up  about my gratitude to all who help me create these posts and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, friendship, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 2556: New Year’s Eve

For a long time, my New Year’s Eve tradition has been to compile  a list of my personal ten best and worst of the year.

This year’s best includes

This year’s worst includes

  • the death of close friends,
  • how divided my country is and
  • all the time I spent on worry and dread.

Do you see any evidence of  my best and worst in these new end-of-year photos?

 

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I also put musician Jacob Collier on my personal best list for 2019 and it’s the best that I’ll be seeing him perform live in 2020!

It’s best to start planning for the best of 2020 and not to worry about a thing.

What’s your personal best and worst of 2019?

The best way for me to end this post is to express gratitude to all  who have supported me through another year of daily blogging, including YOU!

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Happy New Year!

Love,

Ann

Categories: blogging, celebrating, friendship, gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 2508: 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: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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