Posts Tagged With: recovering from illness

Day 518: Almost

I’m almost ready to start writing this post.

I guess that’s good enough.

I’m almost back to how I felt, before I got pneumonia.  That’s good enough, too. However, I am going into work later than usual today, as I continue to recover.

I’m almost ready to tell you the main reason I picked the title “Almost.”

I almost forgot to include some important information in yesterday’s post.  Soon after I published the post, I realized what was missing, and I took steps to repair that.

“Almost” is something I can worry about, almost as strongly as an actual event.  For example, if I almost

  • forget something,
  • damage something,
  • lose something,
  • hurt myself,
  • cause somebody else pain,
  • throw something important away,
  • make a mistake …

… I can feel bad.   I can imagine the consequences of what I almost did, and actually feel some real fear  that I came … that … close.

That’s almost too much, isn’t it?  I mean, it’s painful enough to regret the past and worry about the future … but to get anxious about something that ALMOST happened?  Don’t we all have near misses all the time?

I’m almost horrified at myself, this morning.  It’s almost laughable, how many ways I could be fearful and anxious, not only about real problems but also the mere POSSIBILITY of a problem.

Just now, I almost added “Almost” to the list of cognitive distortions (automatic, human ways of thinking that can cause anxiety, stress, and depression). But since I didn’t create that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy list to begin with, that almost seems presumptuous and inappropriate.

However, I’m definitely — not almost — adding “Almost” to my personal list of unhelpful distortions.  I shall do my best to be aware of Almost-thinking, letting go of those thoughts without judgment.

I’m almost done with this post.

I’m almost sure I have some photos on my phone that will fit here, almost as if I planned it.

This house almost looks like it’s levitating:


Can you see it?  Here’s another shot of it:


I’m almost amazed that this nearby, non-levitating house


has only almost sold, while the almost-levitating house definitely has.


When I was walking here yesterday …


… I almost told a passing bicyclist that she didn’t need to warn me with “On your left!” as she drove by.  That almost always annoys me, because I experience it as disruptive, as I’m walking steadily along.  Then, I noticed this:


… and realized the bicyclist was just observing requested etiquette (#2 on the list).  I resolved to lose my annoyance, from then on.

This almost looks like a famous painting to me:


It’s almost dusk, in this photo:


To me, this almost looks like we have poker-playing mice:


What does this almost look like, to you?


Now, I’m truly almost finished.

Thanks to anybody who almost does anything and to you — of course! — for almost certainly postponing doing something else in order to read this, today.

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

Day 504: Let’s not be pi(c)ky

I have an idea, people!  Let’s not be picky today, okay?

Let’s not be picky, critical, fault-finding, or judgmental — especially about ourselves — even if we’re

  • slow,
  • reluctant,
  • confused, or
  • not up to expectations, in any way.

Let’s not be picky, if we’re

  • naive,
  • oblivious,
  • uninformed,
  • in the dark,
  • inexperienced,
  • unenlightened,
  • uninitiated,
  • unknowledgeable,
  • unlearned,
  • unmindful,
  • unread,
  • unschooled,
  • unsuspecting,
  • untaught,
  • untrained,
  • unwitting,

or any other synonym for the word “ignorant” …. about anything.

Who wants to join with me, in this assignment?

Does anybody want to turn my suggestion down?  Does anybody want to postpone this, for another day?

I would understand if people might want to avoid this assignment, because being un-picky, non-judgmental, whatever-we-want-to-call-it … is NOT easy to do.  As a matter of fact, it’s a lot more challenging than something I’ve been avoiding for so long … that I’m embarrassed to tell you about it.

Letting go of picky self-judgments, even for just a day, is much more difficult than what inspired today’s post:


…. setting up and using that friggin’ Waterpik.

I could tell you lots of reasons why I’ve been avoiding doing that, for months.  But those “reasons” probably wouldn’t make sense to you. Or maybe they would.  My reasons make sense/don’t make sense to me, depending upon how I’m thinking about things.

However, since I’ve decided not to be picky today, my reasons for doing — or not doing — things in the past don’t really matter, do they?

One of my obstacles to using that Waterpik  — to help in my (1) dental care and (2) constant battle to avoid endocarditis* —  was this: I had lost track of the instructions.

I took a step closer to fixing that this morning, before I started this post. That is, I looked for, and found, the instructions online.

That was easy. And I discovered that using that friggin’ Waterpik is friggin’ easy, too.

So here’s another pledge for myself, which seems very achievable: I will use that Waterpik before I return to work today, after an absence of over a month.**

To help me accomplish all these things, I shall end this post with some inspirations I noticed yesterday (in order of appearance):










I’d like to end this post with (1) a fortune I received, on Saturday:


… and (2) two guys who’ve been making lots of noise, as I’ve been writing this post:


But I’m not being picky, right now, in any way.

Thanks to Oscar and Harley (left to right), the Madrona Tree restaurant,, Waterpik, my medical team, those who are picky, non-picky, or anything in-between, and to you — of course! — for picking the opportunity to read this, today.

* I’ve written about endocarditis in this blog, several times.  It’s an infection of the heart. I’m prone to it, I’ve gotten it three times before, it’s dangerous, my medical team says good dental care helps prevent its recurrence, but — and I don’t want to be picky — nobody really knows how I can perfectly avoid it.  We’re all doing the best we can.

** I got pneumonia in April, which I’m recovering from, slowly.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 499: Random Numbers

On the last day of my first (and I originally thought only) Year1 of Living Non-Judmentally, I wrote this, in a footnote:

* I don’t want people to get the wrong idea, regarding my feelings about numbers. I love numbers, sometimes.  However, numbers are not my native language, so sometimes they challenge me. Hmmm. I don’t like the way I said that. “They challenge me” is too mild, too wimpy a statement. How about this? Sometime, I hate numbers. Nope, too strong.  How about this? Sometimes, numbers make me crazy.  Nope, “crazy” is not a great word for me to use. How about this?  Sometimes they make me angry. Nope, people have trouble with anger.  Arrrghh!  What’s the right word, regarding me and numbers?  Damned if I know, right now. Maybe I’ll figure that out next year.

 from Day 365: End of Year (Big Deal!)

It’s well into next year, and I have yet to figure out my feelings about — and relationship to —  numbers.

Here are some things I know:

  • I definitely notice numbers.
  • I can have trouble holding on to them.  For example, yesterday I had a 3:30 appointment with one of my doctors, and, in my mind, it was a 2 PM appointment. Another example: today I’m meeting an old friend from college, and I can’t remember how many years it’s been since the last time I saw him.
  • Remembering numbers can seem critical to my survival. Therefore, when I can’t access a number quickly, my automatic response can be negative (anxiety, self-criticism, worry, etc.)
  • There are lots of numbers to deal with, from the past, present, and (I assume) future.
  • I can’t quite figure out how important numbers are, for me.

Some numbers I’m thinking about, right now:

  1. How many more days should/will I stay home from work?2
  2. When I go back to work, how many hours per week will be the “correct” balance, taking into account my (a) health and (b) finances?3
  3. What’s a good-enough weight for me, right now?4
  4. How many more items will there be in this list?5
  5. How many more words in this morning’s post, before I’m done writing?6
  6. How many pictures will I show here?7

Hmmm. Some of those questions have more obvious answers than others. As always, I shall do my best, figuring things out.


I’m going to conclude this post with some recent photos I’ve taken. In order of appearance:


Here are some numbers regarding that photo.  The number of times I’ve walked by that sign: 100’s. The number of words — and legs — on that sign: 2.  The number of days since I took that photo:  I’m guessing … 5. Wait!  There’s some data I can check, to find out the actual number. Aha!  I was wrong (but very close) … it’s 6.



How many limbs there?  2.   How many limbs was I expecting?  4.



As you can see for yourself, there are lots of numbers in that photo.



How many dandelions in that photo?  3.   How many blisses?  The answer depends on what — and how — you’re counting.



How many times have I been to that restaurant? 1.   How many days before I expect to return? 3.



How many people in Massachusetts have a license plate with the word “Toad”? I’m assuming more than one.



How many strings on that instrument?  6.   How many stripes on those cushions?  Ahhhh … forget it.



How many papers is Harley sitting on?  1.    What’s on that paper?


Eeeeek!   Math!

Thanks to numbers everywhere, to people who have varying reactions to numbers, and to you — of course! — for reading this today (one time, I assume).

1   The year I started blogging was 2013.

2   Most likely, I’ll return to work in 2 days. 8

3   I’ll probably start out working about 12 hours/week, increasing as I can. 8

4  Weight is such a loaded issue.  I’m definitely NOT going into that now.

5  There were 6 items on that list.

6  I’m too impatient — or it’s just not important enough to me — to find out how many words I wrote after that.

7 I showed 9 photos. Or — more precisely — I showed 8 photos I had taken, plus one zoom, blow-up, close-up, or whatever-you-want-to-call-it.

8  These numbers are subject to change.

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

Day 493: Dogged Determination

Our cat Harley saw a new veterinarian yesterday — Dr. Jake Tedaldi.   During the introductions,  I told Dr. Tedaldi that the vet at the shelter where we got Harley in October had written that Harley was “kind.”

I want to share with you the first sentence from Dr. Tedaldi’s visit description, which he left with us:

Harley is a cautious, possibly fretful fellow, but the term “kind” may actually be quite appropriate.

This strikes me as a helpful instance of the sometimes-not-so-helpful automatic process we humans have of labeling others (and ourselves).

Harley wasn’t the only one who saw a doctor yesterday. I saw one of mine, too, and it looks like I won’t be returning to work next week.

Now, might it not seem strange that this post —  describing a cat and a non-working human — has the title “Dogged Determination”?

Well, this post is about to take a turn, people.

Yesterday evening, I went for a leisurely walk with my boyfriend, Michael, at an outdoor location (rare in these parts) where dogs can run free, without leashes.

Here are some photos from that walk:













The next four photos show a dog determinedly retrieving a ball, from a pond (my apologies for shooting into the sun):






The next group of pictures features another water-loving dog. While we weren’t formally introduced to any of the other canines in this post, we were to this one:   Zoomy Bear.

When I first noticed Zoomy Bear, he was living up to his name — leaping over a fence to get to the water.  Unfortunately, I did not capture any of his impressive jumps on my iPhone. This was my first shot of him:


His zoomy-ness blurred him a little, there.

He became less blurry once he returned to the walkway. Here’s Zoomy Bear with his owner (whose name I did not get):









Here’s what I especially remember about that encounter:

  • Departing from my usual routine, I neither (a) explained I was taking photos for this blog nor (b) got her email to send her this post.
  • She told us several interesting things, including how she and Zoomy Bear celebrated his most recent birthday (which included doggy pastry),
  • When I requested photos of the two of them, she said, “Oh!  That will be a study in contrasts: He’s dirty and I’m clean.”
  • She used other labels about herself, including “loopy.” I disagreed with that label, in my thoughts and out loud.
  •  Zoomy Bear’s breed name  included the word “miniature” and (I think) “wolfhound.”
  • My phone died after that last photo, as I was trying to show her the images.
  • When I apologized for that (or, perhaps, for something else), she said, “Don’t worry.”

I am taking her advice.

I’m just glad that — despite not being able to record it on my phone — I remembered the name “Zoomy Bear.”*

Thanks to doctors who care for animals and humans,  kind creatures everywhere, dogs (unleashed and leashed),  those who zoom as best they can, and to you — of course! — for coming by here, today.

* I wonder if I’m spelling that correctly.  It might be “Zoomy-Bear.”

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Day 492: It’s just a walk away

As I recover — and am tender* with myself, through this healing process — I continue to go outside for short walks.

Observed yesterday:




















As you can see, for the most part I was looking up. There were some interesting sights near ground level, too:


That doorway has appeared in a previous blog post, here. I’m glad to see it survived the winter, so well.


Here’s another angle on those daffodils:


I have a theory about why I took this next photo:


I think I really miss doing my therapy groups at work, where people sit around in circles.

Can you see that group, way in the distance, from another perspective?



I like the way the sign in this next shot is preparing you for another sign just up ahead (peeking out, to the right):


Okay! I have to stop now and get ready for some doctor’s appointments, for me and for this guy, too:


We think there might be something wrong with one of Harley’s ears. Let’s take a closer look:


I can’t see anything. Can you?

We’ll see what the different doctors have to say.

I’m grateful we’re all still walking around.

Thanks to those who look and listen, to doctors and walkers everywhere, and to you, especially, for dropping by today.

* In her comment in response to this recent post of mine,  Val Boyko made this helpful observation: “Perhaps it is time to let go of ‘pneumonia’ in your thoughts and words, so your body can let go of it as well. Why not choose a new word to focus on that brings you towards wellness with each breath.” Inspired by that and other words of wisdom from her, I chose the word “tender” as my focus.

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

Day 488: E for Effort

I have not ever received an “E” for Effort, in my educational experience.

I just googled “E for Effort.”

Here is Yahoo! Answers‘ explanation:

Is it A for effort or E for effort?

Best Answer
tichur answered four years ago
A for effort or E for effort has nothing to do with spelling. “Old school” grades got confused with a newer, less objective system. 

Old School 

E – Excellent 
VG – Very Good 
G – Good 
S – Satisfactory 
F – Fail 

Modern terminology 

A – superior 
B – Above average 
C – Average 
D – Below average 
F – Fail 

Effort grades have little to do with academic ones. Effort means earnest attempt to achieve. 

A for effort and E for effort mean the same thing…superior or excellent attempt to learn.
I want to thank tichur for the exemplary effort he put into that answer.

I will now elucidate the reasons for this title, this morning. As I experience recovery from pneumonia, everything seems like “too much” of an effort. Every exertion, exercise, etc. I extend equals exhaustion exceeding my expectations.

Eeeeek! Look at how many E’s I was able to use in that last sentence! And, I am NOT exhausted.


Expressing my emotions and experience helps, extraordinarily.

Eager for some images, experienced yesterday?

Would you give me an “A” or an “E” for my efforts, today?
Thanks to everyone everywhere effecting any extent of effort, to people who are old school or new school, and — especially! — to my exemplary, excellent, exacting, and extraordinary readers.
Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 33 Comments

Day 486: May Day! Mayday!

So today is the first of May, also known (in some parts) as May Day. Here’s what Wikipedia says about that:

May Day on May 1 is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday;[1] it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. May Day coincides with International Workers’ Day, and in many countries that celebrate the latter, it may be referred to as “May Day”.

As usual, wherever I go and whatever I find, I learn something new.  Here’s what I’m noticing about that introductory paragraph about May Day:

  1. The first day of May is “usually a public holiday”.  I guess that means that it’s accustomed and appropriate to celebrate today, in a public way.
  2. According to the ending of that paragraph, it’s okay to put a period (and I assume, also, a comma) outside of quotations marks. I’ve always thought that was a no-no, but I guess I should give myself more leeway — that is, be more accepting of different punctuation options. Notice that I am celebrating that particular freedom in public right now (see the first sentence in #1, directly above).

Now, there IS another definition of “May Day,” as some of you may know.

When I looked that up,  I  discovered that one is spelled differently.  From Wikipedia, again:

Mayday is an emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications. It may derive from the French expression “venez m’aider”, meaning “come help me”, the last two syllables of which sound similar to “Mayday”. Alternatively, it may have been coined randomly, making the similarity to “m’aidez” coincidental.[1]

As often occurs, conclusions are controversial. According to that description, either

  1. Mayday derives from the French expression “venez m’aider” or
  2. it doesn’t,

which about covers it.

So, today is May Day. Also, I DO have some urge to yell “Mayday!”*

Why that urge?

  • It has been friggin’ raining here for days, the weather has been cold, and it’s my favorite time of the year (spring).
  • Even if it weren’t friggin’ raining, I have friggin’ pneumonia, and every little thing I do is still exhausting.

Which about covers it.

So how shall I celebrate this day?  I mean, I really should, whether or not I do that in public.

What would make the day more festive?

Well,  I will have fun companions today (who may frolic), including these:


I also have a new, beautiful gift I may enjoy, given to me yesterday by my long-time friend, Deb:


Now, while Deb seems to be showing off Michael’s Tony the Tiger mug (which contains our favorite tea, Bengal Spice) (which also has a  tiger on the packaging), the gift she brought is in the lower right of that photo. It’s a little blue vase which Deb created, in a glass-blowing class. Which I find mind-blowing.

And definitely something I may celebrate, on this May Day.

Thanks to Deb, to tigers everywhere, to Celestial Seasonings (for the tea), to those who may celebrate May Day, and to you — but of course! — for visiting with me today.

* Which May or May Not be immediately understood by my French-speaking readers.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Day 484: The near future

Yesterday, my managers and I decided this: I won’t be returning to work for at least two more weeks. That is, I am committing completely to my not-so-secret identity of Super Recovery Woman,* as I continue to heal from pneumonia.

Looking ahead to that two weeks, I’m not sure what to expect.

But, that’s always true as we look into the near (and far) future, isn’t it?

As always, I will do my best to redirect my thoughts back to the present moment, as those thoughts go into the future and into the past.

In the here and now, I want to show you this:


I saw that yesterday. That felt like a first to me: to be offered such a beautiful and large range of choices, to take what I need.

As I took that all in, I also noticed the older, incomplete set of choices, sticking out below and behind.

Do you see that, now?

For whatever reasons, I chose from that smaller set, as follows:


Sometimes, even when we have limited options, we can still get what we need.

Thanks to; to all who offer hope, kindness, faith, strength, understanding, joy, peace, patience, healing, inspiration, courage, love, and other necessities; to those who accept those as best they can; and to you — of course! — for visiting with me today.

* I hereby offer a choice of  past posts about “Super Recovery Woman” — here, here, here, here, and here — to partake of, as you please.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Day 483: Vision

I have very poor vision, which can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses.

I did not know that I had poor vision, until I was in elementary school. When that was discovered,  I got my first pair of glasses. These glasses have appeared in this blog before, in this photo (from this previous post, Day 465: Personal Protective Equipment):



When I got those glasses, it seemed to me that the boys in my elementary school lost interest in me.  But it’s often difficult to have the vision to see cause-and-effect. That is, there are often many complicated factors that contribute to an outcome.

But as human beings, we naturally see relationships and causes between events.

For example, I am aware, right now, that I wrote that blog with the picture above, a few weeks ago, on the last day I was at work. Since then, I have been away from work — in the hospital and then home — recovering from pneumonia.

And here’s a wild, cause-and-effect connection that pops up in my mind right now:

That was the first time, in all the days I’ve been blogging, that I showed my readers a photo of what I looked like when recovering from my first heart surgery at age 10.  That felt like a risk that day, to show people how ill and awful I felt, back then. And since I published that photo, I have been ill and unable to work.  Coincidence??????!!!!??

What do you think, dear readers? is it a coincidence?

I think it is.

However, we tend to see these connections among incidents and outcomes.  We especially think that way, when we are children.

When we apply cause-and-effect reasoning like that, we can blame ourselves — or at least make ourselves more responsible and powerful than we really are.

That’s what children often do, as they are figuring out how the world works, especially when they are dealing with something traumatic and unexpected.

I recognize those things in myself: that I tend to blame myself, at times, when things go wrong. Some measure of control, when things are unexpected and seem out of control, can seem safer.

Did that make sense?

I’m not myself these days, as I recover from pneumonia, so it’s harder, than usual, for me to see if I am communicating clearly.

And as often happens in these blog posts, I am getting “off topic.” (Although, as I sometimes tell people in my therapy groups, there is no such thing as “off topic.”  Everything relates, somehow.)

When I say I’m “off topic,” I mean that I have yet to begin writing about what I intended to share with you, when I started this post today.

When I started this post, this morning, my main intent was to write something about Helen Keller.

I wanted to tell you this:  When I was young, I read a book about Helen Keller that inspired me, very much.  That book influenced my ideas about where I wanted to go to college, among other things.

This morning, as I felt some discouragement about the rate of my recovery, I went to Google Images, because I assumed that Helen Keller would have some useful thoughts for me.

And she did:


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There are lots more quotes I could include here, but I want to end with this one:


You can find that image here. In addition, I can find that exact image in my office  at work, on a card that was given to me several years ago, by a co-worker.

I hope to encounter that card again soon, when I am well enough to be seeing it.

One last thing: I expected that writing this post would help me a great deal, this morning.

And indeed it has.

Thanks to Helen Keller, to everyone else who helped me write this, and to you — of course! — for reading this post today.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , | 58 Comments

Day 474: Superwoman (not)

Dear Readers,

What are your associations with the word “Superwoman?”

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


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

Here are my associations, at this point:

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

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

Then, who am I?

Maybe a new title would be a good start.

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

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

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

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

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