Posts Tagged With: the South Shore of Boston

Day 2612: A House Divided

Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech included this quote:

A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

Today, the USA government seems like a house divided, again. The whole country, the whole planet, seems like a house divided, which cannot stand.

Yesterday, I saw this:

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That “house divided”  is very close to the Atlantic ocean, so I don’t know how long that’s going to stand, either.

I don’t know how to unite this house we all live in, except to keep blogging and sharing photos like these:

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This comes up when I search YouTube for “A House Divided”:

 

On this Martin Luther King  Jr. Day 2020, thanks to all who help me create this daily blog from our house (including YOU).

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 2604: Creepy Photo!

It’s creepy how a headline like “Creepy Photo!” can make us look at a tabloid  like The National Enquirer.

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I saw that  creepy photo at the supermarket last night, after exchanging goodbyes with my son’s girlfriend Widad  and my son Aaron.

Do any of these other images, captured on a creepily warm and unseasonable winter’s day and night,  make you say, “Creepy Photo!”?

 

It’s not creepy to enlarge any of those photos to see which ones you think are creepy.

Moments after I took that last creepy photo of a vacuum cleaner on a dark and windy night under the wolf moon, I saw an animal walking by us which didn’t look particularly creepy to me. My husband Michael, who seemed creeped out, said quietly, “It’s a coyote.”   Michael thought it would be creepy if I tried to take a creepy photo of it, so we kept walking.  The coyote changed direction, which Michael thought was very creepy.  Seconds later, we noticed four other coyotes creeping down a hill to join the first one.  Michael told me to keep walking without looking at the creepy pack. When we saw somebody further down the street walking a small dog, we told him about the creepy group of  five coyotes we had passed. He said, “I guess they’re out enjoying this warm weather just like us. This little guy would make a nice snack for them” and he kept walking,  which some people might have found creepy.

It would be creepy if YouTube had something called “Creepy Photo!”

If you want to see more creepy photos, there are dozens of Creepy Photo videos on YouTube.

No more creepy photos here, just thanks to all who helped me create this “Creepy Photo!” post and to all who are reading it, including YOU!

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

Day 2594: I just called

I just called this post, in its first draft, “Just Another Ordinary Day,” which is a lyric from “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” by Stevie Wonder:

But when I heard that Stevie Wonder song in my earmuff/headphones yesterday, it was NOT just another ordinary day. It was New Year’s Day, which I just called extraordinary as I was reviewing the 2020 visions I captured yesterday:

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I just called a few of those photos extraordinary (including the ones with Oscar and the vacuum cleaner) and I’m wondering which photos you’d call out in a comment, below.

Also, I just called today another extraordinary day, because I get to

  • facilitate a Coping and Healing group at work,
  • start using the 2020 Daily Bitch Calendar,
  • see people and other creatures I love, and
  • have more of Michael’s incredible eggplant parmigiana (which he spent much of the day yesterday preparing, without sugar).

 

What would YOU just call today, even though it’s

  • no New Year’s Day to celebrate,
  • no chocolate candy hearts to give away,
  • no first of spring,
  • no April rain,
  • no wedding Saturday within the month of June,
  • no summer’s high,
  • no warm July,
  • no harvest moon to light one tender August night,
  • no autumn breeze,
  • no falling leaves,
  • not even time for birds to fly to Southern skies,
  • no Libra sun,
  • no Halloween, and
  • no giving thanks to all the Christmas joy you bring?

I just called it another day of gratitude  — for all who helped me create today’s blog post and (of course!) for you.

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

Day 2590: Clouds

While I’ve been in the clouds about my December 27th wedding to Michael, I’ve also been noticing clouds, including these:

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What do those clouds look like to you? Do you see

  • a unicorn?
  • a dragon?
  • a face?
  • hope?
  • threats?
  • something else?

What does this look like to you?

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Some people have been like dark clouds in my life, and when they disappear, it IS a brighter day.

Maybe my new socks have something to say to dark clouds.

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I don’t want to cloud the issue, but I actually do care. I wish to be aware of all clouds and do what’s in my power to deal with them.

Here are some quotes about clouds:

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” — Rabindranath Tagore

“I know that I shall meet my fate somewhere among the clouds above; those that I fight I do not hate and those that I guard I do not love.” — William Butler Yeats

” Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending.  You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” — St. Augustine

“It is better to have your heads in the clouds and know where you are … than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.” — Henry David Thoreau

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”  — Edward Abbey

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” —  John Lubbock

“Clouds do not really look like camels or sailing ships or castles in the sky.  They are simply a natural process at work. So too, perhaps, are our lives.” — Roger Ebert

“Mirth is like a flash of lightening, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.” — Joseph Addison

“Let the people on both sides keep their self-possession, and just as other clouds have cleared away in due time, so will this, and this great nation will continue to prosper as before.” — Abraham Lincoln

“I, like everybody else, have a certain fear of heights, and I have to be very careful when I’m in the clouds, but it is also what I love; it is my domain, so when you love something, you don’t have fear.” —Philippe Petit

“Who cares about the clouds when we’re together? Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.” — Dale Evans

Do you see any clouds in these other recent photos?

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It’s nice to see a squirrel in a cloud of lace.

Here‘s a song about clouds:

 

Here‘s another song that’s hovering in the clouds of this post, above:

 

If you were to comment on this post, I’d be on Cloud 9.

Now it’s time to end this post in a cloud of gratitude, so thanks and happy trails to all who help me find my way through the clouds to blog every day, including YOU.

 

 

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

Day 2555: It’s safer than it feels

When people with a history of trauma (which seems to include everybody, these days) are feeling shaky, anxious, and fearful, I often encourage them to focus on this helpful phrase:

It’s safer than it feels.

Yesterday, our scaredy-cat Harley was safer — even if he didn’t feel like it — when our new vet, Dr. Jo, came for a house call.

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Michael, who wanted everybody to feel safer, had spent days developing a plan for how Dr. Jo could safely examine Harley and give him his shots.  When Dr. Jo arrived, Michael was closed up in Aaron’s bedroom with Harley, having set up the room so there was (as Michael said), “Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.”

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Dr. Jo helped us all feel safer as she quickly, efficiently, and kindly examined Harley and gave him his yearly shots, declaring our “chunky” cat safely healthy.  Miraculously, Harley felt safe enough to be in plain sight minutes after we allowed him to escape from that safe room.

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In the past, when Harley felt unsafe, we would see neither hide nor hair of him for hours, if not days.

Now that we have a great vet who makes house calls, we all feel safer. Can you tell that I was feeling safer when I took the rest of the photos in today’s blog?

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Who feels safe enough, here and now, to dance to “Nowhere to Run” by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas?

I hope it feels safe enough for you to express your thoughts and feelings about this “It’s Safer Than It Feels” post, below.

Thanks to everybody who makes this world feel safer, including YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy, recommendation | Tags: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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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—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

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