original song

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 3053: Best strangers

While I was waiting for my driver yesterday morning to take me to Boston’s Logan Airport, I got these notifications about best strangers from Lyft:

The concept of “best strangers” is no stranger than anything else that is happening during these stranger times. Also, it felt stranger to me to be traveling to Nashville on my own, but so far I have met many best strangers here.

That’s my Lyft driver in Nashville, John, who was a best stranger in so many ways. He thought my song “Everybody’s Somebody’s Asshole,” was great, and he didn’t seem to think that it was stranger of me to sing it for him before my Open Mic last night. He also predicted that I wouldn’t want to leave Nashville on Thursday and, believe me, I’ve heard stranger predictions.

Here are two best strangers at the Graduate Hotel in Nashville — Alyssa and Luke.

Best stranger Luke showed me a photo of best dog Skippy.

At the Open Mic at the Tennessee Brew Works last night, I met best strangers Tio and Laura.

Tio and Laura also performed at the Open Mic and they were the best! Note that they both worked on creating Tio’s best jacket.

Tio and I were best strangers for each other when we recorded each other’s performances. Here’s mine, with lots of background noise from many best strangers.

Gracie, who was the best M.C. of the best Open Mic I’ve ever seen, told me she spent four years in Boston as a student at Berklee, which I didn’t find strange at all.

Do you see other best strangers in my other best photos from yesterday?

It’s crazy how many best strangers there are out here.

Don’t be a stranger; please leave best and/or stranger comments, below.

Gratitude makes any best stranger into a good friend, so thanks to all who read my best AND stranger blog posts, including YOU.

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

Day 3051: Comfort zones

In all the time zones of the USA, today is Mother’s Day, and I am comforted by good memories of my late mother. My mother tried her best to give comfort to others and created many comfort zones during her long life.

Here’s my mother creating a comfort zone for my late father when they were young…

and for my father and their two best friends many years later:

Memories of my mother are comfort zones for me. And as you can see, we both experienced zones near the ocean as comfort zones.

Trying to make Twitter more of a comfort zone, I posted this tweet a few minutes ago:

Today, I’m getting ready to travel for the first time since the pandemic created so many discomfort zones. I’m expecting some discomfort flying tomorrow to an unfamiliar place in a different time zone — Nashville.

Last night, I had discomforting dreams about singing my original songs in Nashville. One of them — “I Left the House Before I Felt Ready” — is about comfort and discomfort zones. Strangely, I woke up comforted after that dream, thinking, “Well, I doubt things will go THAT badly.”

Tweeting used to be out of my comfort zone, but no longer.

Do you see comfort zones in my photos from yesterday?

Here’s where my thoughts are going — to my debut performance of “I Left the House Before I Felt Ready” when I FORGOT my own words, which always throws me out of my comfort zone:

Sharing vulnerabilities can create comfort zones for yourself and others.

I just increased my comfort zone by booking my 6:30 AM Lyft to the airport for tomorrow.

Also, the person who created Mother’s Day for me just contacted me from Scotland, which really expanded my comfort zone.

Please make this blog more of a comfort zone by expressing your thoughts and feelings in the comments zone below.

Gratitude always increases my comfort zones, so thanks to all who help me get into the blogging zone every day, including YOU!

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

Day 3046: What the hell?

What the hell are these things that showed up overnight in our shower?

In the morning, I texted my excellent ex-sister-in-law Deborah, who knows what the hell is going on in architecture, construction, and remodeling, and here’s part of our conversation:

Me: I found these in the shower this morning and they’re not mushrooms and should we move out immediately?

Deborah: that is pretty interesting! can’t say I have ever seen that happen before.

Me: Didn’t “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” start out like this?

Deborah: if it didn’t it should have. was there an occasion of extreme heat in that space?

Me: Nope

Deborah: are the bubbles hard? or sticky?

Me: Michael has been power washing the decks.

Deborah: is there a deck behind that wall?

Me: No. Weird.

Deborah: is the adhesive water soluble? if you break a bubble off will it get soft in water?

Me:

Me: Doesn’t seem to. Maybe there’s a portal to hell there.

Deborah couldn’t explain what the hell those are, but she thinks there is probably water getting in where the shower wall meets the seat, which could easily be solved with some clear caulking.

Later in the day, I took it to Twitter:

I showed the photos last night to people at Home Depot and they all said, “What the hell?” and asked why I didn’t bring a sample with me and my only response was “What the hell was I thinking?”

What the hell is happening in the rest of my images today?

What the hell are people thinking on Twitter?

What the hell am I going to sing at an Open Mic in Nashville next week, if I actually get a slot?

What the hell am I thinking, presenting all my original songs in a playlist here?

What the hell kinds of comments am I going to get about this post?

What the hell are we doing if we don’t express gratitude for each other?

Categories: home repair, life during the pandemic, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 2986: What are you looking forward to?

Yesterday, in both my Coping and Healing groups, people shared what they were looking forward to.

I’m looking forward to:

  • another Coping and Healing group today,
  • Michael’s stroganoff for dinner,
  • the weekend,
  • walks by the water,
  • music,
  • dancing,
  • connecting,
  • being in the moment,
  • letting go of regrets about the past and worries about the future,
  • accepting all feelings, and
  • sharing my images from the last two days.

One of my biggest fears used to be singing and playing imperfectly in front of people. I’ve done so much work on that I am truly looking forward to singing “Vaccinated Women” to the tune of “Fascinating Rhythm” tonight at an Open Mic. I’m also looking forward to sharing that imperfect performance with you tomorrow.

Here’s an imperfect performance of mine from two years ago in LA at the great Ron Lynch’s “Tomorrow” show:

What are you looking forward to? I’m looking forward to your comments, below.

If you’re looking forward to my gratitude to you for showing up here today, here it is!

Categories: life during the pandemic, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 2980: Viral

I think about going viral, so here’s a viral definition:

Why would I want to go viral, especially during these viral times? Maybe it’s a natural human yearning to be heard, appreciated, and connected with others.

Here and now, I’m good with not going viral and happy to connect with others as best as I can.

Is there anything viral in today’s images?

I think our cat Harley and Michael’s cooking are more likely to go viral than I am.

I doubt that my new song “Vaccinated Women” (to the tune of “Fascinating Rhythm”) will go viral, but I’m still looking forward to performing it this Friday at an Open Mic.

I wouldn’t want that recording to go viral since (1) I just figured out the ukulele chords and (2) neither my voice nor my looks are at their best this early in the morning.

What are your thoughts and feelings about this “Viral” post?

Thanks to all who help me create this non-viral blog every day, including YOU!

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

Day 2974: Neighborhoods

I inhabit several neighborhoods — real, virtual, and imaginary, as you can see.

Even though I’m ambiviralent, I hope my new lyrics to “Fascinating Rhythm” help me go viral in the social media neighborhoods.

Vaccinated Women

by Ann Koplow

Vaccinated women, we’re shopping at stores.

Vaccinated women, we’re all a-quiver.

We are celebrating, the neighbors want to know

How we managed rating when they’re chopped liver.

Each morning we get up with the sun

And have no cares getting all our chores done.

Vaccinated women, you see us on the go

Vaccinated women, you might be asking.

How can you be certain which ones of us are

Vaccinated women, since we’re still masking.

Just look closely into our eyes and then you’ll see

Vaccinated women, happy and safe like me!

Vaccinated women, we don’t want to boast

Lord it over others, or make them jealous.

Vaccinated women, what would please us most

Is vaccine distribution to all gals and fellas.

We hope that everyone over the world will join us soon

Vaccinated people, out, safe, and over the moon!

© Ann Koplow, 2021

In my imaginary neighborhood, Jacob Collier lives nearby, so here‘s Jacob’s arrangement and performance of the Gershwins’ “Fascinating Rhythm.”

I’m grateful to my neighbors in all my neighborhoods, including YOU!

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

Day 2938: Supportive and loving places

Throughout my life, I have looked for — and tried to create — supportive and loving places.

Last night, before I sang my new lyrics for “People are Strange,” I talked about supportive and loving places.

Do you see any supportive and loving places in my photos from yesterday?

Supportive and loving places are created by supportive and loving people and those are two of them: Joe, who is the MC of the Jam’n Java Open Mic, and Nat, who has appeared in this blog here, here, here, here, and here.

Nat sent me these supportive and loving messages after my performance:

Nat: So much fun!!! Sooooo on point. Some governmental agency should pay you to use that as a public safety announcement.

Me: You should be my manager!

Nat: Easiest management gig ever – your awesomeness promotes itself! You should put that on YouTube at least.

Me: I will!

And I did.

What are your supportive and loving places?

Gratitude and appreciation create supportive and loving places, so thanks to everyone, including YOU!!!

Categories: gratitude, life during the pandemic, Music, original song, personal growth, therapy | Tags: , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 2910: Problems to ignore

There are so many problems these days we cannot ignore, that I think it might be helpful to focus on the problems we can ignore, here and now.

For example, I can ignore the problem that I forgot to stop recording on ZOOM last night at the remote Open Mic, so this video includes much of the next performance:

I can also ignore the problem that when I was performing last night I was not on my screen, because I AM on screen in that recorded video.

Here are other problems to ignore:

  • I still struggle with some aspects of the new editor here, so creating a bulleted list is harder for me than with the old editor.
  • I had to use bitcoin to get my winnings out of a betting site on the results of the U.S. Presidential election and now I have no idea how to safely convert bitcoin to cash.
  • I’m off on vacation for a week, so I’ll miss doing my Coping and Healing groups.
  • My son is returning to Scotland next month to live with his girlfriend and be closer to the University of Edinburgh for his last semester there, so I’ll miss him when he leaves.
  • I immodestly think my original songs are awesome and have no idea how to reach a wider audience.
  • My likes here on WordPress are half of what they were a year ago.
  • Almost every time I tweet on twitter, I get no response.
  • I’ve gained four pounds in the last month even though I’m eating really heathy and going for long walks.
  • My INR has been lower than I expected the last two times I’ve tested it.
  • Three people over the last few years have stopped talking to me.
  • I’m turning 68 in two months, and I don’t look as great as I did when I was younger.
  • I have no idea how much to inflate my new wobble cushion for optimal results.

Even though those are problems to ignore, I have trouble ignoring them. As I tell others, the human brain is for focusing on problems, even those it should ignore.

Are there problems to ignore in these recent images?

I cannot ignore the fact that Michael’s delicious cooking MIGHT be the reason I’ve gained four pounds recently. He tells me to ignore that problem of weight gain every winter.

If you leave a comment below, it will not be ignored.

If gratitude is a problem for you, please ignore the ending of this post.

Categories: 2020 U.S. Presidential election, life during the pandemic, original song, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2894: One Thing That Frightens You

These days, it’s difficult to identify one thing that frightens me, because there are so many frightening things out there.

What frightens me on this day includes

  • the increase in COVID cases and death,
  • COVID deniers,
  • anti-maskers,
  • large gatherings of people,
  • systemic racism,
  • climate change,
  • the state of the world,
  • the state of my country,
  • crazy conspiracy theories,
  • the number of people who believe crazy conspiracy theories,
  • Trump’s increasingly outrageous behaviors, and
  • people who do not call out outrageous behaviors.

Is there one thing that frightens you in my latest photos?

Has that cow been frightened off of its base?

Things that frighten you, me, and others have inspired my new song, entitled “What’s Your Fear, My Dear?” for my frighteningly ambitious new project, Therapy: The Musical. I plan to work on my first musical during the dark and frightening weeks of the New England winter.

One thing that does NOT frighten me is sharing my ideas here, so here are some lyrics from “What’s Your Fear, My Dear?”

What’s Your Fear, My Dear?

by Ann Koplow

What’s your fear, my dear?

I really want to hear, my dear.

Do not fear sharing that

Now and here.

Flying?

It’s not so much a fear of flying

As it is a fear of dying

or falling too far,

Or of the danger of how high up you are.

Public speaking?

That’s a fear of your voice squeaking

Of your confidence leaking

In front of them all,

As your dignity suffers a fall.

Dying?

Well, my dear, I would be lying

If I said I wasn’t afraid of that too.

Does it help if I join that with you?

© Ann Koplow, 2020

Here’s “Why I do something everyday that scares me,” a 2016 TED talk by Emma Van Der Merwe at the University of Edinburgh.

I fear you will miss out if you don’t watch that video.

I assume gratitude is one thing that doesn’t frighten you, so thanks to all who help me do one blogging thing each day, including YOU!

Categories: 2020 U.S. Presidential election, group therapy, inspiration, life during the pandemic, original song, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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