Posts Tagged With: Mark Bialczak

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 2350: Have pride in who you are

Yesterday, I published the post Day 2385: What is the title of this post? in which I encouraged readers to propose a title for the day’s collection of photos.

I have pride in who my readers are, and those readers include wonderful WordPresser Mark Bialczak,who posted this comment:

Have Pride in Who You Are
… would be one alternative title, but you may also have used that one in your years of post wisdom, Ann!

I have pride in my answer to Mark:

I have not used that title before, Mark. Therefore, I shall use it for my next blog post! What would I do without you, my friend?

I have pride in using that title, here and now, because













I have pride that Jocelyn Schur, LCSW, is attending the NSGP conference and also reads this blog!

Here‘s U2 with Pride (in the Name of Love):

Here‘s information about today’s Pride Parade in Boston:

Do you have pride in who you are? Please express your thoughts and feelings with pride in a comment, below.

I have pride that gratitude is a big part of who I am, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 1625: Vitality

Yesterday, when I was on Cape Cod visiting fellow blogger Mark Bialczak, his lovely and dear wife Karen, and their filled-with-vitality dog Ellie B. (a/k/a Dogamous Pyle),  I noticed this:


Mark and Karen both told me I had more vitality than the last time they saw me, two years ago. I said that was probably due to my heart valve replacement last September.   I told Mark  he seemed much happier than when I had seen him last and he agreed, with vitality.

Spending time with wonderful people, like Mark and Karen, is very good for my vitality.

Do you see vitality in my other photos from yesterday?
























Personally, I think that last photo has the most vitality.

As I face a lot of vital changes — including selling a home, buying a home, moving near the water, and returning to work full time next month — I need to preserve my vitality.

What helps preserve my vitality?

  • Self care.
  • Caring for others.
  • Spending time with great people.
  • Getting enough sleep (working on that).
  • Eating right.
  • Good vacations (so I’ll be visiting Scotland with my son in August).
  • Letting go of worry.
  • Blogging.
  • Listening to music.

Pat Metheny playing “Song for Bilbao” during a second encore Sunday night  improved my vitality,  big time.

What improves your vitality? I hope you know your comments are excellent for my vitality.

Vital thanks to all who helped me create today’s blog post and to you — of course! — for the vitality you bring here, now.

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

Day 1624: Questions and Answers

Question: What did I do yesterday?

Answer: I attended a lecture and demonstration group by world-renowned Group Psychotherapy expert Dr. Molyn Leszcz.

Question:  What kind of questions does Dr. Leszcz  ask people in therapy groups?

Answer: “What are you thinking?” “How do you feel right now?” “What is your hunch about that?” “How do you think other people are experiencing you?”  “What do you want people to know about you?” “What are you going to do next?” “What did you see?” “How would you like to work on that in the group?”

Question: Does Dr. Leszcz think that working in the here and now is good?




Question: What did I do last night?

Answer: I went to a Pat Metheny concert.

Question: Whom did I meet there?

Answer:  Gabe, who is a jazz guitar student at Berklee.


Question: What’s the first question Gabe asked me?

Answer:  “Are you a musician?”

Question: What question did I ask Gabe?

Answer: “Do you have any music on YouTube?”

Question: What did Gabe say?

Answer: “Yes.”

Question: What Pat Metheny tune did Gabe and I name as a particular favorite?

Answer:  Question and Answer.

Question:  Did Pat play that tune last night?

Answer: YES!

Question:  Did I take any other photos yesterday?

Answer: What do you think?






Question: What am I doing today?

Answer: I am going to the bank in preparation for selling my condo, getting an INR blood test at the hospital, and driving down the Cape to visit with fellow blogger Mark Bialczak and his dear wife Karen!

Question: Should you leave a comment about today’s blog?

Answer: Yes, please.

Question:  Who should I thank, here and now?

Answer: Everybody who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — YOU.


Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 911: Does that ring a bell?

Does the expression “ring a bell” ring a bell for you?

Here’s the definition, from Google:

1. informal

 revive a distant recollection; sound familiar. 

“the name Woodall rings a bell”

For me, the name Woodall does NOT ring a bell. Does that name ring a bell for you?

Here are some things that have been ringing bells for me lately, but differently than they’ve rung in the past:

  • Technology and machines have been misbehaving. For example, my WordPress phone application froze this morning, so I deleted it (despite the daunting  message “If you delete WordPress you will delete all data”) and then reinstalled it — feeling almost no fear  about that.
  • I’ve been summoned to a meeting today at work that’s supposed to be very important, with somebody I don’t know, with no explanation about who, why, or what I am expected to do, and I am feeling almost no fear about that.
  • As I’m writing this, I’m aware of my newly implanted large  cardiac device that’s causing me some physical discomfort, and I am feeling almost no fear about that.
  • I’ve been asked to give a training presentation about my “Coping and Healing” therapy groups in August, and I am feeling almost no fear about that.
  • I am realizing that I may conceivably hurt somebody’s feelings or offend somebody at some point  (an inevitable occurrence in human interactions), but I am feeling almost no fear about that.

Is this post ringing any bells for you, so far?

I thought of the  title for today’s post yesterday, when I was walking and listening to music that rings bells for me.

Does that ring any bells?

Here’s the tune — which used to be my phone ring tone — that rang that bell for me, yesterday:

Booker T & the MGs are ringing bells and playing lots of instruments  on  “Green Onions,” here at YouTube.

Typing “Booker T & the MGs” just now rang this bell for me:  Talking to WordPresser Mark Bialczak, a few weekends ago, about spelling the names of bands accurately.

Perhaps these photos I took yesterday will ring some bells:


If you leave a comment about this post, that will definitely ring my bell.

Bell-ringing thanks to all people, pets, food, and places that helped me write today’s post and special thanks to you — of course! — for whatever bells are ringing, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 895: Simultaneously

For the past two years, Mark Bialczak and I have simultaneously been blogging daily here on WordPress.

Yesterday, we simultaneously took a photo of each other during a beautiful afternoon at “The Happy Cottage” on Cape Cod.

Doesn’t Mark look happy in that photo? Simultaneously, I was happy too, getting my picture taken while spending a simultaneous and fabulous three-and-a-half hours (but who’s counting?) with Mark, his lovely wife Karen, and their wonderful dog Ellie B (simultaneously known as Dogamous Pyle).

Earlier in the day, Mark and I were simultaneously snapping photos for today’s blogs (while Karen was simultaneously being patient and kind with the both of us). I am posting my pictures here (perhaps simultaneously with Mark sharing his own view of our simultaneously shared day):


Doesn’t that look like Ellie B. is simultaneously being a dog and a wine steward?

I wonder if Mark, like me, will simultaneously report that our meeting yesterday was

I also wonder if there’s a simultaneous description of this dialog from yesterday (after Karen mentioned Mark’s ability to do that male thing of simultaneously having doctor-approved good  hearing and also hearing her selectively):

Me: I know! Somehow, my boyfriend Michael hears every word my son Aaron says, but he can’t hear what I’m saying. Michael claims it’s the frequency of my voice.

Mark: Yes, it’s the frequency. How much you’re talking.

While  typing the  dialog above on my iPhone keyboard, I was simultaneously wondering whether I quoted Karen, Mark, and Michael correctly and also simultaneously remembering Mark passionately giving me instructions yesterday about how to avoid blogging on this friggin’ annoying keyboard. Simultaneously, while I was ignoring Mark’s attempt to make my blogging life easier yesterday,  he and I were joking and reminiscing about other times — over the past two years — when I have ignored other helpful suggestions from him.

Here’s another thing that happened simultaneously yesterday:  Mark and I declared it unfair that NEITHER OF US HAS BEEN FRESHLY PRESSED here at WordPress, despite our simultaneous blogging diligence and consistency.

Perhaps, as we simultaneously publish posts about our shared day today, we will simultaneously

  1. be freshly pressed and
  2. go viral.

After I got home yesterday evening, Michael was able to hear me well enough to talk about my delightful day and to decide to go food shopping last night. While he and I were at the supermarket, a group therapist who had simultaneously attended my workshop on my therapy groups last weekend was simultaneously shopping there, too. She and I were simultaneously thrilled to see each other, and she showed me this:

That’s the stone she had chosen while everybody in the workshop was simultaneously doing a mindfulness exercise,  a week ago.

Simultaneously, I know that Mark is NOT going to show a picture of that.

Before I end this post and check if Mark’s simultaneous blog is posted (and we do often publish posts simultaneously), here’s a song that I simultaneously thought of, in honor of my perfect day spent simultaneously with Mark, Karen, and (for part of the day) Ellie B.

Simultaneously, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are singing “I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends” (and part of a joyous encore) on YouTube.

Simultaneously, I’m curious about what comment you’re going to leave here (and perhaps simultaneously at Mark’s simultaneous blog, too).

Simultaneous thanks to Mark, Karen, Dogamous Pyle, Cape Cod, Michael, the therapist from my group workshop, all the Beatles, and you — of course! — for simultaneously reading, today.

Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 47 Comments

Day 476: Ka-plow!

The blog possibilities are essentially endless today, because I — and others — are dealing with many issues. These issues include:

  • Illness (it seems like a lot of people are ill right now; some of us* are dealing with pneumonia).
  • Boston Marathon day, on the first year anniversary of the bombings.
  • Uncertainties about the future, which we all pretty much deal with, every day. (For some people,* these might include: when will I be able to go back to work?  What changes should I make in my work, to help promote people’s healing — including my own?)

Also, somebody* started a “thread” in this here blog recently (see here and here) about a new Super Hero identity, which, for today’s post, I am punctuating like so:


… just because I like the way that looks, today.  I will also say that it is a Super*Recovery*Woman’s prerogative to change her mind, whenever she wants.

So there are many things I could write about today, including imagining more details about my new identity.

Hmmmm. How am I going to create a good enough post, this morning?  Especially since some people* are not working today (because they’re* sick and/or it’s Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts**). As a result, somebody* doesn’t have their usual morning “container” to help them write a short, succinct, and to-the-point post.

As a result, I’m concerned that Super Digression Woman* may write her longest and most rambling post, evah, today. And she* really doesn’t want to do that, people. She’s not herself today. She’s sick!

Geesh! Somebody* had better explain the topic title at this point, don’t you think?


When I woke up this morning, I was thinking many thoughts, including:

I still feel sick.  I don’t feel like myself. Arrrghh! And my mouth feels terrible. Maybe I SHOULDN’T have gotten that dental work done right after I left the hospital last week, but I did that because I was already on antibiotics and I need intravenous antibiotics whenever I get dental work because of my history of endocarditis and I HATE being on so many antibiotics because everybody knows that’s not good for you, so it made sense at the time to get that over with.  But MAYBE THAT WAS THE WRONG DECISION!

Boy, somebody sure got up on the wrong side of the bed, this morning, didn’t she*?

Where was I?

Oh, yes. I was explaining the title of the post.

After I got up, I realized I needed to stop those kinds of thoughts, because they were NOT HELPFUL! And immediately — shazaam! —  the title of this post popped into my mind:


Why that particular title?

  • Because that’s how a lot of people (mis)pronounce my name (which used to bother me, at times) (but these days, not so much).
  • Every decent super hero* needs a good comic book noise, when she’s fighting the good fight! Don’t you agree?

Before this writer* goes any further with this post, she would like to add something else to the mix: appropriate music.



Let’s see what Google Images has for us* this morning, for “Comic Book Noises.”



(I found this image here)


(I found this image here)


(I found that image here)

Take THAT, you unhelpful thoughts!!!!


(I found that image here)

And last, but not least:


I found that last image, here, at a site called — AND I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP — “What comic book sound are you?”

So how would I like to end this post?  What feels left unsaid?

Just this: if you want to read a beautiful post about the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, please check this out (written by my WordPress friend, Mark Bialczak).

Somebody* found it very moving, this morning.

Thanks to Mark, to John Williams (for the “Superman” theme), to everybody else who helped me write this post this morning, to anyone who is celebrating Patriot’s Day in any way at all, and to you — BOING!! — for visiting today.

* That would be me.

** Patriot’s Day***, according to Wikipedia, is “Observed by Massachusetts, Maine, Wisconsin, encouraged in Florida.” I’m wondering if my readers in Florida could report back on what that particular kind of encouragement looks like.

*** Apparently, I punctuated the name of this holiday AS IF I am living in Maine. I’m not making that up, either.

Categories: humor, inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Day 388: What was your intent?

I have (at least) two reasons for choosing today’s blog post title.

That is, I want to answer that question in my title — “What was your intent?” — regarding …. my choice of a title, today.

Okay!  Let’s start our engines, blog post riders! 1

Here’s some advice:

When somebody does or says something that you find confusing — when you do not know what to do (or say) in response to somebody else’s behavior — ask them this simple question, “What was your intent (in saying or doing such and such)?”

I have used this technique, and it can be quite effective.  Other people have told me they have found it effective, too.

In other words, I recommend asking that question.

Now, my wish might be that, at this point in our relationship — Me as Writer, You as Reader — that you might respond, “Yes, Ann!  We believe you!  We will do what you suggest!”

But that’s not realistic, is it?

So let me explain my recommendation, further:

As human beings, we tend to mind-read. Here’s the definition of mind reading, from this list of  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) distortions:

Mind reading.
Without individuals saying so, we know what they are thinking and why they act the way they do. For example, you assume that somebody is having a critical thought about you, you don’t check this out, and this affects your actions and feelings towards them.

So, asking “What was your intent?” is one way to apply the following “antidote“to a very human — but often unhelpful — thought process:

 Reality testing.  Ask people questions to find out if your thoughts and concerns are realistic or true. This is a particularly effective response to the distortion of mind-reading.

Speaking for myself, I tend to NOT ask this question — in many instances where it could help improve interpersonal communication.

Instead of asking

What was your intent?

… I project my own experience and make assumptions about what the other person meant when they said or did something.

For example, last night, my boyfriend, Michael, and I had a “discussion” (translation: we got mad at each other, briefly). And in the course of this discussion, we both were “mind reading”  — making assumptions about each other’s intentions.  And we figured that out, and we’re fine.

Here are clues that you — or somebody else — might be mind reading, too. If you have these thoughts:

I don’t understand why this person did or said this!  This makes no sense to me!  If I were in that situation, I would NEVER do that!

And then, in an attempt to make meaning of what seems inexplicable, you then think:

This person must be trying to hurt me!

This person must not care about me!

This person must be a _____! 2

This is all evidence that Mind Reading might be in the house.

So just stop doing that, people! It’s not good for you!  It’s not good for your relationships!!

As if changing, like that, could be THAT easy. (But wouldn’t that be nice?)

However, here’s something you CAN do, in this situation.  Ask the other person this question:

What was your intent (in speaking or acting that way)?

And then, have an open mind to what the other person replies.  (Which is easier said than done, especially if you’re angry.)

I also want to say this:  in abusive relationships, this would not be an effective antidote. That is, some people’s intentions might be to hurt you (even though they won’t admit it). Actually, in this case, it doesn’t matter what the other person’s intention is — if they are hurting you consistently, get out of the house!

Boy, I sure am giving a lot of advice today. I’m not very comfortable giving advice, usually.

But I did today.

What was my intent, in doing that?

I thought it might be helpful.

Okay, so what remains for me to do, before I end this blog post? In other words, it’s time for the …

The Tying-Up-Loose-Ends Portion of Today’s Blog Post

In my opening sentence, I said I had at least two reasons for writing about this topic today. I’m not sure whether I’ve explored different reasons.  Perhaps I have.

One thing I DO know: I promised fellow blogger Mark Bialczak, in the Comments Section of yesterday’s post, that I would explain this photo:


which I included in Day 386: Clues.

Mark wrote:

And the what-was-it from yesterday’s post. Are you going to share the elusive message down the line, or was it just a brain-teaser like that little game the put on the table at Cracker’s Barrel restaurants where you try to leave just one golf tee standing?

I don’t want to mind read here, but we, as humans, do that.  I think Mark was asking:

What was your intent?

I responded to Mark, in the comments section, like so:

What elusive message is it, to which you refer, Mark? I’m not being coy, I’m just losing track of all the hints and clues I’ve been putting out there in blog posts lately. If you ask directly for me to clear something up, I will do it, most happily.

In other words, I was asking:

What was your intent?

Mark wrote back:

OK, you put the shot of your one-socked foot on the floor with a kitty in the corner and asked what it meant. I’d love to know what you were going for with that one, Ann.

In other words …. Oh, you know.  He was asking: What was my intent in posting that photo?

This was my response:

I am going to attempt to answer your question in the blog I write today (Day 388). Thanks, as always.

Notice the stall — what some people might call “procrastination.”  That is, I didn’t answer his question when I first read it, last night. Instead, I waited until this morning. I waited until right now — this moment — to answer.

Sometimes, it’s difficult for me to answer that question: What was your intent?  Sometimes my intentions are complicated. Sometimes, I have multiple intentions. Sometimes, my intentions are both conscious and subconscious.

Confused?  You’re not alone.

But I will do my best, right now, in explaining what my intentions were, in posting that photo:

  1. I wanted to show another “mystery”3 — that is, when I sleep with socks on my feet, one of those socks often comes off during the night.
  2. I wanted to let people know that I am so engrossed in writing this blog, every day, that I can go downstairs to write, unaware that I have one sock on and one sock off.
  3. It’s so friggin’ cold out, here, that I soon realize that I have one sock off, as one foot starts to freeze.
  4. I am having this experience, frequently, as evidenced by the fact that the sock in this photo is brown, while the sock I mentioned in the previous blog post — Day  385: Wicked Pisser — was …. (drum roll): PURPLE!

Confused? Too Much Information?  It’s Mark’s fault!! (Hint: this would be a reference to another cognitive distortion:  Blaming.)

If it’s anybody’s fault, it’s my fault, because my intentions are often complicated. But, really, it’s nobody’s fault.

Maybe, to be clear and simple,  I should ask myself my own question, one more time. This time, I’ll ask it — not just about that photo or those particular blog posts — but about my writing this blog, in general.

What was (or is) your intent?

Simply and honestly?

To heal.

Okay!  That concludes our blog post for today.

Thanks to Michael, Mark, people who have questioned their own or other people’s intents, and to you — of course!! — for reading today.

  1.  Apparently I’m still using car metaphors.  By the way, if you read this blog regularly, the other driver who was involved in my minor fender bender still has not filed a claim (as far as I know).  I have theories about why that might be. If she were here, I could ask her, “What is your intent?” But she isn’t. So I’ll just have to guess.

  2. This would be the cognitive distortion of Name Calling — which we do to ourselves and to others, too, especially when we’re upset. I sometimes use the word “jerk” (to myself), when I’m mad at somebody.  Sometimes I use stronger language (to myself).   Here’s what I think we’re often saying, when we call somebody a “jerk” or “a _______”: “This person is NOT who I thought s/he was. Maybe they’re not a good match for me. Maybe I shouldn’t be with them.” And, dear readers, sometimes that is true. But often, it’s not. Confused? You’re not alone.

  3. Mysteries have been a theme of my recent blog posts. What has been my intent, in doing this?  Arrrghh!  Will these questions never end?

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

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