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Diary: May 5月, Beguiled (& rather) Bewildered

Oh bye May

Spinning past another month, we’re at the 31st and I’m waiting to try out a new Ayurveda clinic here in dear Okayama. So a few annotations:

Guess it ain’t no secret that I’ve had a hard time bouncing up this month/year, however in the midst of it all I’m out of bed *almost* every day and doing a few things around the house even if it’s just dishes, laundry, compost, making tea and rice. Some days I do a few more things, for example:

This month we had a surprise overseas visitor and we went together to one of the inland sea islands as well as enjoying food & items together – and it was a joy to share my “new life” with a friend from my before times.

I’ve done a few sessions of sorting around in the kura barn and, going through bins of artifacts and taking from “stuff in a bin” to curated collections in binders with labels and themes. It’s a task requiring equal parts organizational theory, temporary nostalgia, celebrating past and imagining futures, specifically “what can I make with all these things to amplify what it means?” None of the items are by themselves significant for the collection of them all creates a tapestry of life. That sounds rather “grand” but in my mind, it’s the usual days in regular life that make life remarkable.

Coming on Two & looking like a young man already

Wonderful child Ichiro has battled through a couple of snotty noses, colds and fevers which sometimes pull him out of school due to “protocols“ but my goodness, the words are tumbling out of his mouth now, the balance is increasing, his awareness of where things go and how to do things is increasing on the regular and I am absolutely proud. I am trying to add to my skill set of how to “tug the reins“ a little bit without being a grumpy Papa and not buying into the fallacy of punishment, which perpetuates and hides problems and always requires escalation and this is proven – throughout forever – to be generally ineffective & mostly unwise.

My treasures and the penguins on a recent trip to Antarctica via Shimane

Darling wife Ryoko is studying for her “tree doctor” level up exam coming up later this year and has also continued work on her charcoal kilns and tidying up her tool shed a little bit for maximum organization efficiency. She’s also been doing some secret live streams while kiddo and I are in the bath and usually get sa couple piano songs out before Ichiro yelled out “bing bong Mama!” and we do our “Captain Ichiro, are you ready?” countdown to exit bath, dry up, lotion and pajamas, stories, cuddles and sleep.

For me, sleep is a struggle – i sleep long but shallow & unrefeshing/replenishing plus make up in fits and starts + dealing with a lot of neurological pain still along with the brain fog, confusion and general crippling fatigue. So, new plan is to change my periodic check ins/administrative visits from the “big city general” hospital to the University Hospital where they have specific departments investigating long-term chronic post-viral inflammation/immune system diseases relating to the current cee-one-nine virus which kinda dovetails into my situation with #MECFS. There is also a traditional Chinese medicine clinic on site i’ll endeavour to try in my quest for new approached for increasing my baseline.

Always have at least a dozen sleeping masks on hand… i mean on face

As I mentioned in a video (I should know that I’ve done a couple more dispatches in my “healing ramble” series if curious) this month was the awareness campaign month for my illness, as well as awareness month for mental health, Asia Pacific islanders, IBS/Crohn’s and other things (Cascadia Day!) which have impacted my life. These notable days – coupled with a few significant anniversaries: me becoming ill and memorial service / for my Mom & Creepers & Chums party; I guess added onto the emotional exhaustion of just being constantly zonked.

Celebrating Cascadia several years back and Evelyn Street, Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, unceded Cascadia bioregion

But hey, here I am talking about it!The important thing is, I have a wonderful family here and great friends around the world, food is delivered weekly, we plant seeds in the garden, postcards and packages come from time to time, I have enough books and records to keep me constantly amused and I’ve even done a bit of scrapbooking about our trip a couple months ago to Shimane.

Tip: send postcards to yourself

Yes, mentally I always feel like “I should be doing more” and I guess felt since was a little kid reading Tintin books that I was meant to be “out there in the world sparking revolutions” – so I remember to pause and think of all the things “accomplished” in the last three years since I came to Japan and all the things in my almost 52 years… So many countries, conversations, projects and so much more to come.

Adventures ahead, adventures behind, same same different different

I also continue to fiddle away at this “creative life archive” / when I run down and stuck in bed, I listen to audiobooks and longform podcast and sometimes tappity tappity on the pocket robot to assemble posts with pictures, musings, memories and what not. I love the feeling of hitting publish and thinking that someone might find a bit of inspiration or amusement.

Getting hot and humid so hoping in June we might have some beach days and also set up the yard for more playtime right here. Ichiro hits two on the 23rd so have an eye on a balance bike and maybe a visit to a zoo.

Always more, we’ve got all the time in the world.

A wonderful painting I came across: Martina Heiduczek
“Coffee and Friendship” / two of my favorite things :)

Musing: Painted into corner (of a blank canvas) #video

Spontaneous riff with usual lousy video and dodgy audio but solid stories

Diary musings including: brain fog; trips to Shimane and Kyoto (Minka Summit); pals Ted and Ed and a big dog; recent books (Alex Kerr, Robert Whiting, Miles Copeland, Dave Bidini) + classic Japonica books; ++ sorting out my head about “what comes next” (answer equals anything; seitai treatment; MECFS awareness (and other awarenesses month); sortganzing ephemera; new records, old records; how are you? etc – all from kura barn a spontaneous rambling blur on another sunny day in Okayama.

Accidentally features Leonard Cohen and Mxmtoon.

Did you notice my sweet black globe and green ship lantern?

Diary: apropos of nothing (sleeping masks, hockey, mosquito net, laundry)

Really nothing to the usual days except for the brilliance of usual days, appros of really nothing, i annotate for amusement. Carry on in a disinter-mediated manner:

new kamidana house shrine for ancestors – made in Tottori from a slab of gingko wood

Okayama memo: The thing I really like most about is its very “usualness” {aside from being famous for the Momotaro peach boy story and being a “place you pass through to get to other places”} is also almost always sunny but not today (this Cascadian doesn’t mind the rain though).

My 1st era in Japan in the early 90s, was in Tottori (remote w/ kei-truck), later hiding out near Miasa, Nagano. When came back few years ago, found Okayama was just right / Not a hectic sensory overload city but has big hospital, Immigration etc.

Yes, we “lean heavily” into Momotaro folktale here and the image of a peach is scattered all over from statues to utility pole covers and gosh, peaches with a boy coming out of them can look really funny! And apparently it’s the sunniest prefecture in Japan. 

By post: Three pack of organic oatmeal arrived. {always mean to scribble down “tasting notes“ with all the different kinds but never do and never remember which ones were “great“ but all are, you know, good enough} ~ Eat each morning with variety of nuts, berries and sometimes yogurt.

Today by post: hori hori garden tool (this one is artisan made, previously ordered for wife and mother-in-law from off-the-shelf made-in-Japan company) / this one needs sharpened up and it didn’t come with a case/holster :( feels good in the hand though.

Day in the life:

  • ate salad with smoked salmon for lunch
  • loaded our new tiny dishwasher
  • sent a telegram, really
  • attempting to remove chewing gum from a pocket of a favorite shirt with ice packs #pending

now a rest before finishing laundry

Next day: One oatmeal, three coffees, two baskets of laundry, two hockey games… Now switching to loungewear and some tax paperwork. Then maybe repair a wicker stool after lunch.

Update: some arcane tax documents prepared, stamped, notarized, faxed, ready to mail in Duplicate etc. Indian curry and smoked salmon/avocado/lettuce salad lunch with darling. Next (going to try) to put a new seat on this wicker stool with hemp cloth and upholstery thumbtacks.

It’s not a masterpiece but it’s decent. Sturdy Polish hemp cloth, rugged long tacks & see how it goes. Hooray for hexagons!

Continue reading Diary: apropos of nothing (sleeping masks, hockey, mosquito net, laundry)

Diary: April, tiny steps (are what you take)

April 月 4 / Tiny steps (are what you take)

Oh hello May: after I fold this laundry, going to flip over the nine calendars in the house. Then, make turmeric tea and catch up the dishes while darling wife and wonderful child are at tea ceremony.

So April, more “tiny steps” and otherwise in the last two weeks in the previous 3 1/2 months…ergo:

  • went out into the world and met some people and learned some things about traditional houses and permaculture, even some hugs
  • Ryoko’s birthday and our third wedding anniversary, and other erstwhile milestones (recaps available)
  • so many other birthdays of dear friends! Noting that seems most of my friends, like 85%, birthdays are in August (like me) or an April. I have some wonderful friends and made a lot of phone calls to send best wishes
  • sent a few postcards, this seems obvious but this year I’ve been on hiatus of sorts
  • caught-up-ish on a few “life administration” tasks, answered a whole load of email yet of course, as it goes, more just come in #ImTryingMyBest
  • attended a memorial service for a kind gentle sake master at a Buddhist temple, made friends with the Abbott, exchanged artwork, watched my adorable son nap in a room with 3000 wooden carved Buddhas representing those passed on and who are read sutras annually. Also came home with a necktie, kimono and sake cups.
  • received some very kind packages from near and far with thoughtful and practical treats.
  • news of friends getting married, others having babies, others losing loved ones. As Gary Snyder wrote to Lew Welsh, “teach the kids, it’s all about the cycles”. #Peace
  • continued small steps to improve the campsite (metaphorically, our home) and supporting wife who unflinchingly and constantly takes on increasingly complicated projects like it’s no big deal

As always, more to say, I’m always “behind” but really, far far ahead and eternally grateful for your kind words, positivity, hopes of peace ++ I see your hard work, I see your struggles and always cheering for you.

Fondly, dvo at Tsuchida Cottage

Ichiro heading out to tea ceremony

Happy Golden Week (to those who celebrate :)), otherwise, general happy days in good times to all – from us at Tsuchida Cottage.

[Update] changed the calendars (only eight as didn’t go outside to change the one in the carport), tidied the house, dinner with my darlings and of course bathtime (best time!)

In bed at nine, read a book, zonked out (aside from midnight sleepwalking foraging for a snack) >> now it’s nine in the morning the next day and I feel like I ran a half marathon and drank at least eight beers and flew across 17 time zones. This illness #MECFS is a trickster. But I’m happy.

Oh, I made at least three phone calls yesterday just to shoot the breeze and catch up with friends and family.

Healing: Journals and a Postcard

sorry, i guess – no not at all

As I’m stumbling along on my “healing ramble” series (please watch the intro video for overview and disclaimers, not unusually, finding myself a little bit overwhelmed with all the artifacts, memories, items, even data, to share. So, rather than obsess over it just putting it all out there, even if it’s a bit redundant.

The next “real” dispatches from the series include my “tips for travelling with a chronic illness” (which is rather practical and logistical stuff), plus another entry from Sri Lanka, another from Nepal, a tough one from Pacifica California, more from other places i forgot and maybe I’ll even fill in the missing gaps from Adelaide Australia, Austin Texas, and crossing Canada looking for a home.

In the meanwhile here are the fronts of some notebooks and a postcard which allude to some of the above.

Continue reading Healing: Journals and a Postcard

Diary: mowing lawns and Tchaikovsky (ca. 2005, Gravelly Beach)

I hate mowing lawns worse than anything and I did it twice today.

Gravelly Beach, (off of Steamboat Island Rd.) Puget Sound – Bernice’s house, 2005

After a long hayfever delirium, shower, nap … now awake in yukata robe, loosley tied – a wee bit tattered since I acquired 1992 at a Tottori hot spring. 

Painting on backporch, almost out of colors so the sky is purple and swirly with white and tetch of black.  Last of blue goes for water and only green is toolight for dark trees but I slap it on anyhow. 

On back porch listening to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 – cannons and timpani and chimes. Oh yeah it is July 3rd so american fervor is fever pitched and fireworks spurt over the hills from several angles. I hardly notice under the wave of music – heck in Japan I saw fireworks which make joebob and his stash from the tribal stand look weak! 

Of course the rest of the world is at bar-b-q parties and parking lots watching skies for color but I am best trying to savor the last of this tranquil hide-away before Bernice returns next week. 

My studio is aclutter with 13 projects in process as I scramble to get stuff to a “sort done enough” mode to put on hold of a month or a decade.  A healthy sized wooden frame stretched and staple with hemp canvas piled now with a barrage of Belize bric a brac – postcards, painting and pics amongst transport tickets, government stubs, and shells.  europa painting (acrylics) hanging here and there – seems close but all needing time to refine, but not tame, the spontaneity of the composition and stroke. 

Gravelly Beach series of oils are here and there (some larger than others) but mostly dry but some unfinished – oil take so long to dry I am not sure if I should make another pass on them now – yes i’d best whilst still here and can work en plein in the heat of moment. 

Scrapbooks unfinished, notebooks partially filled, papers to go in binders, things to burn, people to leave, things to sell, give, lose, wrap. 

Rim shot fireworks, candles flicker in the breeze, 3 round candles with stands found while packing – or rather sorting stuff from one house to store at another awaiting sale. Can’t exactly “move” unless a destination has been established: Deep Cove, a community in North Vancouver looking likely – a New Belgian beer and chai tea in ceramic mug complete the table tableau.

In breaks of action, ohhs and ooohs bounce across the water – strange since I *never* hear anyone and the distance is hard to tell in the inky air.  Drum circle bounces across, past the commercial fishing boat moored up for partying, from Cooper Point hippie hoe down, a neighbour cranks Boz Scagg’s Lido Shuffle which always (along with a certain Fleetwood Mac song) reminds me of 3rd grade afternoons at a baseball park, sneaking in woods with … {sigh}

Healing: Story of Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital ~ Galle, Sri Lanka

not really at the hospital but still captures the spirit of the scene

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction video for context on this series.

Importantly, this is not meant to be a travelogue or creative writing exercise, just laying out my experience as it came to me. I may include some links to other projects or creations that came out of this, maybe… I’m not there yet.

This entry, from is from Galle Sri Lanka, late 2017 and written in the weeks following. It’s now April 2022, i live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  No comments, sympathy requested or accepted. Carry on. 

Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital
Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Sign

Background: Along my healing journey, I received treatment at Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital in Galle, Sri Lanka, a government-run, pay-what-you-can facility.

I attended this hospital for Ayurveda treatments for some weeks during Dec. 2017-Jan 2018 and was treated by a kind practitioner called Ruwan. I also met with a wise Doctor who recommended I do a longer in-patient Panchakarma program here, but… some life situations changed and i didn’t do the program. I saw the rooms and talked to the doctors and while it was very spartan and not cozy, the staff seemed to be very intent on their practice.

Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Lobby
Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Lobby

Routine: Mr. Prem dropped me off via his Tuk-tuk (he introduced me to the facility in the first place), i then went to a window to announce myself (to everyone’s great surprise!) and then sat in the waiting area. Mr. Ruwan would come back from lunch, i would strip down to underwear and lay down on a wooden table (covered with a vinyl sheet) in a shared room with folks coming and going for massage with loads and loads of oil.

Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Treatment room
Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital: Treatment room
Continue reading Healing: Story of Dissanayake Ayurvedic Hospital ~ Galle, Sri Lanka

Healing Ramble: Pros & cons of living or seeking treatment abroad with a chronic illness

Memo: Above comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series.

Importantly, this is not meant to be a travelogue or creative writing exercise, just laying out my experience as it came to me. I may include some links to other projects or creations that came out of this, maybe… I’m not there yet.

This entry was in Pokhara, Nepal, early 2017, written as a letter to someone i met along the way facing health challenges of their own. I never heard back but whatever…

(finally) organized and published spring 2022 – i now live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  No comments, sympathy requested or accepted. Carry on. Note: There’s another post with a review and brief introduction to Ayurveda Health Home as well. 

daveo

Dear [Redacted],

I’ll speak frankly and candidly from my own experience, all of us are different of course – for the record I am at an Ayurvedic clinic in Pokhara, Nepal.

Background:

a medical diagram of me

Like you, and most everyone else with a chronic complex medical conundrum, I’ve spent all the time since my “trigger event” seeking out various treatments.

From overmatched GP doctors, to the anticipation of finally getting into see a “specialist” and the disappointment crash following when they still have more answers than questions, spending everything you got to see various naturopaths, chiropractors, reiki practitioners, massage therapists, nutritionalists… with little to no long-term benefit, spending sleepless nights reading medical abstracts & journals as though you understand them, seriously considering going in significant debt to go to a “fancy famous” hospital, putting up with family and “friends” advice (occasionally well-meaning) but always useless and often completely disrespectful, using up every bit of energy reserves on a daily basis just to get through the day and hopefully feel some vague sense of satisfaction or accomplishment when really you’re just spinning, seeing the stress it causes on lovers and partners who try their best to understand but crack under the pressure from time to time, and acknowledging your own mental well being — which starts to fragment from exhaustion, frustration and so many (often professional) people telling you that it’s “all in your head”.

I made a penciled flowchart of my various options before I headed out this last time, ergo:

(very frank) life options

Shall I do just what the Western doctors and insurance companies want me to do hide myself in a rainy apartment with old folks down the hall filling the lobby with smell of soup?

Go down in flames with late nights of parties and decadence pushing myself to the very limits knowing that it doesn’t really matter if I wake up tomorrow (I’m just not that self-destructive)?

Or, beg borrow and steal to see the litany of well-meaning but wholly ineffective naturopaths, chiropractors, Reiki practitioners, nutritionists blah blah blah? (I have largely done this and have fallen deeply into debt as a result)

Or do I continue this sorta strange wandering life of seeking healing in foreign lands while playing the “cat and mouse” game with the insurance thugs who wish to control me? I guess this choice won for the time being so i’ll break down the problems in the categories:

  • Financial (the cost of simply living coupled with the cost of getting treatment)
  • Treatment (access to reliable and useful services when you need them)
  • Climate (some of us do better and different weather, as well the “political” and social stress of environment)
  • Community (the first year or so it can seem that you have a support network but as years go on, this breaks down and begins to vanish having a net negative affect)
Global Brigadoon Index ™

My experience:

My “western diagnosis” is fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome/M.E. This all started in May 2013 so I’m coming up on four years. My diagnoses usually affects women and there is support groups etc. have been primarily women, bless their hearts.

Continue reading Healing Ramble: Pros & cons of living or seeking treatment abroad with a chronic illness

Diary: March, a (slight) bounce

March /月3 re-cap, a (slight) bounce

improving the campsite and a small journey to the sea. Maybe starting a band – wrote a song “goat milk latte” in the bath last night – note to self: buy electric baritone ukulele

friday im in love (with an arborist and a kiddo named Stan)

flipping all the calendars in the house today – should be keep me busy for a while – we have a lot of calendars (get so many free in Japan) – later i use for scrapbook paper

wanna;

catchup documentation of recent postcards arrived from Gifu, Palm Springs and Woodstock

also meaning to share recent Beat videos with Beat Generation and JK, AG, GS groups (could some one do this for me so i don’t seem like im pimping my own dojo?)

wanna call my pal to chat about her daughter’s wedding

maybe a video/round-up from Shimane trip

usual dishes and laundry, compost

will wait of garden box and bird house projects til weekend

must organize supplements for next fortnight

picking Ichi up early, going to seitai w/ wife

dinner with parents at home (approx 2 m away)

oh gotta bring the freezer (delivered for $15-ish 5:30) inside {we’re putting electric in for that, plus adding dishwasher, more light in kura and starting research for solar panels}

i’ll do some subset of maybe 3 of the above, maybe

ps watch the video above by Jeff Nicholson, Canadian in Japan, less than 100K of us (+ read my diary leaving India}

pps just brought in the milk and eggs delivery so added that to the list as a finished item

A partial assortment of the calendars in our house. There are others. “Time and tide wait for no one after all.”
(Unless you just disregard all of it and realize time is just a construct and malleable, i.e. don’t mind which day it is and don’t go to sea, in which case you’re fine)

oh i didn’t even mention getting a soy milk making device, such days

Addendum

Supplements sorted

Unexpected lunch with wife

Posted some internets

Dishes washed, laundry started

Packages arrived (pretty much daily though)

Calendars turned (duly documented) 

Tried to call friend but missed her, exchange messages nevertheless

Took out compost

++ opened packages including: books, French press (glass lined, steel shell), gooseneck water kettle

+ Bob Mould’s five vinyl “distortion” box set – somehow on the $50 and I’m not sure why or how (maybe I should double check the receipt?)

the freezer is still outside

Seitai done >> Gonna lay down for a bit #MiscellaneousUpdate

Diary: (trying) to bounce up with various pleasing tasks

Various notes before heading off on a lil roadie to Shimane prefecture (across-ish on Sea of Japan side). Ichiro’s 1st time outta Okayama-ken. Packing light, hitting a children’s museum & aquarium, staying at a ryokan (pyjamas provided). Minimal dispatches, maybe. (by car but saw this train last time)

– carry on

March 24: Trying to bounce up. Did some shoes maintenance, a bit of creative stuff in the barn, bath with the kiddo, eating healthy and taking my supplements but still… dragging :( just saying this out loud to get it out of my head before sleep. No big deal, should be used to it.

Just trying to be 32% as cool as these guys. You know who they are right?

Plan to do some shoes maintenance today. At least one pair anyway, to get ready for our little road trip this weekend. But really, still foggy and in bed.

Or I might sew another curtain. Possibly test some microphones and a little mini PA we got.

Curious if anyone’s moved into the birdhouse. None of this will happen unless I can get out of bed.

OK, general updates

* doesn’t seem anyone’s moved in to the birdhouse yet

* set up mini PA and tested (& taped) 3 diff dynamic microphones

* gonna try fixing up some shoes but do it outside

[update to update: Of course I did a little photo essay of doing shoes maintenance but it may have crossed the street threshold into “completely trivial matters” which means of course, I’ll get to it eventually. Anyhow, my shoes are ready for a road trip tomorrow.]

My brain is so fogged

Photo: family band vibes, impending

Continue reading Diary: (trying) to bounce up with various pleasing tasks