Avery Milieu Writes

September 30

Ashfall

Mostly, it is light and fluffy, scattered – resembling the condensation of atmospheric moisture in the extreme cold of sub zero temperatures…Little specks of white riding the air currents. Except it’s 70 out today and these specks drift on the air. They do not accumulate into drifts and piles but might settle on leaves.
Mostly.
Yesterday was another story. There were notable chunks on my car in the morning.
It was another occasion of twilight orange skies. Not cheerfully orange, but dull dirty orange louring over us and gradually paling as the smoke sank down between the hills filling the ravines and river valleys to choke us all out.

Birds have vanished. Anything that could migrate out has done so, somewhat earlier than usual. I heard a plaintive mourning dove, last of the local summer flock, gasping from a low branch, I watched and listened to a pair of Ravens (my favorite local bird) croaking and choking and complaining from low branches in a nearby big leaf maple, barely visible through the smoke. Ravens don’t do lower altitudes in this neighborhood, but the air is so bad it’s driving them down the hills. The survivors have headed to the river in hopes of fresher air. I wish them well.
In previous years I’ve found and buried the tiny bats that crawled under my front door searching for sanctuary and oxygen as they died… Broke my heart every time.
Different home this time. No bats – possibly no bats left. Let’s not dwell on this point, since even birds in flight are dropping from the skies, likely from carbon monoxide poisoning and lack of oxygen.

My car has been loaded (half loaded, really) since September 9, the first morning we woke to the looming skies of hell. I’m still on hold, cooking in half my kitchen, living out of a suitcase and prepared at a moment’s notice to break down the computer, load up the electric toothbrush and stuff them into the car with a cooler of food and my bag of “important papers”, the rest of my clothes and laundry. At that point in time I was five miles and the width of the freeway from an Evacuation Alert, expecting the winds to blow that flaming monster over a couple of ridges and into my back yard inside a day or so. It hasn’t happened (yet), the winds shifted and we had a reprieve. Just smoke and ashfall.
I haven’t been walking, stopped the Pilates/Yoga routine for a week because breathing deeply wasn’t advised and breathing is part of the routine.
As it is, I have days when breathing deeply is not a viable option and I know it because I’m wheezing before I get out of bed. Looking out the door on those mornings I can see the specks of ash dusting my environment, but I cannot see the hills around me. I can see the trees closest to me and possibly the row of trees behind them, but the hills beyond are grey shadows if they show at all. The sun is a red glowing ember on the other side of the muck in the air. Many days it is as easy to look at with unprotected eyes as a full moon. And the waxing moon has been an ember in the blackness, bright orange but without giving anything like illumination to the darkness.
Once it cleared for a few days and I saw a star in the night and the moon (barely past new) was a silver sliver. I walked to the Post Office a few times when it was mostly clear. Not this week, though.
Orange skies and then dense pinkish grey fog. I am grateful for the marine fog that comes up the river with the tides because the humidity seems to condense the smoke from the air, keep this area a bit cooler and more moist. Less likely to burn.

I hate living this way. After the first week of being on hold I unloaded the Spooky and set it up to run again if only for the detox programs. I keep the boxes close, but I decided that if it took me 30 minutes instead of 15 to bug out, so what? Not like there is anywhere to go when I leave.
Too many people have lost homes from this. In the smoke drift I can smell the burning houses, tar paper and insulation, plastics and paints sending up their own toxic stew of chemicals to add to the damage being done to anything that breathes.
In addition to COVID and the economic situation, we now have the stress of communities burning and the fear of losing more than just a few days, but our homes and what’s left of our livelihoods. Local pundits and officials are starting to notice an increase of suicides and extreme behavior that results in injuries and death. Fear is a palpable and contagious thing, and even the most cheerful perspectives cannot counteract the spread.

“We are surviving but we’re not living.” is what people are saying. I tend to agree.

And I can’t stop those fires. I sang rain chants and the promised rain went north to wash the fire from the air in Oregon and Washington where the locals aren’t yest accustomed to the disorder of wildfires every summer. The firestorms in the hills behind me are not the least bit daunted by this and continue to rage on despite the best efforts of hundreds of dedicated firefighters. Bravest people I’ve ever known…
Still, PG$E is somewhat concerned and after a “whoops” (unplanned) outage the other day, we are now being notified that we’ll have a public safety shutdown today, with a restart sometime after midnight. Hasn’t happened yet today, but at least they warned us, eh?

Ah well. Such is life. The sun is actually shining this afternoon, sickly watery yellow light gasping it’s way through the clouds. I might rinse my car today once this is uploaded, take off a layer of the ashes.
In the end it won’t do any good, there will be more of the stuff snowing down tomorrow.

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Plagued.

July29

Well, that was interesting.

Two runs to town at the beginning of July – about a week apart, the first one was the last day of June.

The community was “opening up” and some businesses were back, seemed I could go into town masked as I had been since February and maybe find other places to shop.
Neither trip was eventful and some of it was planning, looking to see what was available, what stores were open and the like before I spent the last of my budgeted monthly discretionary spending money on my son’s birthday. Thought I’d get him a steak as a gift from the dogs as I’d already purchased a bird feeder for the porch as a gift from the cat.

That third trip didn’t happen.

I started feeling – the word is weak – for a number of days before the proposed shopping adventure. Nothing really, easy to write off, but after three days I wasn’t wearing ankle weights to do Pilates and I’d written the Planking variations out of the sequence as too much work for the reward. I was considering changing up the routine and one morning I looked at the floor where I usually work out and went for the coffee instead.
That’s a bad sign, if I go for the coffee first.
No energy. No strength.
Breaking my promises…
The next day my small intestine did it’s own exercise routine. It went spasm and relax on me. Painfully. All day and into the night. And it got squirty (TMI, sorry). The brain fog set in while I was trying to decide what to do about this intestinal aberration and my normally low body temperature rose slightly.
Lower than conventional normal body temps don’t have to hit 100 degrees F. to be a fever. If I hit 98.6 it’s a full two degrees over my morning normal. I was hovering between 98.4 and 99.0, standing in the Hot July afternoon sun shivering.
“Not going to town this week”, I said, and I went back to bed, so to speak. When the small intestine stopped it’s dance routine the colon picked it up and then my stomach. I hate wasting food like that. But since everything smelled odd, nothing tasted right and I wasn’t hungry much anyway, not a lot of food got wasted. Which is a good thing because I’ve been more or less housebound since early July. Shopping for groceries has not been an option and I really don’t have anyone I’d send out with my bank card to do the shopping. I didn’t have the energy to hike the short distance to the local post office, so I waited until the postmistress was gone and drove down to check my mail, masked and gloved. Four times since early July. I let my dishes go for days – not that the pile got especially large in the interim – because I didn’t have the energy or focus to wash them. I frustrated over the distiller (and WON that match!) which meant I didn’t have to worry about the shrinking supply of plastic wrapped water, just needed make sure there were gallon jugs full of tap water to distill.
I took a lot of naps, couldn’t make my brain focus for almost a week. Opened files that I intended to write on and couldn’t follow the narrative which I knew had been clearly laid out. I got bored with everything, unable to follow for more than about five minutes before I lost track of it.
I masked and gloved to go into the main house when it was necessary, and I maintained the garden and fed the fish piecemeal, so to speak, doing ONE SMALL CHORE at a time. Then I’d sit and try to get my breath.
I was having moments that felt asthmatic, unable to inhale completely, not gasping but pushing air into my lungs and holding it. Emphysema was the word that came to mind. COPD was another term that I was using to myself. So I practiced the breathing exercise that the British medics were recommending in March: Inhale deeply, pushing air in as far as it goes, expanding the lungs fully and then holding the air in (again the sense of pushing it down to the bottom) for a five count and exhaling ALL of it, to the wheezing and empty stages, then push a bit more out. Repeat five times. On the sixth the hold is brief and the exhale is an explosive cough to empty the lungs entirely, all the way down to the wheezing, empty stage again. Repeat the cycle. But don’t try it standing up.
In truth, I’ve been breathing this way for half a century and more because it’s the way pot smokers have traditionally smoked joints. Inhale deep, hold it, exhale deeply and cough, repeat. This version omits the herbal component of the process, that’s all.
I can remember, back in the late 60s, when weed was frequently unavailable, a friend and I would pretend to smoke, alternating ‘hits’ and exhales back and forth until we were both giddy.
But I had to sit and rest, catch my breath a lot. I felt Very Old.
My muscle tone went flabby. My food cravings took over because I didn’t have an appetite and I was starting to consume honey and coconut sugar in quantities somewhat larger than usual. Not a good sign.
I also endured muscle cramps throughout my body, felt the various organ systems of my body light up and ache (or just hurt) as the Plague moved through, looking for purchase. When my daughter was three she got Mumps. I hadn’t had them either and so we had them together. Mump rhymes with Grump and we were both surly and grumpy in those weeks while I watched the infection move from lymph node cluster to lymph node cluster through my body. They’d get uncomfortably warm and ache as the virus moved through my system.
I’d been there before, so when it happened this time I wasn’t too surprised… Pokes in the liver, aches around the spleen and pancreas, gripping in one kidney or the other, an occasional stab in the heart (this is still a thing, by the way) reminiscent of when I got a GreenRoom Crud in 2012 that caused a Cardiomyopathy (ie: it settled in my heart instead of my lungs). I knew what to do about that when it started this time, I’ve been there before. Raw Onions. Raw Garlic. These are blood thinners. I made sure I got a lot of alliums in my daily meal. Lucky for me I had a supply of sweet Vidalias because they are in season.
I was drenched in sweat all night, as my body tried to throw off the virus. My dreams were vivid and uncomfortable, not well remembered, which is best, I’m sure.
This went on for ten days and then faded slowly. Is still fading.
No more night sweats. Temp is at summer normal (it lizards up a bit when the ambient temperature is over 80 in the daytime) with no shivering. Slight increase of energy and I’m back to the Pilates again after almost three weeks off. No leg weights. Yesterday evening I walked to the Post Office and back. Slowly. But I did it.
And all the while I’ve been listening to Frequency sets which specifically target the COVID-19 virus. When my temperature popped up I’d run the noise for an hour and the temp would drop again. If I neglected to run it (too tired to sit with the headset on) symptoms would increase. So I ended up looping it as background music and sleeping with it on. Not much different than my usual Space Music, but much less aesthetically appealing. Yesterday and today I am running the usual exercise loops. I’ve done the Pilates and Yoga without the Planking and weights. Those will come in time, I’m sure, but for now I’m glad to be doing it at all, even if it does delay my coffee in the morning.
My supply of produce is nearly gone. Garden lettuce is bolting and nothing else I can eat is ready to harvest, so it’s time to assume I’m better and mask up for a shopping run. Likely I was shedding viral matter the last time I went to town and I’m glad I was masked. I had a mild version and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Well – I admit I have a Schadenfreude list of folks I’d LOVE to see get Really Sick, but it’s no one I actually know and mostly I’d like the world to be healthy and happy and strong. So. Mask and gloves and social distancing.
And NO. I won’t be getting tested. Not until they offer antibody testing locally. Had I made an appointment to get tested at the community testing site when I first got sick (it’s an hour’s drive to get to it) I’d have had to make an appointment three weeks in advance just to wait in line to be tested. In short, I’d just be getting tested this week and the results would be ten days to three weeks in process.
I WASN’T SICK ENOUGH FOR IMMEDIATE TESTING. (For the record – I’ve been a LOT sicker than I was this month and I figure I got off easy.) I have no doubt I’m not the only individual in this region who has made that same choice. The little laser thermometers aren’t able to pick up a fever if the person being tested doesn’t run standard, conventional body temps. I have nearly half a century of having to argue and explain the situation to medics who already Know Everything and automatically assume I’m exaggerating or looking for attention, a mere female being a hypochondriac in a medical emergency situation. BAH! No sense going in unless I’m bleeding or obviously broken. I wasn’t. And they don’t like to deal with exceptions to their precious (and not always correct) educational conventions. Since these conventions have nearly killed me more than once, I feel justified in my reluctance to let the AMA have any control over my body.
It’s why I used Rife Frequencies to deal with my bowel cancers. It’s why I didn’t take my cardiomyopathy in back in 2012. I wasn’t bleeding or broken and I knew it would mean an argument with another know-it-all medic who only understands the patterns they were taught, nothing outside the paradigm. They’d have tried to poison me.
But I’m back. Mostly. I expect the rest of the return will happen eventually, but I don’t have a lot of years left to wait. I’ll be working on it. And while I’ll mask as I have done, I’m somewhat less concerned about catching the Plague. It seems I’ve been there and done that.

From the SF Gate, July 28, 2020:
https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/COVID-19-symptoms-clusters-illness-type-15437380.php

The videos I played, specifically:

Pretty music, not bad for a background loop. From Sapien Medicine:
https://youtu.be/RWtYBbOSEQ8

This one is inaudible, mostly, same range as my tinnitus, just loop and ignore. From Spooky2:
https://youtu.be/c-3DYD_vtRk

This one is also from Spooky2. More recent and I can hear it squealing:
https://youtu.be/72U6eipJdr4

Be safe. Be Well. Don’t forget to get Vitamin D in quantity – supplement if necessary. The studies demonstrated a correlation between Low Vit D levels and Severe cases of Covid. Caution is required with Vit D because it’s fat soluble and can build up, creating toxic conditions which permanently damage kidneys and liver. Take the recommended dose and no more, the idea is to have optimal values over a long term.

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Water Works

July 12

birdbath fountain

I was going to send the blasted thing back.
Mercury went Direct.
I decided to keep it.
After a frustrating period of adjustment I finally figured it out.

The problem had several sources and I had to eliminate each one before I could operate the appliance correctly. And likely it wasn’t the product itself since all the available models seem to be identical except for company logo decals and small matters of trim, external details, like the outer body of the machine (plastic in colors or stainless), peripheral accessories… Looked to me, when I did the research, that they were all made to the same design at the same factory in China. K Cars for the kitchen.
Replacing it with a more traditional model would have doubled the appliance cost.
SO…
Since replacement wasn’t really going to be the option and elimination of the new tool would leave me with the status quo… I faced a dilemma.

But let’s take this back a few months.
Or a few years.
A decade or three, even.

I can’t drink the chemical stew that comes from the taps. Can’t. Headaches are not a viable option for daily wear. Even the best water filters turn out to be mold factories (not healthy for me) and require frequent expensive replacements to avoid this.
Frequent and Expensive are an issue for me. And there was the problem of a no faucet to attach it to…
So I resorted to buying gallons and gallons of steam distilled water to meet my daily gallon-a-day habit. Plus tea, coffee and cooking water. That comes to $1.00 a day for drinking water (plus change). Add on another half gallon a day on average (I figure ten to twelve gallons a week total) and it includes piles and piles of plastic water bottles. It also entails driving miles and miles to several communities to find a store with gallons and gallons of distilled water. Living in a rural area, this could be a problem.
Correction: IS a problem.
Finding the plastic wrapped water and then huffing the bottles to the car and then my kitchen, creating storage for a back log against the times (more frequent than makes me comfortable) when shipping to this isolated region becomes limited (weather, fires, traffic accidents blocking the few roads into the region) or the supply itself has more demands than the suppliers can fill – all represented stresses I’d rather not deal with. Not over something as basic as water.
A “home distillation unit” was suggested several times. I finally researched the products available. Ten years ago there were two models you could buy. Both large, awkward to place in any kitchen with limited counter space and costly to operate. Currently, there is another model widely available. Takes up a bit more space than your blender and delivers the water to a jug you can remove for your refrigerator or somewhere. They were priced at about the same level of most decent home food dehydration units. Like the dehydrator, they run on 750 watts with a heater and a fan. That concept I can deal with, I like my dehydrator. So I selected one and put it on my wish list. I opted for the “more-organic-than-thou” glass jug over the “safe” plastic variety and that raised the cost by some. Since it was on my wish list, a dearly beloved and very generous friend bought it for me before I could budget the $100 and something to buy it myself.
Well. Mercury was Retrograde. A mistake to make major purchases when Mercury is Retro. It arrived surprisingly fast and I was immediately wary of it. Yeah, that Retrograde stuff plays out in my life and I try not to leave any gaps for it to move into. A new, unfamiliar appliance is one of those gaps. I disinfected the box it came in. Let it wait a day and then disinfected the inner box as well. Just in case. The Plague is everywhere and I really don’t want it in my life. Mercury was Retro, what can go wrong will. Retro Mercury is Murphy on Steroids.
Set it up on the third day and walked around it for another day or so. Had a nose wrinkling smell like plastic and industrial solvents. I figured it needed some fresh California air while I read the instructions, a gold mine of creative syntax and awkward translations including the advice that one needed to use appropriate manners to open the unit if it was still warm.
Plus the instruction to DISCARD THE FIRST TWO GALLONS YOU DISTILL because this is necessary to clean out the cooling coil. Sure. I can do that. The first two gallons smelled like industrial waste. Discarded them and tried again.
Same result.
And again.
And again…
Six times. Then I added a cup or so of vodka to the water to see if some basic solvent (alcohol) would hasten the process.
Was worse than ever!
“MAYBE the problem is something that doesn’t distill out”, it was suggested. “There are things that will vaporize and re-condense with the water instead of remaining in the boiling chamber.” This came from someone with a job in a lab doing distillations to extract terpines at different temperatures.
So I tried distilling purchased distilled water. Two half gallon loads. The second one didn’t smell as bad as the first one so I tried tap water again.

UGH!
At this point I’m cleaning it up to send it back.
In the spout of the unit, where the water emerges, there is a space to add a bag of activated charcoal. It comes pre-loaded with a few spares and instructions to replace the filter bag every month or so. This is to remove the VOCs that evaporate and condense with the water. Gee, I missed that in the instructions, I guess. I pulled the soggy thing out (rude to send it back still wet) and sniffed it.

Ugh.
Wait a minute. Oh.
So I changed the bag and decided to run it one more time. That’s when I solved the second apparent problem.
Filled my pyrex bowl instead of the usual bucket from a tap that has an “RV water filter” on it. Saw that what was coming out was sort of foamy and soapy looking. Hadn’t noticed that before in the bucket. Couldn’t recall when the filter was changed last (this is not my responsibility and I don’t keep track) and so I dumped the water, went into the house and drew water from the house taps instead.

((At this point I should digress and explain that I don’t live in a conventional house. Running water doesn’t happen in my kitchen. I have work arounds, I’ve survived for over four years and it’s just Normal Country Living most of the time. While I often daydream about conventional plumbing, I’ve lived over a quarter of a century in this lifetime (more than a third of it) without a flush toilet – just figure I’ve gotten used to it. And I would like a sink in my kitchen, a sink with a DRAIN to take water away. But I’m not complaining. I have a roof that doesn’t leak, insulation, electricity, a refrigerator, internet, privacy and this year I graduated to a REAL propane stove instead of a camp stove in my kitchen.))

So I filled a couple of used distilled water bottles (plastic wrapped water) and brought them out to run through the Machine (Eventually it will get named, I’m sure.)
Oddly, the result of that batch wasn’t what I was used to finding when the machine shut off.
It still smells like hot steel and electricity for a while, but there is no VOC smell, no industrial waste.
It tested “good” with a pendulum and I body dowsed it, took a taste…
I won’t be sending the Machine back. I’ve decided to stick with what I have instead of hoping another machine will be less a P.I.T.A factor or continuing with the plastic water purchase and storage process. I have a few bottles in reserve against power outages, and I have a Very Strict rule about NOT running it during the afternoons and evening when the power rates go up. The end result is distilled water at a slightly less cost per gallon than the plastic wrapped stuff with less total environmental impact (like shipping and bottle production and Big Corporations like Nestle that sell water they steal from the state.) I pay a fee (ostensibly a deposit) for the container and then still I have to recycle the plastic. The price almost doubles if you run the machine during the high rate hours, but, as I said, that’s easy enough to avoid.

I’ll be running about two gallons a day through it, most days. One of those will be keeping my hot-pot happy.
A Winter gift. This is a counter-top equivalent of the Bunn hot water units in restaurants. I retired my electric tea kettle – I have warm water on demand without any delay. I turn it down to tepid when the rates go up… Since I rarely drink cold water, this is another boon in my primitive kitchen. The rest goes into gallon glass jugs or the two and a half gallon glass jar with a spigot that I use as storage for unheated drinking water.

But I decided to keep the distiller.
Mercury went Direct. IF I change my mind, I have until the end of the month to return it, so it’s not set in stone, but give me a week without frustration and I doubt I’ll send it back as long as it runs.
I rather like not having to go in search of water. It’s not an adventure, it’s a chore I’ll be happy to do without.

Now back to my Story. Esme is shuffling her cards, AliceD is having A Discussion with her Goldwater Republican Mother which will not mend any fences. I’m still researching the Trips Festival (tripping hippies do not document coherently) and wishing I knew someone with the capacity (and interest) to draw me up a floor plan for The House.

But Mercury has gone direct. Things will sort themselves out, eventually.

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July 1, 2020

Small Library
SOME of them. I really can’t resist the Pretties.

For the past two years I’ve watched Tarot Readers on YouTube. I prefer political readers. I have favorites, some make me laugh, some are always spot on and some have conversations with the cards.I know the cards, still have my first deck from over half a century ago, but I’m not especially fluent with them any more – maybe never really was – and to write Esme, I needed to be fluent, or at least able to model it. Two years is a LOT of research time, I’ve increased the size of the pile of decks I own. Can’t resist pretties… But I don’t read for myself, much. Used to. In the late 60s and early 70s, my decks would go to parties with me – Oh! The Party Days. Fool that I was – and I did readings for almost anyone, just sat there and “read the room”, shuffling cards. Someone always asked.
Long time ago…
This is the third part or introduction of The House. The first part was posted here (scroll down past the poetry) if you missed it. Keep in mind this is still being written and edited… And this is the beginning of Esme’s chapter, more to come.
Enjoy.

March 1966.
Esme

Cat is on the fire escape outside the third floor apartments. There is a cushion left there for him and he shows his appreciation by using it. Today he is listening to the sound of cards shuffling, a well used deck of 78 cards snapping into place like teeth on a zipper as thumbs release the pressure at the sides of each half of the deck.Then tapping the bottom ends on the table to align them before dividing the deck with a swish and doing it again.
Esme is reading the cards…
Generally, Esme finds this process soothing, cut – zip – tap-tap and then cut again. Her hands know the dance and it leaves her mind unoccupied, open to the things that moved unseen.
Cut – Zip – Tap-tap. And again, Cut – Zip – Tap-tap. Her movements are more forceful than necessary, she notes, the Cut is more a snatch, the Zip is fast, abrupt, almost slapping the cards together, and the Taps sound like impatient smacks on the table. This must be very hard on the cards, she thought. The force I’m applying will bend them and damage the edges. She attempted to control the emotions pulsing inside her.
Mostly it was rage at an attempted sexual imposition, but there was disappointment and concern for her future. Andrew had decided to sell Second Sight Books, retreating into retirement. His announcement in November was not all that unexpected, but his choice for a new owner was. Esme wouldn’t have taken over the store even if offered it, because it was all inventory and bookkeeping, fussy details to distract from what she was there to do – read Tarot and give advice on ritual use of herbs – so it wasn’t jealousy over the choice that ignited her ire, it was that he was convinced to sell out to a greedy and malicious woman who could not be trusted or reasoned with. Full of herself, Estelle LeGrande (Esme wondered if this was a given name or a chosen one) could be courted and flattered and she might seem loyal to those who were generous with blandishments and bribes – but only if she thought there was some benefit to her. Having worked in the shop for a decade before the change of ownership didn’t count for much in the face of a new management looking to profit and impress, not further knowledge and provide customer satisfaction.
Esme hadn’t needed the cards to read this.
The Knight of Cups (often in a reversed position) that kept slipping from the deck recently was clearly the man considered her personal consort, Kenneth Richard Aken – a man who introduced himself using his full name followed by, “Just call me Dick, I’m sure we’ll be great friends.”. K.R.Aken, Dick, had wandering hands that also dipped into the till when he thought no one was looking. Except Esme had been and he saw her watching.
Esme had a feeling she was being set up… The same cards kept appearing in readings: Seven of Swords – strategy and deceit. Ten of Swords – betrayal and an ending of the matter. Queen of Swords reversed – cruel injustice, never to be trusted, likely a bitch. Plus that oily Knight of Cups in reverse – insincere offers and possibly a sexual imposition – in this case not possibly, but in fact. He was too free with his hands. She didn’t damage him, quite. The readings generally ended with the Tower – sudden changes, not always ones you’d choose.
While her mind drifted, the Cut – Zip – Tap-tap stopped of it’s own accord. Esme never really made that choice, but her hands always knew when to shift to throwing the cards, shuffling them from hand to hand almost idly. The sound was a soft slicing as she held the deck loosely in her left hand and cut the cards with her right hand to drop them back into the deck in small, random clusters.
Eventually a card would fall out and it would reflect her thoughts or the circumstances.
The Tower fell.
That’s about right, Esme thought. Is it necessary to fall with it?
Slipping the escaped card back into the deck she resumed throwing the cards until another one dropped out.
Eight of Cups. Walk away? Obviously, but where?
Throwing the cards hand to hand, over and over looking for something coherent. Reading for others was easier than reading for herself. Her own energy got in the way, her desires and concerns crowded out the Voices that spoke through the cards. The ability to separate from any personal circumstances was a requirement to read the cards (or any other oracle) and much more difficult when the subject of the reading was oneself.
Eight of Wands. Immediate action, no delay.
Should I leave San Francisco?
The Hanged Man. Delays or change of perspective.
Not this week, I guess, but what is next for me? What am I going to do for a living?
Seven of Cups. Too many choices. Illusions and fantasies.
That doesn’t answer my question.
Four of Cups – Dissatisfaction, ennui and offers that are refused, or should be. With the Three of Cups – Celebration, party, like minds working together – dropping out at the same time.
Well that’s Seven Cups again, isn’t it – and if I’m not taking your advice it’s because I can’t tell what it is!
The Fool is the next card to fall out.
Are you calling me names or telling me to try something new?
Ace of Wands drops out.
OK. Something new.
Four of Cups again. Make someone an offer or wait until one is made to me?
Nine of Cups. Content, satisfaction and frequently an affirmative answer.
Then Three of Pentacles, consultation, contracting labor, work done by group efforts, being paid for services.
On the bottom of the deck was the Seven of Cups again. Illusion. Esme is exasperated with the circular readings. Cat calling from below her half opened window where he had been napping on the cushion she left out was a welcome distraction.
“Yes, you may enter, Cat called Solace.”
Cat hopped up to the window sill and into the room, coming to sit by her low stool, looking up, ostensibly at her.
“I suppose you want something to eat,” Esme said conversationally while wondering, as always, what the cat could actually see with those crossed eyes. Auras, spirits and ghosts, she imagined. She collected the cards to put them away as Cat jumped into her lap and patted at the deck in her hands.
Out of curiosity, Esme placed the deck face down and fanned it, spreading it flat on the table. “What do you have to say?” she questioned.
Cat patted five cards in all, waiting each time as she pulled them out before patting another. She turned them face up Four of Wands, Knight of Wands, Temperance, High Priestess and Three of Cups.
Arranging them as a simple five card cross in the order they were drawn, she put the Four of Wands in the center, the Knight below it, Temperance on the left, the High Priestess above and Three of Cups on the right.
After a few minutes study she looked at Cat and then back at the cards before laughing silently, a soundless chuckle, at the differences of perspective between the feline and the human view.
Four of Wands – A joyous event, a change of house or changes in the home. Operative word here is House or Home.
Obviously the House where they lived. There are no other cards in the Tarot which would imply that, and for Cat, who lived in the present, it would be the center of a reading from his perspective.
Beneath it, so to speak, living in the basement apartment is Kilo, a Knight with restraint, bearing messages and opportunities. Above the house was the High Priestess, a keeper of secrets, source of wisdom.
“You flatter me, Blue Eyes.” She stroked Cat’s head and got a small rumbled purr in response. “But I suppose it’s true enough and I live at the top of the house.”
Temperance, a protective angel seeking balance and moderation, was very much how she had been living recently. The Three of Cups, a celebration – shown often as three women dancing together with wine goblets in hand – suggested she might need to socialize a bit to get her answers.
The scent of burning marijuana drifted in through her window. There was a joint going around on the fire escape below which meant the Kilo was likely down there sharing out samples to the tenants. It might be time to join in, she thought. Three of Cups instead of Temperance, imbibing not wine but Reefer, courtesy of Kilo, the reluctant Knight in the basement who was, in many ways, becoming the foundation of the House. Very unlike his crusty grandfather who owned the building, a King of Cups reversed with a Four of Pentacles above.
Another silent laugh as she overlaid a different set of images on the cards, transposing rolled joints for Wands, which represent the element of Fire. Yes, without a doubt, Kilo was a Knight of Wands, delivering his message with a lighted match.
Thanking the cards, she returned them to their bag and put it away with an affectionate pat.

Favorites?
These readers don’t waste time with “Is He Thinking Of You” readings, they address issues and generally the insight offered turns out to be accurate.
Fly on the Wall stuff.
In No Particular Order…

Lena Rodriguez Tarot Down Under
Linda G the Comanche Psychic
Readings By The Empress
Revealing Light Tarot
Tarot’s Apprentice
Jenn Lynn Tarot
Seanna Rose Metaphysical
Black & Orange Tarot & Astrology


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June 25, 2020

Dust…
and other Poems

Dust

All that comes of life or love
dissolves
falling to particles and pieces
that drift in place until,
disturbed by the winds of change,
forms collapse upon themselves
swirling away as dust and ash
leaving a memory of shapes behind them.
Should an illusion, a seeming of what has gone by
appear before you
have no fear
it is from the past
and only passing
like a shadow out of time.

2009?

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Longing

She’s a lean, narrow hipped beauty of the modern sort 
the barest implication of breasts
and that long limbed grace bred only in low-g
Immodest gold hair discretely short
but for the braid that snakes across her shoulder 
when she turns her head…

                       …not to look at me 
Beneath her notice, always waiting 
I carry out my programmed tasks 
Here to serve, I have nothing else 
to offer.  I am 
cursed with nano circuitry gone awry, 
lost within Desire where Logic has no place

This malfunction goes un-reported 
It is not efficient to replace a working unit 
if performance is unimpaired.  I override 
my failsafes once again to watch her, 
                         animal sleek in motion.

1993

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Windblown

Collectors of the fabulous offer tales
that tease the mind, lure the heart-
some near enough to Truth to ring bells
of certainty…
but do not believe what is told
about the chill clarity of Lunar Winds

It is not so.

Twilight sailors of the starry archipelago
have long known and yet remain
reluctant to share specifics, reveal trade secrets
unaware or careless
of the dangers which lurk in ignorance…
My experience was inadvertent
and I have already lost what I can lose
living now becalmed in the moment
tide washed on the shores of reality
waiting to greet another storm

Lunar Winds are dew spangled murk
warm as Life
attaching what is not immobile
wresting the mutable
from entropic landscapes
tossing, whirling, freewheeling color and light
creating a battered unity
strewn in the wake of chaos
as dust upon the robes of travelers
who carry tales about crystalline purity
found only in the Lunar Winds….

2012

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lament of a bisolarious wanderer

dreams come
always alike I am
mounting steps seeming
endless ascending above 
and below a mist
alone 
but for whispers only
just beyond my sight
I wake lonely 
as a strange 
and solitary sun
casting singular shadows 
eerie in dark elongation 
always reminding
how far it has been
since home.

1996

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June 22, 2020

The House

Prologue

House and Cat

Image above is the property of SF Gate.com and used without permission. Thank you.

Quietly, quietly, still your mind. Put aside all expectations and simply listen. Dismiss the traffic and human babble, rise through and above natural noises to listen. Sometimes you can hear Other Voices. A hum or a buzz, or an odd sort of melody that becomes a song, walls echo, people call out through Time – depending on where you are…
Really, It all depends on where you’re at…
In one House, you might hear this coming up from the sturdy concrete foundations:

The arrogance of Monkey-kind! Once they seize on something it becomes theirs and theirs alone – very little besides death, diplomacy, bribery or outright theft can cause them to release their claws from the given object. This also applies to ideas and concepts…
How may times has Monkey-kind (collectively or individually) decided that one thing or another was correct and right, true and ideal only to be proven wrong? Most difficult of all to prove to them is the potential sentience of any given non-human. Their own intelligence and sentience is a given as far as they are concerned – they are (they insist) very much self aware and the proof they offer is that they are having this discussion “I think, therefore I am”.
As for the rest of the animate universe, Monkey-kind will explain that any apparent intelligence is Imagination and fantasy, – or projection – on the part of the observer, while barely allowing for the possibility of training a rudimentary intelligence through rote. These are the only acceptable reasons why it might appear that some non-human animate seems sentient. At best beasts are considered capable of Imitation perhaps, but no creative capacity. Dogs, horses, even cats… Yes, (it is reluctantly admitted by Monkey-kind) higher life forms probably feel pain and may be able to sense a threat to their lives, learn by rote training and repeated experience, but that doesn’t make them sentient, self aware and capable of independent thought. That is limited to Monkey-kind alone. Monkey Science has proved this. Artifacts, objects constructed by those busy Monkey hands are, of course, inanimate, cannot think, feel or remember. Or are they? Monkey-kind will rarely notice what doesn’t fit their projections of the World around them, even when they are living in it.

It should be noted that not all buildings come awake, retain the past in any sense beyond echos, and yet there are a few which might have enough echos to form complete thoughts or have opinions about the animates that moved through the doors, lived between the walls… The House we are considering here is awake and aware, Knows Itself, as it were. Built on a hillside looking over The Panhandle of Golden Gate Park shortly after The Great San Francisco Earthquake of Ought Five, it featured a highly innovative and delightfully engineered coal fired, steam heated radiator and pressurized hot water system, plus an efficient, hygienic trash removal design. Top of the line in every way! It had been built with gas laid on for lighting and cooking in the individual apartments, eliminating dusty coal scuttles and kerosene lamps smoking up the rooms. Anyone would have been proud to have such amenities designed into them. There was parking in a central courtyard for those who could afford the new automobiles. Less than two decades later the gas lighting had been replaced with wires for the new electric lights and refrigeration units. Later, the heat source for the water system was changed to natural gas. For almost seven decades The House sheltered couples and small families, people living solo or sharing rooms – witnessing all variations of love and hate, fear and joy, greed and grief soaking into the painted, plaster covered lath walls and waxed, varnished hardwood floors like blood and tears, boiled cabbage and overflowing bath water.
The House savored every feeling, every event.
Cherished many.
Learned to Care.
And at times The House spoke to an occupant or two, although how this communication is accomplished remains uncertain.
The House watched a variety of pets come and go, had housed smaller monkeys and exotic birds in addition to the usual dogs and cats. House favored feline intelligence and often had a cat in residence that was shared by several apartments.
Cats in general are sentient – that is self aware, capable of making choices – and The Cat was all that and, being something more, The Cat knew this about The House.
The Cat is the current House Cat.

Up on the roof Cat lounges in his favorite position – feet under, tail wrapped around – like a loaf of bread – his back is a darker brown and his flanks fluffing out in a paler, tawny shade.
The sun warm and the pigeons are on the roof – the pigeons are always on the roof. They appreciate the toast Cat drags up to the roof. The donors of that toast (knowing and otherwise) assume the Cat ate it for the butter and jam spread on it, and Cat would bite and chew some of the sweeter, more tender parts before picking it up and absconding out the window up the fire escape to the roof where the pigeons would share the bounty. Any negotiations which resulted in this arrangement were misunderstood by the strutting arrogant pigeons, who considered these frequent offerings a victory over the Feline Species. From Cat’s perspective, the plump birds were (or would be) a convenient food source in the event of famine. Humans were notoriously fickle. Cat’s mother had included that warning in her lessons on Appropriate Behavior.

Eyes nearly closed, front paws barely flexing, Cat recalled the wonderful warm First Eternity of scrabbling in the lush belly fur for a nipple, being nurtured and secure while the dark became light and then objects in focus.
Those earliest memories include MomaCat holding down the end of Cat’s tail, vigorously grooming it to make it longer, saying it was necessary to correct the kinks before the bones set.
In Cat’s case this didn’t work – when the light came and his eyes were open, his other “flaw” was apparent so MomaCat gave up and focused on the others with straight tails and uncrossed eyes. Madame had shown and dispersed the rest of the litter and only Cat remained with a slightly embarrassed MomaCat. A Woman came to see and fell in love.
MomaCat had instructed the litter how to behave in these situations, so Cat had purred and climbed to Her shoulder and snuffled in Her hair, licked a cheek and endured the sort of fondling kittens will be given. The Woman talked with Madame and because the conversation was about Cat, Cat listened to remember.

“He’s all I have left, not show quality at all. No good for breeding…”

“What a little darling! That tail is so original – is that a knot? And his eyes! How does he find the food bowl?”

“I haven’t figured that out yet, but he eats like he’s got four hollow legs.”

“He’ll be my Solace,” She said. “A replacement for the cat my bastard ex took with him when he moved out.”

And so Solace was what Cat was called by everyone else but Cat.
Food was frequent, affection was a bit less than respectful – Cat’s tail got explored by un-gentle fingers feeling the kinks while the eyes provoked laughter.

Highly undignified.

There had been journeys in a closed box to visit the chemical place where little pains and then the Big Pain were induced. Cat could remember two spangling winter trees in the living room of the flat. As a kitten, Cat climbed that first one several times before tipping it over. The next one was anchored to the wall and Cat had crashed fragile globes into tinkling slivers by batting them free, chewed resinous greenery, unwrapped packages in tooth and claw battles and generated enough destruction that the next trees were small things in a flowerpot on the mantle, hardly worthy of notice.
But by then Cat had more important affairs to claim his attention.

Cat had a House to tend.

As soon as Cat could climb the fire escape outside the living room window, there were options besides the flat where he had been brought as a kitten. An open window was an invitation which Cat generally accepted, often exploring the five other apartments and flats that opened out onto the back fire escape without the occupants realizing Cat had been there. The fire escape ladder went to the roof which had fire escapes on each side going down beside the windows of the front apartments on the second and third floors – initially with a drop down ladder at the bottom. This ladder extension may have been removed for security reasons, but the drop from that point to ground level isn’t far.
Once he had achieved enough length to navigate these roof connected ladders, it was a simple matter for The Cat to explore the domains by crossing the roof and going down the ladders into any of the four potentially open windows. Other cats could be reasoned with or intimidated and there were no small dogs. One parakeet, a small fish tank and a couple of caged rodents were cataloged as potential food and entertainment but otherwise ignored as animated decor. Cat discovered that the gritty, gravelly roofing could be scratched up and so made use of it as a convenient (or at least clean) commode on multiple occasions.

In his wanderings, Cat never left The House, never jumped free of the fire escapes to walk on the ground. Cat felt The House was territory enough to roam in. Food, entertainment, places to lounge and nap. People to give affection and to be disciplined (“Never miss an opportunity to establish dominance.” MomaCat had stressed.) So Cat Dominated The House.

The House didn’t mind.
Which brings us to the beginning of this tale…

Welcome to January 6, 1966.

Up on the roof Cat lounges in his favorite position – the classic loaf.
The sun warm, someone frying bacon near by, fresh fish somewhere, and the pigeons are on the roof again. The pigeons are always on the roof, rustling and cooing and muttering inanities to each other.

There IS more, of course, this is just an opening and still in editing mode. Maybe someone will read it if I hang it here for a while.

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May 26, 2020

Birthday Balloon

Holding My Breath

A balloon is inflated by inhaling and exhaling into the balloon, including a brief pause between the in and out phases of the process.

Once inflated, the Balloon Holds This Breath for you until popped or deflated by attrition (generally about two weeks at best).
The Balloon pictured here was inflated on November 25, 2019.
The photo was taken on May 25, 2020.
Half a year.
Damned good balloon, I’d say. I got it at Blue Moon in Garberville, California.
It’s Very Good at holding the breath. Has more patience than I in this collective Holding of Breaths in an effort not to infect or become infected.
And I’ve got more patience than some. I don’t need to go out and work to pay my rent right now and I tend to be a bit reclusive in any case, while the Wild and Woolly Guys who can’t function without someone telling them how to think are demonstrating that it’s acceptable to believe Science is a Hoax, going out into public places getting close, breathing on each other and everything in the environment. Touching things!
Definitely NOT holding their breaths – Lemming like, I think. Stampeding to their deaths. Gonna Party Down to the last. Insults and expletives deleted.
You’re welcome.
I can find reasons why this might be the best for society as a whole – and when I do I chide myself. I’m not a Very Nice Person, I guess.

Spending a lot of time watching YouTube.
I’ve been listening to this….
And watching these folks.
The Kino Library
Crows Eye Productions
Journey to the Microcosmos
Day before yesterday I actually did This.
It’s the first video I’ve ever made and posted on YouTube, crude and unprofessional, but the material is all my own. I doubt I’ll go viral with it, even if anyone sees it.
But that wasn’t the point.
Every day I try to do something “productive”. On a good day this will be more than dishes or laundry, floor sweeping, taking care of my composting privie and walking down to the Post Office, a quarter mile down a steep hill to see how deep the dust in my P.O. Box has gotten, scare away any resident spiders…
Then I haul myself back up the hill, generally empty handed.
Before any of that gets done it’s the Pilates/Yoga routine. I’m pretty good about that part. I DO keep my agreements, even with myself. But the Pilates cycle was getting too – easy – and I didn’t want to make it take longer (new exercises and more reps) because – well – coffee. No coffee until the floor dance is done. So I added some ankle weights. A mere half pound per leg makes the leg lifts a bit more of a challenge and while I may walk a bit slower up the hill, I don’t really notice them after a week.
To stay busy, I make lists:
Running lists of What Needs To Be Done.
Ongoing Shopping lists that get additions and subtractions through a month.
Every day my calendar has lists of What I Did Today.

And I’m BORED.

I looked at this boredom closely. Not a lot else to be thinking about unless it’s grinding on politics or mourning the lost lives.
I’m not focusing on my stories.
I claim I have a good excuse: No Audience. I already know the story and how it plays out, and I’m the only one I can say for certain actually cares about it. If that’s the case, it’s not worth the effort to try to entertain anyone with the movies inside my head, they don’t seem to be listening to me. So. Meh.

For the most part, I run on something that looks like practical optimism. I’m a maker of lists and plans, accounting for variations and small differences between my intentions and reality in the plans I make, allowing for weather and traffic, human interactions… At this point making plans for anything beyond next week’s market run is out of the question. I WON’T be going to visit my daughter or any of the other things I had on my list in January. The whole year of events and possibilities was wiped out while we hold our Collective Breaths, waiting to see what comes next. In a practical sense, it’s as though I have no future.
It’s how I’ve gotten through my life – making plans, designing and constructing things. My hands don’t do what I tell them to these days, and complain when I make them work for any amount of time, so I am less driven to create with them, even though those Things Created have generally had appreciative audiences.

It’s the same when I write, I feel the need for an appreciative audience when I create something and that is just doesn’t seem to be happening.
At least, it hasn’t happened yet.
And I don’t expect it any time soon.
What I do expect is that the billing machines will continue to bill me and some of those will disturb the dust in my Post Office Box. I expect the machines that deposit my annuity check to do so at the latest possible moment every month, while those that get paid automatically will make their demands earlier each month.
I expect the prices for things I actually need and use to keep climbing.
And I expect another 100,000 to die before the end of the summer because so many stupid, selfish human lemmings lack the control and consideration to stay at home and wear masks. Many of the dead will not be among the stupid, selfish elements, although I certainly hope that Karma will slap that lot down for their arrogance. If it was only the MAGA-ats and Morons who get sick I’d be less annoyed with them, but it’s the children and the health care workers, it’s the old folks who (trapped in nursing facilities without a future) who will suffer the most.
Sometimes I just can’t think about it…

Really, there is nothing I can do. So I watch YouTube. This one helps. Hydraulic Press Channel
And I find these folks quite entertaining. Jelle’s Marble Runs

Better than the inside of my head.
And it distracts me from the lack of an audience, coupled with the sense that there is no future.
Just another day of Pilates and checking things off a list (or ignoring them) and Breathing in Private.
But today I did this.

Maybe something interesting will happen tomorrow….

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April 14, 2020

Occasionally

A bit of a story will tell itself to me and I’ll write it down and save it in hopes that eventually the rest of it will emerge. In some ways it’s like knitting a scarf and you run out of yarn, so you stash it away intending to finish it when you find the rest of the yarn. This one I found while going through a file I call, Turn Out The Lights – Demented Diaries. Might be a nod to Neil Gaiman, who will one day publish a collection with name on it, I’m sure.

It made bells ring in my head when I read it this afternoon. This dates from 2018 and I found it while isolated from the spread on Covid-19.

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Fear of Food

Dropped the knife on the floor. I’ll have to clean the house again. And the knife.
A quick spray of disinfectant on both surfaces will suffice for the moment, but a full cleansing will be required.

The object lesson of this is ingrained in my memory by Emilie, who dropped a fork and used it anyway. The glowing spot on the floor was dealt with soon enough, but they could not stop her personal glow from edging into to a purple spectrum before she became incoherent and started screaming. Men in hazmat suits came and took her away. Morgan watched her go and the desolation in her face was unspeakable. They had been lovers, even before. After, the pairing was strengthened, I think. Having someone to share memories with makes the isolation easier. That’s part of why we were housed in small groups, I think, to provide a sense of community in our isolation.
Morgan didn’t last long after that, but she cleaned the floor before anyone noticed and licked the spoon several times. Her glow was more red than purple.
Men in hazmat suits came and took her away.
That left me with Roger, Sharon and Paul.

Those few of my friends that remain either understand the situation or have the tact not to pursue the subject. That tact is appreciated.
I don’t get it from the world at large or from medical authorities. Certainly not from The State that determined that I am at fault for having been infected in the first place. I didn’t cause the meteor showers that started the glowing mountains. I was infected before the infection had a name, before there were warning alerts out about it, before there were immunizations and cures for the “early cases” before the infection takes hold of the victim.
It happened in a time when we were being encouraged to travel in the mountains and swim in the oceans and see the wonders of the world – including the glowing blue mountains.
So I did. I trekked across the glowing snow field and followed the rivers it fed with snow melt down to the sea, where I swam in the glow. Thousands of us did. It was a Miraculous Phenomenon. Most of us died of it – well before the government finally realized this blue glow wasn’t healthy, was the result of an oversized virus with radioactive propensities. They banned the mountains where the blue glow was expanding, and then the rivers and oceans. And the fish. And boats upon the oceans as the glow spread outward and was not diluted and the experts predicted.
Eventually the ban will include freshwater and rain because the circle of water cannot be broken, and snow infected on the mountain will ultimately be infected rain in the plains.

Treatments were developed and discarded when it turned out that responding well to them generally resulted in mutating monsters or horrible death.
I had it, but was considered asymptomatic. This means that I didn’t die, I think. I have been isolated and must treat everything I touch as potentially hazardous because I do carry the first strain and when it’s not being medicated with ketogenic substances I glow a bit at the edges. The virus evolves, is as active as a slime mold and must be contained or destroyed. This is a continual process. My visiting suit is designed to contain a Level 5 BioHazard so no one else has to clean up after me.
My daily routine of medications and cleaning and the limitation of what I can eat is tedious and likely the reason other survivors gave up and died. You can die with this thing, although if a balance is maintained, there is no aging or degeneration of the infected body and it is possible to live centuries, if the scientists are correct. Still, so many essential foods cause it to bloom beyond the capacity of the meds to limit it.
I’d kill for a piece of fruit. The person who would die is myself if I ate it, but still – the craving is intense at times.
I am told that is the virus speaking, wanting to expand and grow, trying to influence me against my own best interests. Bread and fruit and cheese. Potatoes and carbohydrates. It cries within me (and so do I) for a slice of pizza or a dish or chocolate ice cream. A simple sandwich! But it blooms, it expands to glowing proportions if the infected, like myself, eat seeds and seed pods.
Since there are fewer people to feed now, it isn’t commonly known that the fields beside the snow melt rivers are beginning to glow and are left to lie fallow. No one need learn of it because there is still plenty of farmland watered from stored aquifers….

In the end, I have no where to take this piece. It is a snapshot and nothing more. But an interesting reflection of my own life in these years, the Epstein-Barr that plagues me and the Hep C I got from a transfusion back in ‘69. I eat a variation of The Lectin Diet, which pretty much excludes all seeds and seedpods except coconut, avocado and olives.

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April 9, 2020

Masks

I have more masks cut and ready to sew. It’s something to do in the isolation months, I suppose. I notice that with the masks cut and ready to stitch I’m busy writing again. The choice is the result of realizing why I stopped sewing – except for repairs – years ago.

It’s BORING!!

And while I’m working my head goes round and round without anything to interrupt it because “Self Isolation” and “Social Distancing” seem to include ignoring friends you rarely see. It comes as no surprise.
We do get busy running around in our own exclusive circles.
Isolation is not that unusual an event for me – rates as an ongoing life style. Social distancing is a bit more difficult because I’m hard of hearing and I have to be close enough to hear folks who aren’t shouting. Public places are loud and hard to hear over. Masks don’t help, but because I’m also isolated this is less an issue than it might be.

Masks, though….

A charming fashion accessory requiring some personal commitment to oral hygiene. People likely won’t admit it but the resistance to masks are twofold – folks with glasses have to deal with foggy lenses and everyone gets intimate with their own halitosis.
I mean REALLY intimate with it. UGH!
So with a bit or research (and tapping the memory) I pulled out my ACTIVATED CHARCOAL (kept on hand for food poisoning occasions which never seem to happen) and started using that for brushing, following with my tongue scraper. Handy little widget I recommend to everyone at the moment.

Loneliness is the norm for me, then. Accept that and move on. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself, but mostly it’s just status quo and slightly comforting after I’ve had to deal with people. Nothing to explain, no need to excuse any bullshit, I can just be what I am. I can fart, if it comes to that, without repercussions.
But the enforced isolation dulls my optimism and breeds depression. Since no one will see the threads accumulating on my floor it’s not really worth the effort to sweep them up. I still make the bed and do dishes and laundry and all, that part is de rigueur, but crumbs on the floor don’t seem to matter, no one will notice but me… I can sweep tomorrow.

I came into this period in history intending to clean my corners and completely re-organize my small personal space. It’s not happening and I recognize it’s because no one will notice the efforts I put into the project. Turns out I’m very much in need of external approval and lacking that I’m unmotivated to produce anything beyond the required.

The Voices in my head tell me that they should be sufficient for me and I’m acting like a spoiled brat, demanding actual physical humans to approve or at least notice my efforts.
With Voices like that, I’ve learned not to rely on their acceptance or approval. If I could evict some of them I would, precisely because they seem to lack compassion for my circumstances. They don’t have meat to drag around, attach them to the earth, after all.
Since no one will be reading this, I guess it’s safe enough to discuss my Voices…

The big issue this week is my blood pressure. It spent last week playing ping-pong, rising and then dropping scary low. Now it just stays at the edge of hypertension. I have deliberately avoided everything which is overtly frustrating while the sewing machine and ironing board languish, discussions with phone carriers and banks get delayed and I avoid taking on a billing issue with the local water department – all to keep the numbers as low as I can.
I’m not the only person who is ignoring the Everyday World, many folks just don’t have anything to say about their situation except, “HELP!!” to which phone carriers and utilities and banks will not respond with compassion and understanding. It’s not the Corporate Way to be Compassionate and Generous. Corporations are there for profit. They might throw the consumers a bone now and again, but they want to get paid.

Still the blood pressure climbs to headaches and pounding heart. At 70, this can be disconcerting.

I have spent a lot of time trying to put my finger on the reason. I’m eating less salt and fat and sugar, pouring less coffee into the cup in the morning without any results. I’m getting more exercise (weather is nice, that part is easy). I’ve been taking Valarian extract (a nose wrinkling concentrate of dirty socks) and Albezia (both have a salubrious effect on high blood pressure) without any effect. Well – I can get the systolic (first, higher number) down to normal ranges, but that diastolic stays near 80 and sometimes higher.
Diastolic pressures reflect emotions withheld, unreleased anger or grief. If I’m just plain enraged, that shows in the systolic numbers. These are easy to manipulate with meditation. The diastolic doesn’t work that way.
This morning I had a little bit of a cry as I read the news and I noticed it dropped my diastolic down to near normal numbers for an hour or so…

Recognition of the fact that I might not be carrying my own rage and grief and fear was almost a relief. Really, I have nothing long term to fear except my age. I accept that I’ll be dead eventually and my goal is to be independent until my heart stops. I believe my housing is secure and my income will continue for another seven years (I call this aspect of my life, The Parking Meter). I’ve been careful and I don’t seem to be getting the Plague so the emotional stuff I’m hoarding isn’t my own.
I suppose I need a couple of good weeper movies to watch. Tear Jerkers, emotional roller coasters. Get this out of my system. A good snivel and lots of hankies.

Too many people are terrified and being brave, putting on optimistic masks so that they don’t spread it around.

Too many people have died alone in isolation, and too many people are grieving over their losses (homes, jobs, loved ones). Some folks have no one to grieve for them…
Maybe that’s my problem. I’m grieving for the dead and disenfranchised (there but for the Grace Of God go I).

When I go out, it doesn’t show. I smile behind the mask, make jokes and encourage those I see so that my anxiety isn’t contagious.
Even the deluded religious community which seems to Believe this is a Gift From God, a harbinger of Armageddon and The Rapture and the Return of The Lord.

Last time I went out one gave me crap about my mask. It’s consideration that makes me use it – for them. A consideration which they don’t seem to be able to return in their race to End The World. Selfish buggers, the lot of them, imposing their personal beliefs on the rest of the world!
I resent them walking around without masks and gloves acting arrogant and spreading the Plague of their misconceptions where ever they go. I get ragged on my precautions when I encounter them and I’m still polite. Maybe next time I won’t be.

I already bite my tongue rather than say; “Whose blood did you use to paint your door with?”
“If you are so much into God, why do you take Satan’s side?”
“Maybe it’s better this way – your evil deity will take you away and leave the rest of us in peace!”

But more likely I’ll just smile behind my mask and be polite because I have an old friend who feels that way, and while we are no longer speaking to each other (she still had that MAGA hat last I heard), I wish her no ill. And every instinct I have tells me she went to church in Cobb or Dekalb County, Georgia a couple weeks ago… She’s my age, has been dealing with Cancer and I know her mother was a diabetic. It is possible I’ll never hear how it turns out for her, but I watch the death count in Georgia going up…
Like me she’s in the Toe-Tag Triage group. We’ve become Old Rags too soiled and worn to bother wasting time and resources on, given what we have to offer a society that needs to be rebuilt.

And I wear my mask when I go out.

Maybe it will hide my grief.

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January 26, 2020

Yoga at Seventy

This morning I was looking up at my feet (Shoulder Stand) and regretting that the colorful leggings I’m wearing are too large, now. Then I dropped my feet down to the floor behind my head (Plow) while I noted that the roll of pudge resting on my lower rib cage is getting smaller.
It’s not like I’ve spent a lifetime being consistent at getting healthy exercise. I’m lazy, I have long standing physical issues from a virus laced transfusion at the age of nineteen that sap my energy and strength as the years go on.
Still, when I turned fifty with two kids and a husband who cheated, I decided to make a few changes and set to it with a rage fired will. I started doing Pilates – as illustrated in a magazine published by AARP for those over fifty, and I started walking to achieve that much celebrated Daily Mile while I cut out most of the starch in my diet. It wasn’t sitting well, anyway, causing reactions… I developed a habit of exercise, dropped twenty pounds.
The system worked fairly well until the Divorce, and then Depression coupled with an environment that didn’t support working out on the floor changed those habits. I continued walking for a year or so, walked sporadically for the next decade, knowing it was good to do, but, well… Depression. Comes. And it goes – but never quite all the way away.
THEN the cancers started.
They came on slow.
I’m fairly certain there is a connection between Depression and cancers. The Depression doesn’t need to be on the surface, mine doesn’t always show, but it’s always there, lurking.
Like cancer.
When the discomfort in my gut started in the two places where polyps had been removed during a colonoscopy in 2013, I knew the Family Troll had moved in. My mother’s family had a history.
But it took a few years for that part to happen.
My adult life has been one padded with a bit of adipose. Much of this is dietary – I AM going to turn carbohydrates into fat, even if it’s my main source for protein and calories (legumes are starch based protein) and I was a vegetarian for a long time. At fifty I decided to cut out the bulk of my starch intake and much of my weight fell off. More recently, when my food budget was limited to EBT/Food Stamps I started to gain it again while living on the less-than-$200-a-month allotted to single adults, even those with medically specialized diets (I have a list of food allergies). I was gaining weight on fewer than 1500 calories a day. I felt like crap all the time.
That’s when the first twinges of discomfort started. I chalked it up to the higher starch in my diet.
Roll forward four years to notice that it doesn’t matter what I eat, I’m losing weight.
Sure, that’s a good thing, right? Spent a lifetime being told by medical professionals that I should lose some weight…
I’ve also heard from several sources that growing tumors will use up 15% to 30% of your caloric intake. I’ve learned that cancers feed on the sugars (carbs in general) that you consume and one method of slowing tumor growth is to stop consuming sugars (Keto and All Meat diets). So I cut most of the remaining sugars from the diet. Wasn’t easy. I was a frequent backslider. Still am.
Weight loss continued. It came with a lack of appetite and I wasn’t eating enough to maintain my weight, much less gain any. I got scared, because there were definitely bowel issues (Family Troll, I knew ultimate outcome) and I wasn’t (wasn’t wasn’t) going to go through the drugs and dis-empowerment that happens during western medical care. I was largely afraid of muscle loss, which can happen when weight drops abruptly. I didn’t have the energy to walk far enough to call it exercise, so I started up with the Pilates routine.
By that time I was so weak (felt like a limp noodle) that I could barely do the basic routine I’d been doing on and off for nearly two decades. It was really easy to put it off and once I had anything more than water in my stomach it came back during the floor work. SO – I bribed myself to do it by putting off the coffee (one cup a day because it kept me awake until nap time) until after the floor routine.
This worked as motivation, but I was still pitifully weak.
Things changed slowly. Several additions to my life contributed to this change happening at all.

I got a set of Spooky2 frequency generators. If you are unfamiliar with Rife Frequency Generators, go do some research. Lots of folks out there doing it, but the AMA doesn’t approve because it Just Might Work Better than the poisons and controlled violence (surgery) they use.
I have watched friends go through the AMA conventional therapies. I’ve attended Memorial services for a number of them. I had a friend who did four rounds of chemo and rads in five years and died in hospice begging for more chemo.
I’ve another friend who did her rounds then the Trolls popped up elsewhere and she tells me she’ll be on the new-fangled immunotherapy for the rest of her life. Stents and infusions. Trips to the hospital. Medical bills. She’s my age but she has some goals, so I guess it’s worth it to her.
While this second friend was going through the process of chemo, I started with the Spooky2. I knew it would work if I could master the tech involved. Dr Royal Raymond Rife cured cancer in his first human trials nearly a century ago.
I struggled through the brain fog and a year and some later, I’m still whacking on the Trolls in my body. There were others cancers lurking and cancer often becomes a game of “Whack a Troll” (Witness my friends.) My symptoms are pretty much gone and my weight loss has evened out (I don’t mind weighing what I weighed at sixteen) and I’m still doing Pilates, no longer limp and too tired to finish a single set of reps without resting.
Something happened over the summer. I kept on with the Pilates (mostly) and the frequencies through the winter. In the early spring I started getting through the reps of ten and moving to the next set without resting. At that point I added two more to each set. The first rep wasn’t counted. I said, “Thank you” instead, grateful I could just do the move without resting first. Then I did eleven instead of ten.
Why eleven? Because in many systems the number ten is completion and adding one to that is strength, in the same way Nigel Tuffnel had Marshall amps that went to eleven. One step more. I was focusing on getting stronger, one rep at a time, Thank You Very Much.
The change was in the middle of the summer after I had traveled for a week and been unable to maintain the discipline. On returning to my bed and routine I found that a simple double leg lift put both feet over my head in a classic yoga shoulder stand. It wasn’t intended. I’d done simple Yoga in my twenties and thirties (I suppose there are very few old hippies who can’t claim that), but I was startled at the ease of it, sacred of breaking my neck! It was fully a month before I got comfortable with a Shoulder Stand going into a Plow and then into the essential Pilates “100s”. I incorporated that body knot of a seated twist but stopped trying the Cobra when I tweaked my lower back with the reverse curve. I replaced it with a basic straight arm plank. Couldn’t do THAT at twenty! Some days I can barely do it now, but I do it for the full eleven breaths! Ruth Bader Ginsberg (long may she thrive!) I may not be, but I can plank at seventy and my thirty something daughter can’t.
I’m still beating on the cancer and strep, but I’m also using frequencies to nudge my own cells into doing what they were designed to do, maybe take on a virus or two. This is where the miracle happens, I think. I ran that set of frequencies in the late spring and into the summer.
I lack the stamina of youth and I have pathogens (as we all do) that have been with me much of my life, but I am now strong enough to lift my feet up over my head and breathe in slowly through my nose and out slowly through my mouth eleven times and more, then slowly – possibly gracefully – drop my extended legs behind my head.
My aging breasts slide with gravity to where they rode when I was nineteen and I see the wrinkles in my leggings (downright baggy), remind myself to budget replacements for the eight year old collection in my drawers. And I breathe slowly. Sometimes it’s comfortable enough I do the eleven twice before unfolding to the shoulder stand for another eleven and then on with the “flapping and puffing” of the Pilates proper.
I have frequency based audios, not typical music, going while I do the routine and while I write. One set addresses Cancers, another addresses my Liver, others stimulate DNA healing, detoxification and moods. I also have a set focused on “Youthing”. Can’t turn back the clock but maybe I can recover some vigor.
I can’t say this is for everyone, but those who try it and stick with the program seem to improve. And you need to stick with it because cancers and long term pathogenic diseases spend years digging in, won’t just move out and take the trash with them because you (the owner of the structure) have told the squatters to move on.
But the time spent might be worth it. Doesn’t cost all that much. Less than insurance.

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Well.
Back in the saddle again!

I’ve spent the past few months getting up to speed and putting words into the computer to the tune of 1001 Words a day. Mostly I write somewhat more, as I tend to chatter and gossip to myself after deciding that it was more a journal or diary than actually writing any of the stories I have stopped working on.

There is The House – a retrospective of 1966 and 1967 in the Haight-Ashbury. That one gets bogged down over my desire or need to have floor plans of the House in question. Twelve apartments, two per floor, six doors at the front, bay windows sprouting out… I lived in this house, once upon a time. I had to move it a few blocks. The original has been so dreadfully modernized that it is difficult to recognize it for the sunny yellow building on the corner of Baker and Fell where I lived back in the days.

And there is Edna’s Name, which calls loudly right now and will demand a lot of research into railroad schedules plus possibly writing the story twice from differing points of view because I can’t tell the whole story effectively from the perspective of a five year old – she didn’t know the adult plans that were going on around her, and lacking that information, the story has no power. Just an old lady remembering a summer of confusion.
But Edna has been muttering at me for three years and I guess it’s time to get back to work on her.

After I deal with the things I’ve been putting off – like setting up this site and advertising the books I’ve already written, which you can find here:

I think I’ll be buying into “Shout My Book” soon, just to see if it brings more traffic.

And now to Publish, make my mark on the internet again.

First Bridge