heart condition

Day 3113: Time Out

Yesterday, Twitter put me in a “time out” after I tried to follow back too many new followers too quickly. That means I can’t let people know I like their posts or follow them back for three days.

I’m using this time out to catch my breath and ask myself this question:

Why do I feel like I have to get back to people so quickly?

This sense of urgency in responding to people as soon as possible affects me at work, in my relationships, on social media, everywhere. It makes me anxious and stressed.

When somebody reaches out to me, I imagine them waiting anxiously for my reply, and I feel more and more distress the more time I take getting back to them.

This has been a problem for me at work for many years. I know I blogged about it, in a post titled “The Doritos Cure.” That title was in reference to my supervisor suggesting that instead of my imagining patients waiting anxiously by their phone for my call back, that I imagine them eating Doritos and otherwise engaging in their day-to-day lives.

I’m taking a time out now to go back to my question above, “Why do I feel like I have to get back to people so quickly?”

My best guess, here and now, is that this relates to my experiences in the hospital when I was a child. Starting when I was eight years old, I spent a lot of time alone, in physical and emotional pain, in hospital rooms, waiting for nurses and doctors to respond to me. During those times, my only companion was the hospital heart monitor in my room, beeping out the tentative beats of my very unusual heart.

I would wait for the nurses and doctors to respond to the call light. I would wait for the precious hours when family and friends were allowed to visit me.

So perhaps I project the urgent needs of that scared child onto all who are waiting for me to respond.

I’m so glad I’m taking time out of my morning to make sense of all this.

Now I’m going to take some time out to share my images for the day.

The Daily Bitch is reminding me that it’s good to take a time out from toxic people.

“Time Out” is a GREAT Dave Brubeck Quartet album.

Thank you SO MUCH for taking time out of your day to read this time-out post!

Categories: heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 3043: Whatever doesn’t kill me

Who said “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”?

It didn’t kill me to discover that it was Friedrich Nietzsche.

It didn’t kill me to finally spell “Friedrich Nietzsche” right in that previous paragraph.

Here are others things that didn’t kill me:

  • being born with a rare heart condition,
  • spending lots of time in the hospital when I was kid,
  • ridiculous hospital rules which prevented my parents from staying with me,
  • a few awful nurses and doctors,
  • medicine that made me sick,
  • many surgeries,
  • relying on cardiac pacemakers since age 10,
  • the assassinations during the 60’s,
  • bullies at school,
  • mean or incompetent teachers,
  • bad leaders,
  • bad weather,
  • bad food,
  • choking on a piece of hard candy I accidentally swallowed while laughing,
  • car accidents,
  • scary plane trips,
  • scary movies,
  • scary people, including a rapist,
  • jobs that didn’t fit my skills or interests,
  • walking across a frozen river,
  • my mistakes,
  • other people’s mistakes,
  • traveling by myself,
  • not being able to swim,
  • three bouts of endocarditis because of a leaky heart valve,
  • valve replacement surgery,
  • public speaking,
  • public singing,
  • mountains,
  • valleys,
  • depression,
  • anxiety,
  • PTSD,
  • suicidal thoughts,
  • rejection,
  • disrespect,
  • sexism,
  • anti-Semitism,
  • ageism,
  • COVID-19, and
  • everything and everybody else I’ve encountered in my long life, including what you see in today’s images.

The Daily Bitch Calendar kills me (in a good way).

Here’s Finger Eleven with “Whatever Doesn’t Kill Me”:

It doesn’t kill me to express gratitude, so thanks to all who help me create these daily posts, including YOU!

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

Day 2922: Personal Bests and Worsts of 2020

On the last day of each year, I put together my personal best and worst lists. In every other year, these have been Top 10 lists. For 2020, both my lists go to 11.

My son Aaron, my husband Michael, my Coping and Healing on-line therapy groups, blogging, my friends, the movie La Fée, surviving COVID, the Biden/Harris victory, walks by the ocean, and cats are on my 2020 best list.

Many deaths are on my 2020 worst list, including the COVID-caused death of a beloved patient, the death of my dear friend Eleanor, the death of my “heart brother” David (a wonderful man who had the same rare heart condition as me), and the death of our amazing kitty Oscar. Powerful and destructive narcissists (who shall remain nameless) are on my worst list, too.

Do you see any evidence of the Best and Worst of 2020 in today’s images?

2020 might be my best New Year’s Eve ever because tonight I’m facilitating a special NYE’s version of my Coping and Healing group!

Here’s my most-listened-to tune for 2020 (no matter what Spotify says!).

If you share some personal 2020 bests and/or worsts in the comments section below, that would be the best.

A happier 2021 and I personally thank you for making it through 2020!

Categories: heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 2906: Today is a special day

Today is a special day because I’m alive, against all odds, and so are you.

Today is a special day because I have special images to share.

Today is a special day because I swear that I don’t care if I f*ck shit up today. I have spent far too many of my special days worrying about f*cking shit up and, believe me, I am not the one who is f*cking shit up now.

Today is a special day because I found an open spot on the crowded list for a remote Open Mic this Friday evening. If you want to join the audience for my special performance of “People Who Hate People,” you have three special days to sign up using this link:

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040b4eadaa23a2f49-jamn17

Here is Mr. Rogers with “Today is a Very Special Day.”

Today is a special day because I get to facilitate a “Coping and Healing” group and I get to see your comments on this blog.

As always, I am grateful for every special day I spend with you!

Categories: 2020 U.S. Presidential election, heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 2883: Poop

If you want the poop/scoop on why I’ve chosen today’s title, here’s one reason why:

Here‘s the poop on “poop” from Merriam-Webster:

poop noun (1)
Definition of poop
1 informal : FECES, EXCREMENT
As a brand-new father, a new substance plays a big role in my life: poop.
— Scott Kramer
As the years go by, there’s trouble in paradise, and it isn’t just the ubiquitous goose poop.
— Katherine Lanpher
2 informal : the act of defecating
I have a complaint against dog owners that take their dogs for a walk but do not take a bag, then let their dog stop by people’s mailboxes and take a poop.
— Billie Johnston


poop
intransitive verb

slang : to become exhausted
poop out


poop
slang
: INFORMATION, SCOOP

If you check the definition of “poop” at Merriam-Webster, you’ll see that I left out some poop there. These days, there’s only so much poop I can take.

Do you see any poop in my other photos from yesterday?

I wonder how much poop we’ll have to deal with in 2021?!

Today is November 22, a day which usually makes me feel like poop (and you can get the poop on that here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). I guess I’ve gotten my poop together over the years, because I feel like the opposite of poop today.

What IS the opposite of poop? According to wordhippo.com, the opposite of poop includes

  • calm
  • delight
  • cheer
  • help
  • cure
  • being
  • philosopher
  • genius
  • sage
  • learned woman
  • wise woman
  • old soul.

Here’s “Whose Poop is It?” by JunyTony:

Here’s the poop about all the poop songs I found on YouTube: all have comments turned off. However, comments for this poop post are NOT turned off, so — if you’re not too pooped — please share your thoughts and feelings, below.

Thanks to all who help me share the latest poop in this daily blog, including YOU!

Categories: 2020 U.S. Presidential election, definition, heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, Trump stickers | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 2874: I know things ordinary people don’t know

I know things ordinary people don’t know because I

  • was born with a very unusual heart,
  • grew up in an Orthodox Jewish household,
  • had an incredibly funny, creative, and kind father, who loved to make people laugh,
  • had an incredibly caring, kind, clean and neat mother, who loved to laugh,
  • realized I had a connection with cats when I was very young,
  • had my first major heart surgery when I was 10 on the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated,
  • have relied on cardiac pacemakers to keep me alive since that day,
  • spent a lot of time in hospitals where I met many different types of people,
  • danced in our basement to musicals when nobody was watching,
  • read voraciously when I was young,
  • learned to play the piano, guitar, and ukulele,
  • attended three schools where everyone there knew I had a heart condition,
  • travelled across the USA by bus when I was 21,
  • visited many different countries,
  • danced, danced, danced in the 1970s even though my heart rate was fixed at 72 beats per minute,
  • majored in English literature at college,
  • worked as a technical writer, marketing writer, teacher, manager, and psychotherapist,
  • volunteered for several years at a suicide hotline,
  • attended graduate schools for film studies and social work,
  • love hearing other people’s stories,
  • married two extraordinary men,
  • gave birth to an extraordinary son when I was 45 years old,
  • saw people behave at their best and their worst and everything in between (including me),
  • survived the coronavirus,
  • have kept learning from all the people I have encountered in my long life, and
  • have the Daily Bitch calendar, which knows a lot.

Can you tell that I know things ordinary people don’t know from the rest of today’s photos?

Harley knows things that ordinary cats don’t know, but he’s not telling.

It’s a good thing I know things that ordinary people don’t know, because I’ll be teaching several interns about my Coping and Healing groups this morning at 9.

Here is “I Know Things Now” from Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim, whom I’ve known I’ve loved for a long, long time.

I also know gratitude that ordinary people don’t know, every day, so thanks to to all the extraordinary people I’ve known, including YOU!

Categories: group psychotherapy, heart condition, heart surgery, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 2855: Endure

I keep noticing this rock, which endures in the enduring Kindness Rock Project near our home:

The only other time I’ve used the word “endure” in a blog title was Day 1409: Adapt and Endure, which I published the day after Donald Trump became the U.S. President four years ago.

I, having endured many medical scares and challenges through 2016, also posted this enduring (and, I hope, endearing) message back then on Facebook:

“I survived open heart surgery for THIS?”

As we approach November 2020, let’s think about what we have endured over the last four years. Has it been an AFOG (Another F-ing Opportunity for Growth)? An irredeemable disaster? Something else? Your answer may depend on how you tend to endure.

Which of these images might endure for you?

Okay, I’m ready to endure the next 10 days. Are you?

Here’s a 1972 tune by Stephen Stills which endures for me:

What else endures? Comments on WordPress and my gratitude to all who help me endure, including YOU.

Categories: 2020 U.S. Election, 2020 U.S. Presidential election, heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, Trump stickers | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2838: Just keep walking

Yesterday, I

  • facilitated a Coping and Healing group remotely from my home,
  • went to Tufts Medical Center to get my first echocardiogram since contracting COVID-19 in March,
  • heard from my wonderful cardiologist Dr. Deeb Salem via email that there was no change in my heart,
  • celebrated the great news by buying cream puffs from my favorite bakery,
  • drove by a demonstration of Black Lives Matter people and Blue Lives Matter people,
  • told my husband and son my good news,
  • walked back toward the demonstration,
  • visited the beautiful collection of painted rocks on the beach,
  • Sharpied more Trump stickers,
  • stood with the Black Lives Matter people as many more Blue Lives Matter people swirled around us with flags and loud noisemakers,
  • asked one of the Black Lives Matter people whether the Blue Lives Matter people were supporting Democrats (whose national color is blue),
  • explained to that person that I was kidding,
  • was told by another Black Lives Matter person that I was awesome and my hair looked great,
  • started walking back home,
  • told a guy who passed me and started talking nonsense about the Black Lives Matter people, “I don’t agree with you so just keep walking,”
  • got caught in a wild and windy rainstorm,
  • just kept walking home for another 30 minutes,
  • changed out of my wet clothes,
  • had some cream puffs,
  • ate a delicious swordfish dish made by my husband Michael,
  • watched the Vice President debate with my husband and son,
  • commented on a fly’s affinity for Mike Pence,
  • ate more cream puffs,
  • declared Kamala Harris the winner,
  • dealt with our internet and cable going out during the debate analysis,
  • put aside worry about it being restored in time for my groups today,
  • went to sleep, and
  • woke up in time to blog before my dental cleaning this morning at 8 AM.

Let’s just keep walking through my most recent photos.

I just keep walking through my Daily Bitch Calendar until November.

I just walked over to YouTube to find “Kamala” by Randy Rainbow:

Just keep commenting, below.

Thanks to all who help me keep walking and blogging every day, including YOU!

Categories: 2020 U.S. Election, heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 2837: Stranger Danger

Have you ever experienced a stranger time with so much danger? Above all, there is danger because of the stranger in the White House.

Do you see stranger danger in today’s images?

I am having an echocardiogram today at 3 to discover whether COVID-19 has damaged my heart, which is stranger than yours. Everyone will be wearing masks during this procedure, so that strangers won’t cause danger to each other. Even though masks might make us look and feel stranger, it’s the strangest behavior in the world not to wear one to reduce danger to oneself and others.

The stranger in the White House is endangering countless lives of strangers with his stranger and stranger behavior. If you are voting for him, nothing is stranger to me.

Truth is stranger than fiction, and “Stranger in Town” from Pat Metheny’s Orchestrion showed up in my headphones yesterday when I was taking my “Stranger Danger” photos.

What are your thoughts and feelings about this Stranger Danger post?

Thanks to all the friends and strangers who help me create this daily blog, which reduces my danger during these stranger and stranger times.

Categories: 2020 U.S. Presidential election, heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2767: Paying attention

Here and now, I’m paying attention to these quotes about paying attention:

“The right way to begin is to pay attention to the young, and make them just as good as possible.” — Socrates

“Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes.” — Antisthenes

“If you’re not nervous then you’re not paying attention.” — Miles Davis

“If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.” — Tom Peters

“The difference between hearing and listening is paying attention.” — Ruth Messinger

“If you pay attention to when you are hungry,  what your body wants, what you’re eating, when you’ve had enough, you end the obsession because obsession and awareness cannot coexist.” — Geneen Roth

“When you really pay attention, everything is your teacher.” — Ezra Bayda

“All you have to do is pay attention: lessons always arrive when you are ready, and if you can read the signs, you will learn everything you need to know in order to take the next step.”  —Paulo Coelho

“The universe is full of noise.  True wisdom is in knowing what to pay attention to.” — Debasish Mridha

“Pay more attention to the silence than to the sounds. Paying attention to outer silence creates inner silence: the mind becomes still.  A portal is opening up.” — Eckhart Tolle

“Pay attention to the little things.  They’re more important than you think.”  — Matt Gutierrez

“Don’t beg for attention; pay attention to your dreams and others will pay attention to you.” — Israelmore Ayivor

“People will reveal who they are if you just pay attention.”  — Germany Kent

“Pay attention to the gentle ones, the ones who can hold your gaze with no discomfort, the ones who smile to themselves while sitting alone in a coffee shop, the ones who walk as if floating. Take them in and marvel at them.  Simply marvel. It takes an extraordinary person to carry themselves as if they do not live in hell.” —  D. Bunyavong

“Pay attention to what you don’t see.” — Tia DeShay

“Pay attention to the beauty surrounding you.” — Anne Lamott

“The simple act of paying attention can take you a long way.”  — Keanu Reeves

“You’ll have bad times.  But that’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” — Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting

“Difficulties come when you don’t pay attention to life’s whisper. Life always whispers to you first, but if you ignore the whisper, sooner or later you’ll get a scream.” — Oprah Winfrey

“Paying attention is the most basic and profound expression of love.” —Tara Brach

“The greatest act of love is to pay attention.” — Diane Sawyer

“Every single person has a story that will break your heart.  And if you’re paying attention, many people have a story that will bring you to your knees.  Nobody rides for free.”  — Brené Brown

“I understand now that I’m not a mess but a deeply feeling person in a messy world. I explain that now, when someone asks me why I cry so often, ‘For the same reason I laugh so often — because I’m paying attention.’ ” — Glennon Doyle

“But when we observe, we are forced to pay attention.  We have to move from passive absorption to active awareness. We have to engage.” —  Maria Konnikova

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” — Mary Oliver

Now it’s time to be paying attention to my latest photos.

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If you’re paying attention, you might notice a typo in that job description. What else are you paying attention to?

Here‘s “Pay Attention” from Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.

As always, I’m paying attention to gratitude, so thanks to all who help me pay attention to this daily blog, including YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

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