Posts Tagged With: letting go of perfectionism

Day 534: True Colors

I just discovered something, which I could characterize as a real problem, causing me worry and anxiety.

All the photos I’ve taken and shown here for three weeks —  since Day 511: All-request Weekend — have the WRONG colors.

How did I find this out?  First,  I noticed that the “revert to original” button was turned on, for a recent photo, even though I didn’t think I had cropped or otherwise altered it in any way.  When I clicked on that button out of curiosity, I saw the photo transformed, for the better. When, I further explored, I discovered the full extent of the problem.

I surmise, at this point, the following:  while I was snapping photos during my adventures in Central Square, Cambridge, I — unaware and accidentally —  pressed something on my iPhone which altered the colors on every photo, from then on.

Realizing that — and I know this is a strong word — horrified me, to think that I could so easily screw things up, for all my photos, and not know.

And as I have restored — in the place where these photos are stored — each image to its true colors, I have seen the full extent of the screw-up. Each one looks so much better  — richer, fuller, livelier, much more beautiful — once I correct for my error.

I shall now state this simply: every friggin’ photo I’ve posted, in the last 23 days, has been notably wrong. And each “wrong” photo is still there, in all those posts.

And here’s the funny thing: When I posted those photos, I was happy with them. And readers have expressed happiness with them, too.

So, what should I do, now that I know the truth about these flawed photos?  How should I react to the knowledge that dozens of photos that I presented to you here  — innocently and with good intent, believing that each was as perfect as possible — actually could be better?

When I discovered the problem, this was my first impulse: I should replace each and every photo with the “correct” version.

Then, I thought … no.  The photos were good enough for me — and, apparently, for my readers — when I posted them.   Why not leave them, as they are?

Perhaps that decision is easier for me for this reason: I’m not a professional photographer, so my sense of self is NOT tied up with photographs.

In any case, here’s the course of action I am choosing:

  1. try to figure out why the heck this started happening
  2.  fix the problem, if I can, and
  3.  make sure the photos I post from now on have their original, full colors.

I confess: I also had a moment where I wondered … should I even tell my readers about this?  Speaking for myself, now that I look back at those photos (which originally seemed good enough to me), they  look … dingy.  Disappointing. Lacking.  Should I keep that to myself, lest others look back and be disappointed, too?

But as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my natural interpersonal style is “transparent.” I feel better, when I tell the truth.

And to keep being transparent, I’ll show you an example of the color difference, with this photo that appeared in a recent blog post. Here’s the “wrong” version, is it appears in that post:


Here’s the photo with the color corrected (by my pressing “revert to original” where the photos are stored):


Again,  photo posted in previous post:


Same photo with true colors:


Another one, posted here:


And with colors restored, correctly:


Arrghh!  For some reason, all the photos with true colors are disoriented like that, when I try to re-post them here. And I can’t seem to fix that, either, no matter how I try.

Time out, for a typical worst fear: Am I losing credibility with you?  Am I seeming less than competent, with all my admitted screw-ups?

I am letting go of those fears, now.

Sometimes,  you know, EVERYTHING seems to go wrong. Last night, while I was driving home from dinner with my son, I got a flat tire.  We got home safe and sound, but I’m still figuring out how to solve that issue, and get to work on time today.

With all these things that are “going wrong,” I now have a calmness and faith that I will figure out ways to resolve each of them, effectively enough.

And what’s the worse that could happen?  Will any harm come to those I love? Will any permanent damage happen to me — with imperfect photos and a spare on my car, that needs changing soon?   I don’t think so.

Who cares, if things aren’t perfect?  Who cares, if I can’t fix these things right now?

Not I.  I hope you don’t care, either.

How should I end this post, about true colors and calmness in the face of problems?

I want to focus on Susan, who also works with me:


I am so pleased to introduce you to Susan (and pleased to announce that I figured out how to fix the color AND the orientation of that Very Important Photo).

Susan, in that perfect-as-can-be picture, is pointing at her final surviving cat, the beautiful black and white one, named “Sweetie.”

Until a few years ago, Sweetie was one of a trio of cats, much beloved by Susan.  Tigger, shown above Sweetie in that photo, died on 12/9/11. Nine months later, Susan lost Lucky (below Sweetie), on 9/12/12.

Here’s another view of Lucky, who was a cantaloupe junkie:


Sweetie is terminally ill now, too. When I’ve been speaking to Susan during this challenging time, she has been telling me incredible stories about how she is being, as much as possible, in the moment with Sweetie, enjoying her good days with her, and observing Sweetie’s quality of life every day, ready to make the difficult decision, when the time comes.

When Susan speaks of the cats she loves and has loved — whether she’s talking about their wonderful vet, or revealing their unusual food loves (Sweetie, in her final days, is still devouring potato salad) — she always shows her true colors, as you can see in that beautiful picture.

Here’s something Susan said to me, yesterday:

Every day with Sweetie is a blessing. I savor every moment.

Many thanks to Susan,  to creatures everywhere who display their true colors no matter what, to those who tolerate unexpected and challenging realities as best they can, to people who solve problems and let go of judgment about their choices,* and to you — of course! — for bringing all your gorgeous colors here, today.

* In calmness, I  have discovered that I accidentally reset the filtering on my iPhone. Correcting this was far easier than I expected.  There will be true colors here, from now on.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 510: Order(s)

Yesterday, Mark Bialczak, a fellow and well-ordered WordPress writer and reader, commented on my post, Day 509: Like, now, like so:

Go out today and smell some flowers no matter where they are?

And even though Mark softened the end with a question mark, he gave me an order.

When somebody gives me an order, I can:

  • hear it,
  • obey, automatically,
  • rebel against it,
  • entertain the possibility that it’s NOT an order (but rather a suggestion),
  • look at my options,
  • consider the pros and cons of each choice,
  • decide what to do.

Yesterday, as soon as I read Mark’s comment, I knew it was just what the doctor ordered. And if you (1) aren’t familiar with that idiom and/or (2) don’t click on links, that means:

exactly what is wanted or needed:

Ooh thank you, a nice cup of tea. Just what the doctor ordered.

— from

Yes, that was exactly what I wanted or needed yesterday: to smell and see some flowers.   So I thought of Tower Hill Botanic Garden, less than an hour’s drive away. And that matched Mark’s order, to a T.*

I took lots of pictures at Tower Hill, yesterday afternoon.  I wonder how I should order those photos here?

Let’s start with this one:


Ooh!  The sign tells me I’m not alone in wanting to organize, in order to simplify and make things more understandable.   That connection with humanity gives me acceptance about whatever order I choose for these photos.





On the way home from Tower Hill, I passed by an open field. Something ordered me to turn the car around, stop,  and inspect things more closely. This is what I saw:


I came back for that heart, with its orderly lines.

Here are two more shots of it:Image



Then, I noticed some things moving, near the heart. Here’s a zoom:



When I returned to my car, I saw some different birds:




I don’t know about you, but to me, it looks like the white guy is ordering the others around.

Thanks** to, ducks, Google, hearts, Mark, those who order and are ordered in any way, Tower Hill, turkeys, and — last, but not least — to you, for dropping by here, today.

* “to a T” is another idiom, defined by Google as:

exactly; to perfection.
“I baked it to a T, and of course it was delicious”

** in alphabetical order.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 474: Superwoman (not)

Dear Readers,

What are your associations with the word “Superwoman?”

Let’s see what Google Images thinks “Superwoman” means:


That’s the first image that came up in my search, and it lives here, in an online article named “I am not Superwoman,” written by Marissa 11586, who gives a photo credit like so.

Here are my associations, at this point:

  • Looking at that image, I feel safe in saying that nobody would mistake me for Superwoman.
  • Despite my physical differences from the above image, I often think I can do it all  (including giving perfect credit for anything I use in this blog).
  • As I’ve dealt with serious medical issues since I was born, I have always gotten back to school and work really quickly.  My parents and my doctors, when I was growing up, subscribed to the belief that getting back to “normal” would be healthier for me, no matter what operations or other medical issues I encountered. I think that has contributed to my belief that I can always do that, no matter what ailment I encounter.
  • I don’t think I’m going to be getting back to work as soon as I assumed, this time around.

Why?  Because I — like Marissa11586 — am NOT Superwoman.

Then, who am I?

Maybe a new title would be a good start.

How about this:  Super-Recovery-Woman! Able to take a break and focus on her own needs, with a single bound!

I’ll get back to you about a costume, if I can figure something out.

Thanks to Nebaroth (for the illustration), to Marissa 11586, to women who are as super as they can be (within reasonable limits), and to you — of course! — for reading this, today.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 53 Comments

Day 394: Fear of losing track of things

In past posts, I have written about many types of fear (or dread or whatever you want to call it), including:

  1. Fear of loss.
  2. Fear of losing things.
  3. Friggin’ fear of practically everything else1 you might think of.

Today I would like to write about …

… fear of losing track of things.

Losing track of things seems to be a recurrent theme of mine (see here, here, and here for possible proof about that).  And, as usual, when I write about fear, I assume that I am not alone (although your details, in this area, may vary).

Among things I have recently feared losing track of:

  • The right word to use, when expressing myself.
  • The exact right number, as I’m needing to enter credit card numbers, patient numbers, numerical dates, account numbers, and a kashmillion 1other non-intuitive codes2, while performing computer-based transactions, before TIME RUNS OUT!!

(pant, pant, pant)

Okay, I caught my breath.  Where was I?

Oh, yes.  That list of things I have recently feared losing track of:

  • The cable for my camera, which I plan to use in Panama (when I’m away, in less than two weeks)
  • The actual dates for my trip (although I think I may have memorized those at this point).
  • The right way to do bullet points for this list (don’t even try to visualize how bullets have been flying everywhere, here, in the construction of this post because … it’s been a disaster).

Well!  The last word — of that last bullet point of that last list — leads me to this cognitive distortion. 3

This is a particularly extreme and painful form of fortune telling, where we project a situation into a disaster or the worst-case scenario. You might think catastrophizing helps you prepare and protect yourself, but it usually causes needless anxiety and worry.

Hmmmm.  You know what?  When I went to retrieve that cognitive distortion from my other blog here  — called Ann’s Helpful Hints (re: Letting go of Judgment)  — I realized that there’s something else I’ve lost track of.

How to edit my posts on that second blog of mine.

Yes, dear readers, I was thinking I would like to add something new, to this list of antidotes for unhelpful thoughts.  I wanted to add a new antidote, but because I haven’t edited the two posts at that second blog since I created it (almost a year ago) …. I don’t remember how. And How to Edit those particular posts …. is not immediately obvious to me. And I can’t consider trying to figure that out, right now, because I have to finish this post and get to work, before …. TIME RUNS OUT!!

(pant, pant, pant)

Sorry. Where was I?

Oh,yes. I was thinking of adding a new antidote to my list, for the first time since March.  What is that new antidote?  Something like this:

Talking to yourself.  If you are stuck in an old, unhelpful way of thinking, especially one that involves a “critical voice,” try challenging that old voice by speaking in a new, kinder way to yourself. Watch the language that you use, and speak to yourself as you would to somebody you might be naturally kinder to — a friend, a stranger, somebody that evokes empathy and sympathy in you.

I have found that antidote — of talking to myself — can be a really effective way to learn (and unlearn) things.  As a matter of fact, here are some times when I’ve been talking to myself, lately:

  • When I’m afraid (especially of doing something that’s new or that feels new, because I haven’t done it in a while).
  • Other times when I’m judging my abilities.
  • When I have to enter incredibly long patient IDs, when I’m at my work computer, about fifty friggin’ times a day.

Okay!  It’s time for me to start wrapping up this post, people.

What feels left unwritten, at this point?

My mother sometimes said to me, “Ann, I think you might lose track of your head, if it wasn’t attached.” Therefore, as a supporting image for this post, I COULD show you a picture of my head.

However, I can’t do that right now. If you’ve lost track of that of why that is, you’ll just have to see footnote #4, below, for the answer.

Instead, here’s a photo I snapped a few minutes ago:


Why THAT photo? (I imagine you saying to yourself, right now.) Well, it represents several other things I tend to lose track of:

  1. Food, once I put it in the refrigerator.
  2. Eating healthier.
  3. A Zen, mindful, balanced, centered, or what-ever-you want-to-call that helpful frame of mind.
  4. My own personal power (that is, awareness of those things I can control).

Okay!  Time for me to take some personal power and end this post.

Thanks to Earthbound Farm Organics (for the Zen and the Power), people everywhere who lose track of things, and to you — of course! — for reading today.

  1.  It’s possible that this is an exaggeration.

  2. Other non-intuitive codes include any collection of alpha-numberic characters that don’t resemble the language I learned growing up. Email addresses, anybody? Not to mention the numbers and symbols I need to use, every time, to insert these friggin’ footnotes.

  3. It’s not the last entry on this list of unhelpful and automatic thoughts (also called cognitive distortions in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), but I think you’ll be able to find it, soon enough.

  4. I’m not showing a photo of my head, because — at this point in my blogging path, I am not showing photos of my face. I suppose i could show a photo of the back of my head, but, I washed my hair before I went to sleep, so my hair’s a mess. Don’t even try to imagine it … it’s a disaster.  Plus, I’ve got to end this post, soon, and get to work.  Did you lose track of that, too? (Don’t worry, you’re probably not alone.)

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 392: Possibilities, Patience, and “IM”

Yesterday, I coined the word “dreadless” —  as a possible opposite of “dreadful.”  That was fun.

Today, as I was considering possible topics for this post, the word “patience” came to mind.  And then, its opposite. And I thought:

Why, oh why, is the opposite of “patience” “impatience”?  Why isn’t it “unpatience”?  Or “nonpatience”?  What the heck does “IM” mean, anyway? Are there OTHER words that use “IM” to create the opposite?  The only one I can think of, right now, is “possible” and “impossible.”

I suppose I could do some research, right now, on the use of “Im” to create the opposite of a word.   But I’m not interested in checking corroborating details or data, this morning. 1

Imstead …. ooops!  I mean, insteadI want to just riff on what we’ve got in this post, already.

Here we go!

Patience is something I think about a lot.  When I was in my 20’s, I took a comprehensive test2 of my aptitudes and skills, to discover why I wasn’t satisfied with my career 3. And they told me, “You have three exceedingly high, natural indications of possible impatience” (or words to that effect).

Recognizing that I am “naturally impatient” has helped me, as I have continued to work on developing the other side of that — my capacity for patience.

Yesterday, I was expecting a visit from my friend, Carol, and I was timing my creation of yesterday’s post to coincide with her expected time of arrival.  A few minutes before that, when I was just about to press “publish” ….  I realized — to my horror — that I had closed the wrong window and had lost the last hour of my work.  I get very freaked out when something like that happens. What bothered me the most about that?

  • I was happy with the post.
  • I hate having to rewrite something I’m already done with.
  • It kills me when I realize I’ve done something “stupid” (as in, “Ann! You should have known better than to close that window until after you published the post!”)
  • I realized  I had two choices: (1) to ask Carol to wait, until I rewrote the friggin’ post or (2) wait until after her visit to complete it (and I knew I would be upset and distracted while she was here).
  • I assumed that I would NOT be able to reconstruct the post back to its former glory.

I felt an incredible rush of …. panic, disappointment, adrenaline, upset-ness, whatever-you-want-to-call it.

What did I do?  I talked to myself:

Ann, it’s not the end of the world. You’ve lost stuff you’ve written before, many times in many ways. As much as you hate when this happens, you will rewrite it. And it will be good enough.  Maybe, it will be even better!  That’s not beyond the realm of possibility …. that has definitely happened before.

When Carol showed up, I was already in the midst of rebuilding what had been lost. I asked if she could have the patience to wait for me until I published my post. She graciously and enthusiastically said, “Of course!’

Nevertheless, I was very nervous while re-building that post.  Despite Carol’s reassurance, my knowing her for years, and my logical self knowing that this would be fine, I stumbled and froze several times while fixing that post, which had been pretty intricate (with several “bells and whistles”: links, footnotes, videos, photos, etc.)

Why was I so nervous?  Possibly because I was imagining all sorts of negative reactions, including impatience. Not only from Carol, but from …. you, dear readers.

That is, I was imagining Carol’s impatience with me, as she waited. And I was imagining your impatience with me, when I published a post I feared would (1) have errors and (2) would NOT be as good as it could have, should have, would have been, if I had been more careful.

But, it all worked out.  I finished the post, Carol was loving and understanding (as always), and the post was good enough.  Yes, there were a couple of missing links and typos here and there, but I was able to fix those, well enough, later in the day.

And if anybody noticed those imperfections, they didn’t think those were important 4 enough to mention.

Okay!  I can see by the clock on the wall


… that it’s time for me to end this post.

Probably, I could find another image, quickly enough, that fits the topics of this post.

But you know what?  I haven’t got the patience.

Thanks to all those who deal with patience, possibilities, perfectionism, probabilities —  and their opposites — and especially to you, for visiting today.

  1. Actually, a lot of my posts, lately, have had an “attitude” about data and proof. Sometimes, it seems, I just can’t be bothered with details. This reminds me of a story: When I was in college, I decided to take a Calculus Course. I suspected that I didn’t have a natural talent for Calculus (unlike other forms of math), so I took the course “Pass/Fall.”  And, indeed, I neither enjoyed that course nor did particularly well in it, but when the time came for the final exam, I knew that I’d done well enough to pass, with some wiggle room.  When I got to a section of the test where I was supposed to solve something I just didn’t understand, I wrote, “Here are the formulas. I’ve done all I can do.  Please solve these yourself.”   And, that was good enough.

  2. At Johnson O’Connor in Boston.

  3. Technical and marketing writing.

  4. Possibly the opposite of this is … “portent”?

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

Day 378: The Lint Metaphor

Yesterday, I asked for help from the blogging community. I will tell you — right now — that asking for help is a big deal for me. I tend to try to take care of things, on my own.

I have been trying to balance that independence of mine (or whatever else we want to call that) with reaching out for support. I’ve been consciously doing that more, in these year(s) of living:

  1. with less judgment,
  2. with less fear, and
  3. with more love.

So I reached out for support, yesterday. I asked for help, from my readers, in coming up with a metaphor for an unhelpful feeling which sticks, and then — when dislodged — reattaches to something else. More specifically, I asked for a metaphor that described a particular fear of mine: that other people might be angry, judgmental, or otherwise (perhaps permanently) disconnected from me.

Readers came up with some great metaphors, as well as other enriching, insightful thoughts.

I don’t have time to write about all of those today, so please see the comment section of yesterday’s post, people!

I do want to quote from one of the responses — from one of the VIP’s (Very Important Participants) in this blogging journey of mine, Sitting On My Own Sofa — as follows:

… lint also sticks. It goes away and it comes back mysteriously. Maybe it goes down the drain or into the vacuum or off to the dump, but it will appear again in the closet, in front of a classroom, at a restaurant. The physics of lint is a lot like the physics of anxiety.

What Sitting On My Own Sofa wrote has been sticking, for me, in a very good way.

Lint is everywhere. It does appear on my clothes. It’s pretty much there, whenever I look closely.  And there’s no shame in it.  How could there be?  It’s everywhere, no matter how much we might try to control it.

Last week, when I was at work, I glanced down at my clothes and saw some lint.

My first thought?  Oh, no!

My next thoughts?

Oh, come on, Ann!  Who cares?  It DOESN’T MATTER. First of all, nobody else is going to notice that. And if somebody does notice and it matters to them?  Forget them!*

So, already, I’m finding that lint metaphor very helpful. Thanks, Sitting On My Own Sofa!

And other suggested metaphors, from yesterday’s post — including bats, crows, athlete’s foot, kitchen moths (eeek!), gout, mildew, green slime, shadows, musical earworms, carpenter ants, stray cats, fog, rocks, dandelions, magnetized objects, water, algae, dust bunnies, ghosts, silver fish, cockroaches (eeek!), meteor showers, tickbirds, and paprazzi (if you’re a star);** rumoras (little fish that stick to big fish)***; boomerangs****; seeds that float on the wind *****; a grain of sand ******; bad pennies ******* mirrors******** — were all illuminating and helpful.

Also, two VIP readers ********* voted for my metaphor du jour — a sea anemone. I particularly appreciated that, since I went to the New England Aquarium yesterday, with my son and boyfriend, and saw LOTS and LOTS of those beauties:


I’m so glad I asked for help, yesterday!

What I’ve written here, this morning, is reminding me of something else I need help with: figuring out how to do footnotes with numbers, not asterisks.  Having that as an option would be particularly helpful, especially when I’m having a lot of thoughts I want to convey in one post (like today).

And while I haven’t gotten help with doing numbered footnotes, yet, I will continue to seek that help, wherever I can find it, balancing that with my ability to learn on my own.

Wait, I just figured out a way to improve my footnotes, here!  And because I have to end this post, I shall do it as best as I can, considering that I need to stop this post in moments, to get ready for work.


Thanks to everybody, everywhere, who helped with the creation of today’s post, whether or not I thanked you. And thanks to you, especially, for visiting and reading today.

  1. I’m thinking about that Cee Lo Green tune, right now: “Forget You,” for lots of reasons.

  2.  All from the wonderful mind of Sitting On My Own Sofa.

  3.  From T. D. Davis. Thanks!

  4. From Mark Bialczak and Russ Towne.  Thanks to both of you!

  5. From biochicklet. Thanks!

  6. From Wancho.  Thanks!

  7.  Russ Towne, again.  Thanks!

  8.  From drjcwash, whom I can’t seem to link to, this morning. Thanks so much!

  9.   andy1076 and Susan Jamieson. Thanks!!!

  10. I wish I had brought my phone with me to the Aquarium, yesterday, so I could show you my own photos, but I didn’t. So thanks to this site, for this image.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , | 27 Comments

Day 366: S-words

Note: Some of the links in this post use adult-oriented language.

“S-words.”  Yes, that’s the title for this momentous post — my first post of the New Year and the first one that has a number higher than 365.

How did I arrive at that title?

Who cares, really?  That’s in the past.  Let’s just deal with the present for now, shall we?

Of course, now that I’ve committed to being in the present, I want to go back into the past, just for a moment (because that’s how our minds work, people). In posts past, I have blogged about words that start with a special letter: a P-Word (Procrastination), an A-word (Anger),  and a D-word (Death).

That D-word is usually a conversation stopper (and it’s really buried in that linked post, too), but let’s move on, shall we?

Today, I would like to expound/ramble/write about some S-words.  How many, exactly?

Let’s find out!

1.  Start.

Today feels like a new start, because it’s New Year’s day. It’s also a new start for me, here at this blog.

As with any new start, I’m keeping some old things — to help me feel safe, secure, and competent enough– and introducing some things that are new. I won’t name what the new things are; I’ll let you notice those on your own, if you are so inclined.

There was another, specific change I wanted to make in my blog today, but I haven’t figured out how to do it, yet. The change?  I want to stop using asterisks for footnotes (because those asterisks can sure pile up, people) and start using another S-word:  Superscripts, those little numbers that hover above the line.

I think superscripts might help provide a more convenient and pleasurable experience here — for you AND me.

2.  Support.

Support is something I sometimes have trouble asking for. I often try to solve problems on my own, because of past experiences. But I guess I might need some support, specifically with that change to superscripts.

We shall see.

3.  Steam.

Yes, steam. One of the post titles I was considering, this morning, was “Letting off steam.”  Why? Because:

  1. Our heating system (which I wrote about here) has been continuing to act hookey, flooky, or however else you want to describe a friggin’ system that isn’t working correctly. For one thing, the radiator in the bathroom started sounding (and feeling) like a seriously insane steam bath, the thermostat kept pooping out, AND the boiler in the basement was needing new infusions of water constantly. Because I don’t like to bother people, and it wasn’t an emergency, I sent an email yesterday morning to the Heating Guy on My Team, Tom Prendergast, that explained the situation but which also said, “No rush,” because I assumed this was a busy holiday time for him. Nevertheless, Tom called me back yesterday (just as my son and I were about to go out for lunch*) and he sent over two guys who changed the vent on the radiator, which is definitely helping the situation.
  2. Because situation #1 included two of my “triggers” —  machines (or other systems) not working properly AND hunger — I felt the A-word (anger), yesterday afternoon. At everybody. At the world. My son, who is so smart that when he hears a certain tone in my voice, sometimes says, “You’re hungry,” was even smarter, yesterday. When he heard “that tone” he asked, calmly, “Are we going to have our New Year’s Eve fight?”  which helped, for many reasons. What else helped? I let off some steam with my bf, Michael, about some things that had been bothering me. And, I ate some friggin’ thing.

4. Shame.

There it is. One of the big S-words, for sure.

I wrote about shame several times last year (including here). I assume I’ll write about it again, in 2014.

Here are some things I have felt shame about (which I’m working on letting go of):

  1. Anger, which is just another human feeling.
  2. Imperfections in my body and mind (also human).


Okay!  There were some other S-words I could have written about today — including  sleep, singular, and snoring, plus the S-word George Carlin said you couldn’t say on TV** — but it’s time for me to start ending this post.

So what am I missing, at this point?

An image! I can’t think of a suitable s-word for that, so let’s go with a p-word: a photograph!

Checking photos I have stored on my iPhone ….

Hmmmm. Here’s something, but it’s an image I’ve already used, twice before (here and here). It definitely is an important S-word, though:


Hmmmm. “Stop” can be a very useful word, but I’m still not satisfied. Let’s see what’s on Google Images, today, for “S-word.”

As usual, I am surprised at the selection (in order of appearance):



29934426_640 (1)*****


After that excellent S-word,”Serendipity”, Google Images then presented LOTS of pictures of …. swords.  Sorry, but those don’t meet my needs, today.

But suddenly, one more “S-word” showed up:

images (27)******


Thanks to my son, Michael, George Carlin, Tom Prendergast, anybody else who contributed to the creation of this post today, and — of course! —  to my special, surprising, and super readers, everywhere.


* We were actually going out for sushi, another S-word, but doesn’t that sound  (fill in your own judgmental word, if any, here)?

** Here‘s a link to that classic Carlin routine — “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV”.  These days, it depends on the station.

*** That image lives here.

**** That image lives here.

***** That image lives here.

****** That image lives here.

******* That image, supposedly, lives here.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

Day 312: Exceptions

When I started this blog, at the beginning of this year, I set a structure for it, as expressed in my About page:

This blog is part of my creative process.

It’s also a way to work on my  growing acceptance and appreciation of life, and to share and develop some of the wisdom I’ve been slowly accumulating. My commitment is to start on January 1, 2013 and to blog once daily, throughout 2013.

So I made a commitment to blog once daily.

A commitment  I have kept, all year.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I decided to blog twice, because I wanted to send out a targeted message — a message to people who receive emails whenever I publish.

You see, I recently started sending myself email messages of my own posts. As a result, after I published yesterday’s post — which had some cool video clips of dances —  I got some important, new information. The emailed version of that post, which I received, did not include any of those videos.

So I was presented with a problem. And when my mind perceives a problem, it really goes to town!  Here are some of the thoughts I had:

Hmm.  The email I received had no video clips.  That’s too bad!  I assume that other people who get emails of my posts didn’t get those clips, either. I really like those clips.  Maybe other people wouldn’t like them, though!  Maybe people get annoyed when I include video clips!  Who wants to play a video clip when they’re reading a blog?  I do, dammit!  And I at least want to give people the choice to play those clips if they want to. I wonder if people who get the emailed posts know that they can easily go to WordPress and see the entire post, just by clicking on the name of the post?  Geesh!  What should I do about this? People who get emailed posts are only a portion of my reading audience.  Shall I send them each an email?  Nahhh. That would take too long. Hey!  Why don’t I just send out another post?  That’s not the best way to reach a portion of an audience — because there are lots of people it won’t apply to — but why not?  What’s the worst that could happen?  The people who it doesn’t apply to can just ignore it. Maybe it will confuse some people, but so what? Of course, I’ll be blogging twice, and I committed to blogging once. Arrghhh!

I tell you, my mind is one scary place to visit sometimes.  All those thoughts!  All that back-and-forth action, about one simple, relatively unimportant issue.

Although, in defense of me, some of that frenzied thought action was due to this:  Commitments ARE very important to me. I like to stick to commitments. I think it’s an excellent way to live.

But it’s also important to prioritize and let go of perfectionism, when it comes to commitments.  While I try very hard to keep ALL commitments and promises, that’s pretty darn impossible, isn’t it?  Some commitments are definitely more important than others.

For example, it’s okay to break a social commitment, every once in a while, to take care of myself. Yes, it is.

Ann!  Are you listening?

(That’s something I have trouble remembering.)

Some might say that breaking commitments is a “slippery slope.”  That is, once you start going back on promises, you’ll end up breaking lots of them.

To me, right now, that sounds like All-or-Nothing thinking. And Labeling, too. (See here for a list of those and other cognitive distortions.)   That is, either I have to be 100% about commitments or … I’ll turn into a  Dirty, Rotten Promise-Breaker.

I’m not a Promise-Breaker, people!  I can declare that now, even though I “broke” a commitment yesterday.


Yesterday, after I had all those thoughts, in italics above, about that Momentous Breach of Commitment, I had this, more helpful thought:

If I make an exception and post twice, that will be a great opportunity to write about the helpful side of exceptions.

Exceptions are an important concept in Narrative Therapy (which I’ve written about previously this year — like here —  because it’s one of my favorite ways of working with people).

Here’s what Narrative Therapy says about Exceptions:

  1. People tend to tell certain types of stories about themselves.
  2. Some of those stories are “stuck”, unhelpful, negative, and limiting.
  3. Whenever people tell negative stories about themselves, they are ignoring exceptions to that fixed story.

So, when people tell me stories about how incompetent, inadequate, lazy, worthless, etc. they are, I pull for the exceptions to those stories. I ask questions,  to invite the times, the actions, the moments that don’t fit those negative self-judgments.

And those exceptions are ALWAYS there.  Always.

Sometimes, it takes some digging, to discover them.


But there’s no better buried treasure, I believe.

Now that I’ve inserted an image in this post, let’s see what Google Images has for us, today, regarding “exceptions”.

Here we go!


Thanks to James Thurber, SQL Soldier (for the buried treasure image), exception-makers,  kind commitment-breakers, and to you, especially, for visiting today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 295: Random Images

Hello, dear readers.

Today’s blog post is a collection of recent photos which I like.

That’s right, I like them.  I could be polite here and say, “I hope you like them, too,” but that’s really besides the point, you know?

Because I can’t control how you are going to react to them.  And, throughout this year, I have dispensed pearls of wisdom such as this:

You can’t control other people, especially their thoughts.

Other people’s thoughts can’t hurt you.

If you are going to assume something (including about what other people are thinking), why not assume the best?

These aren’t exact quotes, people, but what do you want from me?


It’s in the middle of the night, I’m having trouble sleeping (probably from a combination of excitement — e.g.,  WORLD SERIES TICKETS — and some fears about unknowns/new things that have been happening here).  With all that, I am NOT going to check my past posts, just to make sure that those quotes are correct.

What do you want from me, people?



I’m mind-reading, aren’t I?

I’m assuming that YOU want my posts to be “perfect.”

That urge for perfection comes from ….

…. not YOU, but …..

(Three guesses, and the first two don’t count.) (Whatever the hell THAT means.) (Actually, see here for an explanation of that.)

Did you guess?

Whether you did, or not, the answer is …..


That’s right, dear readers. I’M the guilty party here. I’m the one who has the high standards that are so tough to fill.

Nobody else (I’m told), expects as much from me as I expect from myself.

Sooooooooo, the good news is this:  My standards are high, and I LOVE THESE PHOTOS.

So who cares what you think?

(Actually, I think I’m repeating myself, at this point.)

So, therefore, I’m just going to post these friggin’ photos, make a half-assed attempt to link them together somehow, and call it a blog-posting day.

And, maybe if I (and you) are in luck, the attempt won’t be half-assed.  Maybe it will be somewhere between 85-95% assed.  (I was going to say “completely assed,” but that would be perfectionism, wouldn’t it?)*


As I believe I have mentioned in a recent blog post (look for the reference yourself, people!!), “Yummy” is one of my favorite words. I have recently been thinking about the possibility of helping to open up a local restaurant with that name.  So what do I see, two days ago, on Sunday?


FIgures. (Although I would include an apostrophe.)


I saw this on Sunday, also, during a walk with my friend Kathy. (See here for a picture of Kathy, at Fenway Park!)


That’s a rather startling image, isn’t it?

Now why did I take THAT photo?

  1. It reminds me of several funny jokes about penguins I’ve heard, over the years**.
  2. Maybe I feel trapped by existential issues I cannot control.
  3. (Fill in your own answer, here.)



I saw this, on Sunday, with Kathy, too. (Kathy is a professional photographer, by the way. I’m not sure why, but that seems ironic to me, right now.)  (If my son reads this blog post, which is unlikely, he will probably tell me that I’m misusing the word “ironic.”)

Anyway, what do I want to say about this photo?  This cheered me up, somehow, when I saw it on Sunday, and it’s cheering me up right now.

PHOTO # 4:


This photo is from last night, and demonstrates continuing progress in the process of introducing a new cat (Harley, close to piano) to established cat (Oscar, closer to photographer). Would you believe me if I told  you that I  had just helped the process along by actually singing  the song “Kumbaya***” while the three of us (four of us, if you count the mouse), were sitting in this room?

Because it’s true.

Okay, those are the photos I wanted to post.

You know what? I’m going to make a completely non-assed attempt to link those photos together.  That is, I am going to end this blog post, without identifying a common theme among them.

Although, maybe I’ll do a little more, before I end.

This is something I do in therapy groups, after everybody has had a chance to speak.  I sometimes say, “Do people notice any common themes in what they heard?”

So I guess the ball is in your court, readers.  Do you see any common theme(s) among those photos?


Thanks to insomniacs everywhere, amateur and professional photographers, real and stuffed animals, and to you, especially, for visiting today.


*The half-assed/completely-assed thing is an “homage to” (read “steal from”) the movie,”The Graduate”:

Mr. Braddock: Ben, this whole idea sounds pretty half-baked.

Benjamin: Oh, it’s not. It’s completely baked.

** I was going to post some favorite penguin jokes, here, but screw it!  I’m tired.  Here‘s a link to a google search about penguin jokes.

*** Here’s a quote from the Wikipedia description of Kumbaya:

“Kumbaya” or “Kumbayah” (Gullah, “Come By Here” — “Kum ba yah“) — is a spiritual song from the 1930s. It became a standard campfire song in Scouting and summer camps, and enjoyed broader popularity during the folk revival of the 1960s.

The song was originally associated with human and spiritual unity, closeness and compassion, and it still is, but more recently it is also cited or alluded to in satirical or cynical ways which suggest false moralizing, hypocrisy, or naively optimistic views of the world and human nature.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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