Post’d: 2 incredibly adorable cards off to find a heart

Two exceptionally adorable postcards into the post today (i love dropping into the postbox and the little stroll involved but since I’m desperately ill, the wife managed the important task)

The only thing better than keeping these wonderful postcards is sending them off to equally wonderful humans

The combination of the exceptional art and the tactile paper which takes the ink so elegantly, the details on reverse, choosing the stamps just right… All of it sparked my heart.

And I hope the recipients feel the goodness intended in each of my semi-legible scribbles.

Post’d: vintage train, Taisho kimonos, cats, horses, Grand Canyon crossing and one guitar

13 more postcards out into the world (14 if you count the one with Juicebox UPC codes taped to it to enter an Anpanman contest promotion) // really doing my best to keep from spiraling down while really struggling with this stupid illness.

Where do you go to my lovelies? So many countries, so many roads, so many hands

Dispatch (again choosing from my special stash of ones that sometimes I can hardly let go of but that’s the whole point) includes: vintage train, Grand Canyon crossings, Japanese fireworks, Yumeji Taisho-era ladies, cats, kimonos and one guitar…

Each card, carefully selected from a red velvet box with some connection to recipient whether it be a vague inside joke, a half degrees step from their own artwork, a story we shared or an experience maybe they remember.

I’m particularly excited when the cards not only have a wonderful design but also elegant paper stock which gives good purchase on the pen making a pleasure to write as it holds the ink and has the tactility i so savour. Plus, white space and ink stamps already included in the design so I can remix with my own stamps. Some of the above were additionally decorated before finally dropping into the postbox. Diligently assisted by Ichiro Stanley who loves the process with me.

Hope the cards bring joy to recipients, I sure do like crafting each one, choosing the card, the stamps, the message and then adding some more fun inkstamps to make truly unique.

Digression: While most of this batch are not my original creations, yet for a special significance of a friend heading on an adventure for a milestone birthday, I dug out a couple of snapshots of crossing the Grand Canyon in 1988, and noting that while many technical advancements have happened in the intervening years (for example: Internet, pocket robots, medical imaging blah blah blah) in this case, “technical outdoor adventure clothing” is the most relevant as here I am wearing two different cotton tie-dyed T-shirts in blistering heat, in fact everything was soaked soggy cotton except maybe for a bit of nylon (likely teal) on the boots (could be leather, I can’t see in the photo in which I am yes, peeing into the Grand Canyon out of anger at walking up the north rim being run down by tourists riding mules who would vacate their bowels in majestic piles around the switch backs – no this is not recommended are acceptable behavior) Because this was the late 80s. Gore-Tex, fleece, polypropylene and whatnot we’re only for the bourgeois skiers at the time. Funny what becomes a time capsule. & Yes, bandannas were appropriate for head covering and dog collars. No gang significance implied despite the era.

You know i love a family photo of Postcards as they all head off on their separate adventures

Healing: annotations from a feverish fog

Hi pals, Really backsliding from the recent C19 situation.

pocket fulla tools, none seem to work but hey, keeping handy

As you likely know, with #MECFS, my body deals with a massive post-viral infection load and thus an overworked immune system for 10+ years. As such, having a really hard time bouncing back. Just had to say aloud.

Me – being chronically creative/optimistic + always full of dreams, schemes and projects want to do – am again to point where have to “cross everything off the list”. I absolutely hate this as want to be making books, records, vids, revolutions. I am managing some postcards (sanity exercise).

{I know shared this before but}, my post-viral illness (lousy name: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) & what is colloquially called “long C0vid” have become awkward epidemic cousins:

More awareness and funding recently but results & protocols? nah

The Atlantic: Long COVID Has Forced a Reckoning for One of Medicine’s Most Neglected Diseases

Only a couple dozen doctors specialize in chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Now their knowledge could be crucial to treating millions more patients.

By Ed Yong

Also note: “ME/CFS involves a panoply of debilitating symptoms that affect many organ systems and that get worse with exertion.” sheessh

Further, blood flow to frontal cortex of my brain is reduced & immune system is fighting “everything all at once” without knowing what to fight (if that makes sense) manifesting in “brain fog” which, beyond confusion can lead to depression, especially coupled with sleeplessness :(

For a year, treated at a Okayama University hospital infectious disease program which began as a Long C19 specialty clinic and basically became a MECFS specialty unit. Taking a different approach then Drs in US/Canada or the Ayurveda treatments in India, Nepal, Lanka.

And, the treatment protocols gave me a real boost (including weekly cocktail injections and traditional Chinese medicines amongst other specific “sniper medications”) which got me going enough to do the #BCInvasion for which I am incredibly grateful.

However, the onset of this “bonus infection” in early hours of Sept 3rd have tumbled me back down the hill staring at the beginning of the game board. Didn’t *seem like* C19 as not problem with throat or respiratory systems but terrible fever, incredible pain & dehydration.

I’m mostly saying this for the record and my diary and memory after another sleepless night. Also, as a note to some wonderful folks who say “it’s just like a cold or flu” but alas, my situation is *much more* complicated. I didn’t ask for any of this & used to be invincible (well here and there, i have dealt with a consortium of medical conundrums, mostly around my guts which is *unsurprisingly* on point #gutbrainaxis.

And, following the erstwhile “community” around my illness, seeing so many people dealing with #LongCovid turning into #MECFS and fear I’m kind of taking the opposite route with this *newfangled virus* adding to my already dangerous coterie of mysterious infections. #pwME

For now, my darlings get up and about – last night I suggested a few small tasks / activities we could do together but the reality is: I’m here in bed, can’t watch anything, so listen to guided meditations for hours + brainwave stimulations, sometimes audiobooks & pods.

I’m just at my breaking point so thank you for noticing me. There’s never a great time for something like this *but* just got new routine down for picking up IchiStan from his new forest preschool riding the bus > old time trolley tram together as wife goes into busy season :(

for this guy, all the time

Again, I’m not sure why am saying this besides floating out to the universe that “yes, I am scared but somehow I will survive”. I don’t expect sympathy, empathy, advice or anything… Just needed someone to talk to. {I have asked hospital for a referral to a psychiatrist}

just looking for a spark

And in my feverish waking dreams comes forth every lousy situation & bad memory of my life. Yikes! So: If I’ve ever said a cross word to you, not showed up to support you, displayed my insecurities in an obnoxious manner, acted a jerk, misled in anyway etc.

Please forgive me. I am doing my best / better every day.

i wanna be your pal

PS So 3-1/2 years into C19 and the medical response is either of: a) take some ibuprofen, hydrate and rest; or b) go to the ER if it gets really bad; or c) some dubious medication that may or may not be reliable / available.

Is there something missing? Pardon me, just frustrated

Collage: “Aerogramme from Pokhara” for Paper Post Boise exhibit

As it goes, in April 2023, I dropped a Mail Art collage (with theme of pandemic-ness) into the mail *juuuusssttt* as we were heading to the airport to take my first trip back to Canada for a long time (as well as taking my wife and son to meet their relatives and pals).

As much as i can figure, the exhibit was put on by Kollaj magazine and PaperPost Boise for an exhibit at Boise State University, ergo:

“Paper+ Post is an international open call for mail art with collage as the theme. Postcard-sized mail art will be presented in an exhibition at Boise State University titled,Paper +Post.

This exhibition will feature collage and mixed media works highlighting current worldwide trends in collage. We are asking participants to respond to life during the pandemic these past three years. We welcome participants to ponder the question,“How has living with the pandemic for the past three years changed your life?”

Upon conclusion of the exhibition, artwork will be preserved in Boise State’s SpecialCollections and Archives at Albertsons Library.Paper + Post’s open call for collage-themed mail art is being held in conjunction with World Collage Day, an annual, international celebration of collage.”

Paper Post Boise (dropbox file)

Made a few variations of scans quickly using flatbed scanner and an overhead laser scanner with very different colour results / collecting here as well as showing the envelope’s enclosures “opened up” and other hidden gems. Which variation do you prefer? It’s up to you, not me after all.

One of the curators found a common experience about the fable Yak & Yeti Hotel where i stayed with Cmdr Magnum,

“It’s perfect and so interesting. There’s a tiny bit on there that says Yak & Yeti (a very nice hotel in Kathmandu). It reminded me of a trip I was on, after crossing overland, camping between Lhasa Tibet on our way to Kathmandu, we stayed there! I’ve never checked into a hotel as dusty & filthy dirty as I was that day. And despite that, they served us some kind of welcome drink in the lobby right then. We were astonished and so grateful to have made it there.”

I replied: “it’s truly an historic hotel… As a kid growing up in Canada reading accounts of Himalayan expeditions in a canvas tent in our suburban backyard, I remembered expeditions using that as the first checkpoint in the last checkpoint on their trips… As it goes, I checked in there on the night before Nepali New Year’s Eve and it was a packed with a variety of clientele from expeditions with huge carts filled with climbing gear to distinguished local elites coming for festivities. was only there for one night and where am I “best outfit” a custom hemp clothes made in Pokhara (where my fictional aerogramme comes from) and a topi hat… Then I moved over to a six dollar a night flophouse in the Thamel district, and my freshly polished boots became filthy in the muddy streets and I went back to my usual “dusty dirty” mode as I hopped on a plane to Abu Dhabi filled with young Nepali fella with their travel scarves heading off to do dangerous challenging jobs (for low pay). Thanks so much for sharing your memories. If you have anything written or documented, please share with me.”

artifacts collected authentically

Other artifacts include: receipt from Sabriti Hemp Shop and vibes from my time at Ayurveda Health Home which i used as a context yet set in 1975 (Aug 1st as was the postal cancellation). Various stamps – wood/ink and postal – plus trekking permits, and a combination of typewriter (Olivetti Lettera 34) and fountain pen. Continued the conceit the aerogramme was refused for enclosures and thus lost in dead letter piles. Did Thor’s letter ever find Ms. Heda?

The exhibit happened while I was off on the ramble, and so kind missed it in real life, but there is a IG video and if you look closely, you can catch my piece. I guess now goes into a special collection. Not quite sure what that means but its fun (especially considering how infrequently I *actually* send something out for display rather than just “sending something out”)

As it goes, I’ve always made these kind of travel ephemera collages but just now realizing that other people enjoy this kind of stuff :-) I guess I’m a slow learner.

here is my “Aerogramme from Pokhara” with new pals on display though the exhibit is over and done with

Diary: emerging, again (maybe) hermitude / so tired

tired, skinny – waiting for bus,

Evidence for the curiosity seekers: I’m still here, alive…

Left the house for the first time in 10+ days (previous was a big hospital day) somehow amidst my hermitute, after 3+years got “the thing” laid me out badly with feverish hallucinations, debilitating pain, confusion, tears and sleeplessness {Sidebar: keep in mind that with my illness #MECFS I carry a massive viral load and a big legged immune system which has been constantly fighting this for 10+ years and also, the symptoms evidenced without the usual “scratchy throat, lack of smell and respiratory issues” so was a bit of a bewildering situation and very very much not good, not at all} … and then of course, the darling duo joined in on the fun… They are starting to bounce back because they’re invincible but tough seeing my normally intrepid wife battling through and are excitable cheerful boy we just started a new preschool program burning up with a 40° fever.

I am several kilograms accidentally trimmed up as really hard to keep food down and no appetite and so rolling like a zombie – bewildered, bothered, befuddled and just worn out of it all.

August got really weird with some unexplained and unexpected catastrophes, remarkable wife rolled with it all because she’s brilliant and a rainbow. Ichiro enjoys our spontaneous evacuations for a few locations as it meant trips to dinosaurs, beaches and pools.

I played along with my ukulele and tried not to be too grumpy as my precious batteries drained into oblivion… and made a few friends along the way.

Anyway, this is my usual picture of “waiting for a bus, wearing a hat and a mask trying to keep it together but losing my equilibrium & sanity inside” add it to your nft collection

PS our house is now set up for solar power including battery and selling back to the grid. Hooray for semi self sufficiency!

And yes, I keep sending out postcards and other little treats so I’m doing something right, right?

Notes: the scourge comes to cottage

Summary: Oh hi, it’s me. 3+ years of being super cautious because I have #MECFS and then Bam! completely laid out in to feverous hallucinations & pain. My family then went through it and are recovering but I realize the next few months are a total write off for me. Completely discouraged.

me and Tom Waiting at the goat farm

Sept 4 [the hopeful years]: Big week ahead so i really have to get into action to get the medicines sorted (cause I didn’t do yesterday), plus garbage and recycling ready…

Tomorrow is kiddo’s 1st day at new preschool so Im tagging along + we have out-of-town guests coming for garden visit & dinner

Sept 5: Desperately, stunningly sick. High fever, massive chills, everything feels like concrete / All the stress from the last few weeks came together last night about 3 AM. Covered with ice packs, and a bit scared.

I’m so sorry to my darling wife and son because today was a big day.

(I know I’m always talking about the illness #MECFS and / but a month of ganbaru through crappy situations have put me in a colossal crash with some still unknown virus.)

Light incense for me, I’m not ready to join Jimmy Buffett yet.

Sept. 6: Thank you for all the kindness, fever has broken, I’m completely exhausted, haven’t slept for days, kept a little bit of water and rice porridge down. Will spare you for the details. Was pretty scary.

Mostly just so grateful for your sweetness. We will survive, we will get by

Sept 7: A wee notch or two better today.

Still in bed, spun out & lightheaded / fresh sheets & pajamas. A little bit of food and trying to catch up hydration slowly.

Mentally and emotionally, extremely difficult stretch beyond the physical struggle.

So worn out. Grateful for you.

Note: {And though I just hid out while all the commotion was going on…} our “Tsuchida solar farm” is now fully operational. Battery charging quickly, there is an webapp to track usage, battery level, and amount of access selling back to grid.

The project was also another solid example of “coffee diplomacy” meaning the power of getting extra great work by ensuring carafes of ice coffee available for workers in a little carport lounge. {Plus many coffees months ago for the 3 companies giving sales pitches/bids.}

Sept 9: turns out not “just a severe #MECFS crash” causing distress these last 5 days, indeed the specter of the noteworthy public health conundrum came to plague our home for 1st time in 3+ years. Wife is now wrecked too. Tough situation :(

{Yes, many people say “oh it’s like a cold for a few days maybe” so hoorwy good for you but for immune compromised folks dealing with already massive viral load (hi it me) its dang catastrophic}

PS Ichiro testing negative but obviously inside the cottage with us so…

Ryoko and I are taking turns resting/hydrating while other keeps Ichi-Stan occupied.

{I had a great “dad moment” eating grilled cheese sandwiches and watching Star Wars Rebels with my kiddo yesterday as we ride through this “popular public health conundrum ™”}

“Fortunately” I have a load of experience being sick so… (this is me trying to see a silver lining in a cloudy sky) toughing it out and utilizing crisis tactics.

Completely wrecked me.

This is all a long way of saying “yes, we’ve gone 3+ years without this (yes, tested many times) been very careful & deliberate and now just grateful for sweet words and I’m just putting this out for the record, not seeking medical advice/opinions” tyvm

And noting that importantly right now is to keep the situation contained here in the cottage and not leap over the 1 m to in-laws house. While they are 5x vax’d and generally healthy, they are elderly & this ain’t fun. Ichiro showing no symptoms <3

Sept 10: And Cee19 hits kiddo 39.7° fever & we all exhausted & stumbling like zombies / tmrw hospital (im a week in &/but a special case so recovery is slow but my darlings are *far more important* than me) oh Ganesh, please removed some obstacles puleese

[have a pal (from Vancouver days but now lives in Australia) in Japan on business and with his lovely wife made a bonus vacay sidequest trip to #Okayama. Instead of getting a fond reunion, I’m sending map pins, tips and snapshots to give a virtual tour of my unfamous city :(]

Wife and I are taking turns resting and keeping energetic three year old occupied. He tested negative and is symptom-free despite both of us being deep in the well. Hope it stays this way but my goodness, what a drag / courage and tenacity is fading

Think we should’ve got Covid in Japan when Hello Kitty was personally delivering a care box of pocky and other treats to everyone infected. Now not sure if there’s somewhere we should call to report our situation for statistical gathering besides just telling the kid’s preschool.

And just used Uber eats for the first time in Japan just to get a few things delivered from the konbini store since in-laws next door have managed to bring us some powdered soup and some kind of eggplant goop. I think they’ve turned into aliens

Sept 11: So 3-1/2 years into C19 and the medical response is either of: a) take some ibuprofen, hydrate and rest; or b) go to the ER if it gets *really bad*; or c) some dubious medication that may or may not be reliable / available. Is there something missing? Pardon me, just frustrated

Bonus MECFS Research confaB:

Oh and a C19 chart:

And unnecessary addendum:

Poem: ‘Served my Heart’ #draft

Served my heart

Suppose its petty
And surely inelegant
but I’ll spill it anyhow
As i recollect

“I still think of all the stuff
I suddenly gave away
When I I though I will die”

All the paintings I sent away
Hoping to be remembered
My hand or another held
The brush and decision

Thought would bring
Safety net and affection
And watchful eye on escape
A photo shows up sometimes
In a flashback and fleeting

Fireworks or factories
On a Spanish coast, a grotto
Fig de Foz or Gandhi beach park

Lions gate in a windstorm
Pretending i was Varley
Taking late night ferry
Over between drunken tug boat races

All gone but for the snaps
I try to make anew
But hand only knows how
To forget and the paint
Goes on in errant blobs
Maintaining current mood

Painting: Tom Thompson

Healing: hospital, exhibit ideas & pills (yes again)

Sept 1: [summary]

Anyhow, today like a big boy I took the bus to the hospital by myself (usually darling wife drives me and hangs out) but now we’re getting into her busy work season and I need to do this on my own… After the injections, I’m spaced out so will retreat to a little café to regroup.

Next week, our little tiger starts at a new “forest preschool” run by the YMCA which will require me doing afternoon bus rides and then switching to the old timey tram/trolley.

I figured out a routine where we’ll do the switch waiting at the Uno bus terminal station which is a building that looks transported out of a Greyhound station in Chicago in 1963 with newspaper vending machines, cigarettes on offer, and rows of plastic seats but it’s a place to sit down and wait for the bus out of the weather

8:44AM / Wakey: Oh, “Dave is sending a little updates, it must mean it’s a Hospital day and he’s nervous/anxious” Yep 1 hour til bus, still in bed pajamas and coffee mode. Get up get up

I need this guy’s “eye of the tiger” ;)

9:55AM / Bus: Made the bus with perfect timing. Sitting in front ‘co-pilot’ seat to dig vistas along absurdly narrow roads the bus choogles down with nible dexterity & seasoned skill.

Have a transfer at dreaded station bus loop to another bus/company.

Charged up my pre-paid value card on the fly. (This is Hareca card, not be confused with the 383 other cards)

Brought kindly Dr gift packet of Post Coffee (of course i decorated gift bag with appropriate stamps) to go with stainless steel travel Bodum French press gifted last time. Includes 3 kinds of pre-ground coffees (helping her replace can kohi habit)

10:22 / Outfit: Blue Stetson-brand felt fedora, short sleeve shirt (handy for injections), shoulder bag from Kathmandu (note: give it some saddle soap, 7 years old already!), cheap & cheerful & (importantly) soft headphones, & yes Margaret, a mask.

Maybe inspired by a tip about wearing darker blues now in Sept, inexplicably put on a tie from Chiang Mai for today’s character study.

PS glasses still need adjusted. So tired.

Made my busswitch… sounds really basic as im a super transit rider in many countries but, our area has 3 different bus franchisees providing service in various areas, and all of the signs are only in Japanese characters (and shockingly) but a little opaque to slow-minded like me.

By far the best of the three is the one that comes out to our home (called Uno bus) with beautifully maintained vehicles, great Wi-Fi, power outlets, comfortable seats… This one is a little bit more “standard issue”

Re above: That meant to say “unshockingly” because of course it’s written in Japanese because this is Japan duh but still, having the ABC version (especially on the special green bus designed to do a tourist loop) would be a super easy quick useful addition.

K, at hospital. no snaps permitted (obv)

Snack in between the various check points, gotta not fade

yes a photo of a konbini snack to keep energy up for injections etc

3:55PM Good news is: survived the *multiple medical checkpoints* of the hospital, including all the checkout/billing/insurance desk + got 13+ prescriptions submitted including some new medications (muscle relax, migraine) and will be delivered by courier.

3:58PM / Liberal Cafe: Got late lunch & siphon coffee at “Liberal” where boss calls me Mr Friday & exchanges postcards / ¥1250 for daily set minus rice plus coffee – shared a book of paintings from Shikoku & Germany

When i arrived at Liberal café, the boss says “oh it’s Mr. Friday” and I felt like a regular.

I might do a super low-key art exhibit there too (postbox paintings) will totally let you know and we will do an “opening” even if it’s just two of us with siphon coffees.

4:00PM / Bus switch: Caught bus and at Okayama station, oh my goodness, there are foreign tourists, wearing shorts, talking loudly wearing, backwards baseball hats & eating ice cream. It’s all so strange! :) {no one comes to Okayama}

4:33PM / Home: Oh im home & in bed / thanks for hanging out with me on my journey… Helps the anxiety tell my story along the way

Bonus / Data: geeky medical imaging fun delivered by app

The data in these clumsy screenshots doesn’t necessarily need interpretation by we laypersons but just the fact that they “exist” is fascinating. Dozens of images, and all sorts of blood test results all of the Japanese is still beguiling and difficult to translate medical terms of course but still… The fact that it exists is very pleasing

Briefly: blood flow to my frontal cortex of brain is insufficient which impacts executive function (i get confused and non-verbal) and easy weakened but spinal fluid does not seem to be “leaking” although there is a clear impingement on cervical spine (i think result from car crash Jerome Idaho, 1988)

MECFS study: Mortality in Patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

“The findings suggest patients in this sample are at a significantly increased risk of earlier all-cause (M = 55.9 years) and cardiovascular-related (M = 58.8 years) mortality, and they had a directionally lower mean age of death for suicide (M = 41.3 years and cancer (M =66.3 years) compared to the overall U.S. population [M = 73.5 (all-cause), 77.7 (cardiovascular), 47.4 (suicide), and 71.1 (cancer) years of age]…”

Oh, and: Importantly: The master of my little secret kissaten trimmed these three beauties off a tree to see me on my way / he said yuzu but look like sudachi… but I’m not all that smart about these matters. Regardless bound to be tangy.

[Fast forward] Sept 4: Today on “tidying up with daveo” comes a variety of tasks involving: figuring 日本語 characters to identify medications and then, a “Laverne and Shirley-esque” (or “I Love Lucy” if you’re older) series of manual tasks, scribbling letters, tearing packets & sorting into bins #mecfs

The tasks are way quicker and easier now as most of the medications are bundled into “morning, noon, evening, bed” packets by pharmacy & TCM are in numbered sachets // although there are always situational outliers and new meds to test out before putting into the routine #pwme

Pod and Book addendum

Post’d: postcards with *purpose* & mostly motels

A batch of postcards went out into the world… I guess sometime ago now but their journey as long and their life in scrapbooks, shoeboxes are on refrigerators will be even longer.

I also realize my other purposes are:
* to make remind the world i still exist
* to bring joy to other peoples lives
* to make a persistent distributed creative journal/diary of life and,
* (lofty as it may seem) make tiny museums of myself all over

This is a nighttime view to bookend a daytime view of the same location sent in a previous Dispatch. Do you know where that is?

Rather than my usual “laborious custom made” creations I am tapping into the stash (kept in a red velvet covered box) of “oh my goodness, i like these postcards so much ii must keep them” which of course means I should send them out right away so they have a purpose. We all need ikigai after-all.

Besides adding a luminous stamp of my bespectacled, bearded and beheaded avatar floating above the landscapes, I also included biometric finger prints in case you need to frame me of any crimes.

Please make them easy ones to solve as I haven’t much time for court rooms

And thank you for always reminding me that what I do with post is… I don’t know… what’s the word? not important per se, possibly amusing for fictional museums – anyway, it’s good for my tattered mental health to hide out and create analog things for pals

Heck, these are even educational

mixed-media art library, global diary, project dossier and whole life documentation