talking about silence

we are talking about silence
yours deliberate
you don’t want people to know
how you make your money

you are angry, I notice
at how people treat you
you are a self made man
with a lot of money

I don’t much care
about your money
happy for you
& etc

I am more interested in silence
I go silent in Kindergarten
because I am too weird
have no tv
and want to sing

I do not bother to lie
because people don’t listen anyhow
and they don’t believe me

I listen, you say
I read everything you send me

That is not enough, I think
I don’t say it
I think about saying it
I don’t say it

I stopped sending you my poems
months ago
when you got angry
I asked if you would respond
something
a positive
a negative
even just “Read it.”
I don’t understand
why you got angry
and I am not scared
so much as surprised

I guess you brook no criticism
ever
I wonder why you must be perfect
seems tiring to me
at any rate
I am not sending you any poems
any more
since then

you could read my blog
I post some there
selected ones
unexceptional
less personal
though I suppose you could still
be angry

you say you know I am angry
when I go silent

I go silent, thinking about that

you are right that there is anger there in the room with us
you sense it
it is yours, not mine
the bear chained in the dungeon
roaring

poor bear
I send it love
and it is crying
bitter tears
wet and cold
in a pool of tears
I can’t free it
only you can

for a moment you are aware
that I am silent about my poems
then you slam the dungeon door again
and talk about guns and science
and what you will do next

and what you will do next
with your bear
and without me

___________________

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: distorted.

daily changes

Some days this beach is mostly sand. Yesterday it is rocks and more rocks, pebbles, stones, sand, beautiful. We are having lots of cliff collapse and new rocks are washing down. I was walking on North Beach last week when I heard bits of cliff fall. I turn and look and a nice one foot by 8 inch boulder falls from the top and rolls towards me, very fast. I stumble backwards and trip over a big boulder in the sand. I don’t hit my head and get knocked out and I don’t get hit by the falling rock.

The black toes are mine, so this is a stealthie.

I start back a little and another section of cliff rains rock. The tide is fairly far out, so I walk near the water until I am back where there is no cliff. Scary. Sometimes large sections collapse all at once. Death occurs by blunt trauma rather than suffocation.

I worry about seeing shoes or feet when I see a newly collapsed section. Happily none so far.

My emotions are like the beach. Some days clear and sun and sand. Other days LOTS of new rocks. Other days stormy and the tide is very high and pulling at the sand and clay cliffs.

I receive a valentine from my daughter. She says she loves me. She says she misses the beach and the water most of all.

I find agates and they are beautiful. Some are clear and some are not and new ones keep arriving.

This agate lights up when the sun is out or a light is behind it.

Let the light shine through, in spite of the weather.

________________________

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: pebble.

Spring, summer, fall

I visit my friend Amy in Portland. We are friends from medical school at the Medical College of Virginia, now VCU, Richmond, Virginia.

Her mother is Nancy Clough and lives nearby. Amy’s house is surrounded by bronze sculptures, because Nancy Clough works in bronze and pottery.

This series is in Nancy’s house. She says that she sold winter and needs to pour another. More than one set is out there.

I love the joy in these sculptures.

Years ago I bought a vase from Nancy Clough, when I was visiting Amy on the west coast. I still have that vase and now a new one, from this trip. I bought the smallest vase back years ago, because it was all that I could afford. My mother was an artist, so I know how much it means to artists to have people buy their work. And anyhow, I love the flowers on the vase.

I tried googling her and find her on LinkedIn. She can be reached regarding her sculptures, just message me. I want to photograph more of the sculptures in the yard, so I will have to plan another trip. Heads up, Amy, I am coming back.

Valentine

I am thinking of you
my love my valentine
on valentine’s day
at two in the morning

two to too
much to bear
I want to be a tiger
not an ox

disabled
but still strong
I settle into the traces
again

the load is placed
I look at my path
gather my strength
turn on my oxygen
and pull

no one expects
an ox on oxygen
to be able to pull

you don’t either

why do you think
so little of me
why do you scorn
what I do

when you return
you find
traces of the wagon wheels
on the ground

but once I am on the road
you can’t follow
you can’t find me
any more

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt slender, as in slender hope.

The photograph is neither an ox nor a tiger, but a sea lion, off of Marrowstone Island, Washington.

Dinosaurs got colds too

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2022-02-11/dolly-diplodocid-dinosaur-pneumonia-disease-respiratory-illness/100817258

Dolly the Dinosaur shows evidence of a respiratory infection: aka a “cold”. And a chronic cold. She died at age 15, about half way through her lifespan. I suspect a little guesswork there. Do old dinosaurs turn grey?

There are dinosaur bone changes in Dolly from chronic infection. The scientist posted photographs on the internet and other bone experts said, that is infection. That is evidence of respiratory infection. “A lot of the times when any disease or trauma is found in a dinosaur skeleton, it’s often in limb bones where you expect it to happen,” Dr Poropat said. “Seeing it where the air sacs penetrate the vertebrae in a sauropod is quite unusual.” Also, she didn’t die of volcanic ash: “Inhalation of volcanic ash can cause a disease similar to mesothelioma.” Who knew? I haven’t kept up on my dinosaur medicine. The pattern of lesions also didn’t fit with lung cancer. Instead, Dr Woodruff and his colleagues think bacterial or fungal infections such as chlamydiosis and aspergillosis are prime suspects. These respiratory infections are common in birds today. “We don’t know for sure if the infection was bad enough to ultimately do Dolly in.”

Dolly, with her long neck, had neck arthritis from a chronic cold. She thought it was allergies.

Coronoviruses are colds. We are have a pandemic of a really really nasty killer cold and a cold that is doing long term damage in way too many people. That seems hugely ironic to me. I thought it would be influenza. After flu nearly killed me in 2003 I read about it and have enormous respect for it. And influenza is endemic and is always circling the world, in the colder regions.

My ideas about allergies and asthma are changing. We define asthma by whether people respond to albuterol. I do not respond to albuterol so I do not have asthma. However, I respond to other adrenaline like molecules: coffee caffeine and terbutaline. So do I have an asthma like illness? My allergy testing in 2014 was resoundingly negative. I tested for celiac in 2020, because I just did not feel well. Negative. I have not retested yet, but even if that antibody testing is negative, it was gluten that flared up diverticulitis in me. The thing is, there could be other antibodies. Loads of them. We all make different ones.

I am thinking about tubulin. Tubulin powers our muscles and cilia and flagella. It is mitochondrial. We inherit mitochondria from the mother only: it is in the egg but not the sperm. Mitochondria is matrolineal. My son and daughter both have my mitochondria. I have a photograph of my maternal grandmother’s mother. Her expression is amazingly like my daughter’s expression when she is thinking. My daughter has my poor spelling skills, my attitude towards work, and her father’s muscular endurance. During college, her father’s goal was five sports a day. In high school my daughter said that she “just didn’t feel good” when the pool was closed. She was used to swimming 3-5 miles a day and lifting weights. Her father can get on a bicycle and ride at the speed of talking all day. He also has pioneered “jog golfing” in his area. When the golf course is empty in the winter, he plays golf and jogs from one hole to the next with his bag. Yes, he is nuts, I agree. I am jealous of that endurance.

The inheritance of antibodies would be from both parents, because they are made by the white blood cells. Do parents and children make the same antibodies or are they entirely different? I do not know that. I took an immunology course when I worked at NIH in the 1980s. I also had some immunology in medical school, but not nearly to the level that I am interested in now. I think I am hunting for a really good immunology course. And maybe more information about dinosaur medicine.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: thread. This post follows the thread of my thoughts this morning

pleasures

I put up the picture of my friends canoeing under simple pleasures.

Yet it isn’t that simple, right?

We have to get to the lake. My friends live in Virginia, I live in Washington State. I fly to Sault St Marie, US and they fly to Sault St Marie, Canada. I take a taxi across the border and meet them with their rental car. We drive to the Lake, after stopping for supplies. The motor boat is ready for us. There is no road to the cabin, we go by boat.

The canoe is a Penn Yan that belongs to my family. I don’t know how old it is. It is treasured and cared for carefully.

The family needs life jackets, paddles and instructions on getting in and out of the canoe. One friend is a very experienced kayaker, so he doesn’t need help. The other two are less experienced. Sun hats are found and put on.

We are not going that far. I will be in a second canoe, a very tippy small one. We have lunch with us and water.

Not so simple after all, but definitely pleasurable.

https://woodencanoemuseum.org/builder-history/penn-yan-boat-company

afraid or not?

Photo credit to Dr. W. Strang, with my camera. That is me in front of an truly amazing quartz crystal from Arkansas in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.

I was back in the DC area with my daughter, visiting my son and future daughter in law. Hopefully after this year I won’t say future any more. This is round three after two postponements due to Covid-19.

Dr. Strang and I wanted to go to the Smithsonian but we got snowed in. The Smithsonian was closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We went on Thursday. We got to the Museum of African American History and it was CLOSED. They were opening late, at one pm. It was 10:30.

We promptly diverted to the National Gallery, which opened at 11:00. We spent a good 3-4 hours there. We went back to Natural History. I worked in the shop there years ago and wanted to buy a rock. I was underwhelmed by the rocks available currently. More expensive and a lot less of them. On the other hand, I suppose there are only so many rocks.

What about fear? I chose fear for the Ragtag Daily Prompt today. I was not terribly afraid at the Smithsonian, but I was careful. After my fourth bad pneumonia last year, this time on oxygen for months, I did not want to get Covid-19. We have used fear before, but I think some words can be reused.

Damaged or blessed?

Am I damaged or blessed to have PANS?

Damaged because it has put me out six times? Four times with pneumonia, once with preterm labor, and once with mononucleosis. Plus getting really sick with strep A as a kid, an earache that had me crying with pain at age 8, coughs in medical school that would hang on for six weeks and not respond to albuterol. Only rest would help. A year this time and not better yet, 6 months out last time and then seven years working half time. In 2012 out two months. 2005 out two months. Preterm labor out 6 months. Mononucleosis: dropped ten pounds and did not feel better or gain it back for two months. How much income have I lost? A lot. Am I damaged?

Blessed because I am not dead? My sister dies of cancer at 49, my mother at 61, my mother’s father at 79. All three married people who had “anger issues”. And all three got cancer.

I think that they had anger that they could not reach.

I do not think that ALL cancer is buried, unexamined, unresolved anger. But I am starting to see a medical pathway that could lead from buried anger or other buried emotions to illness and death. The buried emotions are stressful. The body tries to hold the stress. The body works very hard at it. The conscious mind is not aware. This is the realm of the unconscious. The stress, the unresolved trauma, anger, grief, whatever, triggers antibodies. Heightened sympathetic nervous system, higher adrenaline and higher cortisol. Cortisol is the steroid system. Steroids help to lower inflammation but they also impair the immune system. The immune system is chronically suppressed, trashed, and then it can’t do its job. Anti lysoganglioside antibodies form and block the lysogangliosides. The lysogangliosides are supposed to clean house in the brain. They can’t clean house, they are paralyzed. And the brain forms plaques: dementia. Or some other antibody forms that blocks cancer removing cells in the immune system: and there it is. Cancer.

We all have cancer all the time, that our immune system is removing. That’s a little weird to think about, isn’t it? So we need healthy immune systems, we need the parasympathetic nervous system, we need to relax, we need to play, we need to laugh ourselves silly at stupid cat videos, we need to make ridiculous memes go viral on TikTok, we need to use the power of the internet to drive the cost of a share up just to fuck with the rich Bosses, because we are tired of them fucking us over.

So, says my sig other, or he who used to be. You need to avoid stress, in order to not get sick again.

Well. I stopped eating on Saturday a week ago and ate minimal calories and mostly high protein and fat. Because I was pretty sure he was breaking up with me. He felt the same about me. I was terrified when we walked two days ago, so I wore the dragon shirt. Most of all I wanted not to yell.

Neither of us yelled. We both listened. He doesn’t know why he has shut me out of three areas of his life, and the three most important ones. It isn’t me. He is aware that it is him. He was not really aware that he was doing it. I am trained to hide emotions, from childhood in my crazy family and then physicians are trained as well. I cry with patients sometimes, when we find that their cancer is back, or other things like that. The child dying. But I can hold a calm expression even when a person tells me that they are hearing voices telling them to kill themselves and would I please take out the antenna in their tooth. So I sat hard on my emotions for ten months. Until I thought the right time had come.

Even then, I did my best and screwed up. We’d opened up one thing and I thought the rest would be ok. I sent an email. Whoa, boy, it was NOT ok, and I got yelled at. I burst into tears. I didn’t feel like yelling at all, I was crushed. But it is ok, it had to come out. The Year of the Ox is almost over. I hope the Year of the Tiger is less horrible. But at the same time, I would not trade the time with him for anything.

Damaged or blessed? Cursed or blessed?

Both, I think. All of us.

I am submitting this to today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt, though it is not a hawk.

acoustic bicycle

Over KwanChunChrisSoliday, we discuss bicycles. We now have a plethora of electric bicycles, so we need a phrase that describes the “old” style bicycle. We came up with acoustic or analog. I like acoustic bicycle, because it sings.

My friend B-from-Arlington (BfA): “But they don’t make noise.” He didn’t approve of either idea.

“Well, we had spoke bells, and playing cards. My bikes make noise.” Sometimes it’s me making it.

We are riding on a rails to trails path in Northern Virginia. Seven of us and me on oxygen. It’s only my second bike ride since March 2021, when my lungs fell apart. We are all on acoustic bicycles.

I feel pretty strong for most of it, 14.5 miles. It seems flat, though it is a very gentle downgrade, until the last 0.5 mile, which is gently up hill. Oh, my lungs don’t like that bit at all and by now my muscles are saying Why are we doing this? I am relieved when we get to the coffee shop destination. Three of us will stay there, while the other four will ride back and get the cars. I hang out with K-f-A, BfA’s spouse, and their son. Their son examines my phone, asks why it has four camera eyes. I have no idea, so he proceeds to figure it out. We play with the slow motion camera for a while.

We know what a penny farthing is, and safety bicycles and tricycles. The early safety bicycles did not have brakes and had wooden rims and wooden spokes. My brother outlaw has one, from the 1880 or 90s. Another friend collects penny farthings and has one that is entirely of cast iron. It would be a little bumpy and the seat is pretty hard. It is also massively heavy. So now we add acoustic bicycles to the electric ones.

Go, google, spread the word.

________________________________

Dang, others have come up with it too. Traditional bicycle sounds too fogey.
https://www.reddit.com/r/ebikes/comments/hp2l30/can_we_please_stop_calling_traditional_bicycles/
https://www.bikebiz.com/what-shall-we-call-the-non-electrified-bicycle/