Day 1709: Coping

I’m now coping with the realization that I’ve never used the word “Coping” in a blog title before, even though

  • I facilitate therapy groups called “Coping and Healing” and
  •  writing this blog is a daily coping mechanism for me.

Does everybody know the definition of coping?

Here’s how the Internet defines “Coping”:

the top, typically sloping, course of a brick or stone wall.

Coping may  mean sloping, but that’s not what I was hoping. I’m hoping for the “coping” that’s a help with things dystopian.

I shall cope by searching again.

verb (used without object), coped, coping.
1. to struggle or deal, especially on fairly even terms or with some degree of success (usually followed by with):
“I will try to cope with his rudeness.”
2. to face and deal with responsibilities, problems, or difficulties, especially successfully or in a calm or adequate manner:
“After his breakdown he couldn’t cope any longer.”

Now that we know the definition of coping, how are we all coping today?

I’m not sure how I’m coping, because today’s news is filled with others not coping  very well.  When those in control are not coping, I have trouble coping too.

Let’s see if my photos from yesterday offer any coping (or maybe sloping):








As you can see,  Michael and I did some coping with walking, mowing, and respecting boundaries.

Good luck coping with this video I made yesterday about our new kitchen faucet, where I attempt to evoke Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.

I’m coping with my lame line reading at the end and the fact that this video has gotten no likes on Facebook.

I’m hoping for some comments about coping, below.

Thanks to all whose coping helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — for coping with all this, here and now.



Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 1583: Realizing who you are

Realizing who I am as a blogger, I’m sharing this teabag saying from yesterday:


I’m realizing I want happiness to come to me, so how can I realize who I am?

I am realizing  I am somebody who




Do you realize I usually take more pictures than that? I’m realizing I was distracted yesterday because I put a bid on another house. If you read this blog regularly, you’re realizing that I’m trying to realize my dream of living near the water.

Realizing I’m somebody who gets nervous about big decisions, I consulted two different online tarot-reading sites last night. Realizing that fortune telling is a cognitive distortion, I’m realizing I like pretending that tarot cards know the future.

Your answer is YES
The Hanged Man indicates a spiritual, emotional, or physical trial that has purifying effects. The troubles that you have experienced lately have given you a more peaceful and compassionate view of the world. You are able to feel for others around you and see the temporary nature of all things and events. Others will look to you for guidance and comfort, and your deep inner resources will not fail.


You may choose to buy that dream house or a wonderfully fulfilling relationship is on offer.


I’m realizing, again, that I  enjoy sharing music in this blog.

Realizing who you are as my readers, I hope you leave a comment below.

Realizing I’m somebody who likes to end with gratitude, many thanks to all who helped me realize the creation of this post and — of course! — to YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 1242: Decisions

Dear Readers,

Thank you for making the decision to read my blog post today.

Yesterday, I met with a very decisive cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  She has decided that I should get my  heart valve replaced, sooner than later.

While this was not the decision I wanted to hear, I am now weighing decisions in my mind and in my heart. I have almost decided to have the surgery done at the Mayo Clinic in September, after getting my son settled in Edinburgh Scotland for his first year at university there.

Here are some decisions I’ve made regarding what decisive images to share with you today.

















I used to be indecisive, now I’m not sure. However, I’m sure that some decisions are easier than others.

Here’s my decision about today’s song.


I hope that if I do make the decision to let the Adult Congenital Heart specialists at the Mayo Clinic replace the valve in my decisive heart in September, that they don’t go breaking my heart.

What are your decisions about this post?

Decisive love to all,


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 81 Comments

Day 1222: Be proud of who you are

Yesterday —  on another cold and rainy May stay-cation day — I saw my old friend Ada. We shared many memories, hopes,  and a cup of tea.


Be proud of who you are, even if

  • you forget to take a picture of your fabulous friend Ada,
  • you fall asleep before answering all the comments on your blog,
  • the universe conspires to give you miserable weather throughout your long-awaited May stay-cation,
  • you make mistakes every day,
  • your memory and your endurance fade as you age,
  • you go for walks when other people have the good sense to stay inside,
  • you dance and sing out loud in public,
  • you sometimes forget the words,
  • you let your childhood piano go untuned for over 15 years,
  • you’re living with a guy who collects snow globes,
  • you haven’t done any of the cooking, cleaning, or laundry since that snow-globe-collecting guy moved in,
  • you make messes,
  • you have trouble making some decisions,
  • you get impatient sometimes,
  • you show and express all your feelings, including fear, anger, sadness, and joy, and
  • you can’t always explain why you snap and share the photos you do.




I’m proud of who I was yesterday, dancing  and singing out loud to this:

Be proud of who you are, no matter how you respond to this post.

Proud thanks to all who help me blog every day and to you — of course! — for being proud of who you are (I hope).

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, pride, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1189: Taxing

Here’s a list of things I find taxing:

  • taxes,
  • worry,
  • cruelty,
  • fear,
  • guilt,
  • shame,
  • regret,
  • the message “Your Mac Storage is Full,”
  • trying to export photos to free up storage space and getting failure messages,
  • deleting lots of stuff and still getting the “Your Mac Storage is Full” message,
  • solutions that previously worked before not working in the moment,
  • frustration,
  • losing sight of hope,
  • insecurity,
  • disappointment,
  • impatience,
  • cognitive distortions including shoulds, mind-reading, blame, comparisons, labeling, catastrophizing, etc., and
  • the fact that it is SNOWING, SNOWING, SNOWING on APRIL 3, 2016, here and now, outside of Blogging Central.

I find it less taxing to make lists of what helps me, whenever things are taxing. Those include:

  • self-care (including nourishing food, water, and sleep)
  • remembering the saying, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute,”
  • expressing my thoughts and feelings,
  • letting go of worry,
  • letting go of fear,
  • letting go of guilt,
  • letting go of shame,
  • faith in my own ability to solve problems,
  • remembering there are people in my life who can help me solve problems,
  • doing my best in the moment, and
  • letting go, again.

Which of these photos do you find particularly taxing or non-taxing?


I hope leaving a comment isn’t too taxing for you.

Here’s a final taxing photo for today:

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 36 Comments

Day 1147: The results are in ….

I didn’t get a call back from my audition for “The Voice” today, but neither did lots of great singers.

I let my voice ring out with no sound of nervousness.

One highlight of the experience: when I was in the “holding area” with hundreds of other people, a young woman came up to me and said, “I really like your jacket and your energy.”

Here are  three photos for this bonus post of “The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally.”


All the best to my readers and use your voice!

Categories: Uncategorized | 74 Comments

Day 1099: Uncategorized

Yesterday, when I was hanging out at WordPress in my usual uncategorized way, I noticed that over 200 of my posts were categorized as “Uncategorized.”  You could categorize my initial reaction to that as “categorically surprised,” since I almost always  categorize my posts as “personal growth” and “photojournalism.”

I  quickly categorized a theory as to why WordPress has categorized so many otherwise categorized posts as “uncategorized” — “uncategorized” is the default categorization used by WordPress for any new post and I need to uncheck a box to un-categorize any post from being “uncategorized.”

Perhaps I shall categorize THIS post as “uncategorized,” but before I do, here are some uncategorized thoughts about “uncategorized”:

  • Human beings naturally categorize things, in order to understand them.
  • Because I was categorized “ill” as a small child dealing with a congenital heart condition, I categorically resist being categorized.
  • As a psychotherapist, I have to categorize people according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which I will now categorize as not one of my favorite categories of my job description.
  • Today, at work, I am embarking on a  project that’s been categorized as “incredibly helpful” and “ground-breaking” by doctors and other people categorized as providers who work at a facility categorized as “one of Boston’s major teaching hospitals.”
  • If you are categorically curious about my Quick Response  project  — where a clinician responds immediately, in the moment, when any patient needs support —  I was going to suggest you see previous posts which I would categorize as giving “background information,” but I can’t find any uncategorized and categorized posts like that besides this one.

Yesterday,  on a long walk through Newton, Massachusetts with Kathy — who I would categorize as “a wonderful friend” and “a fabulous photographer” —  I took all of these uncategorized photos:



How might you categorize those photos?  I hope you’re not categorizing them as “too many,” “too small to read,” or “very slow to load.”

Last night, after my walk with Kathy,  I took a few more photos I would categorize as “uncategorized”:





Feel free to categorized this uncategorized post in any way you choose, in a comment below.

I am now categorizing myself as grateful  to Kathy, to my boyfriend Michael (who made that delicious omelette, which he categorized very modestly),to Newton Massachusetts, to the Newton Free Library, to the major Boston teaching hospital where I work,  to WordPress, to all those who helped me create this uncategorized post, and to you — categorically! — for reading it.

Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 62 Comments

Day 766: The Terminator

As you may have found out from this recent post, I love making up tests for people.

So why wait?

Today’s Terminator Test

by Ann

1. “The Terminator” is:

a. The name of a movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger,  Michael Biehn, and Linda Hamilton, directed by James Cameron and written by Gale Anne Hurd and Cameron.

b. One of my favorite movies.

c. A nickname I’ve given myself, on the job.

d. All of the above.

2. Now that you’ve read this post so far, you’re curious about why:

a.  “The Terminator” is one of my favorite movies.

b.  James Cameron.

c. I’m starting my post this way.

d. I’ve given myself the nickname of “The Terminator.

e. Some of the above.

f.  All of the above.

g.  None of the above.

Time’s up!

The answer to #1 is d.

Only you, dear reader, know the answer to #2.

No matter what you’re curious about right now, I shall tell you why I’ve given myself the nickname of “The Terminator.”

It’s because:

  • “Termination” is the term, in the psychotherapy biz, for saying goodbye to a relationship.
  • I am RELENTLESS about facilitating goodbyes, when I’m on the job.
  • I’m in the psychotherapy biz.

Here are some things I’ve learned, in my years of being “The Terminator”:

  1. Most people have trouble with goodbyes.
  2. Human beings tend to deal with goodbyes with some measure of denial.
  3. Goodbyes can evoke a lot of reactions, including sadness, anger, and numbness.
  4. People can get better at goodbyes, especially with practice.
  5. A better goodbye often involves allowing room for (a) appreciation for specifics and (b) unexpressed feelings that are getting in the way of connecting authentically.
  6. I do goodbyes in psychotherapy by inviting people to identify and discuss (a) what they got out of therapy (which includes the relationship with me) and (b) what they did NOT get out of therapy.

Termination is on my mind today, because there are several goodbyes going on around me. For example, there’s one going on at work, very early this morning, for Jackie:


Now, Jackie, if she reads this blog (and she does, some times), might get mad at me because I took one candid shot of her yesterday, when she wasn’t looking.  I DON’T CARE!  I’M MAD AT HER FOR LEAVING!

By the way, Jackie knows I’m mad at her. I’ve told her that every day I’ve seen her since she announced her termination, about two weeks ago. As a matter of fact, I told her I was mad at her right before I snapped those photos. As you can see, she doesn’t seem concerned.

Jackie’s lack of concern about what other people think is one of the many, many things I love about her and will miss, very much.

Well, after she’s gone, at least I’ll always have the posts she’s appeared in, so far (herehere, here, here, here, here, and here*).

Since I don’t expect my readers to say:

“I’ll be back” after returning from checking out ANY FRIGGIN’ LINKS I INCLUDE IN THESE POSTS, here are more photos of Jackie, from some of those previous posts.

2014121995100833-1   IMG_3794 img_1642 img_56371

One of those photos I’ve never posted before. Should I test people on which one that is?

Oh, forget it. I’ve got to terminate this post and go terminate with Jackie.

Many thanks to nice terminators of all kinds and to you — of course! — for temporarily terminating other things in order to read this, today.

* Jackie actually may not appear in all those posts. Those are the posts that WordPress returns in response to my searching on “Jackie.”  I don’t have time to fix that, though. Why?  I have to leave for a RIDICULOUSLY EARLY GOODBYE PARTY, PEOPLE (and be a terminator).

Categories: Uncategorized | 47 Comments

Day 751: Bitching

Two days ago, I received this email from my dear friend Barbara (most recently appearing in this here post):

Sounds like it might be time to return the bitching bongos to you.  They’ve gotten me through some frustrations… I could bring them by on my way home mid-afternoon, if Michael is going to be home.

So, this is what I found after I got home from work last night:


Now I can start bitching again, with some healing music.

Here’s what I’d like to bitch about, right now:

  • For the second time in my life, I need to have my least favorite cardiac test ever, on Friday (in two days).
  • My favorite cardiologist in the whole world, Dr. Deeb Salem, asked me to come in an HOUR EARLIER than our scheduled appointment today, so I’m wondering what the *&#@!!$% THAT means.
  • Yesterday, at work, we got news that somebody had shot and wounded a cardiac surgeon in a hospital very close to where I work.
  • Just now, I checked the news to find out that this doctor, probably so similar to doctors I’ve worked with my entire life, has died.

I don’t even know how to make sense of all these things right now, my dear readers.

Feel free to bitch about anything you choose, in the comments below.

I leave this post silent, in respect for the loss of life.

Thanks to Barbara and all those I love. And thanks to you for your visit here today.

Categories: Uncategorized | 46 Comments

Day 690: Different styles, continued

Yesterday, I wrote a post titled “Different styles” which included

  • dealing with people whose styles are different from mine,
  • accepting the different styles I have within me, and
  • cursing.

After I wrote that post in the morning, I went to a doctor’s appointment, with one of my cardiologists.

I have two cardiologists — whom I’ve nicknamed “Mr. Spock” and “Captain Kirk” — because of their different styles.

Yesterday’s appointment was with Mr. Spock, whom I see approximately twice a year. (I am seeing Captain Kirk once every three months.)

Here is something I’ve been noticing about their different styles, lately: Mr. Spock Cardiologist looks into the future for me and for my very unusual heart in what seems to me to be a more negative way.  My personal style of observation tells me that Captain Kirk Cardiologist looks into the future for me and my heart in a more positive way.

I believe that Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk recognize their style differences, but I don’t know if they would use language like “negative” and “positive.”

It occurs to me, in the moment, that negative and positive are two sides of a battery:

images (50)

Here are my associations, in the moment, with that photo (which lives here, according to Google Images):

  1. I have been dependent upon cardiac pacemaker batteries, to stay alive, since I was 10 years old,
  2. I am currently confused about whether I am getting green, yellow, or red signals regarding my future and possible next steps (including valve replacement surgery), and
  3. The word “currently” in #2, above, is a pun, which I could say was intentional, but that would be lying, and that is NOT my style.

I wonder if I have confused people, so far, in this post. If I have confused you, that is NOT just a reflection of my personal writing style. If you are confused, you are not alone. I am confused.

Since my personal style is to seek clarity, whenever possible, I hope to move forward, through confusion, as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I shall be listening to music, which always helps me, no matter what my and other people’s personal styles are. Here’s a song I was very glad to hear yesterday:

I started loving that rendition of “Ain’t That Peculiar” soon after I got my first cardiac pacemaker, on November 22, 1963. While those lyrics are about a failed love affair, many of them seem to apply to my  situation, including “unlike a child, my tears don’t help me to get my way.”

But that’s my personal style, too: thinking lots of things are connected and applicable to my situation.

For example, right after I saw Mr. Spock Cardiologist, yesterday, I snapped this photo, thinking it somehow applied to my life:


Does that seem peculiar, that I took that photo? That bumper sticker reminded me of Rodents of Unusual Sizes  from the movie “The Princess Bride,” which cheered me up, a little.

When I saw “RUS” yesterday, I thought I might riff, in today’s post, about what else RUS could stand for.

What else could RUS stand for?

  • Russia, where my ancestors emigrated from, to the USA.
  • That’s all I’ve got, this morning. Could you think of some other Relevant, Useful Suggestions for what else RUS might stand for?

I took some more photos, after that one, as I went back to work.  (I get my medical care and I work as a psychotherapist at two different Boston hospitals that have, I think, different styles.)

IMG_2296 IMG_2297


Speaking of Dark Places, I have found that people who feel depressed, confused, despairing, and overwhelmed — losing (temporary) track of hope — can tend to isolate.

I don’t think that helps, do you? And yet I witness people doing that — the opposite of what would help — all the time.

Ain’t that peculiar?

Thanks to doctors of different styles, all those who do their best when confused, rodents and hearts of unusual sizes, people who put lights on trees (and elsewhere) as the days grow darker and colder, and to you — of course! — for bringing your different styles here, today.

Categories: Uncategorized | 14 Comments

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