friendship

Day 1381: Sweet

Many things are sweet this morning, my sweet readers, including the following:

  1. I am recovering  sweetly from my open heart surgery of September 21,
  2. I  don’t have to worry about how many sweets I eat right now (although I am watching my salt and my vitamin K intake),
  3. sweet people including my friend Jeanette in Philadelphia are sending me chocolates and other sweets,
  4. there are still sweet cookies left over from the bunch we bought yesterday at the sweet Lakota Bakery in Arlington,
  5. my boyfriend, Michael, talked to my sweet 18-year-old son, Aaron, on the phone yesterday, helping Aaron to cook more sweet food in his dorm kitchen in Edinburgh, Scotland,
  6. I am not fasting for Yom Kippur this year but rather eating all the sweet and non-sweet food I want today,
  7. I am sweetly unworried about the U.S. presidential election next month,
  8. my sweet college roommate Maria and I bought some sweet jewelry and socks at two sweet boutiques in Arlington, Massachusetts yesterday,
  9. I also showed Maria some other sweet sites in Arlington, and
  10. the first sweet photo I took yesterday — at the Arlington coffee house where I have twice sung sweetly at  Open Mic nights — features many products that are sweet:

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Would you like to see all my other sweet photos from yesterday?

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Which of those many sweet photos seem particularly sweet to you, my sweet reader?

As I am creating this sweet post,  I am listening to this sweet fairy tale ballet:

 

Finally, here’s a sweet way to thank all those who helped me create this sweet post and those who have been sweet enough to read it here and now:

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Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 1344: Reckless Abandon

With reckless abandon, I here and now decide what the title of today’s post will be, based on this sign I saw yesterday:

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With reckless abandon, I shall now reveal that:

  1. I hope to embrace the stressful events of the next few weeks with reckless abandon.
  2. These stressful events include waiting for the delivery of a student visa (which I hope hasn’t been recklessly abandoned in some government building in NYC), my son starting a five-year program at the University of Edinburgh, and my having open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
  3. Yesterday I recklessly abandoned all attempts to prepare myself for the upcoming events and instead spent the day with my fabulous Philadelphia-based friend Jeanette (who abandoned Boston to move to Washington D.C. sixteen years ago, but I I still miss her every day).
  4. Jeanette, who courageously abandons any fear of speaking her mind, recklessly told my boyfriend Michael yesterday that he has to teach my son Aaron how to cook two easy meals this week.
  5. Michael recklessly promised Jeanette that he would.
  6. I am recklessly going to include photos of Jeanette and other people I’ve recklessly mentioned  in this post, so don’t abandon me yet!

Are you ready for the reckless abandon of my other photos from yesterday, as I recklessly abandon any intention of further explaining them?

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Which of those photos say “reckless abandon” to you?

With reckless abandon, this Frightsome Fleshlumpeater will now share the reckless abandon of Roald Dahl, Gene Wilder, and pure imagination:

 

I hope you show some reckless abandon by leaving a comment, below.

Before I recklessly abandon you all until tomorrow morning’s blog post, I’d like to express gratitude to those who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — with reckless abandon.

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

Day 1219: Tone

Try to imagine my tone of voice as I say any of the following statements:

Every year, I wait for the arrival of spring.

Spring is my favorite time of year.

I LOVE walking outside in sunny weather, feasting my eyes on the flowering trees and all the other brilliant colors of spring.

For years, I’ve done all I can do to take a week off from work in spring to enjoy the blossoming colors after the long Boston winter.

Last year, the local weather in May was predictably beautiful, but I had heart-related surgery during my week off, so I couldn’t really enjoy it.

Two years ago, I had pneumonia during April and May.

This year, I need to travel to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, at the end of May to consult with a cardiologist.

I was afraid that trip to the Mayo Clinic might prevent my taking off a week earlier in May to enjoy Boston’s spring weather.

However,  I was able to take two weeks off from work in May this year.

It was gloriously sunny on the first day of my May-stay-cation

Since then, it has been rainy and cold.

I just looked at the forecast for the rest of the week AND THERE IS NO SUN OR WARMTH IN THE FORECAST.

What is the tone of this post, so far?

Yesterday, while it was rainy and cold, I met up with my friend Tony, whom I often  affectionally call “Tone.”

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Tony and have known each other for forty years!!!!!!! We’ve experienced many tones of life, along the way.

I say this with no tone of irony, sarcasm, or fear of being contradicted by him: Tone and I are BFFs (Best Friends Forever, Tony, in case you don’t know what that means).

I remember writing something to Tony, years ago, that began like so:

Tony! Toni! Tone!

Here‘s the band Tony! Toni! Toné! performing a relevant song:

It never rains in Southern California, but I’m here in rainy Boston, now, which gives me the opportunity to practice all the beautiful tones of forgiveness, patience, acceptance, and appreciation of what is, in every moment.

What tones do you see in the other photos I took yesterday?

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Here’s the tone of my current thinking: What will be the tone of the comments I receive for today’s blog?

Many thanks to all the Tones that contributed to this post and to you — of course! — no matter what tones surround you.

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

Day 1205: What makes a special place?

My special boyfriend, Michael, often says

It’s not the place, it’s the people.

I thought of that yesterday, when I took a little trip to Leominster, Massachusetts, to visit The North End Diner and Doyle Community Park & Center and saw this:

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Even though this was the only person I took a picture of yesterday …

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… it was still people who made each place special, including

  • the waitress who gave me free fruit and home fries when I told her it was my first time at the North End Diner and that I didn’t eat meat and
  • all the people who were friendly, along my walk at Doyle Community Park.

I chose to visit Leominster yesterday  because of special memories I have of a special person who grew up there — Alexa, whom I first met in Boston Children’s Hospital when we were kids.

Here’s an old photo of me and Alexa:

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And here’s a special photo my special son Aaron took when we spent some time with Alexa in England during my first year of blogging (as mentioned in previous posts here and here):

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When I found out that Alexa had passed away, I wished I had spent more special time with her in other special places.

Here are other special places I saw yesterday, in  Leominster Massachusetts:

When I drove back, yesterday, through Littleton,  Massachusetts, home of my special friend Rachel, I took this final photo of the day.

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What was special about that place, that I would take a photo of it?

I’m not sure, but soon after taking that special photo, I called Rachel, whom I haven’t seen in several years.  We agreed to meet in some special place, soon.

What makes a place special, for you? If you express that in a comment, that will definitely make this post more special to me.

Special thanks to all those who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for visiting, here and now.

Categories: blogging, friendship, in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 26 Comments

Day 1145: Comparisons

When I woke up this morning in my incomparable friend Jeanette’s home in Philadelphia, I knew today’s blog post would be called “Comparisons.”

Comparing myself to other human beings, I think we all do many comparisons, every day,  including:

  • Comparisons of ourselves to other people.
  • Comparisons of the present to the past.
  • Comparisons of reality to what we think should be.

How would you compare my comparatively short list of common comparisons to comparisons you’ve noticed?

Compared to other definitions, here’s how “Comparisons” are defined in my list of Cognitive Distortions (Automatic and Unhelpful Thoughts):

Comparisons.
We compare ourselves to others, with ourselves coming out short. For example, “I’m not as smart (or good, competent, good-looking, lovable, etc.) as that other person.” Or, we compare ourselves to how we think we should be, or how we’ve been before. We might think that comparisons help motivate us, but they usually make us feel worse.

Comparing this to other blog posts I’ve written, I need to include:

  1. an explanation of why “Comparisons” was on my mind when I woke up.  In two days, I’ll be trying out for “The Voice,” where my voice will be compared to thousands of others.
  2. photos, which could be compared to each other and/or to other photos you’ve seen.

I am now comparing the size of two of those photos, above,  to what I want them to be.  Here are the two Rumi quotes on Jeanette’s kitchen cabinets, comparatively larger, so you can compare them:

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How would you compare this post to others?

Many thanks to Jeanette, to Rumi, and to my readers, all beyond compare.

Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 931: Dedication

Because of my dedication to my high school class of 1970 — and to planning a 45th reunion for September — I found this junior high school program from 1967:


And that got me thinking about dedication. For me,  “dedication” evokes

  • My 17-year-old son, Aaron
  • My boyfriend Michael
  • My sister Ellen
  • My work, as a psychotherapist
  • My friends
  • My daily blog
  • My doctors
  • Machines

Machines? Doesn’t that seem like a strange dedication, compared to the others in that list?

Perhaps not, because for most of my life, I’ve relied on dedicated machines (especially cardiac pacemakers) to keep me happy and healthy.

Also, my mind is more dedicated to machines, in the moment, because our dedicated central air conditioning on the top floor of our apartment stopped working yesterday, during 90+ degree weather.

As dedicated as I am to my readers who use the metric system, I think all my dedicated readers know that 90+ degree weather could really use a dedicated air conditioner, on every floor.

If this post seems more rambling than other ones you’ve dedicated your precious time to reading, remember that today I have an excellent, dedicated excuse.

As I promised my dedicated readers yesterday, here’s another machine that kept me happy on Saturday:

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Those two pictures were taken by my dedicated boyfriend, Michael.

Speaking of dedication, my friend Deb — whom I met in Junior High School — spent dedicated time with me yesterday, in a part of Boston dedicating space during summer Sundays to a big outdoor market.

Here are some images  I showed dedication in capturing, yesterday, during my time with my dedicated friend Deb:


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

The last seven shots are dedicated to showing Deb’s backyard, including her dedicated garden, plus a beautiful glass piece she made in a dedicated kiln AND the metal holder she created during a “welding weekend.”

If that isn’t dedication, what is?

I have lots more I could write about dedication, but I need to update this dedication post, pronto. Why? Because this dedication post was prematurely published due to the dedication and the paws of this dedicated, omnipresent creature:


But first, here‘s a dedication song for you all:

Dedicated thanks to everyone who helped me publish this post (including Oscar) and dedicated thanks to you, for your dedication in reading it.

Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 909: I Heart Accuracy

Two days ago, somebody came to therapy wearing this t-shirt:


I ❤  accuracy,  but I would never wear that t-shirt. To be accurate, my heart (because of my congenital heart condition) does not look like that.

To be accurate, I ❤ many things, including:

  • Accuracy
  • My heart
  • Other people’s hearts
  • My son, Aaron
  • My boyfriend, Michael
  • Blogging
  • My readers
  • Spontaneity
  • Walking
  • My work, as a psychotherapist 
  • My friend Jeanette, whom I met at Film School in Boston in the 1980s and who lives too far away (in Philadelphia), which I do not <3.

Yesterday, I spent 1 hour walking, while my son was at his keyboard  lesson in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Then, I spent 5  hours with Jeanette.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

I ❤ these photos:


I ❤ Spy Pond.


I ❤ signs.

I ❤ green and shadows.

I ❤ several things about that picture. 

 I ❤ that paw print and “Run!”

I ❤ loving couples.


I ❤ celebrating pride (at 11:30 or any time). 

I ❤ “Turn Around.”

I ❤ “Still movin? That’s right you are!”

I ❤ the 4th of July and how my late father used to ask people this question:

Does England have a 4th of July?

I ❤ people taking naps, although I usually don’t take them.

I ❤ Jeanette.

I ❤ Jeanette’s smile.



I ❤ those t-shirts, but I didn’t ❤ them enough to buy them.


I ❤ the way Jeanette and I riffed about the big-headed bird on that moving van.

I ❤ Jeanette,  at our home.

I ❤ Jeanette and our cat Oscar.

I ❤ Aaron, Michael, Oscar, and Jeanette (l. to r.)

I ❤  Oscar and Aaron.

To repeat, I ❤  Accuracy.

What do you <3? I would ❤ it if you’d let us know.

I ❤ that Neil Young is singing “Heart of Gold” on YouTube.

I do NOT ❤ how WordPress keeps leaving off parts of this post, as I’m trying to publish it.

I ❤ thanking Jeanette, Aaron, Michael, Oscar, my late father, Arlington, Belmont, people who show their hearts, Neil Young, and you — of course! — no matter what you <3. 

Categories: friendship, love, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 895: Simultaneously

For the past two years, Mark Bialczak and I have simultaneously been blogging daily here on WordPress.

Yesterday, we simultaneously took a photo of each other during a beautiful afternoon at “The Happy Cottage” on Cape Cod.


Doesn’t Mark look happy in that photo? Simultaneously, I was happy too, getting my picture taken while spending a simultaneous and fabulous three-and-a-half hours (but who’s counting?) with Mark, his lovely wife Karen, and their wonderful dog Ellie B (simultaneously known as Dogamous Pyle).

Earlier in the day, Mark and I were simultaneously snapping photos for today’s blogs (while Karen was simultaneously being patient and kind with the both of us). I am posting my pictures here (perhaps simultaneously with Mark sharing his own view of our simultaneously shared day):


                                                  
     

Doesn’t that look like Ellie B. is simultaneously being a dog and a wine steward?

I wonder if Mark, like me, will simultaneously report that our meeting yesterday was

I also wonder if there’s a simultaneous description of this dialog from yesterday (after Karen mentioned Mark’s ability to do that male thing of simultaneously having doctor-approved good  hearing and also hearing her selectively):

Me: I know! Somehow, my boyfriend Michael hears every word my son Aaron says, but he can’t hear what I’m saying. Michael claims it’s the frequency of my voice.

Mark: Yes, it’s the frequency. How much you’re talking.

While  typing the  dialog above on my iPhone keyboard, I was simultaneously wondering whether I quoted Karen, Mark, and Michael correctly and also simultaneously remembering Mark passionately giving me instructions yesterday about how to avoid blogging on this friggin’ annoying keyboard. Simultaneously, while I was ignoring Mark’s attempt to make my blogging life easier yesterday,  he and I were joking and reminiscing about other times — over the past two years — when I have ignored other helpful suggestions from him.

Here’s another thing that happened simultaneously yesterday:  Mark and I declared it unfair that NEITHER OF US HAS BEEN FRESHLY PRESSED here at WordPress, despite our simultaneous blogging diligence and consistency.

Perhaps, as we simultaneously publish posts about our shared day today, we will simultaneously

  1. be freshly pressed and
  2. go viral.

After I got home yesterday evening, Michael was able to hear me well enough to talk about my delightful day and to decide to go food shopping last night. While he and I were at the supermarket, a group therapist who had simultaneously attended my workshop on my therapy groups last weekend was simultaneously shopping there, too. She and I were simultaneously thrilled to see each other, and she showed me this:

That’s the stone she had chosen while everybody in the workshop was simultaneously doing a mindfulness exercise,  a week ago.

Simultaneously, I know that Mark is NOT going to show a picture of that.

Before I end this post and check if Mark’s simultaneous blog is posted (and we do often publish posts simultaneously), here’s a song that I simultaneously thought of, in honor of my perfect day spent simultaneously with Mark, Karen, and (for part of the day) Ellie B.

Simultaneously, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are singing “I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends” (and part of a joyous encore) on YouTube.

Simultaneously, I’m curious about what comment you’re going to leave here (and perhaps simultaneously at Mark’s simultaneous blog, too).

Simultaneous thanks to Mark, Karen, Dogamous Pyle, Cape Cod, Michael, the therapist from my group workshop, all the Beatles, and you — of course! — for simultaneously reading, today.

Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 47 Comments

Day 846: Far away

Yesterday, my friend  Barbara and I drove only an hour from Boston to New Hampshire, but we got  so far away from

  • stress,
  • worry,
  • jealousies,
  • confusion,
  • pettiness,
  • pain,
  • judgment, and
  • fears about the future.

Here’s Barbara,  looking somewhat far away from me, over lunch:

Here are more far-away photos from yesterday:


            


            

  

                


    


Far and away, isn’t Barbara is the best get-away weekend planner, ever?!

Here’s a Far Away song for you all:

Carole King —  with the help of  James Taylor —  is singing “So Far Away” there, back in Boston.

Far and close thanks to Barbara, Carole King, James Taylor, getaways of any kind, Boston, New Hampshire, the good ships Ecsta Sea and Indigo Lady, water and fire, places to sit and rest, and you — of course! — no matter how far away you are.

Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 40 Comments

Day 839: Never worry alone

“Never worry alone” is something my manager likes to say.

I most recently heard him say

Never worry alone

two days ago, during his presentation on “Violence in Health Care,” at the hospital-based Primary Care Practice where we both work.

Earlier this morning, I followed his advice to

Never worry alone

by sending an email to my cardiologists, about some worries filling up space in my head.

As I approach surgery for my very unusual heart on May 4th, I hereby resolve to

Never worry alone

from now on. Does anybody want to join in with that resolution?

Yesterday, I spent some time with my friend, Deb. We never worried alone, as we walked around less-worried Watertown, Massachusetts.

    

That’s Chris, who told us he no longer worries about flat tires or chains, now that he alone has that most excellent bicycle.

There’s Deb. Does she look worried? Whether she is or not, she’s not alone  — I’m right there, taking pictures.

      

    

At some point, I shared with Deb my worry that I had left a bottle of heart medication pills at the Royal Restaurant in Watertown the night before.

No worries! I found those pills when Deb and I returned there for brunch: 

Deb and I shared worries and other things (including soy milk French Toast, a Gruyere and mushroom omelette, and FRIED OREOS) at The Royal.

Does anything about that worry you? It didn’t worry us, and we left The Royal for more walking.      

One thing I didn’t photograph yesterday: imagining my worries attached to a rock I found  and throwing that Worry Rock —  with Deb as my lone witness — into the Charles River. 

      

I wasn’t worried yesterday when I accidentally switched to black and white photography for a few shots.

Deb said I should put my name (or the non-judgmental name of this blog) on my custom-made t-shirts. Should I worry about that?

Should I worry about which “Worry” song to include today?

Never worry alone, when Stevie Wonder is making such beautiful music on YouTube.

I’m not worrying alone now, thanks to my manager, my cardiologists, Deb, Chris and his bicycle, Watertown, the Royal Restaurant, the Charles River, my Worry Rock, Stevie Wonder, soy milk French toast and fried Oreos, kids and pogo sticks, peaceful frogs and people, and — of course! — you.

Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 36 Comments

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