Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Noise Reduction and How To Do It [aka Another Return of Sorts]

An apt article, I ran across this week.

Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates:
At the first gate, ask yourself “Is is true?”
At the second gate ask, “Is it necessary?
At the third gate ask, “Is it kind?"
~ Unverified [Rumi and other attributions]

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

This Is How It Feels - Three Flavors [WiP]

A number of artists have created a wonderful series of visual pieces to accompany Bonobo's "Kerala".  For me, they are beautiful and uncomfortable because they managed to capture what I keep trying to communicate about what it feels like to be in a complex seizure cycle that is exacerbated by generalized and specific anxiety.  The exception being that these cycles for me last for days and, in the past, for weeks without respite.

The jump cut version is particularly difficult to watch as I can "feel" its proximity to trigger territory.  The two versions that have the jump cuts removed are perhaps even more disturbing and accurate in their portrayal of the confusion and surreal nature that everything takes on as your brain misfires.  For me, the emotional gravity of disorientation and a shifting sense of reality is aptly expressed.

Original jumpcut version
Winsane edit

AMathMonkey edit

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Hindsight [flipping awesome]

October 21, 2004
F is for the Fear of god she can put in you with her eyes. 
R is for the Razzmatazz in her smile. 
I is for her brief Incarceration for a drunken night of cat juggling. 
S is for the Shit that comes out of her mouth, not in her pants. 
B is for Bartender of Ballsy Bacchanals and Ballyhoos. 
E is for her groundbreaking cure for Erectile dysfunction. 
E is also for Exchange rate...nuh uh, she's priceless. 

although orange, plastic, and disc-shaped, she da balls!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

It's Been Said


Charm is very beautiful, and she is not afraid to wear her beauty on the outside. She works the late shift at the crisis center. She is a good counselor because she experiences her feelings completely. She has a way of offering solace that is subtle and light; she does not judge other people’s craziness at all.

When Charm walks into the room, I sometimes hear the whisper of a silver flute following her. She delights in pretty clothes, soft colors and bold textures and skirts that whirl around her ankles and beautiful rings. Even when she had to wear a grey uniform, it was as if she were surrounded by butterflies and lilacs. Charm loves the sexual dance and the shimmering heat of erotic intensity, but when she says goodbye, she takes all of herself with her.

Charm does not understand the separation between work and play. She is certainly not lazy, but she needs to sing. You must remember that she is Inspiration’s niece.
– The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Because sometimes the obvious needs to stated:

"The act of an individual is the basement for act of the society - if you do positive action, others will join you."
- Unknown

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hello, Monday!


"It's so easy to laugh
It's so easy to hate
It takes strength to be gentle and kind"

-Steven Morrissey

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Realigning with Grace

But you know how it all works, how the small actions add up. And you now see how you can start to stack them up differently. The helpful suggestion upward, not made. The confidential memo leaked downward, or out.... The conversational concessions withdrawn. The conventional civility dropped. The hard stare back, the harder line held. The slack not cut. Elsewhere, the warmer smile. The word of encouragement. The grant approved. The link forwarded. The cartoon tacked up. The dues paid. The paper bought, the extra coin passed, the minute spent in friendly chat before you hurry for the train. The firm nod to your own kid's tentative query.

- The Early Days of a Better Nation, Ken MacLeod

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


One does not live an extraordinary life.  Life is an extraordinary experience.

Engagement is paramount.  Thinking that you are the director with the final say is pure folly.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Happenstance In Three Words

Apropos of absolutely nothing, while waiting at a stop light / crosswalk, a stranger standing beside me turned and said, "You are forgiven." 

He then strolled off before the light switched to a walk signal in my direction.

I am sure I have much that requires forgiveness, but how awesomely weird is life some days?

"You are forgiven."   

Three small and powerful words offered without specificity, judgment, or condition.

I hope I never recall that "happenstance" moment without feeling goosebumps

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Gratitude: Nurses

Sometimes, the past not being done with you is a good thing in ways you never imagined. 

I wrote the below several months after my last stint in ICU in appreciation for the amazing people who helped make some of the worst days of my life bearable with their warmth and compassion.

Today, I found out that the piece has been published in a book [and my personal copy is on its way to me now *squee!*]  It's not my first time being published, but it's always exciting when it happens.  This piece was so deeply meaningful and had an urgency that I couldn't ignore.  That it's being included in a collection of so many other stories of incredible compassion is both humbling and uplifting.

I don't know how you do it! [Understand that when I say "YOU" below it is in collective sense]

YOU wiped my brow as I came to out of a simple turned major surgery and recovery into my room, shivery and reacting poorly to morphine.

YOU, a couple years later, after getting hit by a car, held my hand and murmured to me as seizures ravaged my body repeatedly for hours, then days, leaving me stupid, scared, and confused.

YOU remembered me each time I was readmitted because the seizures were out of control and the side effects debilitating. I was a failing patient.

YOU stayed by my bed as long as you were able after my heart stopped and restarted from having gone tachycardic.

YOU wiped my bum, changed my sheets as I murmured in shame and didn't make me feel terrible. Just clean, dry, and safe.

YOU held me carefully as I wretched again and again. You even adapted by leaving a little container on my stand so I could wretch [sort of] accurately if you weren't close by. Yeah, you changed a LOT of bedding and I got to watch many folks clean up my messes.

YOU called me 'mija', 'darlin', and 'gooseberry'.

YOU were patient when I couldn't remember my words and simply wept in frustration, feeling weary and beaten.

YOU came and talked to me when you could and laughed at my crazy attempts at explanations of my pain med induced nightmares that made me scream in my sleep. And I loved the sound of your laughter. It was a small gift I could give to you in the crazy microcosm of the ICU.

YOU stroked my brow with calm care until I fell asleep again and kept my door open so I wasn't so alone.

YOU snuck me oranges sections because you knew I hated canned applesauce and jello.

YOU lined up all the nurses and clapped for me the last time I was discharged and told me you would miss me but that you never wanted to meet again in the hospital.

YOU cared, preserved my dignity, and gave me a lot of faith when I felt hopeless and helpless.

YOU are someone that I hope to see in the park or at a baseball game or at the grocer and to YOU, I will deliver an enormous "better than ever" hug.

YOU are part of why I can thrive today. For everyone who hasn't articulated it or doesn't understand, there are those of us who do.


And though they have never had to take care of me to this extent, this collective YOU are part of the community that my sweet nurse friends Kristin and Steve are proud members of.


Saturday, April 08, 2017

Adjectivally Speaking

MMJ:  Game changer

Apothecarium:  Transformative

SSD:  A lesson in choosing battles

UI:  Surprisingly helpful

Life:  Wow

Dignity: Yes!

Health:  Yes, yes, and YES!

Kindness:  Essential

Compassion:  Elemental

Quality of Life:  Ever improving

Sunday, March 19, 2017

"She Was The Quiet To Your Loud"

“You are a minute of quiet in a loud, shouting world.”
– Gabriel Gadfly
You looked at her once, and immediately you felt calmness you never thought you’d be able to feel ever again.
What was it about her that is so fragile, and yet able to emanate strength – strength in you that pushes you go on?

Amidst all the cacophonous, ear-splitting, deafening waves the world throws at you, something about her brought you peace.

While the lens of the damnedest was the only way you saw your soul, in her was hope. The hope she saw in you subconsciously crept into your veins, making you begin to believe, albeit slowly, that you had a shot at redemption. That you were capable of better.
Amongst all the thorns and splattered blood that were plastered on your skin, she chose to notice the small, tiny, delicate scars that were beautiful because they made you who you are. As horrifying your scars seemed, she was able to touch and cradle them ever so lightly, admiring them in all their brokenness.
How could such a pure and delicate soul live in the likeness of this damned world?
She saw you for you, and somehow she inspired you to become better. She was the last gasp for air to keep afloat in the drowning sea.
“She was a rainbow, but everyone else was colour-blind.”
You see, to her, scars are beautiful. Scars leave a mark saying “I made it.” She wants you to pull through. No matter how deep the wound, no matter how much blood you’ve lost along the way – know that she’ll be there with you. Why? Because no matter what, wounds heal. It just takes time.
She sees beauty in scars – she’s there to stay, no matter how monstrous you may become. She gives you the hope you couldn’t have found in yourself, all you needed was that one last push – to end your suffering within yourself and to seek out the wondrous person you were meant to be.

-Willaine Gatusino Tan

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dull Moments, Apparently, Did Not Need Apply

I guess if life went as expected, surprises wouldn't exist.  Good surprises can be amazing.

I think I only miss you in the fall
When the leaves all change their spots
Everything sings a little blue

Like the waves when they crash right in front of you
And I may crash in front of you
And sing a little blue

I think we're just a little out of tune

Every note's just a little more beautiful
I can always tell it's you
From the way that the song cuts through

Oh, I can always tell it's you
Just sing me something slow and blue

If you're scared that the storm is moving closer
I will be the weight you need to anchor you
And if you're scared that this boat is sinking slowly
I'll sing you something slow and blue
Cut the ocean right in two
Break the darkness like the morning
Oh, for something I can use

We'll hold on to the winter 'til it breaks
And I'll pull you close like the moon when you shake
And if we shine, we're all the same
You say there's a ghost of the fall in the summer rain

I'm your ghost in summer rain
Just something shining through the pain

If you're scared that the storm is moving closer
I will be the weight you need to anchor you
And if you're scared that this boat is sinking slowly
I'll sing you something slow and blue
Cut the ocean right in two
Break the darkness like the morning
Oh, for something I can use

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Life Goals

To be an arsonist of kindness and a gangsta of love.  As one does. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Don't Mind If I Do!

"Be Yourself" - Harrison Storm

Be yourself when you're holding on 
Be yourself one day 
Be yourself when you're holding on 
Be yourself one day 

Take on the colors on
And fire fight the winter storms
Be yourself, don't hide your name
If you call it about, don't be afraid

Be yourself when you're holding on
Be yourself one day
Won't cry...

Take on the colors on
And fire fight the winter storms
Be yourself, don't hide your name
If you call it about, don't be afraid
Won't cry...

Friday, January 20, 2017

Outgoing message


The Reality of Life

Know that you are loved.

The World Needs People

Who cannot be bought;
Whose word is their bond;
Who put character above wealth;
Who possess opinions and a will;
Who are larger than their vocations;
Who do not hesitate to take chances;
Who do not loose their individuality in a crowd;
Who will be as honest in small things as in great things;
Who will make no compromise with wrong;
Whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires;
Who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning and hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success;
Who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular;
Who can say "no" with emphasis, although the rest of the world says "yes".
- Ted W. Engstrom, Motivation to Last a Lifetime

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Awesome Other Side

The clock is gonna turn back soon the season is already changing 
we said goodbye for the final time and my room needs rearranging 
the sidewalk is full of people and leaves and we're all turning colors 
i want more radiance and less green this season is my perfect lover 
long nights for more dreaming short days to fill real and fast 
sweaters for my heart's safe-keeping, for my soul's heating, through the cold of winter to last 

the clock is gonna turn back soon i've an eye upon its fixtures 
the wall waits patiently for the sun's first rays and the day no one's there to witness 
we gave it a good go no i guess we can't exist in this 
so i'm gonna celebrate this new year with all the good witches 
little chocolate bars are for little kids 
i want a cauldron and the nourishment that comes with it 
this broke me down, no i am not fixed yet 
i broke myself open for this made a space that you could fit in 
clocks and hearts and time keep going but we didn't 

the clock tick tocks and i walk alone like i am used to 
i wanted to call your bones home but i didn't get to 
your shoulder a stop over and i guess i had to 
i was lonely from no love and you showed me what it could do 
you showed me what i would do when i had some but it is not to be with you 
and i've been sad enough and i've been mad some but what good does that do 
the leaves are not upset that they're leaving their branches 
things change time passes death happens 

and what happened surely changed me 
and the hereafter is full of sadness that is raw and oh so sweet 
because every time a cold heart thaws it sends a river of tears to nourish the ground 
on the way to the sea 
i bow my head to praise and remember this 
look up again to greet my days 
this is a eulogy for you and me i won't forget 
but will let go of this just the same


from Clocks and Hearts Keep Going, released November 19, 2010