Posts Tagged With: Paul Nagano

Day 1745: Chaos

When I scan the news headlines this morning, I keep noticing the word “chaos.”

Some people thrive on chaos. Most people don’t.

How does chaos affect you? Does it scare you?

Should I apologize for the chaos in this random collection of photos?

Time flies when you’re having fun, said somebody sometime. Do you have time for some musical chaos?

Even in the midst of chaos, I give thanks to all who help me create some order out of chaos by blogging and — of course! — to you.

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

Day 1428: Play Like an Animal

What does “Play Like an Animal” mean?  I wondered about that, yesterday, when I saw this at a local supermarket:


Apparently, playing like an animal involves finding your way.

Tomorrow, when I find my way back to my job after a two-month medical leave, it will be time for me to work like an animal. But what kind of animal will that be? Will it be a tired animal? A healthy animal? This animal will know more, soon.

Do any of my other photos from yesterday play like an animal?






















Don’t be shy …. please play like an animal, here and now, by leaving a comment below.

Before I work out like an animal at cardiac rehab, I have time to share this play-like-an-animal music:


Playful thanks to all the animals who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — no matter how you’re playing or working today.



Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Day 865: I should know

I should know, by now, that I’ll have plenty of blogging topics to choose from on a Friday, because I do two therapy groups on Thursdays.

In last night’s group, somebody said this:

If you read my blog regularly, you should know that I think “should” statements are not particularly helpful.

You should also know, if you read my blog, that I have a very thorough medical team.

Yesterday morning, I went for an appointment with some pulmonary specialists.

You may think you should know what “pulmonary” means, but you should know I think that’s just a fancy term for lungs and breathing.

You shouldn’t know  — because I haven’t told you yet — that in January a pulmonary test indicated I had two types of “abnormalities” in my lungs.  I should know the terms my Primary Care Physician used about that, but I’m not sure what they were. I think one was mild “restriction” and the other was mild “obstruction.”

You should know that, to be safe, my doctor made an appointment for me with a pulmonary specialist she liked, for last week.You should also know that I had to postpone that appointment to yesterday at 8 AM, because I had cardiac surgery last week.

I should know that if my doctor likes other doctors, I am going to like them, too.

Here’s Dr. Kari Roberts:

You should know that I thought her glasses were the coolest.

You should know I like to make goofy jokes, so when Dr. Roberts asked if it was okay that her medical fellow talk to me first, I replied

Is he a jolly good fellow?

I don’t know if I would call Dr. Manley

jolly, but he was definitely good. He explained the results of my pulmonary tests, very helpfully and clearly.

I should know, by now, that good doctors often draw things on whatever paper is around, when they’re explaining things to you.

You should know, if you read my blog, that I like to collaborate with medical people. So yesterday, Dr. Roberts, Dr. Manley, and I together came up with the conclusion that the slight abnormalities in my pulmonary tests were probably due to my heart becoming somewhat enlarged recently, allowing less room in the chest cavity for my lungs. I don’t assume  you should or shouldn’t know this, but nobody seems particularly worried about my lungs.

You should know that besides Dr. Manley and Dr. Roberts, Dr. Bains

was also there at my appointment yesterday, but I don’t know why.

You should know I like to include photos in every blog post, from the day before.


You should know  I love comments on this blog, so feel free to ask a question and/or make a statement below.

You should know I’m going to leave some music behind, right now. Did you know I’d think of this Beatle tune

… and this one, also?

(Although we all should know that “Dr. Robert” is not a perfect match.)

I should know I can’t create these posts on my own, so knowledgable thanks to my groups, my PCP Dr. Laura Snydman, Dr. Roberts, Dr. Manley, Dr. Bains, the Beatles, make-your-own Sundaes, flowers, Michael (for cleaning every Thursday), my co-workers for the Get Well card, Paul Nagano (for the rabbit fan) and you — of course! — because I should know I blog everyday for me and for you, too.

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

Day 856: Good Color

My sister Ellen sent me this email two days ago, after she saw me in the hospital recovering from surgery:

Hi Ann,

It was really GOOD to see you.

You just underwent 8 hours of surgery!! Done by people using their experience, skill, and intuition to mend your heart using the best technology and tools possible. Your heart was the end product, so to speak…and from my point of view, it was doing its job well.

You looked bright, alert, in touch, had good color… Mom would have put “good color” first. You had better color than you have had in a long time. ..and that’s directly related to cardiac functioning.

What a compliment to you and everyone else involved in that surgical process. And it wasn’t just the 8 hours there, it was all the planning, prepping etc. And before that, the planning of this particular solution.

Every time I read Ellen’s email, it brings me more good color.

Here’s some good color I observed yesterday, as I prepared to leave the hospital:

That’s Ellen on the right, holding a brown paper bag with the supplies for the daily changing of my surgical bandages. On the left is my nurse, Diane, who took a “field trip” away from the cardiology unit to take me to the hospital pharmacy as I was being discharged. Don’t Ellen and Diane both have good color?

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo (a holiday with lots of good color) AND Diane’s birthday, and we talked about how she was working on her birthday and taking today off.

As we were waiting at the pharmacy, Diane said, “There’s Deeb!” because she saw one of my colorful cardiologists, Dr. Deeb Salem (who has appeared in many previous colorful blog posts, including one titled “Pink“).

Doesn’t Dr. Salem have good color, too?

Here’s some more good color I saw yesterday, after Ellen brought me home from the hospital:



That last shot shows our cat Oscar, with good color, in the middle of the night. He is doing his best, there, to keep my color good by lying on the bed — safely away from me — as I heal from surgery. This is colorfully notable, simce Oscar loves to lie on people, as you can see here:

My boyfriend Michael, who has good color but does not like to appear in my blog, often says that Oscar looks “very brown in the morning.”

What do you think of all the good colors in this post?

Here‘s a good-color compilation of Todd Rundgren‘s 30 years of appearances on David Letterman shows:

If you start watching at 11:11, you’ll see the colorful images of Todd Rundgren (and Bobby Womack) included in my good-color collection of photos, above.

Good color thanks to Ellen, Diane, Dr. Deeb Salem, Dr. Mark Estes (who was in charge of my surgery Monday), our cats Harley and Oscar, my ex-sister-in-law Deborah for the Creative Cats book and the coloring pencils, my friend Jeanette for the white chocolate and other goodies, Michael for the good color dinner last night, Paul Nagano for the beautiful colors of spring on our living room wall, my son Aaron (who did some of the good color artwork in this post and who has a really good color hair), Todd Rundgren, Bobby Womack, David Letterman, Anne Tyler, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and you — of course! — for all the good color you bring, today.

Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 68 Comments

Day 807: Cherish

I cherish:

  • my son,
  • my boyfriend Michael,
  • the delicious food Michael cooks for us,

  • my family and friends,

  • waking up to another day,
  • my very unusual heart and the more mundane parts of me,
  • the time I spend every day creating a blog post,
  • your time and attention,
  • our cats,

  • fresh fruit,

  • chocolate,

  • silliness,
  • my ability to exercise,

  • the things I see around me, no matter what the weather,

  • art,

  • things I see at home,

  • all my memories (even the difficult ones),
  • all the faces I’ve seen (no matter what their expressions),

  • the work I get to do with people in group and individual therapy,

  • books,

  • and, last but not least, music. 

I cherish both versions of “Cherish” by Pat Metheny and by the Association (and I cherish how easy they were to find on YouTube). 

What do you cherish?

Cherishing thanks to all in this post and — naturally! — to cherished you (and the cherished time you spent here today). 

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

Day 686: Are you the artist?

As I told my readers yesterday morning, I planned to spend my Sunday in the company of artists, most notably:

  • Paul Nagano, a fabulous watercolorist and friend, who is leaving my hometown of Boston for Hawaii and
  • Pat Metheny, my favorite musician and jazz guitarist, who used to live and teach in Boston, and now habitually tours the world.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to make all the planned rounds of my personally planned tour,  yesterday, because I’ve been feeling tired lately. However, I did make my way back to Fenway Open Studios, no problem,  for the second day of Paul’s “I’m Moving to Hawaii” sale.

On my way, I noted other kinds of artists:




Yesterday, because it was Sunday and because I didn’t run into  a friggin’ Spartan Obstacle Course Race (mentioned and foreshadowed in this post, somewhere in my “artistic” ramblings), I had a much easier time reaching and parking near all the artists at Fenway Studios.


IMG_2226 IMG_2227

After I reached Paul’s studio, I heard today’s topic sentence

Are you the artist?

many times, as people — who were visiting Paul’s place and looking at his art — wanted to identify, engage with, and communicate their thoughts and feelings to the artist.

Usually, people asked

Are you the artist?

NOT to Paul


but instead to another Paul


who is a friend of Paul’s or to Chris


who is another friend of Paul’s.  Actually, Paul has a lot of friends. That is another way he is an artist — connecting with people through friendship.

I’m sure that the other Paul and Chris have their own art forms … as do we all.

I told Chris, Paul, and other people at Paul’s studio that I was sad about Paul leaving us AND happy for his moving on to Hawaii. That’s one way I’m an artist — accepting and expressing lots of different feelings, even simultaneously.

And I had lots of feelings as I looked around Paul’s studio.

IMG_2228 IMG_2229 IMG_2230 IMG_2231 IMG_2235

That’s Paul with yet another good friend of his, named Ted, who told us that another artistic friend  made his one-of-a-kind shirt for him.

See?  Artists are everywhere.

After I left Paul’s, I spent some time with my boyfriend, Michael (who is a cooking artist, among other things) and my son, Aaron (who I think is an artist at EVERYTHING but, you know, I’m his mother).  Before I knew it, it was time to drive to Worcester, Massachusetts (where I’m sure there are lots of artists) to meet my friend Peggy and go to the Pat Metheny concert.

While I fancy myself a photographic artist (at least for this blog), I did not take any pictures of the trip to Worcester, but I did snap these at Peggy’s home:

IMG_2242 IMG_2243 IMG_2244 IMG_2245 IMG_2246 IMG_2247 IMG_2248 IMG_2251 IMG_2249

Peggy, another “Friendship Artist,”  loves her dog Lulu and she loves elephants. I thought her home was very artistic, too, but I’m not sure if I captured that.

Then, I was back at the Hanover Theater, a very artistic location, for the second time in two weeks (I saw many young artists dancing there recently).


Soon after I took that photo of the Hanover Theater stage last night, I heard this announcement:

The artists appearing tonight have requested no photographs, taping, texting, or cell phone usage of any kind, so please turn off your cell phones.

I think I might be an artist of listening, because I heard that and I then heard two hours of sublime sounds, created by Pat Metheny on guitar, Chris Potter on saxophone, Ben Williams on bass, and Antonio Sanchez on drums.

Here’s one of the songs those amazing musical artists played, last night, from the Unity Band/Group’s latest album:

That’s “Rise Up!” (found here on YouTube), one of my favorite tunes from Pat Metheny and the Unity Group’s latest album Kin (<– –>). And the audience at the Hanover Theater in Worcester last night, which included many artists, did rise up, several times, during the concert.

Later, Pat and the other artists on stage performed a very artistic version of an old favorite of mine:

(“Have You Heard” by the Pat Metheny Group found here on YouTube)

Have you heard something I’m trying to express here today?  We are all artists, one and all.

Time for me to leave for work, to engage in the art of therapy with others.

Many thanks to all the artists involved in this post today (including you)!

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

Day 676: Colors

Several years ago, I went into a store in the Boston area and noticed that people from a local radio station were there. One of the DJs announced to the shoppers:

A prize to the first person who can come up with eight musical groups with a color in the band’s name!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in any of my previous colorful or non-colorful blog posts, but I love

  • CONTESTS and

I wonder if people who are reading this know that about me, or whether they are finding this out for the first time, much like I discovered, just now, that I can use colored letters in WordPress.

Anyway, the radio guy in the store announced that contest, and my mind went to work.

I now interrupt this story to bring you this question:

What band names, with colors in them, can you think of, right now?

While you’re thinking of those, here’s some mood music, brought to you this morning from high (or medium) atop the Koplow Family & Friends Building in beautiful suburban Boston:

(YouTube video of Duke Ellington‘s “Mood Indigo” found here)

And in case you prefer a different kind of music, here’s another tune, with the same color in the title:

(I found “Indigo Passion” by the Atlanta Rhythm Section on YouTube, in this video created by DJ Bayonic)

Okay, ladies and gentleman! For my listening and viewing pleasure, please place your colorful, musical names in the comment section, directly below this post.

For your listening and viewing pleasure, here are the band names I came up with, back then:








Green Day

Simply Red


Black Sabbath

Deep Purple

Pink Floyd

The Moody Blues

Blue Cheer

I remember the radio D.J. doubting “Blue Cheer” as a real band name, but I must have convinced him (without anybody having access to the internet, back then), because:


Like I said, I love winning.

And I love colorful things, including these:


and these:

IMG_1809… which are the “Coping and Healing” group handout folders, that people get to choose from, before they join my therapy groups.

I also love shades of grey (which is an antidote to the unhelpful cognitive distortion of Black-and-White Thinking), as you can see by this still life in my office:


I like to point out the ever-present box of tissues to people in individual and group therapy, to let them know that all feelings are welcome. I like to point out that clock, too.

Speaking of feelings, time, color, and art, yesterday I got this email from my long-time friend and amazing artist Paul Nagano (previously appearing in posts here and here):

Dear Friends:                                

                    THE FINAL
                               OPEN STUDIO  
                 of PAUL NAGANO in Boston
Saturday and Sunday —     Nov. 15 and 16        11am to 5pm
                 This is a 
                             CLEARANCE SALE 
               because I will be leaving Boston and moving to Honolulu on December 19.
art, frames, books, art materials, objects, kitchen utensils, tools, 
even a few pieces of furniture  —  will be available for sale.
You will also be able to view the original of my magnum opus from this past summer–
“PARINIRVANA in the Great Garden” —
 I look forward to seeing you for a fond farewell.
Please, as always, bring some canned goods or other non-perishable food items
to benefit our Annual Food Drive for the GREATER BOSTON FOOD BANK.

P a u l — (after 47 years, leaving Boston on Dec. 19, to live in Hawaii 

                       …..and…….    arriving    there     on     Dec. 22)


In response, I sent Paul this one-word email (even though I knew this move was coming):



and Paul replied:


Remember, Ann, CHANGE is GOOD!  –even when it’s bad, and a little sad.

I’m going to let Paul have the last words, today, except for these:
Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Day 324: Trust in Self

Yesterday, people who had gathered for a therapy group decided to focus on this topic:

Trust in self.

The questions people answered, during the group, included these:

  1. What does “trust in self” mean to you?
  2. What tends to decrease your trust in yourself?
  3. What tends to increase your trust in yourself?

My own thoughts, about “trust in self,” right now?

When I got up this morning, I had trust that I would write a post that would be meaningful.

I just went into another room, and this is what I found:


That’s something I’m familiar with, because I purchased it five months ago, in May, during my spring vacation.  That mug has already appeared in another post, here.

I also found something else, which is a new arrival to this home:


Here’s what I want to tell you about that piece of art:

It’s a watercolor, painted by my long-time friend, Paul Nagano, who appeared in a blog post that was very important to me:  “A walk down Boylston Street, Boston, on April 29, 2013.”

As my son just said, “It looks brighter in real life” (if you can imagine that).

Paul’s watercolor is now hanging in a spot that has been conspicuously empty, in our home, since we moved here.

I was waiting to find the “right thing.”

I had trust in myself that I would.

I did.

I mean, look at it, people!

It’s Boston, and it’s springtime!

Many thanks to Paul Nagano, to people who (are learning to) trust themselves, and to you — of course!  — for visiting here today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 120: A walk down Boylston Street, Boston, on April 29, 2013

Yesterday, after I parked my car and was about to walk to work, I realized I had two hours before I had any appointments. Because my parking garage was close enough, I spontaneously decided to walk, in the opposite direction, down Boylston Street in Boston, towards the location of the Marathon bombings.

Two days before, Boylston Street was re-opened to traffic and to business. And as was reported, many people showed up that day, to walk down the street.

I don’t know why everybody went there on Saturday. I assume that some of them were — like me — long-time Boston residents, feeling ready for another way to heal, to proceed towards a new sense of “normalcy.”

I felt ready enough, yesterday morning, to go there (perhaps partly because of the blog post I had just written).

The rest of this post is going to be a photo essay, as I show you that walk I took yesterday morning down Boylston Street, through the familiar, through my fears and sadness about how the familiar had changed, and back again.

I am probably going to write more about the familiar, and less about the unfamiliar.


The above is the first photo I took yesterday morning.

I’m walking down Ipswich Street, approaching Boylston Street. The streets that intersect Boylston are alphabetical, going from Arlington to Ipswich. So, according to my calculations, I am now about 4.5 blocks away from the finish Line of the Marathon (which is located between Dartmouth and Exeter Street).


This was the second photo I took, and it was the first location I captured on Boylston Street, itself. This is near the corner of Ipswich and Boylston, very close to that first picture, above. (You can actually see the red Berklee flag in the first picture).

I have great associations with Berklee College of Music. First of all, I love jazz. It’s been my favorite genre of music since I was 13 years old. Also, I went to Berklee (then called Berklee School of Music) for two summer programs, when I was 15 and 16 years old. Here’s another reason I have great memories of Berklee: in my previous career (in advertising and corporate video), my business partner, Jonathan, and I had the wonderful experience (in the 1990’s) of creating the promotional video for Berklee, which was sent to prospective applicants to the school. Making that video, taping hours of incredible jazz playing by faculty and students, and interviewing the people there, who all were teaching or learning something they loved, was such a fabulous experience.


This is a very cool building, a block down Boylston Street. These are my foremost associations/memories with this building — (1) the building won a big architectural prize a while ago, (2) there used to be a Tower Records there, and (3) I got to meet my Guitar Hero, Pat Metheny, there (he was signing albums at the Tower Records) and I got to tell him how much I appreciated him.

Looking at this picture this morning reminds me that Boston is filled with exceptions to every rule (it also reminds me that I am more distracted than usual, these days). I already told you that the streets that intersect Boylston go alphabetically from A to I (Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, Hereford, and Ipswich) and I used that rule to calculate my distance above. Wrong! This building is at the corner of Boylston and Massachusetts Avenue (a main thoroughfare through Boston and the suburbs of Cambridge, Arlington,and Lexington) , which is a non-alphabetical interruption between Ipswich and Gloucester. (Boston: Home of Confusing Exceptions to Rules.)

So revising my estimate — which was based on rules but is now based on reality — at this point I am about 4.5 blocks away from the finish line.


It’s been a little while since I’ve walked down this stretch of Boylston (between Mass Ave and Gloucester) and I had never seen this before, so I wanted to take a picture of it. Again, I heart Berklee.


I am still between Mass Ave and Gloucester. I’ve always noticed this parking garage, from when I first went to Berklee. The fence in the foreground indicates that I am crossing over the Mass Pike. I might mildly resent that this enormous fence gets in the way of my taking a better picture, but I feel protected (since I am sometimes afraid of heights and falling, and I never feel scared walking over the Mass Pike, thanks to this fence).



This was my first encounter with obvious evidence of the events of April 15. I am not going to say much about these images, but just present them to you. The above is the fire station on Boylston. It’s very close to the previous picture, before Gloucester Street.


The poster in the photo above, signed by many.



A close up of the poster above.



Another signed poster, in front of the fire department.



The Hynes Convention Center, on the other side of Boylston Street, right near Gloucester.



A statue that I’ve always liked, in front of the Prudential Center. This is also on the other side of Boylston Street, between Gloucester and Fairfield.



At the corner of Fairfield Street, looking down Boylston toward Dartmouth. This is the side of the street where the bombings took place.



Still walking down Boylston, past Abe and Louie’s Restaurant.



This is approximately where the second bomb went off, between Fairfield and Exeter.



This is what was closer towards the street, on that spot, on Monday. I took several close-ups of what had been placed there …




I was the only one I noticed taking pictures, and while I was taking those above, I felt a little strange. Everybody else who was walking by seemed to be there just to return to their usual routines. I did notice that as I was taking these pictures , though, other people joined me to stop and look for a little while.

At this point, I felt pretty emotional and shaky. Right as I turned to walk further down Boylston, I noticed a very familiar place.


I ordered my usual Starbucks order, and as I was waiting, it felt familiar to me to ask somebody who looked kind and open, if I could take a picture of him and put him in my blog. (I’ve done similar things before, including at another Starbucks.)


This is Gabriel. I know I was distracted that morning, because I forgot to take more than one picture of him, and I forgot to ask him if he was okay with the picture I took. I don’t love this picture, personally, because I don’t think it captures how great he was. Or maybe it does.



After I left Starbucks, holding my chai tea latte, I walked toward the site of the first explosion, looking across the street at the Boston Public Library.



This is what I saw as I approached and walked closer to Marathon Sports, between Exeter and Dartmouth.




There was no marking — with flowers, messages, or items — at the site of the first bombing. I stood here for a little while, taking the pictures above. Then I moved to the next store front, closer to the finish line.


There were some workers standing outside. The door was open, as you can see, and work was being done on the interior. I noticed the Lao Tzu quote, “Act without expectation” which reminded me of the familiar — that is, “helpful” thoughts I’ve written about in this blog, through this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally. (For example, losing one’s investment in the outcome.)

The three guys who were standing outside — whom you can barely see in the above picture — interacted with me, after I took this picture. They made eye contact and I said, “How are you?” One of them answered, “Living the dream,” which I loved. They asked if they were in my way, and I indicated that I had already taken a picture of the Lao Tzu quote. I then said, “Thank you,” starting to cry. (I felt so sad.) One of them said, very gently, “That’s okay, ma’am.”

I walked away, crying a little, hearing the echo of those spoken words.

This was the next thing I noticed.




This was across the street, as I headed back from where I had started. I thought those plants on top of the Lenox Hotel marquis were so beautiful, below that sign thanking the first responders (with the little heart of love).



Walking back up the street, re-approaching the site of the second bomb.



It was such a beautiful morning. At some point I realized that Gabriel, from Starbucks, was walking in front of me, wearing ear phones. I caught up with him and we talked a little as we walked a short distance together. He was, again, warm and friendly. He told me where he was from, which was not from this area. He told me he really liked it in Boston. We spoke a little bit about the recent events and I expressed my sadness. Gabriel acknowledged how sad things were, and also spoke to how things were already starting to seem better. I felt that, too.



Another view of that statue I like in front of the Prudential.



Looking back up Boylston, in front of the convention center.



As I reached the corner of Mass Ave. I saw Eugene. We spoke a little. He told me that he has been shining shoes for 30 years. I asked how he was and he said, “Up and down, up and down, but for the most part, it works out.” As Eugene and I were talking, he recognized a customer, who sat down to get his shoes shined.


The customer was Eric. Eric told me he is a faithful, regular customer of Eugene’s. Eric is the Chair of Jazz Composition at Berklee. I told Eric that I had many fond memories of Berklee.

I’ll end this photo essay with more of the familiar. I stopped by Fenway Studios, on Ipswich Street, as I walked to work, to visit with Paul Nagano for a few minutes. Paul is an old friend and a wonderful artist.

This is Paul, standing in front of one of his wonderful watercolors.


I was so glad I got to see him that day.

Thanks to every person who appeared in this post, in one way or another. And thanks to you, for reading.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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