Posts Tagged With: Mel Brooks

Day 2214: Fall in love every day

Yesterday, I fell in love with the HBO documentary If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast.  This lovely movie about vital and thriving people in their 90s lovingly showcases Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Norman Lear, Betty White, Iris Apfel, Tony Bennett, the late Stan Lee, and many lovable non-celebrities. I love this tag line for the film: “What’s the secret to living into your 90s — and loving every minute of it?”

Jerry Seinfeld, who is not in his 90s and who I hope gets there (because I love him), is also in the movie. He describes his ideas about how to live well into your 90s, which include “Fall in love every day.  I don’t mean romantic love. Fall in love with your parking space.”

Maybe I WILL make it into my 90s, because I fall in love every day, with my parking space and many other things.   Do you see the love in my photos from yesterday?

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I love so many things about those photos, including the penguin-that-looks-like-a-monkey Starbucks cake pop. I also love that my new and lovely co-worker Alice and I went to Starbucks yesterday not wanting to buy anything but just to smell the coffee (which some lovely researchers say can revitalize you), and the lovable Starbucks barista (not pictured) opened a giant container of roasting beans (also not pictured) and let us smell their lovely aroma.

One of the lovable social work interns at work has fallen in love with the music of jazz drummer Brian Blade and he suggested I listen to him, which I did.   I fell in love and maybe you will, too.

What might you fall in love with today?

I’ve fallen in love every day about thanking those who help me write these daily posts and also my lovely readers (including YOU).

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

Day 1411: It could be worse.

It could be worse. It could be raining.

It could be worse. It could be a world without

“Good Bones,” by Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

  • Sons who want to FaceTime with their mothers

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  • Cats

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  • Signs

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  • Fire hydrants

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  • Mittens

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  • Pumpkins

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  • My readers, who I hope will leave a comment about this post (which could be worse)
  • Gratitude, which I’m expressing for all who helped me create today’s blog and for you– of course! — no matter what you think could be worse, here and now.

 

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

Day 1392: Depends

What’s my attitude about life?  Depends on what’s going on around me, how I’m perceiving things, and people I depend on.

How am I feeling as I recover from my recent open heart surgery?  Depends on how much sleep I’m able to get, which depends on how much pain I’m having.

How do I answer questions from myself and from others? Depends on the question, my attitude, my experience, and what I know.

How  do  I come up with a title and topic for each of my daily blog posts?  Depends on what’s happened the day before, usually.

How do I decide which pictures to share here?  Depends on which ones I think you might like.

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How well do I quote other people in this blog?  Depends on my memory and what they have to say.  Yesterday, the dependably hilarious, brilliant, and charming Mel Brooks responded to a question from the audience as follows:

Question:  Boxers or briefs?

Mel Brooks:  Depends!

My choice of music for each post depends on several factors. Here‘s the theme song from Blazing Saddles  — the movie Mel Brooks showed and discussed yesterday:

 

Will you comment on today’s blog post?  That probably depends on what you have to say.

I depend on others to create every blog post and on you to read them, so many thanks to Mel Brooks, to my neighbor Karen for driving me yesterday to a realtor’s open house AND to see Mel Brooks, and to you — of course! — on whom I depend more than you know.

 

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Day 1391: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

To start telling this story, today’s post title is a quote from the musical Hamilton.

 

Who lives, on the day I’m writing this?

  • I do, against all odds and even though a team of doctors at the Mayo Clinic  essentially killed me* on September 21 in order to repair my heart before they brought me back to life.
  • Mel Brooks, thank goodness, even though he is 90 years old (and whom I’ll be seeing today in person in Boston).
  • Approximately 7.5 billion people, according to this link.

 

Who dies, on the day I’m writing this?

  • Kevin Meaney, suddenly at age 60, who was one of my and my son’s favorite comedians.
  • 151,600 people, according to this link.

 

Who tells your story?

I’ll tell you who tells my story —   it’s me, through this blog.  Perhaps because my story has included so many doctors and medical institutions from the moment I was born, it’s VERY important to me to be the expert of my own experience — the primary teller of my own story. Of course, I can’t control how others will tell my story after I die, but to quote Kevin Meaney about that, “I don’t care.”

Here’s how I photographically choose to tell my story of October 21, 2016, when I went to  one hospital for cardiac rehab and then to another hospital to get blood work to prepare for ANOTHER surgical procedure on November 2 and also to drop in on my  amazing cardiologist Dr. Deeb Salem:

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And because we do need help from others to tell our stories, I want to thank my friend Carol, who is such a wonderful woman, for capturing the story of those last four photos.

Here’s the last photo that I took yesterday, to tell my story:

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Now, how would you tell a story in a comment, below?

I’ll end today’s story with live gratitude to all those living and dead who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — no matter how you tell your story.


* I’m glad you lived to read  this part of my story from the Mayo Clinic surgeon’s report on  September 21:  “The aorta was occluded, and 800 cc of cold blood cardioplegia was infused into the aortic root obtaining satisfactory asystolic arrest.” Doesn’t that sound like they satisfactorily killed me?

Categories: heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 1298: How to Not Die

As I approach my 1300th consecutive daily post here at WordPress, I am thinking that important topics, for me, include “How to Not Die” both as

  • a blogger and
  • a human being.

How to Not Die  as a blogger could very well include changing the title of this blog from “The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally” to  “How to Not Die.” Don’t you think that new title would

  • attract more readers and
  • be a better representation of my life-long story of figuring out how to not die from heart-related challenges?

Unfortunately, this picture, taken yesterday, proves that my using “How to Not Die” would be a deliberate act of plagiarizing a beloved celebrity and author:


I guess you and I are stuck with the title of this blog, as I look ahead to the next 1300 consecutive daily posts.

How to Not Die, for me, includes getting up and out and taking photos of what’s alive around me, including these:














What music might you choose for a post titled “How to Not Die?”

“Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees?

 

Please help this blog post not die by leaving a comment, below.

Staying-alive thanks to Mel Brooks, the Bee Gees and everybody else who helps me create this “How to Not Die” blog, including you!

Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism, staying healthy | Tags: , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Day 786: High Anxiety

I’m having a little high anxiety writing this post this morning, because I don’t want to be late for the second day of my group psychotherapy conference.

I don’t know about you, but I can have very high anxiety about being late, especially for something like a therapy group, where being on time is

  • expected,
  • important, and
  • affects many other people.

Am I alone in this high anxiety about being late? What can trigger high (or other levels of) anxiety in you?

The San Francisco Hotel I need to reach on time, this morning,  also caused high anxiety for Mel Brooks in High Anxiety, as you can see in the movie trailer I found on YouTube:

Here are some photos I took yesterday, at that “High Anxiety” Hotel:

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I had some High Anxiety at The High Anxiety Hotel yesterday, because:

  1. I’m afraid of heights,
  2. I revealed some vulnerable and sensitive information about myself in a therapy group of people I had just met, and
  3. I talked about my recently higher anxiety about my very unusual heart, including the likelihood of heart surgery in the near future.

My anxiety might have been high at times yesterday (especially when the changing light in the group room made it temporarily difficult for me to see the faces of the other people), but it was also bearable, because

  1. the other people in my therapy group also revealed vulnerable, sensitive, and important things about themselves,
  2. people offered helpful feedback about each others’ anxieties (and other things),
  3. I learned a lot about my anxiety, including how to trust others more fully, and
  4. I met up, during the lunch break, with a former student of mine, who works next door to the High Anxiety Hotel:

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That’s Chris, who previously appeared in this blog post from last year and whose friendly, smiling presence is good for reducing anxiety.  I told Chris — as I’m telling everybody else around here — that I am sick of my High Anxiety about the high snows and low temperatures in my home town of Boston during the winters.  My proposed cure for that high anxiety?  Moving, within the next couple of years, to the home town of the High Anxiety Hotel — San Francisco.

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I captured that on-high shot of San Francisco last night, after the conference, from the building next door to the High Anxiety Hotel.  I had very low anxiety when I snapped that because

  • coincidences don’t scare me, and Chris and my long-time friend Lawry coincidentally work in that same building,
  • I had dramatically lowered my high anxiety by talking about it in the therapy group,
  • beautiful and warm locations are natural anxiety reducers for me, and
  • I’m pretty good at helping people (including myself) move from high anxiety to low anxiety.

What about you?  Is your anxiety high, medium, low, or non-existent? What tends to make your low anxiety high and your high anxiety lower?

Do I have any anxiety about what music to choose for this post? Well, I’m letting go of any anxiety I might have about repeating music I’ve posted before (see here), so I’ll share this with you again:

The theme music from High Anxiety — written and sung by the incomparable, anxiety-reducing Mel Brooks — is here on YouTube.

Okay!  I’ve got to go face a day of low, medium, and/or high anxiety, along with many other people.

Thanks to the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, to all those attending the group psychotherapy conference there, to Mel Brooks, to Chris, to Lawry, and to you (of course!), whether you’re feeling high, low, or in between today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 51 Comments

Day 364: What day is it?

I believe this thing to be self-evident:  On the penultimate* day of The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally, I have managed to come up with the goofiest title, ever.

And I’m not being judgmental about that. I happen to think that “goofy” is high praise. (I believe I’ve demonstrated that belief, in this previous post.) Although, one could argue that praise, of any sort, is also judgmental.**

All right, Ann!  Enough with the charmingly (you hope) digressive style! Let’s cut to the chase!  Why do you think that title is goofy?

I think the title is goofy because … it expresses a confusion about the day, after stating what day it is.

Then why in the Wild Wild World of Sports*** did you choose THAT title (after considering several others, as usual)?

Because at this time of the year, I am often confused about what day it is.  There is something about  The Week Between Christmas and New Year’s**** that causes rampant confusion in my brain, about the day.  To add to this, I am taking two days  off from work before New Year’s Day, and routine changes often confuse my sense of time.

I’m assuming I am not alone, in these experiences.

Although I AM alone as I am writing this.

Although that’s not entirely true, either.  How can I say I’m alone?  There’s a cat on my lap.  This cat, to be exact:

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That image meets my stringent criteria for posting my own photos here, including (1) I’ve never used it before, (2) it’s in focus, and (3) it is perhaps cute and interesting enough to ameliorate* possible feelings of annoyance at my charmingly (I hope) digressive and inquisitive writing style*****.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, I am not alone. Further proof of that: my 15-year-old son, Aaron, and my boyfriend, Michael, are both here, albeit* asleep.

Hmmm. So what IS this post about, so far?  What are the themes that are already emerging?

Well, confusion is a theme.

And what might confusion indicate, right now?

It might indicate that I need a little more food or sleep.  That’s (always) possible.

However, I think it also indicates that it’s the next-to-last day of the year. Endings — and the approach of endings — can definitely cause confusion, in me.

Perhaps I’m not alone in that, too. Also, confusion is not always a bad thing,  is it?

As I am approaching the end of this post, let’s see if I can find an image that represents “confusion,” right now.  First, I shall check my trusty iPhone. I have no expectations, at this point, whether a photo is waiting there, that will fit the bill.

(….suspenseful pause…..)

OMG!  I’ve struck gold. Not fool’s gold; real gold. The mother lode!  The mother of them all. ***

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That shot, which I took last Friday in the hospital cafeteria, not only meets all my criteria for my own photos, it is the perfect representation of the concept “confusion.”   While true perfection may not exist, just look at all the confusion we’ve got there, in one single image. Feast your eyes on all the opposites, dialectics*, paradoxes, and contradictions!

Healthy/unhealthy. Biodegradable/Plastic. Cafeteria food/Salad bar. Dark/Light. Mac & Cheese/Anti-Mac & Cheese.

It’s all there, people! (And you may see more, too.)

Ahhhhhh.  My work here is done.

At least for the day.

Thanks to all my readers, no matter what day you happen to drop by. There’s no confusion here: I appreciate your visit, wherever you are.


* One of my favorite words.  I would define it, but I’m hoping the context will clarify its meaning, if necessary. Also, I hope to use this footnote as a running gag throughout the post.

** My good friend Krystal wrote me about that, last week.

*** This is a steal from Mel Brooks. See here for the first (mis-remembered) steal. I can’t find a clip for the second steal, which is from one of my favorite movies, “The Producers.”

**** Yes, Mark Bialczak, I am using this form, for now.

***** At least, in this particular case, among cat people. For people who don’t like cats, all bets are off.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Day 238: Random Images (paired)

I wasn’t sure what to post about on this Monday morning, so I thought I would do a Random Post. Rather than my usual Random Thoughts, though, this is a post about Random Images. That means I get to include some photos I’ve taken lately, which haven’t appeared in previous posts.

To give this post a wee bit more structure, I am going to post those pictures in pairs — two photos at a time, that have some connection (and differences, of course).

Okay? Let’s get started!

Photo A:

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Photo B:

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I took these two photos in Harvard Square last month, right before I left for my trip to London and Edinburgh. The connection? The photos show two sides of the same sign, in front of a cafe/restaurant. What did I want to say about this, right now? I’ve been noticing that conversations and attitudes about diet — about what people eat — seem to be “split” lately, between:

  1. Food that is really, really good for you — so health-oriented, with so many restrictions, that I begin to get scared that everything I eat is poisonous except for, maybe, just cool, clear water (and sometimes, a stuffed cabbage), but no, wait! water is a problem, too, especially if it’s in the wrong receptacle, etc. etc., OR
  2. Food that is really, really “bad for you” — so let’s eat that sugar, that fat, all that stuff that’s bad for us, packed as tightly as possible into a single serving, and screw you, diets!!

Next pairing!

Photo A:

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Photo B:

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These two photos are separated in space and time. The first one was taken during that aforementioned trip to Harvard Square; the second one taken a week or so later, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Similarities? Both involve people dressed up in period costumes, performances, and trying to sell somebody something.

Next pairing!

Photo A:

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Photo B:

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This is another pairing that was very close in space and time. Our last night in Edinburgh, I noticed these two buildings, a couple of blocks away from each other, that had windows illuminated in one color — green in the first building and purple in the second building. I had never seen anything quite like this, didn’t know how this special effect had been created, and wanted to capture it.

Last pairing, for this blog post!

Photo A:

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Photo B:

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Similarities? Both photos were taken after I returned home from the trip to Edinburgh, both feature the same domesticated short-haired cat, and both involve a special effect. The difference? In the first one, the photographer intervened in the staging of it; in the second one, she just captured the moment.

That concludes our blog post for today, ladies and gentlemen.

Thanks to Mel Brooks’s 2000 year old man (for the reference to his strict diet of just water and maybe sometimes a stuffed cabbage), to special effects wizards everywhere, to performers and performances both staged and improvised, and to you, of course, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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