Oddments

In search of story


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Disconnections: June 1.18

I still haven’t figured out how to remedy this problem inserting photos in my posts. I haven’t yet turned to the folks at WordPress because I don’t even know how to ask the questions. I am darkly frustrated by the not-knowing.

Usually when I am frustrated I turn to my beloved outlets of baking or gardening or drawing or playing the piano or — I must admit — housecleaning. Doing is the antidote to stewing. But now I have something called CPPD. It goes nicely with my HHT, don’t you think, dear reader? If I live long enough, I’ll be a whole bowl of alphabet soup.

Many old people have CPPD but without symptoms. I have symptoms. To quote myself, PHOO. CPPD is incurable, its damage irreversible. Mine is deemed “erosive” because of the bone damage. How scary is that? Bone erosion? Now I cannot use my hands as I used to. This is as deep a disconnection as I can imagine. My hands have connected me to freshly baked cookies and fresh herbs and Bach Inventions and sketchbooks and fitted sheets tight on the mattress.

Taken with the osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, the CPPD gives me the image of a swarm of microscopic ants with my skeleton the picnic lunch.

When technology beats me up, when I hear of yet another school shooting or another holiday from truth, I want to grab a shovel or a spatula and DO something. Will the ants leave me anything with which to DO?

 

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Connections: February 17.18

Night light

haze and drift

shade and shadow

rise and shift

Stygian flow

through hollow space

hobgoblins of life

dance on my face.

 

Thanks yet again to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives.

Connections

 


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January 8.18

This conflagration, dear reader, was my birthday cake last night. Today is the actual date (yes, me and Elvis), but last night was the family do. What makes this flaming cake blog-worthy is the arrangement along the far arc of it. If you look closely and use just a little imagination for the emoji candles, you will see (I’ve no doubt) that the 1001011 is my birthday in binary. My family, ladies and gentlemen! Undeterred by the lack of a 7 and a 5, they devised a binary 75! I seemed to be the only one at the table to be slow on the pick-up. Yes, yes, I know what “binary” means, but it is hardly where my brain goes when I don’t have the right candles!

You may note the second cake. My daughter-in-law, in all other ways an exemplary person, does not like frosting. So there is always an angel food cake for her. Full disclosure: no one objects to having a piece with her.

Now to real life: I lay me down last night after a full day which followed one of those rotten sleepless nights. Of course I couldn’t fall asleep. This is partly age, partly my lifelong struggle with insomnia, partly too much binary cake. After about an hour, I drifted off. At 1:20 I was awakened by chirping. Yes, chirping! One of these wretched alarms was chirping! Which one, and what would I do about it in this new house?

You may know, dear reader, that any venture in the wee hours starts with a trip to the bathroom, and that’s where I saw all the blood in my mouth. How long had that been going on? I rinsed and spit and spit and rinsed. It’s this blasted HHT, as you may know if you’ve read my blog for long. It took a few shaky minutes to stop it.

The bleeding stopped but not the chirping. There I was, at 1:30 in the morning, atop a ladder at the top of the stairs, feeling woozy and not at all patient. I couldn’t figure out anything about the rotten thing. So it continued its own happy-birthday song to me. And it continues now with its soothing beepathon.

And so begins my 75th birthday. I have broken my rule of the 300-word blog post limit, which I have abided by almost unfailingly. But it’s my birthday and I’ll write if I want to.

 

 


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Connections: October 29.17

Deaf phone line

hard blue chair

what’s the point?

no one’s there

austere right angles

sterile, glistening

rigid vacuum:

no one’s listening.

You may think this

nihilistic

but caregivers know

it’s realistic.

 

One of the reasons I started my blog was to write about caregiving. I return to that subject from time to time although I continually grapple with the related issue of denial. It’s so much easier to deny than to listen because listening requires acknowledging. But denial makes the caregiver’s isolation unimaginably more damaging.

 

With thanks to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives for this expressive, poignant photo.

 

Connections


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Connections: September 6.17

I went to the dentist’s yesterday

and as soon as I walked in

I started sneezing my head off

it made an awful din.

WachOOOwachOOOwachOOOwachOOO!!

My breath — I couldn’t catch it!

My head flew off and rolled

I had to run to fetch it!

WachOOOwachOOOwachOOO!

all the long drive home

my head expanding rapidly

into a throbbing dome.

I cozied up to kleenex

 and spent a rotten night

wachOOOwachOOOwachOOOing

 snuffling through the blight.

No clue what hit so sudden

or how this will play out

I only know this morning

I’m a red-nosed layabout.

If lookers want to see my house

with its kleenex dunes and blots

I’ll simply say wachOOOwachOOO

and ask if they’ve had their shots.

 

 

 

Connections

 

 


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Vagaries in Gestation: On Being Linear, Part lll, March 15.17

©M. O’Hern

 

There may be no lines in Nature, but there are lines in Geometry, where I learned that a line is an infinite series of dots, that we see only a segment of it as it stretches into infinity. That hurt my head.

Can’t a line be just a line? Must Geometry ruin more than an hour of the school day? Must it contaminate every sketch wherein a line suggests a form, a gesture?

These lines tell of a hand, our first tool and our last. If the lines stretch into infinity, how fitting that they take with them this transient tool. This hand, no longer useful, waits. My pencil reaches out, as does my heart, to that waiting, transcribing it to something see-able. Something tangible. Some way to show what I feel. Some way to keep my dad.

When I sketched this, I didn’t know he would die in two days. I only knew that I was seeing things that no one else saw. I was alone at his bedside, as usual. I am sure that, as it sketched, my hand was also reaching out. Would anyone ever know what this was like for the solitary daughter? Yes. Now you know.

If the line we see is only a segment of its infinite self, what does that tell us about everything else we see?

It flows then like the line that the simplicity of a sketch is not simple at all.

 

 

 

Vagaries in Gestation

 

 


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Connections: January 30.17

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAEpistaxis

word so dressy

but it’s still nosebleed

obnoxious, messy.

I have this thing

called H.H.T.*

commonest symptom

nosebleeds, you see.

So people say

“What a big yawn —

I’ve had nosebleeds

they’ve come and they’ve gone.”

Not for me

with H.H.T.

Instead of blood vessels

with cute little capillaries

I have kinky pretzel-like

vascular vagaries.

Some are big

and some are small

but “older” and “weaker”

apply to them all.

From brain in the north

to legs in the south

the bleed that startles most

is the one in the mouth,

that look to which

I most aspire:

the dripping, sated

happy vampire.

I’m sick and tired

of all the red tissue

but I realize this

really isn’t the issue.

The headlines fill me

with fear and foreboding

the whole bloody mess

is too near exploding.

Epistaxis is just

that last mythic straw

which gets the angst

unstuck from my craw.

*Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasias, aka Osler-Weber-Rendu Syndrome,

a genetic bleeding disorder I tried to describe previously in In Our Blood.

It’s about a lot more than nosebleeds.

Connections