The New Old Time Chautauqua

Funny how our brains work. I think of going to the other computer and then think I will look in this one for a moment. I have photographs from years past of the New Old Time Chautauqua. I open the file of Nikon photographs. There are 28 subfiles. I go to July 2018. At the end of the file, here is this motley parade. The New Old Time Chautauqua with our local Unexpected Brass Band and Other Friends.

I didn’t “know” that these photographs were even on this laptop. At least, not consciously. These are taken at the fairgrounds, August 11, 2018, in Port Townsend, Washington.

The New Old Time Chautauqua is the last one on the road. They are fundraising to go work and play with the Blackfoot Confederacy in Canada and the US. There are too many people dying from fentanyl, so the Chautauqua is part of the healing process. They are fundraising as they hit the road. I wish all of them the best.

And here is the Unexpected Brass Band at THING last year. You can hear them even if you can’t see them!

To donate to the New Old Time Chautauqua, go here. No, I mean back there. Right.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: Chautauqua.

Tea with a friend

I have a friend over for tea on Thursday.

I make Katy B’s fruit torte, recipe here. Katherine Burling was my maternal grandmother.

The friend worked with me for five years and is surviving lung cancer. She has one of the new treatments. She gets an infusion every three weeks. “For the rest of my life.” she says, but they may come up with something new eventually. She feels pretty terrible after the infusion for a few days.

I use this tea set. I love this set. It says Rose China, Japan, on the bottom. What I like best is that the lid of the teapot has the roof of the pagoda, to line up before I pour. There are six plates, but only three cups and saucers. The sugar bowl and creamer are intact.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: tea.


Naps are for the very young, then we forget
or scorn naps for years. We think of those who nap
as old when we are 8 or 10 or 20, still wet
behind the ears. Once we climb down from the laps
of those who try to teach us about the whirled
and we’ve mastered running free, we fight the time for bed.
My son would cry right before the pearled
evening would close his eyes, fighting sleep with dread.
He might miss a fun filled happening. We run
fast and learn until we reach an age or illness where we tire
and fall asleep in day on a couch in spite of sun.
Wake climbing out of sleep like from the ocean or swampy mire. Our children now make fun of us, they fill the gaps,
as we have reached the age where we once again need naps.


I took the photograph from a train in 2017, going from Edmonds, Washington, to Chicago.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: nap.


If control is the goal
this is not love.
If I listen to others
yet don’t share myself,
this is not love.
If you hoard information about others,
this is not love.
If I reject people I can’t control,
this is not love.

If you have to be the smartest,
this is not love.
If I have to know the most,
this is not love.
If you keep everything secret,
this is not love.
If I share nothing with others,
this is not love.

Is it fear that keeps me from loving?
Is it anger that keeps you from loving?
Is it hate that keeps me from loving?
What keeps us from loving?


The flowers float like gold petillant bubbles in the woods, their crackling too soft for my human ears.

I think this is a berry, but I’m not sure. It is on an old farm in Quilcene, gone wild. There is a cherry tree and four rhododendrons, an old chicken coop and an apple tree. Salmonberries and this. What is it?

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: petillant.

Toothsome Devil

I am Elwha.

I am a toothsome devil, young, muscular, handsome. I am sixteen pounds of muscle, a tiger cat, ISO of wonderful lady. DON’T get confused by my sister in the photograph. She likes to lean on me sometimes, especially when Mother is gone. Mother has been home, thank goodness. She goes out in the nasty car, but comes back by nighttime. It has been hot this week. She slept in the basement bed one night. My sister and I were a bit worried, it was different and confusing, but she apparently doesn’t have our heat tolerance. We loll in the upstairs when we want the heat.

Contact me, babes. I am in my prime and want to meet the lady cats.


For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: toothsome.

Working theory

I attended two Zoom one hour programs on Long Covid this week.

Thursday from the University of Arizona, 330 people logged on, hard science with thirty minutes of information about Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. They said 17% of the population, which is huge, if it’s correct. This is not mastocytosis, the cancer. This is the immune system going rather batshit. Though I would frame it differently, as the immune system fighting a really difficult battle.

Friday from the University of Washington. I don’t know how many were logged on. This was at a much more aimed right at the physicians level. People sent in questions and they collated and gave answers. They promised to answer some of the questions later on. My question was whether a high Adverse Childhood Experience Score predisposed to Mast Cell Activation and they did not address that.

So mast cells apparently can produce over 1000 different signals: cytokines, histamines, proteases and I don’t know what all. They are all over our bodies (are you creeped out? I am a little.) near the boundaries: skin, nose, gastrointestinal tract, genitals. They produce different signals depending on what is happening. The Thursday researcher basically said that they could affect nearly any system in the body.

I’ve heard of mastocytosis and even had a patient with it, but Mast Cell Activation Syndrome was barely on my radar. I am not sure if 17% of the population is at risk or has it. It is tricky to diagnose, because the best lab test is a rather tricky and rare one, and it is sort of an orphan illness: few doctors know about it and it does not fit neatly into any specialties. Patients have seen an average of ten specialists before they get diagnosed. Hmmm. Sounds familiar.

This researcher has a ton of papers out, that I have not started reading yet. MCAS is implicated in Ehlers-Danlos, a connective tissue disease and in ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome) as well as POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) and can get triggered by Covid-19. Well.

The good thing is that treatment is quieting the sympathetic nervous system to let the parasympathetic take over. The sympathetic is the fight or flight hyper one. Parasympathetic is the rest, relax, mellow out, slow heart rate, blood pressure down, digestion and quiet one. I think United States culture is crazy fight or flight most of the time (We’re number one!– so what?) and the pandemic has put the whole world into fight or flight mode. Crazy.

Back in Family Medicine residency, 1993-96, I had a number of ME/CFS, chronic fatigue patients. They tended to be hyper sensitive to medicines and have all sorts of symptoms which were fluid and changable and difficult to pin down. What I noticed though is that many of them had been super high acheivers or working multiple jobs or crazy high stress, until they hit some sort of wall. Often an infection but not always. The ones I saw wanted to go back to working 18 hours a day. I said, “Um, that’s how you got this, I do not think that is a good goal.” This often pissed people off. Even back then, I thought that chronic fatigue was a body reset, where the body rebels, some sort of switch is thrown, and people rest whether they want to or not. Some do recover but it can take ages. The Thursday speaker seems to think it’s the mast cells doing this.

The UW speakers were careful. They said we do not know how long Long Covid lasts. One said they do not like to diagnose POTS, because POTS is usually permanent and the Long Covid tachycardia usually resolves. They are seeing people who got sick 2-3 years ago and are still sick, but they also have people who have recovered in 9-12 months. They do not know if patients are entirely recovered or whether there will be other problems later. They also aren’t sure that the chronic fatigue like symptoms are the same as the rest of the ME/CFS. Remember when dementia was Alzheimer’s? Now there are all sorts of different dementia diagnoses, Lewy body, frontotemporal, Huntington’s, stroke dementia, alcoholic dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and others. When I was in residency, we had hepatitis A, hepatitis B and non A non B. Now we are up to G or beyond. Medicine changes and it’s moving as fast as possible for both acute Covid-19 and Long Covid.

The mast cell reasearcher talked about getting the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems back in balance. I think maybe we ALL need that. Every person in the whole world. One way to quiet the sympathetic nervous system is to slow your breathing. Try it. For five minutes, or three minutes. Slow breath in for a count of four or five and slow breath out for a count of five. Let your brain roam around and fuss, but let go of each thought as it passes by and return to counting and breathing.

Slow in, slow out.

Practice and heal.


The musicians are Johnathan Doyle and a friend. They were fabulous, last Tuesday at the Bishop Hotel.