conglomerate

This is for the Tuesday Ragtag Daily Prompt: a conglomerate. Can you guess what is under this community of organisms stuck all over it?

A marine engine. My friend is pointing out the water intake and how to tell it’s a marine engine.

So this is a stealthie too, of both him and me.

heatwave tricks

I went to high school in Alexandria, Virginia (Remember the Titans) and we had no air conditioning. I had the upstairs bedroom in front of the house. We were on the road that had the bridge over the train tracks, so we got every ambulance, fire truck and police car sirening from one part of town to the other. b

I live on a “busy” street. When the realtor warned me it was “busy”, I thought, well, not like Alexandria. No gun shots in the house a block over, at least not often. I used to hear the helicoptors landing at the hospital four blocks away, but now that I am not on call, my brain dismisses that as a “not worrisome” noise.

So here are my tricks to stay cool.

  1. Get a bandana or headband wet with cold water. Wrap it around your head. Keep wetting it as needed.
  2. If you are going outside, put a hat over the bandana or headband. If it is a straw hat, you can wet it too. Ditto wool.
  3. Stick your feet in cold water.
  4. Fountains make sounds that make you feel cooler. Find a website with a stream or water sounds. Let it play.
  5. Drink lots of water.
  6. Salt. Now, if you have high blood pressure or heart disease or congestive heart failure, be really careful. My symptom of being too low in salt is feeling nauseated and a bit off and woozy. Those are professional doctor terms, ok? I bought 5 kinds of chips yesterday, beer, seltzer (no sugar) and ice.
  7. Do NOT drink sodas to cool off. Most sodas have salt hidden under the sugar. Screw up your hypertension and the congestive heart disease. Oh, and kidney disease and some liver things. Hey, talk to your doctor. They will say “Do not drink sodas. They are the EVIL dwelling on earth.” Well, ok, your doctor might not say the second sentence. I said stuff like that.
  8. Get ice, put it in a cooler, and put in water, maybe beer if you are healthy enough, (go light on the beer. Max seven drinks weekly for women, fourteen for men, and no saving it up for the weekend. The recommendations are different in the UK and different again in Europe. Who is right? Science is a moving target. It is never DONE. Dang ol science. Just give us the stupid finished book so we can stop arguing about it all…. heh. The truth is, we’d argue about something else.) go light on juice (because sugar), cut the juice in half with seltzer or better yet just drink the seltzer. Now, seltzer has salt again, so all those people who has to watch salt intake… oh, shoot, that is everyone. I drank one beer yesterday and one seltzer and a lot of water and in the morning tea.
  9. Consider sleeping outside. It’s cooler here once it cools off! Alexandria, Virginia didn’t cool off. It would be 98% humidity and 98 degrees. So HOW did I sleep in that?
  10. Take a wet washcloth to bed. Wipe down your arms and face. Get your hair wet right before bed if you need to. Put a towel on your pillow. That, plus a fan blowing over me from the open window, and I could sleep, even in 99 degree weather with 98% humidity.
  11. Water animals, plants and don’t forget your trees. I’ve been watering the trees in the early morning and the lichen on the trunks turns BRIGHT GREEN when I do. Happy lichen. I am watering the leaves of everything in the garden in the early morning, to try to help the plants stay cool. Evaporation helps them too.
  12. Take heat stroke seriously. If someone with you stops making sense, then think about an ambulance and do not let them drive. If the core temperature gets too high, people can die, and they are too goofy to drink water. It also can be damn hard to put an iv into someone dehydrated so call early rather than late. Take care!
  13. Curtains. Shut the curtains to the east in the morning. Open them and shut the ones to the south at noon. Open them and shut the ones to the west in the afternoon.

Ok, so I put some rocks in the Beatnik bathtub fountain so that if a mouse falls in, it has somewhere to climb out. Then I went to QFC looking for a sprinkler. I would be hobbling through the sprinkler, but it’s still very cooling. They were out. However, I found fish. Squirt fish. They promptly went in the fountain.

beatnik bathtub

Ok, we are having the northwest heat wave and I am on the Olympic Peninsula.

I know LOTS of heat tricks, because I went to high school in Alexandria Virginia. And slept in the upstairs front bedroom, no air conditioning.

So yesterday I start using more of my heat tricks.

The silliest was the bathtub. I pull the old bathtub I’d gotten from a man two blocks away who was renovating his house away from the fence. I rinse it out and get a tub plug, wrong size, and plastic wrap. Fixed. I fill about half way with water, which is delightfully cold, and then get the fountain. I got the fountain at a garage sale for $5.00. I plug it in and instant fountain. I happily stick my feet in it.

I send a picture to a friend, who responds “Redneck wading pool.”

“No, no.” I respond. “I was raised by beatniks. It’s a beatnik bathtub fountain.”

He laughs. “Ok, yeah.”

Bears all his sons away;

I wrote this story today. I am not Native American. As far as I know, I am white, but then, I have not done any genetic testing so who knows? This was inspired by a poem of the same title: https://everything2.com/user/etouffee/writeups/Bears+all+his+sons+away%253B

One
I am wailing. I am crying. The Bear came today, our bear, the tribe’s bear, our Spirit.

But he didn’t just walk through camp and take fish and his tribute.

He took my son.

He walked right up to where my wife stood still, as we must when he comes, and he lifted the boy in his paws. The boy was quiet and still, he did well, he was brave, but when the bear turned to leave, he called once.

Then our bear dropped to three legs, my son in the fourth, and turned and left.

My son, my son, my heart, my joy. Spirit Bear, return him to me!

Two

We fought, argued, for a very short time. The Shaman said that if Spirit Bear wants my son, he shall have him.

He does have him, I said, but I want him back. The Shaman knew that was true. Some shook their heads and say that my son is already dead, but most agreed with me. We were on the trail nearly immediately. The bear should not be able to move as quickly as usual when he is carrying my son. I dread evidence of my son’s loss, that he will be eaten. But that has never happened, in the history, in the songs. The Shaman said as much. But neither has a bear taken a chief’s son.

Three
Spirit Bear is moving amazingly fast on three legs. He is headed for the mountains. Not a surprise. My son may get cold. But bears are warm. My son has not been eaten.

Four

We have to make camp. I am so angry that we have not caught Spirit Bear. Out of our home camp he is fair game.

We do the Bear Dance, four times. We did not bring the masks and the young men dance the women’s part and one sings the woman’s part. We made quick rough masks and costumes. The Spirits will forgive us. This is past all understanding.

What does a Spirit Bear want with my son? Four years. No one knows.

Five
Day again. I am up before dawn praying for light, for my son, to find the Spirit Bear.

Six

We are hot on the trail. We find that Spirit Bear did sleep and rest. My son is dropping beads. Smart boy. Each bead means that he is still alive and relatively unhurt.

Seven

We have spotted them. Spirit Bear stood and looked down at us, my son tucked against his side. My son very slowly raised his arm, so he knows.

Eight

We are approaching the peak. Everyone is tired from the climb and hungry and thirsty. Yet we keep going. No one complains.

Nine

We reach the peak and Spirit Bear and my son. We arm our spears and arrows, but my son shouts “No! Look!” We turn. We see the water. There is something in the water. It has tannish wings that are filled with wind. It is huge compared with our boats.

We turn to my son. He stands and Spirit Bear leaves, ambling down the mountain, quickly, gone. I hurry to my son, sweep him up. He starts shaking and then cries, leaning his head into me.

We turn and watch the tan winged thing, which is coming against the wind. It comes at an angle and then turns, to the opposite angle, yet still it comes. We know this is new and that there can be terror or joy, we do not know which. There will be learning, we know that.

My son falls asleep. We carry him down to water and camp. We are all singing quietly, the song of new things, fear and joy. The Shaman will welcome us when we are home, and we will prepare for the winged thing. We do not know what it will bring.

We thank the Spirit Bear for warning us, for telling us to prepare.

Rialto Beach

Two days ago I walked on Rialto Beach with a friend. It was totally gorgeous. One of those days when people visiting the Olympic Peninsula want to move here, only to find that those days are less common than the grey mat in the sky just over the house….

The colors were just intense. I did not adjust the color at all. The program sometimes offers me a retouched photograph but I always think the colors are just off and wrong.

I wore my oxygen, via concentrator. I have about 3.5 hours per battery. We were on the second battery by the time we got back.

My pack was also full of rocks. B is particular: he wants clear or nearly clear agates. I am currently a generalist about rocks: I am fascinated by the not clear agates, some quartz, jasper, poppyseed jasper… anyhow, I am rather a magpie right now about rocks. Ooooo, shiny!

Yard Art

There is a fabulous garden in Portland, Oregon decorated with bowling balls.

i have decided to decorate with oxygen tanks.

if anyone has any oxygen paraphernalia, I want it, please.

This art installation is titled “Tethered”. Or possibly “Chained.”

new friends

I have new friends.

Nothing is lost without something else being gained. When you put a bucket in the water and pull it up, no hole is left. The water equilibrates. The water rushes in to the new hole and there is swirling and chaos for a bit and then you can’t tell.

I took coffee in to my yard yesterday morning. I didn’t feel like eating much for the two days before that. I felt more like drinking alcohol but I pay a lot of attention to that urge. I drank some but stopped. There is way too much of that history in my family.

Caffeine, now. Also addictive. I’ve quit caffeine a couple of times. I quit back in medical school because my stomach hurt. Second year I kept falling asleep in the lectures. I tried standing up through them and woke up sliding sideways down the wall. I wonder if people laughed. Everyone was sick of sitting in that room, one floor up from the first year, and trying to learn an impossible amount of information. I don’t think people did laugh. We were all in the same boat after all. If they laughed, it was the laugh of recognition.

So I gave up and sat back down and took notes and fell asleep. My notes would trail off down the page at 40 minutes in to the lecture. Over and over and over. But there might be some advantages to hearing medicine in a dream state. Who knows?

My friends came while I was drinking coffee. Four pine siskins. I have named the first three Winken, Blinken and Nod. The fourth one showed up a little late. That one is Bill. Blinken is very fat and I suspect will appear abruptly thin after the eggs are laid.

A pair of juncos joined them. The feeder got a little bit chaotic when a house sparrow showed up. I thought there was a fifth pine siskin but I realized that this one had a pale pink hood: the lady of the house sparrow pair was present. Then my song sparrow, who sings every morning from across the street, came in. He and I have sung back and forth for years.

I have not seen a lady song sparrow yet. Or maybe she slipped in and out, she will be a little difficult to distinguish from the lady house sparrow and the pine siskins.

What joy to have new friends. I think I will have to fill the feeder every two or three days. It is spring and there will soon be new mouths to feed and everyone is hungry.

The photograph is not from my yard. It is from a wilder place, that is very beautiful.

Blessings.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

There is a song, the laugh of recognition, on this album: https://stores.portmerch.com/overtherhine/music/the-long-surrender-cd.html

The whole album helps me to grieve.

Game ball

Warning: this post contains some time out words.

How do I process the game you played?

I am the subject of the game.

Or the victim.

Or no, I refuse. It is your game. I was not playing. I am the honey badger, metabolism so fast that I have to run from one meal to the next or else I will starve. I eat whatever I can find: cobras, bees, anything. I eat or I die.

You have tethered a honey badger to oxygen by playing a game.

I am the football and you have been kicking me, throwing me, catching me, slamming me to the ground as hard as you can in the end zone.

And now that I am worn and damaged and torn, you’ll toss me away, not even notice me, and find a new ball.

You will need a new football. To play with.

I don’t envy that person.

The truth is, it will be one of you. The group will rest on their laurels, oh, we nearly killed her, wasn’t it great? We showed her. She is so stupid, took her what, 21 years to fucking figure it out? And she thinks she’s so smart.

I was looking for food because I am always hungry. The food insecurity goes back to infancy. Maybe to the womb: my mother says she was not to gain weight and spent the entire pregnancy longing for a gigantic ice cream Sunday. Think of being in a womb, attacked by antibodies to tuberculosis, and starving all the time. Might be a little bit worried when birth happens. Fuck, I am going through a tunnel, what horrors await me here? But maybe there will be more food.

Maybe someone will love me. Maybe there will be someone for me to love. And feed. We can give each other food.

My advice to you is don’t be the ball. I was the ball for 21 years. I was so hungry the whole time, for food and for love, that I kind of noticed but dismissed it as unimportant. Food and love were more important. Work and my patients were more important. You don’t matter and your games are trivial.

It will be the weakest one who will be the ball. You worry that you are the one. You should worry. You had better look strong right away. Post some horror. Write something really tough. Don’t show anyone any niggling doubts. Um, the ball is wearing oxygen. I am feeling a little bad about this. Are you feeling bad about this? The ball isn’t just crazy, it’s hurt. Actually crazy is an illness too: I know that you discriminate and think that cancer is a legitimate illness and that mania isn’t, but you are assholes. No, you’re too small and pathetic to be an asshole. You are a one celled animal that is clinging to a hair on an asshole and you get shat on daily. And you know, deep deep in your tiny shrunken heart, that you deserve it.

I am so glad I am not you.

I am tethered to oxygen. But I am healing. I don’t think you can. You are locked in your small sick pathetic triangulation competition and pretending that it’s a game that it’s ok that you are just playing.

Ick.

Meanwhile, the oxygen is portable.

I have food and I have love and I have work to do that lifts me on wings. I will go too near the sun and light on fire and fall burning, but that’s ok. I’ve done it before. The ocean heals me, always. It is so much fun to fly!

This is in memory of my mother, my father and my sister. I miss all three and I love them and they love me. Today is the day my mother died. The longer we live, the more days are days when someone that we love died. But they are still here. They are in the rocks and the sky and the trees and the coffee cup. They are not in sugary donuts or foods that cause heart attacks. But they are all around us, cradle us, still love us. Joy to you and the memories of your loved ones who have gone on. Blessings.