life during the pandemic

Day 3308: Who needs a hug?

Who needs a hug on National Hugging Day?

I’m assuming we all do, because there’s been such a vast reduction in hugging for TWO YEARS.

People need hugs to feel comforted and connected with others. Yesterday, in my therapy groups, I asked people to give themselves hugs during the mindfulness exercise. (If they didn’t feel comfortable hugging themselves, I suggested they give themselves mental hugs).

Several people spoke about how much they yearned to be in the same room together again. I hugged myself as I admitted that we had no idea of when that might be.

Do you see anyone who needs a hug in my images for today?

I’ll tell you one thing: I’m not hugging any squirrels today.

This is what I find on YouTube when I search for “who needs a hug.”

Now I REALLY need a hug.

I hope my gratitude, here and now, feels like a hug to you.

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 3306: Chillax

Because I can’t seem to break my habit of worrying about (1) possible catastrophes, (2) not responding quickly enough to everyone, and (3) inexplicably high numbers for my weight and my INR, I am telling myself (and anyone else who needs to hear it) to chillax.

If you don’t know what “chillax” means, chillax. Here’s a definition.

These days, I can dance to my favorite tune or chillax, but I can’t have friends over because of Omicron.

Yesterday, in a remote Coping and Healing therapy group, we helped each other chillax by consciously letting go of fears and accepting our own worth.

I recently committed to doing another remote Open Mic on Friday and doing a presentation about my groups in February, so I need to chillax about both of those. I have a tendency to get nervous about performances, even though I’ve done so many before, so (say it along with me, please) …

Chillax.

After I get up every precious morning, I chillax by creating this blog. Do any of my images for today help you chillax?

I don’t know what “World Quark Day” is, but I’m going to chillax about that. Also, I’ve been eating way too much popcorn lately, which might explain the weight gain, so instead of eating popcorn on National Popcorn Day, I’m going to chillax.

Joan chillaxes by fetching her favorite toy.

What helps you chillax?

Ending each daily blog post with gratitude helps me chillax, so thanks to everyone who is visiting here now, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 3303: What are you looking at?

What are you looking at, besides this blog post?

I’m looking at:

  • a cold New England,
  • COVID statistics,
  • hopes and fears about the state of the USA and the rest of the world,
  • one of the 1325 Buddhist Ways to Be Happy,
  • this awesome book by my friend Janet:
  • TV shows including Ted Lasso, Flowers, and Station 11,
  • Twitter, and
  • cats.

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Me? I’m also looking at the answers to this question I asked last night on Twitter.

Those answers are helping me compile a list of places I hope to be looking at in the future.

Wherever you are, what are you looking at for this precious day?

I’m looking at another day when I don’t have to go under the scalpel. Yippee!

This comes up when I search YouTube for “what are you looking at?”

Soon, I hope to be looking at your comments.

What are you looking at now? My gratitude for you.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 3302: A moment’s peace

During these times, it’s even more challenging to get a moment’s peace. That’s why I took a moment to ask this question on Twitter last night:

I’m working on getting a moment’s peace, here and now, while it’s very cold and windy outside.

Personally, I find it more difficult to get a moment’s peace when I’m scared and those temperatures feel scary!

Can you find a moment’s peace in any of my other images for today?

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If I have to go out today, wearing a hat might give me a moment’s peace.

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “a moment’s peace.”

How do you get a moment’s peace?

I’m grateful for everything and everybody that helps me get a moment’s peace, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, life in the USA, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 3300: Favorite Wastes of Time

Twitter is one of my favorite wastes of time, so I asked this question last night:

Some replies pointed out that doing something you enjoy is never a waste of time, and I agree! I explained that I was thinking about this great song by Marshall Crenshaw, “You’re My Favorite Waste of Time.”

Another one of my favorite “wastes of time” these days is the TV show Ted Lasso.

When I saw my Primary Care Doctor recently, she told me she’s watched both seasons of Ted Lasso many times and how that’s been helping her get through the pandemic. I completely trust my doctor, so I’m taking that TV Rx and I’m loving it.

What’s NOT a favorite waste of time is believing old, unhelpful and judgmental labels.

Another favorite “waste of time” for me is sharing images with you every day.

What’s your favorite waste of time?

Thanks to all who choose to waste some time with me here, including YOU!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 3298: Hyper-vigilance

Hyper-vigilance is well know to me, both as a therapist and as a person diagnosed with PTSD (because of my hospital experiences when I was a child and living with a very rare heart condition for 68 years).

Because of the pandemic, global warming, racism, economic disparities, and many other complex and constant abuses to our psyches and our bodies, there are very few of us who are not hyper-vigilant these days.

Here is a definition of hyper-vigilance from healthline.com:

Yesterday, when I was at a hospital waiting for a bone scan, I tweeted this as I was trying to take deep breaths and slow down some racing thoughts:

Some people on Twitter responded with gratitude for the thought, others pointed out how hyper-vigilance is not a choice. I work on hyper-vigilance every day, and I understand.

Do you see hyper-vigilance in my other images for today?

I think our phones add to our hyper-vigilance, do you?

I want to be vigilant (and not hyper) in wishing a happy birthday to my first husband (and father of our son, Aaron), who reads this blog. Happy birthday, Leon Dave, and many more!

Because of my vigilance in sharing music I love in this blog, here’s one of my favorite Thomas Dolby tunes:

Thanks to all who are vigilant enough to get to the bottom of this “Hyper-vigilance” blog post, including YOU!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 3297: Eye contact

I’ve been thinking a great deal about eye contact lately, and not just because of the Daily Bitch Calendar for today.

Most of the eye contact I’ve been making for almost two years has been through Zoom-like online platforms, and I know I’m not alone in that.

Last night — when my eyes were making contact with many things besides sleep — I was noticing that some of my memories of meetings and groups I was in before the pandemic are being transformed into Zoom meetings in my head. It’s as if I can’t quite remember what it’s like to be in a room with people, and my mind is filling in details based on recent memories.

If we were face to face right now, perhaps you might be avoiding eye contact with me because of that previous paragraph.

Do you notice eye contact in any of my other images for today?

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “eye contact”:

Here’s “Eye Contact” by Chrisaunt.

I wish I could make eye contact with you as I thank you for visiting my blog, but this will just have to do:

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Day 3296: Numbers

I’ve written numbers of blog posts about numbers during the last 3,296 days, although I am not sure what that exact number is.

I was thinking about numbers today because of the rising numbers of COVID cases worldwide. Because the Omicron variant is so highly contagious, those numbers seem very scary.

I was also thinking of numbers today because every other Sunday I need to check my INR numbers. I check those numbers every other week because I have a mechanical heart valve, so I need to take a number of anti-coagulant pills every day.

The INR numbers, for me, are supposed to be between 2.5 – 3.5. (The INR number for a typical person is supposed to be 1.) If the numbers are too low, my mechanical heart valve might clog and need to be replaced. If the numbers are too high, I might bruise and even bleed internally.

My numbers are usually pretty steady, but sometimes they are a little too high or low. There are very few numbers that have been really scary. But I still get nervous whenever I’m waiting a number of seconds for my home testing machine to give me those numbers every other Sunday.

Here is the number I got this morning:

That is outside the ideal numbers of 2.5 – 3.5, but not by much. My anticoagulant nurse, Veronica, will call my cell phone number tomorrow and, I assume, tell me to eat higher numbers of spinach leaves this week and/or reduce the numbers of pills I take.

Do you see numbers in my other images for today?

Out of those numbers of National Days, I’ll be celebrating National Sunday Supper Day at home with my husband Michael and my son Aaron.

Here’s “Numbers” by Kraftwerk.

Over the years, I’ve taken countless numbers of photos, just so I can end these blog posts with thanks to YOU.

Categories: heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 3295: Contagious

Let’s start this contagious blog post with a definition of “contagious.”

I am surprisingly contagious on Twitter (with more than 20,000 followers there) and I tweeted this yesterday:

The answers included measles, yawning, kindness, hatred, love, Uptown Funk, lies, ignorance, laughter, smiles, misinformation, Kung Fu Fighting, anger, love, stupidity, racism, compliments, rumors, the rockin’ pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu.

I believe that joy is also contagious, which is why I asked this question on Twitter last night:

Do you see anything contagious in my images for today?

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I swear that I didn’t know that today was National JoyGerm Day until after I started this contagious blog post. Coincidences and synchronicity are also contagious.

Here’s a contagious song, with dancing:

Here’s another one:

And another one:

Gratitude is also contagious, so catchy thanks to all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU!

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

Day 3292: Pressure

No pressure to figure out why this post is titled “pressure.”

I’ve got two songs about pressure running through my head.

I’m not under pressure to show up in person at the hospital where I work these days, so I’ll probably work only from home for the immediate future.

I don’t want to pressure you to choose your favorite image here, but I am curious.

Any pressure from that Daily Bitch calendar?

No pressure to leave a comment, below.

Thanks to all who are dealing with the inevitable pressure of daily life with grace and resilience, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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