Posts Tagged With: Starbucks

Day 2441: Can’t stop, won’t stop

I can’t stop, won’t stop

  • blogging,
  • letting go of the past,
  • having hope for the future,
  • enjoying the riches of the present moment,
  • writing original songs,
  • telling everybody about the healing power of groups, and
  • taking photos of what I see around me.















I can’t stop, won’t stop posting videos of my performances even though I have — OMG! — only 18 subscribers to my YouTube channel. Here’s the latest video:


 Can’t stop, won’t stop singing about triggers until all the worst triggers go away.

Can’t stop, won’t stop expressing gratitude to all who help me keep going every day, including YOU.


Categories: group therapy, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2235: You look like ____

Yesterday, when it looked like I was looking at a difficult drive home through a scary-looking snowstorm and  I looked like I needed some hot chocolate, I looked and saw this:


Everybody looks like they’d love a free drink, don’t they?

I don’t know what you look like as you’re reading this but I rarely know what I look like, especially these days, when my looks have been changing.  My boyfriend Michael, who looks like a wonderful person, has had trouble recognizing me when he looks for me in the supermarket when we’re food shopping.

On Sunday, my life-long friend Arnie, who looks beautiful to me,  took me on a walk to look at a poster of somebody he thought looked like me.  He had looked at that poster, very near to where he lives, for many months and thought “That looks like Ann” until he was inspired to call me and reconnect with me after six years.

You look like you’d love to see that poster and what I look like now, next to it.



I don’t know what that looked like to people in  busy Coolidge Corner on Sunday.

Look, I don’t think I look like her but, like her, I have tamed brows and am wild at heart.

An hour before Arnie took that photo, I looked like a guilty person when the Brookline police stopped me for looking at my phone while I was driving a few yards from that poster.  It looked like I might get a ticket, but the two policewomen, who looked kind and reasonable, gave me a warning. It looks like I won’t look at my phone any more when I’m driving.

You look like you’d like to see my other new photos from yesterday.










You look like you’d like some of that home-made chili and like you’d like to hear “You Look Like I Need a Drink” by Justin Moore.

I look like I need a comment from you. Look below to leave one.

You look like you’re expecting me to express my thanks  to all who helped me create the looks in today’s blog post and — of course! — to YOU, for taking a look, here and now.


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

Day 2178: 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?






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).


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

Day 1788: Giving thanks

In all my therapy groups this week, people were giving thanks.

Today, I am giving thanks to all my readers.

I am giving thanks for the opportunity to blog and to post pictures every day, even when they have little to do with the current topic.





If you can make a story out of those photos, I’ll be giving thanks to you.

Here‘s what “giving thanks” returns on YouTube:



by Shameem

I give thanks for the morning sunrise

I give thanks for the clouds of rain

I give thanks for the joy and peace in life

I give thanks for the times of pain

I give thanks for the green grass that grows

I give thanks for nectarines and mangoes

I give thanks for all the people who cross my path

I give thanks to all the people who touch my heart

I give thanks, I give thanks.

I give thanks for all the love around me

I give thanks for the truth that has found me

I give thanks for family and for friends

I give thanks for being able to give thanks

I give thanks for every day that is breaking

I give thanks for every day that I’m waking

I give thanks for the gifts in which I’m partaking

I give thanks for the music I’m making

I give thanks, I give thanks.


I’m giving thanks to all who helped me create this Thanksgiving post and — of course! — to YOU.


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

Day 1646: Very Doubtful

After all these years of blogging daily, it’s very doubtful I would start a post without a relevant photo.


I’m very doubtful that any of my readers have a fortune-telling Magic 8-Ball as old as mine. My old Magic 8-Ball  responded “Very Doubtful” yesterday when I asked it a question about our upcoming move to a new home.

Big changes like a move can make people very doubtful, because of all the stress involved. Right now, I’m very doubtful about a lot of things.  Are you?

Are you very doubtful about any of my other photos from yesterday?








I’m very doubtful  you can see the excellent piece of halibut on the plate that Michael served last night.

I’m also very doubtful that you noticed the question “What is Fruitcake Anyway?” in one of my other photos above. Most people I know are very doubtful about fruitcake.

While I may be very doubtful about many things these days, I’m not very doubtful that my health today is better than it was a year ago.  On July 4th 2016, I was in a hospital Emergency Room with fevers that turned out to be from pneumonia and heart failure and it was very doubtful  I’d be able to see the Boston fireworks at all. Today, it’s very doubtful I won’t have a view of the fireworks much better than that from a hospital window.

I’m very doubtful  I’ll get lots of comments about this post. Why?  Because it’s a holiday in the U.S. and as I expressed above

 Right now, I’m very doubtful about a lot of things.  Are you?

I’m very doubtful  any other blog writer would quote herself.

It’s very doubtful I would forget to include a very doubtful YouTube video

or my non-doubtful thanks to all, including YOU, my guests.


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 18 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: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 48: Local Connections

When I was in South Carolina a week ago, I had a lot of fun connecting with interesting people whose kindness and helpfulness I truly appreciated, and I put some of those people in my blog posts.   (See  here and here for two posts that had a lot of that goin’ on.)

Now, I’m glad to be back in Boston, but I’ve been kind of grumpy about the weather since my return.  This might be The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally, but it’s really difficult for me to be non-judgmental about the winter weather in New England.  I’ve lived here all my life, and I just might be approaching done-ness about  the winters here, due to:

  1.  The cold,
  2. The PAIN caused by said cold,
  3. The snow — which is wondrous while falling but which hangs around for weeks, gets dirty-ugly, and is an incredible pain in the ass, and
  4. The lack of color, everywhere I look.


Hmmmmm. I actually thought this was going to be a joyful, accepting post about being back in Boston, but I guess I’ve got some pent-up resentment going on here.

So let me take a breath, to get back into acceptance of the moment (and the current moment DOES include friggin’ New England weather, after all).


The  topic of today’s blog post is “Local Connections,” because after I got back home, I asked myself this question:

Why not approach  the people where I live with that same eagerness and openness to connect  I had when I was away on vacation?

Because I don’t know about you, but I tend to get locked into a routine when I’m home, and I’m not as likely to engage with new people as I am when I’m on vacation.

And I think there are lots of people around Boston who would be kind and helpful —  just like the people in SC —  if I approached them openly and kindly, too.

So I decided to do a pictorial essay on that today, including some people I’ve met before and others I just met, today.


A pictorial essay by Ann


This is one of several great guys who work at the parking lot where I leave my car every morning, before I take my 20-minute walk to work.   This man  actually inspired me to write this essay, because of an interaction I had with him the day I got back.

After I drove into the lot that day and got out of my car, he gave me my parking ticket. In  a burst of self-confidence (which I’ve been working on this year), I said to him,  “Hi!  Did you notice I was away?” I enjoyed saying that, but  I honestly didn’t think he would have noticed my being away. (I mean, there are LOTS of cars and parkers, and it’s crazy-busy each morning.) But  he immediately replied, with sincerity and enthusiasm, “Yes!  I did!  Where were you?”  which made me feel great. So I asked him if I could put his picture in this blog, which he seemed really happy about. (He looks it, doesn’t he?) Now I’m regretting that I don’t know his name. But I’ll find out his name when I see him again Tuesday morning. (I did ask him when I saw him next, on Wednesday morning, and his name is Jimmy.)


This is Amanda (I remembered to ask her name, thank goodness).  She was incredibly helpful and sunny this morning when I made a stumbling entrance into Cafe Gustazo, a great little Cuban Restaurant in Belmont, right when it opened at 10 AM.  And why was I stumbling?  Because IT WAS SNOWING AGAIN, that’s why. (Breathe!)  I was meeting an old friend I hadn’t seen in years, and Amanda was welcoming and considerate as she helped make me comfortable while I waited for my friend’s arrival. And she was great throughout the yummy brunch we had there. (I forgot to take pictures of the food, so I’m letting go of judgment about THAT.)  (I’ll just have to go back there and get pictures next time. Oh well.)

And,  I’ll tell you something I especially noticed and wanted to celebrate about Amanda. When I asked her if I could take her picture and put her in this blog, she was remarkably enthusiastic that (1) I was writing a blog and (2)  I wanted to put her picture in it.  That was so great to see.

After brunch, I decided to go over to my local Starbucks and take some pictures of two people  who work there, and who are always great whenever we go there on the weekend.  I always look forward to seeing them, and feel genuinely welcomed by both of them. However, when I got there, neither of them was there.

One is a guy we’ve been seeing there for a long time, every weekend, who makes the most delicious, kick-ass chai tea latte’s, evah. So I was concerned, and I talked to Matt about that — who was perfectly friendly and helpful, even though we had never met before:


I told Matt  I was looking for the guy who worked at that Starbucks every weekend, was really friendly, made great latte’s, and whose name (I thought) was Steve. Matt said, “Oh, yes!  He’s great. But he doesn’t work here any more. And a lot of the customers have been asking about him.”  And Matt listened sympathetically when I talked about my disappointment that my Favorite Latte Guy was gone, and he maintained a great connection with me while still serving the other people who came in to Starbucks.  And Irina, whom I had also never met before, helped me choose a different kind of latte today. (I wanted a tea without caffeine, so I could — perhaps — take a nap later today.)


Irina was also great.

Then — and here comes the dramatic section of today’s post — after I was coming to terms with never seeing my Favorite Latte Guy again, he walked in. And it turned out that his name is Mark. (Did I mention that I’m terrible with names?)  And soon after he walked in, the other person from Starbucks I had wanted to feature in today’s blog, a  fabulous woman named Carol, walked in, too. So — duh! — I was just at Starbucks earlier than I usually am. And I got to tell Mark and Carol how I wanted to put them in the today’s Blog of Appreciation.  And they both seemed pretty pleased about that, too.


So, now that I’m back in Boston,  I get to be around Mark, Carol, Matt, Irina, Amanda, and the sweet guy from the parking lot.  And, if I keep staying open to connection, I’m sure I’ll meet more people whose pictures I’ll want to share with you here.

Even though I’ll have to negotiate THIS to get anywhere:


Yeah.  Well, I guess it can be kind of difficult, getting around here during the winter. But there ARE people around to help you get where you’re going.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Blog at