Methinks She Doth Protests Too Little

Squeak, O Round One! Squeak!
What repair doth thou need?
Unbroken be thy circle
Well seeming thy axel, too
Utterly dry though it be

Squeak, I say! Squeak now!
Unto thee shall be delivered
The grease thee doth so lack
For silence doth beget neglect
The mute bide forever parched

Squeak loudly! Yes! Squeak!
Surely thou canst this do
And thine greasy reward granted
A most good and quiet wheel
Mayest thou be once again

©️2022 Debra Landau

Wait! What? But … Didn’t I …?

I posted this on December 7, 2022, according to WordPress, now JetPack. Except, only as a draft it seems. Then again two months later, with the Hello section added below. But that was just a draft, too?! Ahh!

My Blue Room by DÅL|é

Hello, DÅL|é !

Some time in the early months of year two of the pandemic (you know the one), I gave myself the gift of a lifetime membership to a photo editing and drawing app. I then decided to sign my artwork with a representation of my grandmother’s nickname for me when I was a kid, “Dolly.” (She was the only one who could get away with calling me that, so don’t even think about it!) My initials are DAL — A for Anna, after my German (other) grandmother, pronounced with schwas coming and going. I drew my new art signature first and discovered it has a tail. In written/typed form, the tail became an e. I added diacritics and a line for visual effect. And because one of my favorite artists, Salvador Dalí, would have approved. Thus, DÅL|é.

Maybe 18 months later, my photo artsy app rolled out a new feature, free for us lifers: DALL-E*, the user-friendly, AI-driven digital image generator. Having given it a test drive, I do not call it an art creator. Many of the images are indeed entertaining, some hilarious, some surreal … depending on the prompts of the user. Most images are astounding in their intricacies and precision! All are well done. Indeed, they are perfect. There are no happy accidents. No mysteries. No hidden agendas. No inconsistencies. No je ne sais quoi. So, no relation whatsoever to Dalí! Nor to DÅL|é!

That, my lovelies, the side by side development of DÅL|é and DALL-E, is a real-life coincidence, an example of convergent evolution of names for tangentially related things. Only significant connection is from my perspective.

OpenAI, please, don’t sue me!

*Just like WALL-E, but without all that soul! (Or Disneyfied fatphobia.) Or how most folks mispronounce Dalí (yeah, I said it); again, without all that soul! And mustache wax!

59 Years and 365 Days

Yes, it's my birthday
And I'll freak the fuck out if I want to

There is a grace period, a profound relief
After telling the pros the depths of one’s despair
And receiving sincere care, retaining agency
It’s almost euphoric by contrast

Yet, it is brief, this grace period
It does not bridge the gap
From when the dosage was increased
To when the drug takes effect

And so it is the Year of the Rabbit
Good fortune for all but those of the long-eared sign
Cultural appropriation the (in)sincerest form of flattery?
Or just plain common?

No one asks me what I want
Even now they think I like surprises
Once arranged, I'm given my part to play
I’ll do my job and not let my loved ones down

I should count among my loved ones
Yes, yes, I should

She lived 60 years, 322 days, officially
321 days if you forgot 2004 was a leap year
My mother outlived hers and the others
Will I outlive her?

I am trying
I am working on it
I am always working on it
I am so very, very tired

We had rabbits for 25 years
Their pandemic hit here first
2019 was not a leap year
I can not raise rabbits again

And all the death that followed
And all that came before

We regret to inform you
That the recipient of your birthday wishes
May not be able to fulfill
The “happy” aspect of your heartfelt missive

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.

Oscar Wilde (obv!)
That last part has long been a challenge, but after 3 years of pandemic and being a burden, leaving the house is getting harder and harder!
Here’s looking at you, kid!

The perfect title! The best title. One great title. A pretty good title. Fair to middling title. Good enough for government work title? Starting to turn title? A pretty bad title. The worst title!

As soon as I’m faced with a writing platform, all my brilliant ideas evaporate.

Why yes, I have been away for a good while. And yes, again, I have struggled mightily with how to make a comeback to my odd little blog. I’m fully aware it is a problem I’ve constructed for myself. I love silence and language both. I have a degree in Theater Arts/Dance and while I’m the dancer who speaks, the choreographer who incorporates words, most of my art (and much of my work) to date has been nonverbal.

I recently watched two different versions of Cyrano de Bergerac. Both were wonderful and distinct. Cyrano emphasized devotion and emotion. Cyrano, My Love went to the core of how difficult it is to express our feelings without a layer of protection, some distance — a mask, a messenger, an actor, a poet. That’s my quick take, at least.

Ironically, I can not articulate at this time how the Cyranos helped me better understand my social awkwardness and the role played by my “childhood gift” of being able to quietly entertain myself. Mon panache!

No, there is no theme here; no flow. I’m making my way back to posting. You’re on your own.

Is there a home COVID-19 test for the disabled? You know, one in which a disabled person is no worse for wear after completing all the fine-motor work and has not been brought to tears even once over the eternity it takes to wrangle all the parts while trying to follow the badly laid out instructional insert of this rapid antigen test?

I was once a biochemistry major. And I’ve worked in labs. Big part of why I left science: hated doing dishes.* Also, asthma and animal testing and depression. Plus, I needed to dance. (Dance and asthma is a whole other kettle of fish.) Meanwhile, though it was years ago and not my true calling after all, my lab experience should help me make short work of this rapid antigen test, according to my many-years spouse.

Loveofmylifeguy tested negative!❤️

Face of black chug dog with with eyes shut tight. Watercolor effects on photo.
Draymond will be having major knee surgery February 2nd!

I like counting in German. I like counting; have since I can remember. Started counting in German several years ago when still working but getting sick and external distractions were becoming problematic.

Today I said the word achtzig (“eighty” in German) in my head and aloud, and it sounded wrong to me. Just wrong. Later, it sounded just fine. I’ve experienced this phenomenon a few times. Usually, a migraine ensues. Most embarrassing instance was when a company member came in to rehearsal, fresh from ballet class, ecstatic about fondu and I shot her down, as the word did not sound at all correct to me right then. So very sorry, D!

As I return to a state of being in which I can not only read but also write complete sentences, I have faith I’ll be able to finish my infusion clinic series, among other things. Thank you for reading! I hope you’ll continue to check in.

Speaking of infusion … I am an anomaly! (A medical anomaly you do not want to be!) As you may recall, I was very excited for the upgrade in biologics** last autumn. However, I had a rather serious and unusual reaction to the new drug in October. I will write about it separately. I’m over the worst; still recovering.

“Full recovery” is not going back in time and reclaiming your health just as it was before the accident or surgery or calamity.

Spoiler alert: I had a brain scan in December and no red flags. In fact, no flags of any color. Entirely flag-free. Such a relief!

We seem to live in a time of superlatives. It’s the worst! (Although I’m going for ironic humor with that last statement, in some cases, especially those related to climate change and natural disasters, it’s true.) We’re bombarded with reports of unprecedented this and that. Progress or the road to oblivion? Time will tell. Meanwhile, you can only do your best! And hey, your best is good enough! Great! So my pretty good is, what, untreated cow manure?

I suppose I could sum up the last several years as various adventures in medical diagnoses and care, from traumatic to life-saving and life-affirming, dotted with occasional brushes with death. Surprising, yet spot on in retrospect, is the discovery that I am neurodivergent.

Divergent. Medical anomaly. Zebra.

I am a freak! Hear me quietly roar!

Photo of graffiti on concrete in desert artistically warped. A white painted frame is inset, suggesting a picture within a picture.
Strata by DÅL|é from an original photograph by Jeff Hartzer

*Undergraduate chemistry students generate a lot of “dirty dishes,” beakers, flasks, etc. Work-study students like me worked out which residue was what and “washed” the glassware in poorly ventilated closets. It was the early 1980s. It was dreadful.

**Very simply put, biologics (biologic pharmaceuticals) are those made from living organisms and/or containing parts thereof (e.g. amoebae, proteins) as opposed to wholly synthesized drugs. Biologics are all the rage in cancer and autoimmune disease treatment, as well as those mRNA vaccines of late, among others. My October surprise (no names will I give) is in a class of biologic drugs called CD20-directed cytolytic antibodies. And now you know.