Posts Tagged With: Neal Portenza

Day 1700: What are the odds?

What are the odds that

  • somebody obsessed with odds and odd things  has never published a post with this title before?
  • The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally would reach its 1700th consecutive day of blogging?
  • three women with the extraordinarily rare heart condition of Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries (cctga) would all be in Edinburgh at the same time, to meet for breakfast later today?
  • those same three women met for the first time at the same exact place two years ago?
  • this blogger, who likes to refer to her old posts, would include a link to that prior meeting here?
  • my son, after attending several Fringe Festivals in Edinburgh with his mother, would apply to the University of Edinburgh and get admitted to a 5-year program in Mathematics where they probably discuss probability and odds?
  • I actually had no worries yesterday after publishing a post with that name?
  • we would return to Forsyth’s Tea Room yesterday to revisit with the lovely Christina, who figured prominently in this post from two years ago?
  • if you visit that post from two years ago you’ll see other people we encountered again yesterday at the 2017 Festival Fringe, including the very talented Durham Revue?
  • Scottish coins looks so odd to us that we might confuse it with chocolate coins, which Christina gave to us yesterday?
  • there would be so many beautiful days in Edinburgh during this time of the year?
  • somebody taking  Coumadin/Warfarin would be able to control her Vitamin K consumption while she’s traveling by eating the exact right amount of spinach every day?
  • people would be able to keep track of time well enough to make it to all their scheduled shows at a festival like the Fringe?
  • a comic genius like Neal Portenza (a/k/a Joshua Ladgrove) would have dinner with two of his biggest fans from the USA?
  • readers will actually respond to any of these questions in the comment section below?
  • this exact series of photos would make it to this post today?

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What are the odds that I would include this odd video here?

What are the odds that I would end this post with thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and YOU, for reading?  Pretty good.

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

Day 1699: No worries

“No worries” is a phrase that originated in Australia. I have no worries, this morning, about …

  • writing my third blog post titled “no worries” in four and a half years of blogging,
  • linking to those previous blog posts here and here,
  • people with great expectations perhaps preferring my earlier posts to this one,
  • taking my time responding to others,
  • remembering to take my medication,
  • losing things,
  • being on vacation, and
  • snapping photos wherever and whenever I can.

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I have no worries that one of the excellent comedians shown above has a congenital heart condition and that we showed each other our open-heart surgery scars in public.  I also have no worries that two of the lovely people portrayed in the photos above are from Australia and say “no worries” instead of “you’re welcome.”

I have no worries about giving you more details in this blog post because

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the end of this post is nigh.

No worries about including this music today.

Thanks to all who help me create this daily blog and — of course! — to you, whether or not you respond “no worries” in a comment today.

 

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

Day 1697: Merrily we roll along

Merrily we roll along to yet another blog post from the Merry Festival Fringe in Merry Olde Edinburgh, Scotland.

Merrily We Roll Along is a Stephen Sondheim musical I’ve been wanting to see for along, long time.  Every time we roll merrily along to Edinburgh for our yearly visit, I become less merry, momentarily, when I discover that Merrily We Roll Along has been at the Fringe but has rolled along out of there before we arrive. This year, I rolled along to a different strategy and booked tickets to see Merrily We Roll Along  in Boston when I merrily roll along home in September.

Yesterday, as I was merrily rolling along the Royal Mile, I saw this:

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I was so merry to see this that it took Paul …

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…   several tries to merrily roll me along to an understanding that this was NOT the Sondheim musical but rather the play that musical was based on.  Paul, who is the director of the first revival of  Kaufman and Hart’s Merrily We Roll Along  to roll along in many decades, merrily urged me to roll along to see the play.  I merrily agreed, since I’ve been a merry fan of  George Kaufman and Moss Hart as the years have rolled along. Indeed, one of my favorite books when I was merrily young was the biography of George S. Kaufman by Howard Teichmann.  (If you wish, you can merrily roll along to this description of that book.) Kaufman was not exactly merry but some of the wittiest words I’ve ever merrily read rolled off his tongue.  When I was at my first job, I merrily used his line “Forgotten but not gone” about somebody who had quit but hadn’t yet rolled along out of there.  That line was merrily received by some.

Shall we merrily roll along to my other photos from yesterday?

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Before I merrily roll along to breakfast and then to Merrily We Roll Along, I merrily recommend N.E.A.L. P.O.R.T.E.N.Z.A., LAID, JAYDED, The Durham Revue, and Manual Cinema’s Lula Del Ray. Later this week, we’ll merrily be rolling along to dinner with Neal Portenza (a/k/a Joshua Ladgrove),  who is merrily doing a card trick above.

But first, let’s merrily roll along to this YouTube video.

Comments from you help me merrily roll along, so please roll along to the comment section, below.

Merrily, I thank all who helped me roll along to the end of another daily post and — of course! — YOU.

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 1696: The key to happiness

One of my keys to happiness is learning about the experience of others. So I am happy to ask you, here and now, about your keys to happiness.

Another key to happiness, for me, is sharing my thoughts and photos in this daily blog.

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That’s the key to our hotel in Edinburgh, lying on a table at Petit Paris, a French restaurant we always visit here. Travel and great food are other keys to happiness, I think.

Do you see more keys to happiness in my other photos from yesterday?

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It’s not imaginary that another key to happiness is associating with good humans, like my ex-sister-in-law’s husband Joe …

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… and comedian Ron Lynch (who was playing in several unrecognizable keys on stage yesterday).

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Here’s another Key to Happiness in recognizable keys, on YouTube.

Thanks to all who gave me every key to happiness I needed to create today’s post and to my readers (including you!)  who are more keys to my happiness.

 

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 1329: Edinburgh dreams

When one is at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, it’s dreamily natural to dream, to think about dreams, and to wonder if you’re dreaming.

Yesterday, I almost missed this dreamy sign because I was daydreaming in the Edinburgh mist and rain:

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The people who dreamed up that sign didn’t dream of letting us know who they are, what their dream is and why we’re not in it. What do you suppose is the dream behind that Edinburgh sign?

Personally, I have a dream of peace, love, growth, laughter, music, health, and mutual respect, and you’re all in it.

Here are other dreamy Edinburgh sights I didn’t dream up, from yesterday:

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I had a  dreamy reason for taking this particular photo …

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… of Sara Hirsch and Ben Fagan, who shared their dreams of childhood, adulthood, and success with us. I took that dreamy photo because of the dreamy song that was playing, which is a dreamy memory for one of my readers, Derrick J. Knight, who probably never dreamed I’d be mentioning him today.

This is for you, Derrick.

 

What do you find dreamiest about this post?  I can only dream that Jane Austen would find it too short.

Dreamy thanks to Edinburgh, to the St Andrews Revue for the great sketch comedy show Loop, to Sara Hirsch and Ben Fagan, to everyone else who helped me create this post, and to you — of course! — no matter what your dreams, here and now.

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

Day 1327: Why did Ann share this picture?

Why did Ann choose today’s title?

I chose that title because of this picture I want to share from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe …

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… and because I sometimes  imagine my readers asking themselves …

Why did Ann share this picture?

I wonder if you’ll ask that question about any of my other photos from yesterday, which I shall now share (in chronological order and with no editing whatsoever).

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Why do you think I shared these pictures?

Many thanks to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Ada/Ava by Manual Cinema, Marc Mackinnon (last appearing in this blog during the 2015 Festival Fringe), Lucie Pohl, the amazing Neal Portenza (who has appeared previously in this blog here, here, here, here, here, and here), Josh Ladgrove,  Asexual Healing, our favorite Edinburgh-based comedian Dr. Tom Joyce (appearing in Asexual Healing and previous blog posts here, here,  and here), and everybody  who contributed an image to today’s post.  And special thanks to you — of course! — for whatever you choose to share, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 1326: Perfection is a matter of time

What do you think of today’s blog title?  Is perfection a matter of time? Is perfection ever possible, no matter how much time we have?  Is it worth our time trying to be perfect?

Because I woke up so late today in Edinburgh, Scotland, I have no time to make this post even close to perfect.

Yesterday, it took time for me to perfect my understanding of this sign:

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It was a matter of time before I perfected how I captured that sign (because of my son’s perfectly timed interruptions):

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Earlier in the day, I thought I had found the perfect title for today’s blog post …

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…  but it was only a matter of time before I changed my mind.

I don’t have time to explain all the other photos I took yesterday. I will, imperfectly, mention some Scottish experiences that matter to me:

  1. My perfect son Aaron and I are attending the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for our fourth time.
  2. We love taking the time to talk to the perfectly wonderful people here.
  3. My ex-sister-in-law Deborah, her daughter Laura, and Laura’s daughter Victoria arrived yesterday to join us, after spending lots of imperfect time in a New York airport that had no power and waiting hours of time for their rooms in Edinburgh to become available.
  4. We found a perfect Edinburgh labyrinth yesterday.
  5. Whenever Aaron gets hold of my iPhone camera, it’s only a matter of time before he takes extreme closeups.
  6. Aaron and I spend a lot of time discussing which of the Fringe posters comes closest to being perfect.
  7. Last night, we saw Josh Ladgrove a/k/a Neal Portenza in another amazingly inventive and hilarious performance. Every year we see him, Neal Portenza perfectly puts Aaron is his show.
  8. It’s only a matter of hours before we  all see the Neal Portenza show again.
  9. After we see Neal Portenza Neal Portenza Neal Portenza Neal Portenza Neal Portenza Neal Portenza  Neal Portenza Tracey again tonight, we are going to see Tom Joyce, our favorite local comedian.  Every year  Aaron and I have been coming to the Fringe, it’s only a matter of time before we run into Tom on the street at the perfect time or otherwise figure out a way to see him.

It was only a matter of time before I showed you my other photos from yesterday.

 

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It was only a matter of time before I would remind you if you can’t perfectly see any of those imperfect photos, you can click on them to enlarge them.

What’s the perfect music for this post?  Damned if I know, but it was only a matter of time before one of those photos would inspire this:

As imperfect as this post is, it took me much more time than I expected to finish it. So here’s some imperfect thanks to all who helped me create it and to you — of course! — for taking the time to visit today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 965: Getting unstuck

Do you ever get stuck in a behavior, a feeling, or a thought? Do you ever repeat patterns of acting or thinking you KNOW are neither positive nor helpful?

If you answered “yes,” you are NOT alone in your stuck-ness.

If you answered “no,” could you let the rest of us know how you stick to being unstuck?

Here’s why I’m stuck thinking about getting unstuck today:

  1. Tomorrow I go back to work helping others get unstuck in their lives, after two weeks of being wonderfully unstuck from my regular routines, on vacation.
  2. One article I read while in Social Work graduate school — that has stuck with me for decades — suggested that all mental/behavioral health diagnoses could be replaced with a single, one-word diagnosis: “Stuck.”
  3. While I’ve made a lot of progress in my own life, I still get stuck in certain ways of thinking, reacting, and behaving  I KNOW are unhelpful, outdated, and automatic.

Let’s stick to the title of this post — “Getting Unstuck.” How do those of us who know we get stuck start unsticking from  old, unhelpful habits of thinking and behaving?

Before I share some getting-unstuck advice,  I invite you to stick to your own wisdom and experience.

What’s one thing you’ve learned in your life about getting unstuck, even temporarily?

Stick with that question, for a moment. What memories, images, or other associations about getting unstuck are sticking with you, now? If you stick any of those in a comment here, you might help others get unstuck, too.

Because I’m stuck with that promise I made to share something I have learned, in my long life,  about getting unstuck, here it is:

When you feel stuck, get in touch with your experience and your intuition and do ONE THING differently. Then, notice the other changes that one simple change creates. 

With all of you as my witnesses, I now pledge to do one thing differently when I return to work tomorrow.  In order to get unstuck from old and unhelpful post-vacation habits, I  am going to consciously allow the many wonderful feelings, thoughts, and images from eight glorious days in Edinburgh, Scotland to stick around, for a long time.

We’ll see how long I can stick with that.

If I had brought my Scottish walking stick back with me to U.S., perhaps that stick would help me stick to sustaining and change-inspiring  memories of freedom, creativity, beauty, and growth. However, I left that stick behind on the streets of Edinburgh, stuck with the hope that walking stick might help somebody else — who might need support — move forward through that cobble-stoned city.

Because I have no pictures of that stick, I’ll stick to other images, old and new:


                                                                    
       
What music might help us all stick to those things that help us get unstuck in our lives?


I’m sticking with a song that’s familiar to me:  the Scottish Gerry Rafferty and Stealers Wheel performing “Stuck in the Middle with You,” stuck back in the United Kingdom circa 1973.

Unsticking thanks to all who helped me stick to this topic, today, and to you — of course! — for sticking around for the end of this post.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

Day 961: Pareidolia

My son Aaron, who has a very nice face, tells me that “Pareidolia” is the word for our tendency to see human faces where they do not exist.

For example, when I faced this car, yesterday, in Edinburgh, Scotland …

… it looked, to me, like it had a human face.

We probably see human faces, where they do not actually exist, as a way make the unfamiliar more reassuring.

It’s also reassuring to see actual human faces, especially if they look friendly.


That’s Joanna, who reassured us that the unfamiliar Scottish custom of including white AND pink marshmallows on hot chocolate was actually practiced widely across Europe.


That’s Fearghas, with whom we swapped recommendations about what shows to see at the Festival Fringe.

That’s one of the faces of the terrific improv group Men with Coconuts, whom we’ve faced several times this year and during the Festival Fringe in 2014.

One of the first friendly faces we saw in Edinburgh, when we arrived a week ago, was that of an imposing redhead, named Marc,  from an original play called STYX:


While there are SO MANY choices at the Festival Fringe, we knew we would eventually face STYX, because we kept seeing the faces of Marc and his fellow STYX performers on the streets of Edinburgh. Also, STYX has a really stand-out poster, which our faces have been seeing everywhere. AND, we’ve been facing these neat give-aways in our hotel room, since we first saw the STYX players’ faces:


So, yesterday, we finally faced STYX. Here are two familiar faces I saw, before the show:

Here are faces I saw on stage:


  
  
  
  


Those are the faces of some amazingly inventive comic actors. I also faced some ridiculous synchronicities with my life in that hilarious play, including :

  • A character with heart problems,
  • Several plot points involving a DEFIBRILLATOR (installed in a phone booth) and
  • A woman hobbling around with a cane.

After we saw STYX, I took these photos of some friendly faces responsible for that fabulous and funny production:


      

Now,  please face another photo of faces that were on stage AND off stage at yesterday’s great performance of STYX:

There were a lot more faces I faced yesterday, in amazing and beautiful Edinburgh. Let’s see what faces you notice in these photos:


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
That last photo includes the face of a performer my son Aaron and I have admired since last year’s Festival Fringe: Dr. Professor Neal Portenza,  who also faces the real word as Joshua Ladgrove.


  
There’s our friend Josh performing on a bus last night, facing another enthusiastic audience. Face it, my dear readers, it was great seeing Josh perform, especially since he asked if any of the people facing him on that bus were able to be in the moment and — when he noticed my face nodding “Yes” — he told the whole audience that he READS THIS BLOG.

You can just imagine my face, when he said that.

Well, we now need to face our last full day in Edinburgh, including an 11 AM performance by this beautiful face we saw on our first day here:


Because I need to get ready to face Sanctuary and the rest of the day, I am going to ask you to face a post here today without any videos. Perhaps somebody who faces this blog can provide some Pareidolia -appropriate music?

Thanks to all the faces that make my life worth living, including yours!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, pride | Tags: , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Day 958: Tangible

Yesterday, in a part of Edinburgh near the sea, I was lucky enough to see a tangible sign of what to call today’s post.

Here are other experiences that, to me, were tangible:

  









Some of those photos — including that giant sculpture of a hand– tangibly demonstrate one meaning of tangible: “touchable.”

One of my tangible motives for this post is to finish it quickly, so my son Aaron, Aaron’s aunt Deborah, and I can go on a tour today of the tangibly beautiful countryside outside of Edinburgh. We are leaving soon, at the tangibly early time of 7:30 AM, which might make me rather touchy.

At the same time, another tangible motive for today’s post is to show you other experiences that tangibly touched me yesterday, including images from our walk to and through the Lethe section of Edinburgh:




















We also saw some tangibly great performances at the Festival Fringe.

Hurt and Anderson …

… tangibly stood out from all the others trying to create tangible audiences for their shows yesterday.

Here were some of the tangible high points of Hurt and Anderson’s smart and confident sketch comedy, that I was tangibly able to capture:
  

I could almost touch their set list from our tangibly front-row seats …

… which I just turned around — with a few touches on my phone — so you could tangibly read it:

The other tangible performance we were touched by yesterday was that of Dr. Professor Neal Portenza in “Catchy Show Title” again.

Here is tangible proof of the good Dr. Professor’s kindness:


Those were hand-written tickets touchingly arranged for us, at the last tangible minute. Last night, we were sitting within  touching distance of  his tangible inventiveness with his tangible audience:


  

I took the above photo when Dr. professor P asked the audience, “Can you feel it?” We could all feel it.

Then, the tangibly brilliant Dr. Professor posed for my touch-screen camera:

Later this week, we may share a tangible meal with Dr. Professor Portenza, where I may ask him this tangible question: “How does one become a Doctor AND a professor at such a young age?” and my son Aaron might ask if it’s true that an audience member really broke his ribs, in Australia, by touching him too hard with one of these tangible plungers:

I’m not sure what tangible tune would go best with this touchy-freely post, so I’ll pick some music from the  Dr. Professor’s  show:

I know that “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers will tangibly touch at least one of my readers. For you, what was most tangible about this post?

A lovely day to everybody who touched this tangible post and for you, especially, I leave this tangible message:

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

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