Posts Tagged With: college reunions

Day 630: Stolen Moments

I’m going to start this post off with one of my favorite jazz tunes.

(YouTube video of “Stolen Moments” by Oliver Nelson found here)

Even if you have trouble stealing moments to play videos here, I recommend you listen to Stolen Moments, by Oliver Nelson. (If you can steal some more moments, look at the comments at YouTube.)

I’m sorry that YouTube starts that video  with some advertising moments (which can feel stolen, to me, away from things I’d prefer doing).

All weekend, I’ve been stealing some moments away from other things I could be doing, in order to attend my 40th college reunion.  Originally, I did not plan to attend the farewell Sunday brunch, yesterday, between 9:30 AM and noon, at one of the campus gyms. However, yesterday morning, I decided those would be stolen moments, well spent.

After I left the house (before I felt ready), I walked by the place I lived during freshman and sophomore year.

 

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When I got here to one of the gyms

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… I discovered I was at the wrong place!  I thought

Lost again!

I could have thought

What’s the matter with me?

but having any self-judgmental thoughts, at that point, would have been wasted, stolen moments. Instead, I relearned a momentous lesson: it’s okay to be lost and it’s okay to be late.

And here are some moments I stole, on my way to the right place:

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When I found the right place for the brunch I thought, “Well, that’s perfect.”IMG_9487

Each moment we experience is stolen, in a way, don’t you think? (whether we feel lost or found)

Before I had left the house, yesterday morning, I had decided to bring along the big Class of 1974 Report, so I could ask classmates to sign it, during the farewell brunch.

I wonder, now,  if any of them thought I was stealing moments away from them …from something else they’d rather be doing. In any case, everybody I asked was gracious enough to sign my Class Report. Here’s one example:

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Between 10 and 11:30 AM, yesterday, I spent many moments, stolen and otherwise, with people from my class. I saw people I knew:

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… and people that seemed new to me, yesterday.

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That’s Edith, who grew up in Arlingon, MA, telling me lots of interesting things about that town (which has appeared in many of my previous blog posts).

All of my stolen moments, spent yesterday morning, were valuable. Then, I said “goodbye” to my classmates, and managed to steal some moments to see my favorite musical with two of my favorite guys.

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In case I am stealing your moments, right now, by not being clear enough about yesterday afternoon …. my son Aaron and my boyfriend Michael and I saw a production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” at Boston’s Lyric Stage. “Sweeney Todd” is tale about a barber, in Victorian England, who steals people’s lives, in revenge for time and other precious things being stolen, unfairly, from him.

I loved the production yesterday so much, I was moved to tears.

I could say moments I spent in the hospital, when I was a kid, were stolen from me, but I don’t know if that’s a helpful way to tell the story.  Yesterday, I also found more cards and letters people sent to me, while I was in the hospital, including this, from my 8th grade math teacher:

IMG_9505Also, I found one of many cards my  late father sent me, in the hospital.

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That card was perfect, because

  1. my cardiac pacemaker — which needed to be replaced so many times when I was young — was located in my abdomen and
  2. as usual, my father didn’t sign his name, but rather included names of things and people I loved. (In that case, he signed the names of the cats I knew, at that time.)

Can I steal one more moment of your time before I end this post, and show you something I saw on a food shopping trip with Michael, yesterday evening?

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Who’s chicken? Not I (nor anybody else in this post).

Thanks to courageous people everywhere and to you — of course! — for stealing some moments to be here, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 583: What a _____ About Me

Here it is, more than a year and a half since I’ve started blogging, and I’ve yet to include a song from one of my favorite bands, Steely Dan.

No shame about that, though.

As I’ve oft written here, shame — the feeling/belief that there is something fundamentally wrong about oneself —  is toxic. Yes, shame gets in the way of growth, healing, and moving on.  So, rather than shame myself for my inaction in the past, I shall now include a Steely Dan song, in today’s post.

Which Steely Dan tune shall I pick, out of all their great songs?   I’m choosing the very one that was playing yesterday, as I walked to work:  What a Shame About Me.

Here’s a version of that, posted on YouTube:

Steely Dan songs are often little stories, narrated by a protagonist who is rather unsavory and unreliable.  In that way, they remind me of the poet Robert Browning‘s dramatic monologues, of all things.

Can you tell, at this point, that I was an English major in college? (I have no shame about that, either.)

My English-major-analysis skills tell me that What a Shame About Me is a tale told by somebody who has not done as well, in life, as some other people in his college class.

What do your analysis skills tell you, about the meaning of that song? To help with that, here are all the lyrics to What a Shame About Me:

I was grinding through my day gig
Stackin’ cutouts at the Strand
When in walks Franny from NYU
We were quite an item back then
We talked about her films and shows and CDs
And I don’t know what else
She said, “Yeah, Hollywood’s been good to me
But tell me – how about yourself”

I’m still working on that novel
But I’m just about to quit
I’m worrying about the future now
Or maybe this is it
It’s not all that I thought it would be
What a shame about me

She said, “Talk to me, do you ever see
Anybody else from our old crew
Bobby Dakine won the Bunsen Prize
Now he’s coming out with something new
Alan owns a chain of Steamer Heavens
And Barry is the software king
And somebody told me in the early 80’s
You were gonna be the Next Big Thing.”

Well now that was just a rumor
But I guess I’m doin’ fine
Three weeks out of the rehab
Living one day at a time
Sneaking up on the new century
What a shame about me

What a shame about me

I’m thinking of a major Jane Street sunrise
And the goddess on the fire escape was you

We both ran out of small talk
The connection seemed to go dead
I was about to say, hey, have a nice life
When she touched my hand and said:
“I just had this great idea
This could be very cool
Why don’t we grab a cab to my hotel
And make believe we’re back at our old school”

I said babe you look delicious
And you’re standing very close
But this is Lower Broadway
And you’re talking to a ghost
Take a good look it’s easy to see
What a shame about me
What a shame about me

 

Guess what?  I have a college reunion coming up next month. And, because of the fancy-shmancy, hoity-toity college I attended, I could very easily compare myself to my most distinguished, renowned, and admired classmates, and find myself wanting.

But that’s just an automatic, unhelpful cognitive distortion (see Comparisons, in this list).

When I go to my college reunion in September, I resolve  NOT to compare myself to others there. Certainly, I will  NOT say this:

“What a shame about me.”

If I do choose to declare something about myself at my college reunion, what word could I use in place of  “shame” in that sentence? Perhaps I could use a word for the opposite of shame, instead. But, what IS the opposite of shame? Is it pride? Acceptance? Peace? Comfort?

Hmmm. None of those words fit, as an easy replacement. I mean, people don’t say, “What a Pride (or acceptance, peace, or comfort) About Me.”

Maybe I need a different sentence.

In any case, here are some things that HAVE been about me, lately:

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photofromM1 photo2fromm IMG_7709

 

What a world about me, don’t you think?

Thanks to my boyfriend Michael (who was responsible for the last three images), to Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, to Robert Browning, to my college classmates, to people who are doing their best to let go of shame (and other unhelpful things), and to you — for whatever words, feelings, thoughts, etc. are about you, today.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

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