Posts Tagged With: the South Shore of Boston

Day 2527: Looking forward

“Looking forward” is something people often write and say about the future.  Today, I’m looking forward to

While looking forward to events in the future can help one feel hope, it can also trigger worry and fears about that future, like “Is this too much?”  “Will all these activities next week interfere in my self care?” “Will the absence of the late Walter Becker get in the way of my really enjoying the Steely Dan concert?” “What’s the weather going to be like?” “Am I ready for November?”  and “Where the hell am I going to park?”

The cure for future-oriented fears is refocusing on the present moment. And in this moment, I have several new photos to share with you.

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To make this my day, my way, I’d like to revisit and clarify one difficult-to-read photo above:

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History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

I’m looking forward to thoughtful and articulate future Presidents of the United States of America.

Finding this on YouTube is helping me look forward, even more, to the Steely Day concert on Friday:

I’m looking forward to knowing what you’re looking forward to. In other words, I’m looking forward to reading any comment you might leave, below.

I wonder if anybody is looking forward to my thanking everybody for all you do for me, every day, here at this blog.

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Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 2521: Double takes

I did a double take, just now, when I realized this is my first post about double takes, defined as ….

noun
a rapid or surprised second look, either literal or figurative, at a person or situation whose significance had not been completely grasped at first:
His friends did a double take when they saw how much weight he had lost.

I’m doing a double take at that definition because

  1. I don’t know what a figurative double take would look like, literally or figuratively.
  2. I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost recently because, as I discovered yesterday, our scale in the bathroom presents two very different weights, depending on where you move it on the floor.

In case you haven’t completely grasped the weight or significance of today’s title, here are some visual double takes:

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Did you do any double takes at any of those photos, literally or figuratively?

Yesterday, Michael & I were trying to remember supermarkets that were around when we were young.  We remembered Stop & Shop (still around today) and A & P (no longer with us).  I asked Michael, “Do you remember the old joke that Stop & Shop and A & P are merging and the new name is ‘Stop & P’?” I did a double take when Michael said he’d never heard that.

I also did a double take when I saw how few views “Double Take” by Blondie has on YouTube:

Here’s a double take of gratitude for (1) all those who helped me create today’s blog and (2) YOU.

Categories: celebrating, definition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2520: Girding and preparing for the day ahead

A few weeks ago, after girding and preparing myself for the day ahead,  I gave a speech at my 45th college reunion where I mentioned this daily  blog, as follows:

Also, seven years ago I expanded my network of friends by starting a daily blog. Every morning, including today, I’ve written about my heart, my son, my passion for the healing power of groups, my song-writing, my cats, my hopes, my fears, this speech — whatever helps gird me and prepare me for the day ahead.

Girding and preparing for the day ahead includes

  • getting in touch with my priorities,
  • observing what is,
  • relentlessly celebrating the small things,
  • awareness of loved ones who have passed,
  • connecting with humans and other creatures, and
  • sharing my photos from the day before.

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Here’s the obituary of Debora Carmichael, past President of the Northeastern Society of Group Psychotherapy, who was such an inspiration and support to me and so many others.

I am girding and preparing myself for a day without the earthly presence of Deb,  friends, family members, and other shining lights who have passed.

Girding and preparing myself includes listening to music I love. Yesterday, when I was walking amongst the creatures and environs around me, I was reminded of a musician I loved when I was young — Jacques Loussier, who played jazz versions of Bach pieces, like this one:

As always, girding and preparing includes sharing my gratitude to all, including YOU.

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Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2513: Looks can be deceiving.

Let’s look at the meaning of today’s title: “Looks can be deceiving.”

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idiom

—used to say that something can be very different from how it seems or appears to be
The restaurant doesn’t look very appealing, but looks can be deceiving/deceptive.

I think many things and people can be deceiving, especially these days.  I wish that those who are commenting on the deceiving people would focus less on their looks and more on their deeds. For example, I’m tired of hearing how

  • Rudy Giuliani looks like a ghoul or a vampire (even if these observations are appropriate to the season) and
  • Donald Trump looks like a cheeto or something else orange.

After all, looks can be deceiving.  I’m sure there are people out there looking like ghouls, vampires,  cheetos, or other odd-looking things who are honest, kind, and effective leaders.  Likewise, there are people out there who look great and are deceiving, manipulative, and scary.

So why do we focus so much on looks?

I looked online and found this 2009  New York Times article Yes, Looks Do Matter, which includes these words:

… many social scientists and others who study the science of stereotyping say there are reasons we quickly size people up based on how they look. Snap judgments about people are crucial to the way we function, they say — even when those judgments are very wrong.

On a very basic level, judging people by appearance means putting them quickly into impersonal categories, much like deciding whether an animal is a dog or a cat. “Stereotypes are seen as a necessary mechanism for making sense of information,” said David Amodio, an assistant professor of psychology at New York University. “If we look at a chair, we can categorize it quickly even though there are many different kinds of chairs out there.”

Eons ago, this capability was of life-and-death importance, and humans developed the ability to gauge other people within seconds.

Susan Fiske, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton, said that traditionally, most stereotypes break down into two broad dimensions: whether a person appears to have malignant or benign intent and whether a person appears dangerous. “In ancestral times, it was important to stay away from people who looked angry and dominant,” she said.

Women are also subdivided into “traditionally attractive” women, who “don’t look dominant, have baby-faced features,” Professor Fiske said. “They’re not threatening.”

Indeed, attractiveness is one thing that can make stereotypes self-fulfilling and reinforcing. Attractive people are “credited with being socially skilled,” Professor Fiske said, and maybe they are, because “if you’re beautiful or handsome, people laugh at your jokes and interact with you in such a way that it’s easy to be socially skilled.”

“If you’re unattractive, it’s harder to get all that stuff because people don’t seek you out,” she said.

AGE plays a role in forging stereotypes, too, with older people traditionally seen as “harmless and useless,” Professor Fiske said. In fact, she said, research has shown that racial and ethnic stereotypes are easier to change over time than gender and age stereotypes, which are “particularly sticky.”

Since I’m an older woman, I have to work extra hard to prove that I am neither useless nor any other “particularly sticky” stereotype. I’m sure I’m not alone in needing to show that looks can be deceiving.

Let’s see if looks can be deceiving in any of my photos from yesterday.

Did you know that “Looks Can Be Deceiving” is on YouTube?

I’m not deceiving when I express my thanks to all who help me create these daily posts, including YOU.

 

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

Day 2507: What’s Keeping Me Up Is What’s Going Down

At around 3:00 AM last night, I was woken up by a crash, like something big had fallen down.

When investigating what had gone down, my fiancé Michael informed me that the beautiful watercolor by Paul Nagano that was hanging up on the wall had gone down. I asked what was uppermost in my mind: “Did it break?”  He said, “No, but these things suck” (referring to the strips that had been keeping that picture up for over a year). 

Now, these thoughts that are going down in my head are keeping me up:

  • How are we going to get that fallen painting back up, now that our faith in those picture hanging strips has gone down?
  • How are we going hang up another wonderful watercolor by Paul Nagano and the amazing photograph my ex-husband recently took of our son Aaron with his large-format camera?
  • Are we the only people who don’t like putting holes in our walls to hang things up?
  • What’s going down in the United States of America?
  • Who’s going to help our fallen principles get back up?
  • Why do all these things get me down and keep me up?
  • Should I write down some lyrics for a country song titled “What’s Keeping Me Up Is What’s Going Down”?

What’s Keep Me Up is What’s Going Down

by Ann Koplow

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I’m sleepless and helpless and wearing a frown.

Problems unsolvable seem to abound.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

© Ann Koplow, 2019

I’ve now written down lyrics for five songs that are still up in the air — I haven’t completed any of them.  That’s neither keeping me up nor getting me down; I have faith in my own process (even if I’ve lost faith in the process of the people in charge of our country).

Here’s what’s going down in my latest photos:

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If you’re feeling down about what’s going down around you,  maybe one of these Pumpkin Spice songs put up here, here, here, and here on YouTube will cheer you up.

I’m up for whatever comments will be going down, below.

Gratitude helps keep me up no matter what’s going down, so thanks to all who help me create these daily posts, including YOU.

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

Day 2502: How to feel less anxious

Yesterday morning,  I asked my readers “What are you feeling?”  Later in the day, I learned that everybody in my Coping and Healing group was feeling anxious.

Just in case you’re feeling anxious, here’s the list the group created together about how to feel less anxious.

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I got a little anxious, just now, when I momentarily couldn’t read the last entry in the middle column, above.  I feel less anxious remembering that it says “balloons” —  somebody in the group shared their anxiety-reducing technique of imagining fears attached to balloons that float away.

What would you add to that brainstormed list of “How to Feel Less Anxious”?

Might any of my other photos from yesterday help you feel less anxious?

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Personally, I feel less anxious when I

  • am  all that I can be,
  • own my leadership qualities,
  • imagine new leaders for our country,
  • find the safety in the moment,
  • recognize that everybody has mood swings,
  • show up,
  • am gentle with myself and others,
  • tell the truth,
  • avoid the cognitive distortion of black-and-white (all-or-nothing) thinking by seeing shades of gray,
  • enjoy Michael’s nourishing food,
  • sit outside,
  • wear cool socks,
  • accept that sometimes I’ll be running late,
  • hang around with nice kitties, and
  • share my anxieties (like,now, in this daily blog).

Here‘s a video titled “How to be Less Anxious.”

As I mentioned in group yesterday, one person’s anxiety reducer might be another person’s anxiety increaser, as you can see in these comments about that video:

Maria ER
3 years ago
This video stressed me out

Ian P
3 years ago
I’m not sure ‘the indifference of nature’ is making me feel less anxious, lol.
Laura Thomas
4 years ago
I feel like this isn’t so much about being less anxious as it is about being more mindful. Still good, though.
Survive the Jive
5 years ago
The sea is so primal, even the mountains are younger. It evokes visceral feelings of man in context to the earth. Strange that meditating on the comparative insignificance of our lives to the span of nature should actually be so life affirming.

Ashley Valentin
2 years ago
Reading the comments made me more anxious than the video…

Experiencing and expressing gratitude make me feel less anxious, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 2493: Temporary

Yesterday morning, before I drove to the farewell event of my 45th college reunion, I took a photo of this temporary parking permit in my car.

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I have a temporary smile, here and now, thinking that The President and Fellows of Harvard College assumed no responsibility for damages to my little yellow car.

I took a photo of that temporary parking permit because of my “deep sense of mortality” (described in my speech at my reunion the day before), which makes me realize that everything is temporary.

On my way to the reunion brunch, I noticed a temporary phenomenon that I had never seen before, so I temporarily parked my car so I could capture it on my phone.

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I loved that temporary gathering of more snowy egrets than I had ever seen together before.

Then, I got back in my car, which I had temporarily parked at the Kennedy Center.

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I wonder if you had a temporary assumption about what Kennedy Center that was.

Then, my classmates and I met for some temporary conversation at a beautiful home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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I spent most of that temporary time there hanging out with people I love, because there’s no telling when we’ll see each other again.

On my ride home, I received news that another beloved friend of mine had died in the month of September. I wrote about my dear and long-time friend  Tony in this post from May, 2016 — Day 1219: Tone.

As I said in my temporary speech at my college reunion, “Life is too precious to spend on things I don’t love.”  I’m glad that when I heard that Tony had the same cancer that killed Senator John McCain and my friend Michelle last year,  I bought one of his books and sent him a card telling him I was reading it and how much I loved him.

Last night, when Michael and I were doing our temporary Sunday shopping routine at our local supermarket, I deliberately took photos of sympathy cards to comfort myself.

I now get comfort from sharing all these contemporary photos with you:

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Even though life on this earth is temporary, certain things linger, like the distinct laughs of my late friends Hillel and Tony, who both passed away this September. I can easily imagine both of their wonderful laughs, here and now.

In honor of Tony, who played guitar and loved music, I’m posting a tune I associate with him:

 

I’m hoping I can get temporary coverage today at work so I can attend one of the memorial events for my late, great friend Tony today.

Thanks to all those who helped me temporarily forget my grief by creating this post and — of course! — thanks to you.

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

Day 2488: Being here, being there

“Being here, being there” is something I wrote on the white-board wall while human beings were being here and there during a Coping and Healing group yesterday.

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Being human beings, their thoughts went here and there to regrets, the past, the present, the future, work, other people’s reactions, progress, tears, fears, emotions, death, showing up, reservations, reasons, sleeping, bravery, speaking, not speaking, triggers, early, late, and choices, among other here-and-there meanderings.

Being that triggers were affecting all the human beings in the room, “triggers” ended up being the topic of choice, including what helps dealing with them:

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Being there, I couldn’t help but notice that “YouTube” made it to the list of what helped those human beings deal with triggers (along with breathing, acceptance, self care, sleep, safe spaces, kindness, music, and other helpful choices).

Being here, I’ll search  for “being here, being there” on YouTube.

Here‘s “I Love Being Here With You” by singer/songwriter Peggy Lee.

I love being here with you, and I loved being there when I took all these other photos:

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Being that you’re here, why not leave a comment?

Whether I’m being here or being there, I’m being thankful for all who help me create these posts and — of course! — for YOU, here and now.

 

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 2486: Shocking confession. I’ve made mistakes.

Shocking confession.  I often steal the titles for these posts.

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I’m wondering if this shocks my old friend Lawry, a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property and who used to read this blog every day.  Shocking confession: Lawry and I are both attending our 45th college reunion this weekend.

Shocking confession: I keep rewriting the first paragraph of the five-minute “Ted Talk” I’m giving at the reunion, which includes shocking confessions.

Everyone in our class, I’m sure, remembers where you were on November 22, 1963.  I’m different from you.  I have no memories of that day, because I was having heart surgery to get my first cardiac pacemaker. While the world was being traumatized by the assassination of President Kennedy, my family and I were being traumatized by that unexpected surgery, by hospital rules preventing parents from staying with their children, and by medical staff not knowing how to answer the questions of a frightened 10-year-old girl, like “What’s that coffin on the TV screen?” and “What’s this giant thing sticking out of my body?”

It’s shocking how many mistakes people made back then.  Unless I’m mistaken, giving this speech in front of my classmates will be a reparative experience, even if I make mistakes in my presentation.

Shocking confession. I’ve made mistakes every day of my life.  Let’s see if I’ve made mistakes in my other photos from yesterday.

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Shocking confession.  I like to make up stories based on what I see around me.  What story might you make up using the photos in this post?  Don’t worry about making mistakes.

Shocking confession. One of the people pictured in today’s blog played the role of Ursula in a local production of “The Little Mermaid.”  Can you guess who that was?  Here is a song Ursula sings about mistakes being made:

Shocking confession. We’re all poor unfortunate souls who make mistakes.  Ariel makes the mistake of giving up her voice in the Disney version of “The Little Mermaid,”  but she recovers it in the end.

Shocking confession.  I’d love to see your comments about this post and I’m grateful to all who helped me create it.

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

Day 2485: Easy for people to get in touch

Yesterday, when I was trying to make it easy for me to get in touch with

  • people I love,
  • all my feelings,
  • confidence,
  • hope,
  • needs,
  • support,
  • strength,
  • vulnerability,
  • adventure,
  • being prepared for my speech at my college reunion next week,
  • recovery from an inappropriate encounter, and
  • the present moment,

… it was easy for me to get in touch with these two notifications on my touch screen:

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I don’t know if adding a phone number to Oscar’s Facebook page would make it easy for people to get in touch, since Oscar doesn’t talk on the phone.

It’s easy for people to get in touch with my life because I share so many photos, like these:

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It’s easy for me to get in touch with Oscar, Harley,  and all of my photos, for now.

Thanks to YouTube and Spotify, it’s easy for me to get in touch with music I love.

It’s easy for people to get in touch with the comments about that live performance of “Song for Bilbao” by the Pat Metheny Group, including these:

Noemi Zaffanella
2 years ago (edited)
I heard Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays since I was 6. I remember my mum when she told me that pat’s music is ever green. It’s true, I’m 19 now and I listen pat metheny every day for 13 years.

Steve Tocco
4 years ago
They’re all exceptional artists and I’m convinced Antonio Sanchez is not human.

Steven Reichert
3 years ago
A stage full of geniuses.

Luiz Janela
4 years ago
Heard trumpet sound, came to see if it was Pat soloing, but this time i was wrong. Great Cuong Vu. Beautiful!

geraldotorres35
5 years ago
Lets not forget Mr. Steve Rodby this guy sure keeps a smooth steady pulse love his groove PMG pls get back together …plssss

Joyce Sweeting
4 years ago
Pat becomes one with his guitar …you gotta luv it! 🙂

00xanawolf00
4 years ago
This is the first time I’ve heard this…

My mind is blown.

Fabio Copponi
4 years ago
Bona’s solo is a piece of magic…the calls to old jazz pieces are fantastic

edward shivers
4 years ago
GREATEST LIVE PERFORMANCE OF ALL TIME

Sometimes it’s easy for people to get in touch with appreciation.

Here and now, it’s easy for me to get in touch with my appreciation for the cats, pop-up shopping experiences, the Pat Metheny Group, the beauty surrounding me, and — of course! — YOU.

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

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