Posts Tagged With: Emo Philips

Day 3559: When you’re feeling down

When you’re feeling down, know that you’re not alone.

When you’re feeling down, remember that you’ve felt down before and made it through.

When you’re feeling down, resist the temptation to get down on yourself and beat yourself up.

When I’m feeling down, I share my heart with people I trust, observe what’s around me, set an achievable goal, access good memories, and get in touch with humor.

When you’re feeling down, get down with the Daily Bitch (and maybe eat a creative ice cream flavor or a ginger snap).

When you’re feeling down, listen to music that brings you up.

When you’re feeling down, get in touch with gratitude. Thanks to all who help me get up every day and create these blog posts, including YOU!

Categories: life in the USA, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Day 3404: Favorites

Lately, I’ve been asking many questions about favorites on Twitter, including these:

A random thought about favorites: I haven’t had to worry about playing favorites with my children because I have only one child. Here’s one of my favorite photos of me and Aaron, taken years ago with Emo Philips, who was the opening act for Weird Al last night:

Do you see favorites in my other images for today?

There are so many National Days today that it’s difficult to pick a favorite. One of my favorite moments from Emo’s set last night was when he asked the crowd to help record a message wishing his friend Red, who is a jockey riding in the Kentucky Derby today, good luck. It was definitely my favorite use of a cell phone at the concert last night.

Here’s my favorite Weird Al song, in the style of Frank Zappa (who is also a favorite).

What’s your favorite part of this post? My favorite part is always the end, when I get to express my gratitude for all who help me blog every day, including YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2925: What your brain is telling you

My brain is telling me to start out today’s post with this quote from comedian Emo Phillips:

I used to think that the brain was the most important organ in the body. And then I realized, “Wait…what’s telling me that?”

Because I don’t completely trust what my brain is telling me, I just consulted Google and found out that Emo’s last name is actually spelled with one “l,” not two. Google is also telling me that the quote is this:

I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.

My brain was definitely wrong in telling me the spelling of Emo’s last name but I’m not sure it was wrong about the telling of the joke. I used to listen to an Emo Philips comedy album years ago and I can still hear that joke in my head. The only way to discover the truth of what my brain is telling me would be to find and listen to that recorded routine again.

My brain is telling me that is not necessary for this particular blog post, because my brain’s point today is that we cannot always trust what our brains are telling us.

Yesterday, my brain was telling me to watch the very telling and wonderful series How to … with John Wilson. In the episode I watched, John Wilson and others were telling me about the Mandela Effect. is telling me this about the Mandela Effect:

The Mandela effect
is an unusual phenomenon where a large group of people remember something differently than how it occurred. Conspiracy theorists believe this is proof of an alternate universe, while many doctors use it as an illustration of how imperfect memory can be sometimes.

Examples of the Mandela effect include how many people’s brains tell them that the Raisin Bran sun is wearing sunglasses on the cereal box (it isn’t and never was), how many of our brains tell us that Darth Vader said, “Luke, I am your father” when he just said “I am your father,” and how many of our brains incorrectly tell us the safety message that is engraved on passenger side mirrors on cars.

Our brains tell us that our ability to remember correctly MUST be better than it actually is, so that’s why so many people

  • refuse to believe facts that interfere with their beliefs,
  • are likely to believe conspiracy theories,
  • worry about getting dementia, and
  • freak out when their memories are proven wrong.

Just last week, even though I’ve seen the first Star Wars movie so many times that my brain has lost count, I told someone “Luke, I am your father” while wearing this mask:

My brain is telling me that I should tell you that I also wore that mask in an online therapy session last week to tell someone that, despite their fears, they were not turning into their father. I said to them, “Luke, you are NOT your father,” even though their name is not Luke and Darth Vader never said Luke’s name in the first place.

My brain is now telling me that I should tell you that my brain told me for a long time that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters was an actual character from actual bags of marshmallows from my childhood, even though the writers of Ghostbusters totally made that character up for the movie. My brain is telling me how shocked I was when I found that out.

I don’t know if that’s an example of the Mandela effect, because I don’t know if other people’s brains have told them the same false information about the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

My brain is telling me it’s about time to share my other photos for the day:

My brain is telling me that Michael’s meals are always nutritious and delicious, including those fish cakes using leftover salmon and cod.

Here’s the first thing I find when I search YouTube for “what your brain is telling you”:

My “what your brain is telling you” search on YouTube also found this:

What is your brain telling you about this post?

My brain is telling me to thank all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 684: Down time

Earlier this week, I wrote about a down day (here, although I called it something different).

I was very happy to get through and over that down day, very quickly.

This morning, I woke up thinking, “THANK GOODNESS I have some down time this weekend.”

That’s a very different use of the word “down,” isn’t it?

For anybody who needs a definition at this point, “down time” means:

time during which a machine, especially a computer, is out of action or unavailable for use.
a time of reduced activity or inactivity.
“everyone needs downtime to unwind”

Here’s what I’m noticing now about that definition:

  1. machines get first billing and
  2. the way I’m using “down time” in this post  is regional, which means this usage might be new to some of my readers.

You know, I might be particularly sensitive to machines getting attention  because of this: I’ve depended on cardiac pacemakers since I was ten years old. And let me tell you, I’ve spent some of the last 51 years worrying about pacemakers having “down time “(because pacemakers did break, wear out, and prematurely lose power early on in their — and my — life).

Thank goodness, modern pacemakers don’t have as much down time as the old ones did.

I want to tell you about my day yesterday, when I did NOT have a lot of down time, as I went to one Boston hospital to get medical care and then to another Boston hospital to do my work (I’m a psychotherapist for a hospital-based primary care practice) and then to a comedy show, with my 16-year-old son, Aaron.

Since I do have lots of down time today, I’m glad  I can relax as I write this post about yesterday.

As Wordsworth said,

That will be 50 dollars, please.

No, wait. That’s not Wordsworth the poet. That’s Wordsworth the plumber.

If you don’t think what I just did in this post is funny, feel free to use — instead of plumber  — an occupation of somebody else who has charged you money. Or perhaps, you could make this funnier by changing the dollar amount, like so:

As Wordsworth said,

That will be 5 dollars, please.

No, wait. That’s not Wordsworth the poet; that’s Wordsworth the Starbucks barista.*

Where was I, before that particular tangent (which was down or up, according to your perspective)?

Oh, yes. Wordsworth the poet. As I remember — from my years as an English major in college — Wordsworth said poetry was

emotion recollected in tranquility

… and while I can’t guarantee that this post will be poetic in any way, I am happy to have the tranquility of today’s down time, to recollect the emotions, thoughts, and images I experienced yesterday.

I don’t know about you, but I smell a photo essay coming on.

How I Spent My Day Yesterday

by Ann

Since I start every day writing a blog post, yesterday’s post — “Safety First” — was on my mind, as I arrived at the hospital for my medical appointment.


IMG_2176 IMG_2178

After my appointment yesterday, I stopped by — in the same hospital — the place I go for my periodic pacemaker checks, and I saw two familiar people:


Valerie, who told me she is looking forward to the winter weather here (!!!!) and Melanie


who has appeared in posts before (here, here, and here).

Even though I didn’t have a scheduled appointment with her yesterday — and I’m sure Melanie does NOT have a lot of down time — Melanie took some time to talk to me about how I’ve been feeling lately. When I told her about some of my worries regarding recent shortness of breath and my wondering if I was okay, Melanie said, reassuringly:

You ARE okay, Ann, and you WILL BE okay.

I believed her and I cried — a little — from relief.

Melanie then asked me when my next appointment was — for a pacemaker check and to see Dr. Estes (one of my cardiologists who has appeared or been mentioned here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). I said, “I’m not sure, but I THINK it’s soon.” (That might sound like I’m too busy and I need more down time, but I do have lots of medical appointments these days and I know I’m seeing my other cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem, in December.) Later, when I had some down time, I discovered that my appointment with Pacemaker Clinic and Dr. Estes is next week. I’m glad to know I’ll be seeing Valerie and — perhaps — Melanie, even sooner than I thought.

Here are more things I saw yesterday, soon after my up time with Melanie:

IMG_2181 IMG_2182 IMG_2185

I was very perplexed by that last image, in a Fenway Park lot. Because I had a little bit of down time before my first appointment at work, I investigated further, by walking around to get a better view:


I was still confused by what I was seeing, and so were other people there, too.


That’s Omar, calling over to Joe


and asking Joe our shared question: “What is going on here?”

Joe told us they were setting up a “Spartan Race”  — an obstacle course taking place inside and outside Fenway Park — for thousands of people.

“Spartan Race,” Omar, and Joe were all initially unfamiliar to me, but I greatly appreciated the introductions. I also appreciated meeting Al


shown, there, with Joe. Al told me he was part of program called “Project Place” which was helping him get “back on my feet.” I told Al I was glad to hear that. And, I showed Omar how he could find this blog.

Here are some more photos I took, yesterday:

IMG_2191 IMG_2192 IMG_2193


I took that photo, last night, at Johnny D’s in Somerville, Massachusetts, USA. That’s Tony V — a comedian I’ve seen many times since the 1980’s — telling a pacemaker joke. I’m not kidding.

My son, Aaron, wondered last night whether it was okay for me to snap that picture of Tony V. I told him it probably was, since we were outside the performance area, at that point.  Soon, though, we got some great down time — that is, we were sitting down in great seats, watching Emo Philips (who has appeared in previous posts here, here, here, and here) do an amazingly funny show. And here are my last two images, from yesterday:

IMG_2196 IMG_2197

Boy, wouldn’t it be great to have enough down time for THAT MUCH popcorn?

Thanks to Aaron, Valerie, Melanie, Omar, Joe, Al, Tony, Emo, the nice staff at Johnny D’s, and everybody else who has ever had any down time or up time, ever.

Well, I think I thanked everybody there (including you, I hope!), but I forgot one thing: a video for this post.

How about this?

(Emo Philips, in a 1987performance at Harvard University, found here on YouTube)

* I’m assuming, here, that you are living in a region where you can go to a Starbucks, like me, to get a few minutes of down time.

Categories: humor, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 231: Back to work

I feel ready to go back to work, although I continue to have some trouble sleeping The Night Before Something Important.

Of course, every day is important, but my brain seems to think that some days are more important than others. (For a great joke about the human brain, by Emo Philips, see this short post.) (And while we’re at it,  here‘s another great Emo Philips joke, in another end-of-vacation post, no less.)

Before I went to sleep, a few hours ago, I tried taking a half-dose of  an over-the-counter, “traditional” herbal sleep aid I bought in the UK last week.  Usually I avoid any kind of sleep aid medicine, just because I haven’t had good experiences with them. And it’s not working (yet).

So I’m going to try another sleep aid, which HAS worked for me before: doing a quick blog post in the middle of the night.

Yesterday afternoon, on my Last Day Before Returning to Work After My Unusually Long, Two-Week Vacation, I went for a long walk, listening to lots of favorite tunes.

As I often do, I found that a joyful experience.

Here are some shots I snapped along the way:







The weather, on that walk yesterday, was “gloomier” than it had been days before, when I took these photos, nearby:



The point I wanted to make, right now, was there was beauty to be seen, no matter what the weather, no matter where I was walking.

I saw beauty in London and Edinburgh, of course, last week.  In those places, it was impossible to miss.



But beauty is everywhere, if I’m open to it.

When I return to work tomorrow, there’ll be beauty there, too. My own worries, tiredness, expectations, and “cognitive distortions” might obscure that beauty, for moments.  But it’s always there.

I look forward to seeing it, in the days ahead.

Thanks for reading, everybody.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Day 132: What I learned on my spring vacation.

This post is dedicated to my late mother and to my son.

What I learned on my spring vacation:

  1.  Take the time you need.

  2.  Trust in your natural impulses to heal, learn, and grow.

  3.  Pay attention to everything.

  4.  Choose next steps that will benefit you (and those you love).

  5.  Everybody makes mistakes, including your iPhone.

  6.  You get lots of chances to do it better the next time.

  7.  Everything is changing and growing (even if you can’t see it).

This reminds me of another Emo Philips joke:

I was walking down the street and I thought, ‘My gosh, that’s Jimmy Peterson. I haven’t seen him since 3rd grade!’

So I go up to him, slap  him on the back and say, “How are you doing, you old moron? You drunken reprobate!” And I knock him down, and he starts crying, “Mommy!  Mommy!”

And I realized:  Wait a second. If that’s Jimmy Peterson … he would have grown up too.


  1.  You promote whatever you perceive — and acknowledge — in others.

  2.  Trust the wisdom of those who love you.

  3.  Embrace all your feelings — they will give you “juice.”

And last, but not least:



  1.  If you’re going to assume  ….



…  assume the best.

Thanks for reading, everybody.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Day 114: Questions in my brain, as I woke up this morning

Question:  What do you want to blog about today?

Answer:  I have no friggin’ idea.  Wait!  I have too many friggin’ ideas.

Question: What is your definition of doing group work, this morning?

Answer: It’s when I get to help make a room safe enough, so that people can talk about themselves in a way that helps themselves and the other people in the room.

Question: Why do you love doing group work so very, very much?

Answer:  Because people are so friggin’ amazing.

Question:  Why do the brains of people, who are so friggin’ amazing, generate harmful thoughts, sometimes?

Answer:  I have no friggin’ idea.

Question:  In reference to that last question, what joke occurred to you?

Answer:  I used to think the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body.  And then I thought, “Look what’s telling me that.”  — Emo Philips

Question:  What else do you want to tell people this morning?

Answer:  Thank you so much — for reading, for thinking, for feeling, for all that you do.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Blog at