29 August 2015

I rode a roller coaster last night; it was a horrific ride, one that started from a peak, sped downhill so fast I literally had a hard time choking out words, took a hard spin to the left, did a couple of loops, and ended in an angry, painful sudden jolt at the bottom of a steep descent, the brakes screeching and cars buckling behind me.

When I got up this morning, I hoped it was just a bad dream. The thing is, you really have to have gotten some sleep to have a wild dream like that, but at best I tossed and turned all night.

Sometime around 1989, we got our first “real” computer (as opposed to the Timex Sinclair we’d played with, writing crappy looping ascii images in BASIC) and got online with Prodigy. Since then, when I discovered message boards and chat rooms, I’ve made a few friends and some have stuck around since those early days.

Some I know better than others, but those who I’ve stayed I touch with, I’ve come to know pretty well.

Last night I got a text message from someone I’ve known for at least 15 years; we had in common a Fibromyalgia newsgroup, talked over IRC more than we interacted in the NG, discovered some common interests—she loved karate even though she had too much pain to train, so she watched her kids participate in tournaments; she loved to write, though she had no aspirations to be published, and reveled in coughing up what she said were “silly, stupid stories” meant only for her kids—and we became friends of a sort.

As the newsgroup fell away, and IRC became less popular, we drifted. A few times a year, though, we’d exchange emails, a random text here and there, and then Facebook made connecting a lot easier.

She cheered my efforts in walking the 3 Day, always apologetic about not being able to contribute to fundraising, because “a mess of kids is expensive” and there was no wiggle room in the budget. And that was fine; I not only don’t want friends who are cash strapped to donate, I would be upset if they did. The emotional support is just as important.

So I got a text last night.

“Stage IV metastatic. It’s in my liver and brain. Prognosis maybe January if I respond to treatment which I don’t know yet what that will entail.”

The roller coast took off without giving me a chance to buckle in.

“I have a request if it’s not a huge bad idea. My birthday falls on the 2nd day of the SD 3 Day … I don’t have more than the rest of this year, it would mean everything to me if someone walked for me.

If someone would write my name on the flag.

I can’t think of anyone I would want walking for me more than you.”

Loops. Fast, hard loops.

I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t choke out an explanation when the Spouse Thingy asked me what was wrong. I’m not generally a crier, but this took off so hard and fast I couldn’t help myself.

This is the year I’m not supposed to walk; my doc did not want me to travel, walk 60 miles, and then travel home. This is the year I’m supposed to get into better shape, lose some weight, and take care of me.

But when someone presents you with what is essentially their dying wish?

You farking agree to do it.

In the span of about 10 minutes I fired off a message to my doc, explaining that I’m tolerating the level of exercise I’ve done fairly well, have had few serious drops in blood sugar, and that I would not camp and would have someone there with a van—DKM is driving sweep on San Diego—and would be able to walk a couple of miles, ride a couple of miles.

I texted DKM.

I emailed a 3 Day coach about how I would go about switching my registration from Philadelphia to San Diego.

The thing is, within a few minutes I was firmly resolved that I’d go no matter what my doc said. I went through a range of jagged-edged feelings, everything from I WILL DO THIS to feeling a little guilty because if I walked at all it should be with my team in Philly, to “this is gonna get spendy” because there’s not much time to fundraise.

The San Diego walk is in a little over 60 days. I can train well enough to be ready for the amount of walking I would do, but raising $2000 in that time?

Self-funding looked like it would be necessary.

I went to bed with the decision, though: I would walk the 3 Day in San Diego, for no other reason than someone I have known for a very long time needed me to.

The risks? I was fine with those. Because when you try to balance the scales, someone else’s cancer crap weighs more than my nuisance crap, and if this one thing takes a little of the load from their side…of course I would do it.

As I tried to fall asleep, a song that’s been poking mercilessly at my brain for the last few days jabbed hard; I was grinding my teeth to the beat, and swearing in my head around the lyrics. Since it was going to keep me from sleeping, I sat up and grabbed my iPad, and tried to distract myself for a bit.

I played some Solitaire.

I got onto Reddit and read through a bunch of stuff in /r/askreddit.

Then I got on Facebook, whined about the stupid song stuck in my head, and just before I was about to shut it down and try again to sleep, I got a message. I didn’t recognize the name at first, but opened it anyway, because sometimes Max’s readers ask me things.

My longtime friend from the old newsgroup days has a longtime roommate, who had something fairly important to tell me.

“…she left her computer on and I went to put it to sleep. She had a bunch of windows open and I read it all. She doesn’t have cancer. She doesn’t have anything. But she has a bunch of notes here to a lot of people about it and a list of things. One of them is about starting a Go Fund Me page. She’s just trying to get money from people. Don’t worry, I will shut this down…”

Thusly did the brakes go on, hard; the roller coaster didn’t slide easily to the end. It buckled and I felt every bit of pressure from the sudden stop.

For a few hours, I was completely broken for someone else; I mourned her pain, what she was going through, the unfairness of it all, and I was about to jump feet-first into doing this one thing for her. I was going to train hard, and I was going to ask my friends to support the effort.

And surely when the request came, when the “I can’t afford all this” pleas started and the Go Fund Me page went live, I would have contributed. I would have shared it.

I didn’t sleep very much last night; at first it was the stupid song, then it was the anger.

I will put up with a hell of a lot from people online, and most of the time I won’t call them out on their crap. You want to be Studly Dudly DewRight in chat rooms, even though I know you’re very much not that? No skin off my nose. You want to be a guy on message boards, though I know you’re female? So freaking what? You can be anything you want online and I pretty much don’t care…unless you’re doing it for truly nefarious reasons. If you’re not hurting anyone, trying to manipulate anyone, or asking for money…I don’t care.

But this?

You play the cancer card, I care.

This isn’t even the first time someone I know has said they have breast cancer, when they never did. But this is the first time it’s been made this personal. It’s the first time that I know for sure I’ve been pegged to play someone else’s cruel and heartless game with the apparent intent to scam people for cash.

I would have done it. I would have walked—likely in defiance of what my doc wants—and I would have not only asked people to support that walk but also to donate to her when she inevitably asked.

When someone is faced with a terminal diagnosis, you don’t say no if you can do something they wish.

This morning, I am a curious mix of relieved and angry. Relieved that she’s not really dying, relieved I didn’t get pulled deeper into it, and angry that someone I’ve known long enough to trust would use something like this to get me to unknowingly help.

And I don’t get it. Why ask me to walk? Why do that knowing I’m supposed to take this year off? Why do it knowing it would cost me money that would never line your pocket, and in the end would have no real benefit to you?

Dietza…you suck.


20 August 2015

This little guy is an Adipose. He comes from an episode of Doctor Who; the basic storyline is that a nanny for an alien race comes to earth and forms Adipose Industries, which is ostensibly a company that created and sells a weight loss drug.

Take one pill a day, and the fat just melts away.

The reality is that people who take this drug lose fat all right...while they sleep these little Adipose babies just pop right out of them and run off into the night, where they will join up by the millions and then be taken home.

Of course something goes wrong; the Doctor finds out, someone dies because their entire body gets used up in just a few minutes while a bunch of Adipose babies pop out (it was an emergency; they were about to get caught!), he saves the day while the Adipose babies get transported into the mothership and the nanny--no longer necessary--is disposed of by the Adipose Grownups.

Now, the thing about this episode is that every time I see it, I think the same thing:

I would totally volunteer to host those little Adipose babies. That company didn't need nefarious means, all they needed was to tell the truth and people would have lined up. I mean, hell, you take a pill every night and the ONLY things it does is rid you of a pound of fat and then you pop out this adorable little wad of walking fat?

I'll pop out fifty of those little suckers, give them each a little high five, and send them on their way.

It sure as hell beats restrictive eating and working out...


7 August 2015

I am gearing up to start training to run/walk a half marathon and a 10K, back to back, in May 2016. This will necessitate being outside alone quite a bit, and the comfort landscape of our little town has changed a bit since I first trained to walk the 3 Day back in 2010.

Back in the day, I had the skills to defend myself. My brain still knows how, but my body is no longer there. I don't have the sheer strength or flexibility anymore, so I've been on the lookout for easy-to-carry things to use for personal self defense.

About 2 weeks ago I stumbled across an ad online for Lady Tiger Claws, and it looked promising. Hand held, the device has retractable claws that, when deployed, looked like they could be enough to hurt someone and garner a few extra seconds to get away. The idea of them beat carrying a small baseball bat (or tire thumper as they're called in online stores...but we all know better.) So I ordered two.

What follows is just my's not like I'm a real reviewer. I bought these with my own money, so I have nothing to gain or lose here.

On first sight, they still looked promising. Simple plastic (I expected something different, I guess) with the springs covered by foam and it has finger indentations.

The claws appeared well sheathed, nothing pokey sticking out.

But that's where the positives ended. While this is marketed to women, it doesn't feel as if it was made for a woman's hand. I have fairly large hands with slender fingers; I can't even wear women's gloves because my hands are too big for the largest women's gloves I've tried. This is just a bit unwieldy for the average woman, I think.

Casually holding it in my hand, I can see a problem--my little finger does not naturally fit. I still dismissed it as a problem, because I was not yet gripping it the way I probably would when out for a walk or run.

I took a better grip, closer to how it should fit in my hand, and took another look. That little finger is still not ideally placed.

I shifted my grip to fit my natural fist, how I would actually punch.

Still not working.

And with the claws deployed?

If I tried to punch someone with this, either a hard punch or a jab, my little finger would pay the price.

Even with adjustments, it wasn't going to work.

That third claw is still on my finger in a way that makes using it not the greatest idea.

I don't see how this would function at all for someone with hands smaller than mine, but the drawbacks are more than the size of it.

It's not efficient. It's made of plastic and is of a size that would be uncomfortable to grip on outings of any decent distance, and squeezing it to deploy the claws is more difficult that it should be.

I know how to punch; I would not ever attempt to actually hit anyone or anything with this in my hand. Claw placement issues aside, fingers splayed is not the best way to hit someone.

The idea of the Lady Tiger Claw was great; the execution was not.

Save your money; in my not so humble opinion, this isn't worth it, even if you get one for free.


29 July 2015

I don't hunt. I don't understand hunting. If you hunt and eat your kill, I don't have much of a problem with it, because whether I like it or not it does quite a bit to contribute to population control of wildlife, and it puts food on the table. I don't see it as too different from me going to Safeway and buying a steak; there was a live animal, now there is not, and now it's food.

I will never understand the enjoyment in killing an animal; my dad hunted duck for a while and probably wasn't happy that I wouldn't even try it. I was too young to tell him what I thought about his trophy duck stuffed and hung on the wall, but was a beautiful animal and should have been beautiful outside and still alive.

The hypocrisy? I used to fish. I don't eat fish, but the Spouse Thingy does, and we never fished past the point of tossing perfectly good fish out. Where I would flip the fark out if he went hunting, I wouldn't have a problem if he went fishing again. But then I also know what it feels like to be hooked; it hurts, but you get over it pretty quickly.

I've had it described to me in vivid detail what it's like to be shot, and I can't get past that.

But still...if you hunt for food, I won't join you but I won't condemn you for it.

If you hunt for total sport...yeah, I'm a bit judgmental about that. If you hunt for the bragging rights of taking down a near-endangered species, you are a total farkwad and pretty much deserve the backlash you're getting.

There is no excuse for African hunting vacations, where you pay fifty grand for the right to corner an animal and kill it, for no reason other than you wanted to. There's no possible justification for doing it. If it's fun, you're pretty sick and twisted.

The dentist who is currently sputtering "I'm sorry" for paying $54,000 to torture an African lion, because he "didn't know it was a local favorite" is completely missing the point. He's defending himself by saying that he was assured it was legal; he's missing the point on that, too.

Legal in this doesn't matter; ethics matters.

He lured a lion out of its protected preserve with meat, shot it with an arrow, and it suffered for forty goddamn hours before he could finish the job. Forty hours of tracking a wounded animal that grew weaker with every minute. Forty hours of agony. Then he cut off its head and skinned it.

He cut off its head.

That does not come from a rational mind. That does not come from a rational, or even nice, person.

Yes, nice people hunt. They take their rifles and get in their trucks, go to wherever hunters go, they chase down deer and fowl, and they shoot them. But most hunters I know don't torture their prey; they make the kill and then prepare the carcass, and then they take the meat and use it for food.

But nice people do not take such joy from brutal killing, and taking the head and skin as a trophy. Maybe it makes me some kind of twat, but I don't really care; that dentist (who, BTW, has a history littered with hunting near-endangered animals and doesn't seem to care, and I suspect he's only sorry because people are pissed) is reaping his own just rewards.

My sensibilities tell me I should care that he's being devoured by the collective wolves of injustice and being held guilty for something that may have been legal, but my sensibilities are being overrun by anger and sadness.

And the end result: that lion was the alpha. The next lion to take that position in his pride will, as part of his ascension, kill the cubs. And there were at least a dozen of them. The pride itself is in danger because deaths in prides can be so disruptive that they begin erratic scattering and wind up outside their protected territories...this could mean that not only do those cubs die, but a larger percentage of the pride as well.

He didn't just kill one lion in that pride; he may have essentially condemned them all.

Yeah. That sounds fun.


25 July 2015

This is both mine, and not mine. Mostly not mine. Yet...mine.

I haven't run a Tinkerbell Half yet. I haven't run any half yet, No 10K, no 5K.

I've walked that distance, sure, but run?

Running is still a hope and a dream.

A few days ago I received a box in the mail; I didn't recognize the name on the return address, and was frankly perplexed why someone would send me a medal they ran their ass off for. Why would someone part with that? Why would someone think I wanted a medal I hadn't earned?

More importantly...who was this person who had my home address?

I poured over my Facebook friends list, names of people in common FB groups. Reddit. Blog comments. Back to Facebook. And I finally found her, with a name slightly different than what she'd written on the box.

I needed to know... Why? Granted, I love shiny things and everyone knows it, but why?

I ran the Tink this year, and when I got to the finish I was finished. I was trying so hard to not throw up all over the place, and I just wanted to find my family and be done. I was soaking wet so when someone put the medal around my neck, I took it off and put it in my waist pack to keep it from getting wet. As I was walking a bit and looking for my kids, feeling still so horrible and wanting to throw up, someone else put another medal around my neck and they were on to someone else before I could say anything.

I tried to hand this one over, saying it wasn't mine, but I was waved off. I intended to find someone to turn it over to, but I had to take care of myself first, and by the time I could, it was too late.

When I read that you want to run the Tinkerbell this year, I knew this had to be yours. And it's not because you run a lot and should have one for that. It's because you don't run yet. That's where I started from. I was a walker and I thought that I could just jump right in to the HM and do it, and it would be so much easier than walking 23 miles in a day. I was so wrong, and my body paid the price.

I want you to have it so that you can put it somewhere and see it every now and then, and remind yourself that the training really does matter. You've said that you are goal-oriented and I hope this is something that motivates you. I have been impressed with the things you're doing this year to help yourself, all the swimming and such. I know it hasn't been easy. And neither is running the half, or even run/walking. But I know you can do it and you will do it better than I did, because you will train for it.

I forgot to put a note in with the medal, but that's why I sent it. The next Tinkerbell medal you have will be yours because you earned it, but I am hoping this will motivate you to keep going.*

I am touched, truly I am, and it will for sure motivate me. And no matter the outcome next May, whether I finish strong, finish with a limp, or get swept, I will treasure it.

But I intend to finish, and I promise...I will train.

*shared with permission


24 July 2015

After getting two rather large tattoos on my right forearm, I had this narrow empty band of skin from elbow to wrist, and it frankly bugged me. I racked my brain trying to think of what could fill that space, but it just seemed to small to do anything really cool, and the narrow-type things I thought of were not things I wanted on me forever.

Back in March when Big Greg was finishing up my Mickey tattoo, I told him I wanted something there, preferably something Doctor Who. I trust his creativity, and he had free reign.

His brain immediately latched onto an idea. I love Doctor Who, I love Disney. How about a mashup?

I was totally down with that. And as the tattoo date approached I got even more excited, because I really had no idea what I would walk out with, but I knew it was going to be really cool.

It totally is.

I showed up right on time for my Tuesday appointment, and he got to work right away, drawing directly onto my skin instead of using a pre-drawn stencil. Since the space was narrow, he needed to make it fit, and a stencil might not have.

By 5 o'clock, I had pure awesomeness. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this tattoo. Chip & Dale and Doctor Who.

Chip is the 10th Doctor, and Dale is the 11th.

I also no longer have forearm space, so the next one is going on my calf.

The only down side to getting this tattoo now is that I have to stay out of the pool for about 3 weeks. Between now and then I'm planning on ramping up my walk/run training and hitting the circuit weights and racquetball court at the pool, but probably not until next week. Sweating right now might sting a bit too much. I mean, I *could* work out, there's nothing other than ouchiness to stop me, but I think I'll take this weekend to work. Or watch TV. Who knows?

Still...the day I can get back in the pool, I am *so* there.


13 July 2015

Ok, so great, there were no Walk related dreams last night, not that I remember. I was asleep before 1 a.m., which is often a feat for me, and I slept like a rock…right up to 4:15. I don’t remember what I was dreaming about, but I woke up with that feeling like I wasn’t alone, and looked toward the door just in time to see a person-sized shadow leave the room.

My first thought was that it was the Spouse Thingy, but dismissed that in less than a second because he wasn’t even home. And before I could begin to think again, the light changed; it was a brief flicker of light, as if someone turned a light off at the end of the hallway.

I was up out of bed and fumbling for my glasses in about a second, peering around the edge of the doorway, trying to see down the hall.


I listened, and hear Max meow softly from the other room, but the only sounds other than him were the fan in the room behind me and my own heart beat pounding in my ears.

Very carefully, slowly, I made my way down the hall to the front room; I needed to be sure the door was locked. I knew it was—the door has a dead bolt and the security door has a separate lock—but there was no way I was going back to bed without checking.

I looked in the living room, the kitchen. I flipped on the hallway light and checked my office, where Max was standing on the top of his tree, and peeked into the other bedroom.

Everything was quiet.

I still had that feeling that I hadn’t been alone.

Max jumped off the tree and made his way to me, chaperoned as I went into the bathroom, and then curled up on the bed next to my head. He stayed there for an hour; I couldn’t sleep, but he hung around until I was no longer staring at the doorway, trying to figure it out.

I was still awake at 6 o’clock, but feeling sleepy enough to drift off. I slept in fits and starts, 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there, until 9:30, when I gave up.

It’s still bugging me.

I know, logically and realistically, that there was not another person in the house last night and this morning. I knew that as I tried to fall back asleep. I’ve never discounted the possibility of ghosts or spirits because we frankly just don’t know what comes after this life, if people get stuck or can visit or not. I’ve felt the bump of a cat on my bed when there has been no cat on the bed and felt perfectly all right with the idea that Dusty was there to say hello, and I usually say hello back.

I also know, logically and realistically, that what I saw was likely the tail end of whatever I was dreaming about and had nothing rooted whatsoever in reality, but was that fuzzy area between being asleep and being awake. There was no one there; it was simply a shadow vaporizing from a dream.

I can’t explain the light.

The light is what makes me wonder.

It was strong enough to keep me awake. It was strong enough to keep me wondering. It was strong enough to make me worry…did anyone I know and care about die last night? Was someone hurt badly and some sliver of the cosmos was trying to let me know? Did someone long gone think it would be really funny to poke me awake?

I know.

It was just the trailing end of a dream.

Unless it wasn’t.


12 July 2015

I really didn't think I would mind missing the Avon Walk in SF; I've missed it the last 3 years, twice for illness and last year for kitchen remodeling, so not being there should not have been a big deal.

And yet on Friday, the day I should have headed to SF to check into the hotel and then headed downstairs to get my shuttle pass and buy t-shirts I don't really need, I had a fairly =meh= day. I woke up feeling overly tired, but decided I would go to the gym anyway, because I was going to be tired either way. I had a plan: hit the treadmill for 30 minutes, work up a sweat, then go swim 2000 meters.

Now, I have a rented locker at the gum, but had taken all my stuff out of it earlier in the week because they're getting ready to remodel it and I didn't want to wind up having my lock cut off and all my stuff removed. I got there and went into the locker room, and realized I'd forgotten my lock.

Not a big deal, really. I could just change and then haul my bag upstairs to the cardio room and keep an eye on things, then haul it back down and change into my swimsuit. I dug into the bag shorts.

Fine. I can adapt; I would just swim.

Half my swimsuit was missing.

At this point I figured I might as well head for the closest store, buy a lock and a t-shirt I would not mind wearing in the pool, then come back and just swim until my arms fell off. It was a really nice day, too, so driving around with the top down is not a bad way to spend a few minutes.

Halfway down the road, near an intersection, a big-assed truck came up behind me at about 80 mph (not exaggerating) and the driver (illegally) blew around me, missing the front end of my car by about half an inch. If he'd hit it, I would have been in some serious trouble. Luckily he just scared the crap out of me, and added further insult by reaching his arm out his window and flipping me off.

I gave up and headed home. I was already tired and that just did it for me.

Still, while I mused that I should have been in SF and if I had been, that wouldn't have happened, I still didn't think it bothered me much.

Then Saturday night I had an odd dream about getting to the walk and being told we were walking 90 miles instead of 39, and there was no stopping; once we started, that was it, we had to walk and there would be no sweep vans. I didn't have enough in my Camelbak to get me through 30 miles much less 90, but I headed out anyway, pretty sure the worst would happen by mile 20.

Still...I dismissed it. It didn't bother me that much.

Then last night I dreamed I was in SF for the walk, but they started without me. I had to run to catch up, but everyone stayed far, far ahead of me. I ran down the Embarcadero and past Chrissy Field, over the Golden Gate Bridge and down to Fort Baker, and couldn't catch up to anyone. I could see the sea of pink ahead of me, but it was always just too far to bridge any distance.

When I got to the end, everyone was gone.

So yeah, I think not being there bothered me quite a bit. I have a feeling when the weekend for the Philly 3 Day rolls around, I'll be a giant mess of wabbit having a huge pity party for one.

I had fully intended to hit the gym today--everything is in my gym bag ready to go--but in the end I decided to stay home and putter around the house, maybe get on the treadmill for a while with an episode of Doctor Who to distract me.

I keep telling myself I'll be there next year. And if things go as planned, I'll be able to run half of the first day (even though running is not allowed...I fully intend to be able to) and I'll break the not-making-it-there streak.

Granted, if I have to choose next year between the Avon and the 3 Day, I'll lean toward the 3 Day in order to walk with my team, but still...I feel like this year it was out of my hands, and I don't like that one bit.


2 July 2015

I lost a few Facebook friends over my celebratory joy about SCOTUS making marriage legal across the board for everyone. I’m not even sure who dropped me like a hot rainbow-colored potato, but the number went down…and I can’t quite bring myself to be upset over it.

And today I just might piss off a few more.

Oh, well.


Most of the people I know seem to agree, it’s time for this flag to go. It shouldn’t be flying over government buildings; those whose shorts got in a knot when the furor over it needing to come down in South Carolina need to stop to remember that it wasn’t flown there until 1961, and was a direct response to civil rights issues.

It was a giant Fuck You to those who believed in equality across the board. It was a huge pointed finger, saying to a large number of people, You are not the same; you are worth less than we are.

So no, it shouldn’t fly over government buildings. Ever.

What you do with it in your personal life is your own business. But I ask you to carefully consider why you still want it in your life.

Most oft-cited reason I hear? It’s part of my heritage; my people fought for this flag and I want to honor them.

Ok. Fine.

Consider further.

I am of German/Austrian/Swedish descent. There is a very high probability that somewhere in my not-too-distant bloodlines I have relatives who fought for Nazi Germany. Some who probably deeply believed in that they were doing, who weren’t fighting because they were conscripted, but who fought because they honestly believed in destruction of the Jews and the dawn of an Arian Nation.

How would you feel if I started flying the Nazi flag? My heritage. My people.

Fairly despicable, I think most people would feel. Myself included.

Yet, it’s not really any different. Flags are nothing more than symbols, and in these cases they are symbols of ideas gone horrible wrong. They are symbols of inherently offensive ideas. Symbols that support the belief that all men are not, in fact, created equal.

But it doesn’t mean THAT to me!

It’s not about you. It’s about the people for whom that flag is an injury and an offense. For the same reason I would never, not even for a fleeting remote moment, consider flying a flag that carries the weight of genocide, I don’t think anyone should fly a flag that carries the weight of slavery. Look at the people around you, those for whom that flag means nothing but hate.

It's not the same thing!

Ya know what? It's close enough. It deeply hurts a significant portion of the population.

Is it worth it?

I would hope not.

You are entitled to fly the confederate flag in your own home; I honestly believe in that fundamental right.

That doesn't mean it isn't wrong.


26 June 2015

If you are upset about today’s SCOTUS ruling and feel betrayed, keep this in mind:

This is not about you. This is not about the personal and religious beliefs to which you are entitled. This is not about forcing any church to perform a wedding that is contrary to its laws. Your personal beliefs are safe; your church is still safe to continue to do whatever it does.

This is about equality for all. For every citizen of the United States of America, the right to legal protections for the families they choose to create, to give a name truer than “civil union” to their partnerships, and to extend to everyone all the legal benefits that the rest of us take for granted.

No one says you have to approve or agree with it, but now the law puts everyone on an equal playing field.

Feel free to not think it’s all right.

Feel free to be comfortable in a church where those weddings will never be held.

Feel free to believe God is not all right with this; truthfully, God will sort us *all* out in the end.

That was the whole point: freedom.

And in this one thing, now we all have freedom.

It’s a beautiful thing.


14 June 2015

About the Anonymous commenter on the post below...

The day I wrote that post was also the day Reddit banned a subreddit that was both very popular and very reviled called fatpeoplehate. It was (to me) a horrible, awful place where hateful people of the dipshit variety went to post pictures of overweight people and mock them mercilessly. They often took pictures from other subreddits, LoseIt (where people post to get weight loss support) and ProgressPics (where people post before/during/after images of their physical changes) and slammed the hell out of them.

Oddly enough, there were people from loseit who went there for motivation, but that's neither here nor there.

I suspect that Anonymous is one of the pissed off members from fatpeoplehate, who have been throwing temper tantrums left and right over the loss of the subreddit, crying about freedom of speech and being censored (which tells me quite a bit more about them, not understand what actual censorship is) and following others around online to pick on them.

I have no proof, but the timing... I suspect so. I post to loseit often, and it doesn't take much to jump from there to MyFitnessPal or Fitbit and find the way here.

I don't particularly care that Anonymous thinks I'm a fatass and not worthy of discussing the process; I do appreciate y'all defending me.

I found fatpeoplehate to be a lot like People of Walmart: mean spirited, never funny, and not worth my time. So let's just let it go and ignore him or her, because giving any more attention to a toddler in the middle of a tantrum only re-enforces the idea that negative attention is still attention worth having.

On the flipside of the coin, the brighter spot of Reddit, if you need a place to connect with others on the path to losing weight and getting healthy, /r/loseit is a fantastic place.


10 June 2015

I've lost a little bit of weight--just a little. It's a very slow process, and as much as I would like to speed-lose, it'll be more likely to stay off. I've done the whole drop it quick, gain it back thing, and I don't want to do that again. I'm thinking long-term, not just being able to squeeze into a smaller size by next month.

My health has been in the forefront of my brain the last few months, and while I've inched my way toward eating better and moving more in the last couple of years--I honestly have--it was just time to really do something proactive.

The swimming is mostly for fitness; it's the one cardio activity I know I'll routinely do without feeling like I'm being punished. I still love walking, but swimming is a lot easier on my body and I feel like I get a better workout in the pool. It does burn calories--I use a waterproof heart rate monitor to give me an idea how much and I get roughly 500 calories burned in 2400 meters--but it's only a small part of the equation.

The crux of it really is simple: calories in, calories out. No, it really doesn't matter what form those calories take, not as far as weight loss and gain goes. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie.

You'll feel better if you eat better food, but you really can lose weight eating crap. I am choosing to eat less crap, eat more real food. But in the end, calories count.

If you want to lose weight, it doesn't do much good to just declare yourself to be limited to 1200 or 1400 or 1600 calories; the amount of food that's right for me might be too little for you, or too much. You need to have an idea what your Basic Metabolic Rate is (BMR) and your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) and calculate an eating deficit based on that.

Easiest way to find those numbers is to use an online TDEE calculator. IIFYM has a good one, I check it every now and then there (sometimes the page looks screwed up, with ads inserted into the middle of the calculator...just scroll down and you'll be able to enter all your data.)

An example: a 45 year old female who is 5'7" and 250 pounds and who exercises 3 times a week has a BMR of 1814 calories a day and a TDEE of 2494. That means that her body burns 1800ish calories a day just to stay alive...what she would use up lying in bed, not moving. To maintain her body weight at her activity level, she needs to eat 2500ish calories.

To lose weight, figure out how many pounds a week, and figure out a deficit based on the TDEE. Want to lose a pound a week, cut 500 calories a day off that. Two pounds, cut 1000.

So she would eat about 1500 calories a day to lose 1.5-2 pounds a week. And ideally, no matter how badly she wants to drop weight, she would also not routinely go under 1200 calories a day.

The body needs fuel. It needs food. Not eating is not an option.

And yes, it can be any food. If you want all your calories to come from fast food, if you stick within your calorie counts, you'll lose weight. You might not feel fantastic, but you can lose weight.

Why the difference in how you feel? Simple. The better the fuel you fill up your tank with, the better your machine works. And your body is a machine. A tankful of cheap assed crap won't hurt every once in a while, but over time...yeah, you'll feel it.

But I've tried that and I can't lose weight counting calories!

Yeah, you can. You're not immune to biology. Your body works the way a body works; if you eat to many calories, you gain weight. Eat under your TDEE and you will lose.

But I counted them, I really did!

It's very, very easy to under-count. If you're counting and not seeing results, you're either misjudging serving sizes or not understanding serving sizes. Sure, Applebee's 7 ounce sirloin clocks in at about 270 calories...but the ribeye at the steak house? Yeah, that's going to be a whole lot more. 

And if you're cooking at home and don't have a grasp, get a food scale. Measure your food exactly for a while. You'll get the hang of it.

But I have issues! I have a slow metabolism! PCOS! Wonky thyroid!

Doesn't matter...and I've used that excuse. If you have genuine metabolic issues you'll have to adjust your TDEE number downward, but only by a couple hundred calories. And if you have a genuine medical condition, see your doctor. Get it addressed. Get on the medications that will help.

I know that particular pain; I have a laundry list of issues. It took a few years to get onto the right dosage of Sythroid, but that in itself was never in my way. The only thing in my way was me.

I eat at a normal-people TDEE that should have me losing about 1.5 pounds a week, but I'm losing about half a pound. And that's fine. I know why it's slow and I know that if I lose it slowly I have better odds of it staying off. I'm also not willing to eat less.

That's a key...know what you're willing to do. Know where your Oh Hell No point is. For me it's 1500 calories a day; I don't routinely eat under that even though I know I would lose easier.

You swim, you exercise, I hate exercise. So I'll never lose anything.

You really don't have to exercise. It's just calories in, calories out. Exercise helps burn more and help you feel better, but you don't have to just to lose weight.

I still recommend it...but find something that doesn't feel like punishment and does feel like fun. Get a video game system and play fitness games. Take Zumba classes. Martial arts. Dance in your own house to the music you like, and dance like no one's watching.

Your heart will appreciate it.

And here's the bigger thing, the one my doc tried to pound home: you're more than a number on a scale. If you eat well and stay active, and if you feel healthy, then keep doing what you're doing. My doc would rather see me eating better foods and keeping up with the swimming and adding other activities to my routines than sitting back and just trying to drop body mass.

I do want to lose body fat; I do want to do it slowly and get to a weight that feels good to me; I don't want to make it my life's mission. I don't have "bad days" but I do have days where I've eaten a little more...and that's not a big deal. Life's too short to be too restrictive. I also don't have "cheat days." If I want something I normally wouldn't eat, I eat it. It's eating, not cheating.

I don't like the cheat-day mindset...but you do whatever works for you.

TL;DR: you are not the number on the scale, but if you want to see that number decline, it's calories eaten versus calories matter what.


7 June 2015

The little town we live in doesn't have much crime; yes, there was a murder a while back--one teenager killed another at the park--but overall it's nuisance crime, crimes of opportunity, and graffiti.

There's more graffiti here than one would expect in a small town, but most of it is one word plastered all over the place, including an Interstate overpass than mostly makes people wonder how the hell it got there. There was worry that it was gang tagging, and with that comes the uneasy air of what if it really is?

But then one woman posted to a Facebook group created for locals to share information that the graffiti was being done by one person, not a gang, and she knew that because it was her 22 year old son. She detested that he was doing it, had pleaded with him to stop, and wasn't making any excuses.

My gut reaction? That took some cojones to step up and admit that it was her kid, and a lot of relief that it actually was just one kid and not a gang.

People couldn't seem to let it go, though. She was berated in comment after comment; clearly, it was bad parenting.

Never mind that her kid is a grown man, legally an adult.

He was arrested a couple of weeks ago; she apologized again, pointed out that she'd done everything she could, tried to push him in an artistic direction, tried open other avenues to him, but he just kept doing it.

And again, people jumped on the you're-a-bad-parent bandwagon.

It got ugly.

It was cyber-bulling by a bunch of supposed adults.

It was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.

Last week she killed herself.

The group first found out when a friend of her posted, and only posted because the last text she received from her was about the group and the pile-on of insults and personal accusations. Her friend was livid, and who can blame her? He husband posted later; he's heartbroken, and for what?

Apparently so some people who wouldn't have the guts to say those things to her face could sit back and get some weird thrill from slamming someone else over and over, over something about which she truly had no control.

I can't even pretend to understand it.

She did us all a favor by letting us know that no, we don't have a gang problem. Just a bored 22 year old. Her reward was unfair bullying, and it was piled on until she broke.

I don't know what my point is.

I'm just ticked off.

Really, horribly, ticked off.


2 June 2015

I’m taking the pressure off my poor brain. While I have enough donors lined up, people willing to get me to the $1800 minimum to participate in the Avon Walk, I think I’m just going to play it safe and back out. While there’s no flying involved and I could just walk a few miles a day, the truth is that I have an ego and once I hit my max number of miles in a day, if I felt good I would push on. I wouldn’t be walking with anyone who could grab me and remind me there’s no prize at the end for total number of miles walked and no glory in being stupid.

And even though there’s no flying, there is travel: I would have to make the drive back home on Sunday, after walking probably more than I should, on sleep I likely wouldn’t get, and who knows what I would be able to eat all weekend. It just kept feeling like a bad idea all the way around. I don’t always act intelligently; I know I would try to push hard, and I don’t know what the end result would be. I don't want the end result to be me wrapping my car around a post on the Bay Bridge, or worse, taking out someone else.



I was planning to spend money on airfare to and a hotel room in Philly, plus a hotel room in SF, and if I’m not going to go to those places, I can still make use of those funds.

I’ll do the final math and split it among my team mates. At least then I’ll feel like I’m still doing something for the walk events, and less like a little kid not being allowed to go play. And there’s the tax deduction…I will totally use it as a tax deduction.

By taking both of those off the table entirely, my focus can be on getting myself into better shape; I’m getting there. Some weight has come off, my endurance is up, and I have energy.

Today (first day back in the pool after a week of not going, thanks to ear pair from a wonderful case of swimmer’s ear…the doc said I could swim if I wanted but I really didn’t want to while it hurt) I utilized some of the advice my endocrinologist gave me last week and added just 7 almonds to my breakfast and then took with me to the gym some Powerade that was 50% regular and 50% zero calorie, and at the end of the hour in the pool I didn’t feel drained and didn’t feel like my blood sugar was spiraling down.

Progress, I hope.

Also hoping the additional calories don’t trip up my weight loss. I brought that up with her and got a lecture about focusing on a number on the scale, to just focus on staying as active as I am and eating sensible food and enough protein…which I mostly agree with. I’m just tired of being this flabby and would really like to not have 3 chins when I look down.

She’s right, but…

LOL I am still weighing myself.

So. TL;DR: for sure not walking Avon either, will donate my travel money, and will focus on health this year.

I know…broken record, broken record.

If you want to donate, please consider donating to my team mates. It's tax deductible!


29 May 2015

It's been pointed out to me that the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is local, requires no air travel, and I could walk just a part of it if I really wanted to do a walk this year.

I'm not sure about it, not sure at all.

I do have a hotel room reserved because I was planning on walking it before I realized I needed to pick just one event this year, and even if I don't participate I'm still leaning towards going and being a cheerleader/walker-stalker.

I like the idea of walking. But I'm not committing to anything until after I've done the post-exercise blood work and know the results.

That won't leave me much time at all to fund raise so if I do it, I'm doing it on my own dime. And if I do it, I probably won't walk more than 8 miles or so a day, which makes me squirrely about fund raising at all. AND I'd be walking alone, which is okay but not nearly as fun as walking with a team. AND AND I have a bad string of luck where this walk is concerned.

I know, it's not all about the fun. There's a cause behind it.

But we'll see...I need to get the test done first, and drop a note to my doc, because at this stage I'm not doing anything like that unless she says it's all right.

OTOH, she's fine with me swimming 90 minutes a day 5 days a week, and playing racquetball, and bike I dunno.

I have until June 15th to get funds raised if I want to manage early check in and the walk is on July 11th and 12th.

My brain hurts.


27 May 2015

If you’ve been hanging around since the first year of this blog (and if you have I LOVE YOU!) you know that in 2002 I had a pituitary tumor. If not…hey, in 2002 I had a pituitary tumor, which in the bigger picture is the tumor you want if you have to have a brain tumor. It's a pain, but is never cancer, and the other things it usually is are fairly treatable.

The tumor left me with some issues. Hypothyroidism, which overall is not a big deal. Diabetes Insipidus, which is a big deal but is not diabetes as one normally thinks of. The diabetes you normally think of is Diabetes Mellitus; in simple terms, that can be thought of as sugar diabetes. What I have can be thought of as water diabetes. My brain no long makes the hormone (Vasopressin) that tells the kidneys when to hold onto water and when to let it go. The end result is that without medication, I’m brutally thirsty and pee every 15 minutes. Luckily, the meds work well and I only have breakthrough occasionally.

Something that wasn’t apparent until relatively recently, though, is that I also have issues with reactive hypoglycemia and cortisol. It poked its head up a few years ago, making flying problematic (because I am a horrible flyer, my cortisol goes all OMG YOU’RE GONNA DIE! and my blood sugar chimes in with HERE LET ME HELP YOU DIE FASTER!) It’s become much more apparent in the last few years, as my levels of activity have increased, and been seriously noticeable lately, as I’ve started swimming for over an hour 4-5 days a week.

I exert, and my blood sugar sometimes just crashes. It doesn't happen every time, though, and that’s the conundrum.

I had my annual appointment with my endocrinologist today, and she’s trying to pinpoint what my core issue is. It could be related to lack of growth hormone—I was on it until a few years ago, when we stopped it because there’s such a strong family history of cancer and I’m edging closer to that age—or it could be related to cortisol levels post-exercise. It could be I’m just a very odd person who periodically bottoms out on the blood sugar, and certain diet tweaks will help.

It’s something that has to be figured out.

Because it has to be figured out, it’s probably not the greatest idea in the world for me to face something that causes me definite problems—flying—with something that likely causes problems—60 miles of walking.

I got sick during a 3 Day in San Francisco. I got sick during the San Diego walk last year. In both cases, it’s more than likely that I was not actually ill (SD med-tent doc thought it might be a virus, but now that seems less likely) but having trouble managing my electrolytes while battling blood sugar issues (at the least) along with potential cortisol issues.

To that end…I won’t be going to Philadelphia and participating in the 3 Day this year, after all. If it were a local event, I could go and walk just a part of it, but adding in the traveling and how beat up my body would be coming home, it was determined that going is just not in my best interests.
If we get this thing nailed down, I can probably walk next year.

There’s more testing to be done, specifically a post-exercise blood test, and then tweaking of pre-exercise diet and ongoing testing of blood sugar, but she did say to keep on with the swimming, racquetball, bike riding, and walking. My other blood work was “beautiful” and I’m apparently tolerating exercise well, but I do need to change a few things to lower my risks of post-exertion harm (like passing out in the pool, locker room, or behind the wheel of my car after) but I don’t have to stop.

I admit, I am a bit crushed by not being able to go to Philly, but I have to look at the bigger picture. By taking this year to get my crap together, I may be able to walk next year.

The bright side for you? I won’t be hard core fundraising. There might be a couple of fun things coming, but I’ll donate anything from those to members of my team.

The fight goes on, whether I’m there to walk the miles or not.


16 May 2015

Starting number
Okay. So last week, for whatever reason, I'm not really sure what it was, I decided to try to use my Fitbit to track my kicks while I swim. I shoved it into a baggy, secured it to my ankle, and gave a it a whirl.

I really didn't have anything to lose; I use my Garmin Vivoactive for the most part now, and I knew it was a risk, but hey...I used a baggy, it was safe.

Spiffy, eh?
I sealed it shut tight, used athletic wrap to secure it to my ankle, and hit the pool.

It worked!

Not sure how long I was in the pool then, but it worked. The picture I have shows 2000ish on the Fitbit but I don't remember what it started with or how far I swam.

So Thursday I tried it again; I wanted to see how many kicks there are in 3000 meters, but thunder forced me out of the pool at 1250m.

I was disappointed, but it tracked my kicks.

So yesterday I went back, repeated the whole thing, and knocked out 3000 meters. After I finished, showered, and got dressed, I checked the Fitbit, and it was at 8300+ so I figure with steps taken before getting into the pool and then after, I kicked around 7500 times.

Not as many as I thought it might be, but I still got a weird little thrill out of counting them. I shoved it into my pocket, and went about my day, figuring it would register 10K soon.

But it didn't.

I got home, fished it from my pocket, and it was dead.

I whined on FB, where it was suggested I stick it in rice, and I did just that. Still wasn't particularly worried, because having it was fun but not necessary. The Garmin tracks my swimming and steps just fine. Almost all of my friends are all on Fitbit, but hey...I could still manually input swims there.

Then while I sat here today--the Fitbit is still dead--I got a message from someone I interact with on a writer's forum now and then. My FB posts propagate to Twitter, where they were following along and kinda laughing at me. Nicely.

I only know this person as The Swede. I don't even know gender, and they're quite happy to keep it that way.

They also work for a company that sells the toys I like. And because I like, I have ordered from there and my address is on file.

So The Swede decided that playtime must continue, and over-nighted a waterproof Fitbit Flex.

I did start to argue that it was too much, but The Swede made it clear they didn't have to pay for it, it's a job perk, and also, "People send you shit. It's fun."

All righty.

I also agreed to keep them apprised as to how effective a swim tool it is, and to give some water walking a try.

I can do that.

As soon as I figure out how to affix it to my ankle. The band is a hair too small and I'd like to not use the wrap.

But I'll figure it out.


11 May 2015

Many years ago, when we were living in Belleville, IL and had a membership at LiveRite Fitness, I got into a fight in the locker room. And not a hissing-at-each-other, verbal blast; this qualified as a fight, even though I never touched her.

I was changing clothes and in the next row of lockers over, there was a rather large woman drying off from her time doing laps in the pool. I wouldn't have even noticed her had Bleached Blonde Barbie not come over and whispered--loudly--that "those" people didn't belong in the gym.

You can imagine how well that went over with me. The end result was me ducking and her smashing her hand into the wall behind me, and then being thrown out of the gym (not me...I got to stay.)

I remembered it today when talking to a friend (see image; she knows I'm sharing it) about the anxiety of going to a gym when you're overweight. She has a membership to a good gym, but she never goes, because it feels like everyone is staring and judging, and the white-hot feeling of being the object of ridicule makes it unbearable.

I get that.

Here's the thing. I have worked at a gym, and that was during the height of gyms being meat markets. A large percentage of the people showing up every day weren't really there to work out; they were there to hook up. But of the people who were there to sweat...some were in fantastic shape, but many were not, and there was little talking behind peoples' backs about their weight issues.

I've been a member of several different gyms and fitness centers, and BBB was the only person I can recall being actively mean about another member's weight.

That doesn't mean there aren't those hanging around the gym who aren't thinking horrible things; there probably are, just like they're hanging round thinking horrible things about other people in the grocery store or post office or museum. People of Walmart? Those are the people who think and say awful things about others, and who mock them from the safety of their computers.

The majority of people in the gym aren't there to do anything other than get their own workouts done. If they think anything about the overweight person stretching in the corner, it's more likely to be "good for him" than anything else.

Every time I've hit the pool so far, I've been by far the largest one in the water. No one stares. No one mocks. I doubt they note anything other than there is someone in a nearby lane, which means there will be water displacement and its wake as they swim through it.

Okay, they may wonder about the snorkle I swim with. If they're going to mock anything, that's it.

And if someone was disturbed by my girth swaddled in lycra?

Tough for them. I'm there to swim, which I thoroughly enjoy, and I don't give a damn what they think. 

Go have fun doing the things you want to do, and anyone who has a problem? That's what you give them.


Zero Flying Phcks.


10 May 2015

I was hoping that the gym would be pretty quiet today; I hadn't yet braved it on the weekend, but I hoped that with today being Mother's Day that people would be busy with that instead of working out, plus, how many times can I use "that" in a sentence? Too many, it seems.

The drive over made me marginally concerned: it took 15 minutes to get from the Interstate on-ramp to the exit two miles down, but then I remembered this tiny town was hosting a huge fair, and 63,000,892 people were likely headed that way.

Sheep and gross fried food don't appeal to me, so going to the Mayfair hadn't entered my mind.

I squealed a bit when I saw the near-empty gym parking lot, and might have squealed a little more when I got out to the pool and there was only one other person in it. I geared up (I wear way too much crap while swimming, but I love my gadgets so...shuddup) and slid in, and started what I thought would be 2000 meters.

w00t! 3000m
It's the distance I've been swimming; when I hit 2000 in under an hour, I mentally patted myself on the back. I may be slow, but I hit my first major goal within a few weeks of joining the gym. I didn't intend to go further than that, but today I got to 2K in 55 minutes and wasn't wasted, so I pushed on.

I was focused on my heart rate, so I didn't pay as close of attention to time and distance as I normally would, and at some point I glanced at my Garmin and realized I was over 2500 meters, so what the hell...let's go for 3K.

At 1:19ish, I reached it. I didn't cheer out loud, but I was happy enough that I forgot to turn the timer off, so it ran until 1:37...but I'd paused it, so my stats still show my actual swim time.

As I peeled all my gear off I had notions that I still had some energy left and almost decided to go a few hundred meters more, but it was getting late and I wanted to stop by the grocery store on the way home, so I got out and headed for the locker room. And then it hit me.

Oh holy hell, I got out of the pool and walked right into The Wall. As I peeled off my swim suit and dried off, I could feel it creeping up on me and thought I would need to sit in the lobby for a bit before driving home. But when I started getting dressed...let's just say it wasn't pretty and for a few minutes I thought I was going to have to ask someone for help. I was so drained that just getting a bra on was proving to be problematic.

Ever watched a little kid try to grab something stuck to their back? That was me, spinning in the aisle between lockers, trying to grab the back of my bra to pull it down.

So glad no one walked in.

Getting my shirt on wasn't much better and I don't know why it didn't occur to me to just sit down on the bench by that point. When I finally did, to put my shoes on, the thought zipped through my head that feeling like that might be because my blood sugar was low...but I checked it, and it was exactly 100.

Nope, this was just the effect of being overweight and out of shape and pushing a bit. And the contortions to get clothes on was another workout in itself, but neither Garmin nor Fitbit gave me any activity time for that.

I feel cheated.

I mean, I broke a sweat!

I left the gym 5 hours ago and I'm still wiped out, and I can feel the soreness creeping into my shoulders and back. I'm either going to sleep like a rock tonight, or I won't be able to because it hurts too much.

Still...I'm really enjoying the swimming.

Oh, and Garmin...there is no way in hell I burned off 840 calories swimming for 80 minutes. I wish I had, but face it, I'm slow.

Besides, if I really believed I could burn off that much, I would totally follow it with pizza.

Damn. Now I want pizza.


9 May 2015

I like getting presents; who honestly doesn't? And even more than getting them, I love picking out the right gift for someone else. Or even just picking something off their Amazon wishlist and surprising them. Gifts are fun from either side, which is probably why I love Christmas so much. Yes, I know, it's not supposed to be about the presents, but it's a good excuse for me to get a few key people a few things; I don't always hit the mark, but I love gift shopping and buying.

I love getting presents that make me laugh out loud and rush to take a picture so I can share it with the world, or at least my little slice of it on Facebook.

Yesterday the Boy's Mother's Day gift to me was delivered, and it was one of those that had me grabbing the camera. Who could not love this?


Twelve boxes of my favorite Poptarts, even. 96 of them. Blueberry, unfrosted. And half the gift is that he rememebered I specifically prefer the unfrosted kind (hush. You go right ahead and eat the frosted kind. I just don't want candy on top of my already sugar-laden treat.) It's one of those little details I wouldn't expect anyone, other than perhaps the Spouse Thingy (and then only because he sometimes does the shopping alone) to remember.

Last night a friend texted me, a giant LOL about the picture I posted on FB, and it turned into a discussion on Mother's Day in general. She's never known her mother, and until she had kids it was pretty much a foreign concept to her. This year two of her kids are away at school, and only one is at home but he's deeply involved in an end-of-the-year school project and has already apologized because he's squeezing her Mother's Day into about 2 hours tomorrow.

My mother has been gone for nearly two years; I didn't gift shop for her, not even pretend-shopping to find what I might have gotten her. The Boy has a life that has him working tomorrow, as usual.

And we're both fine with that.

I am not a huge fan of Mother's Day as it's become. The expectations are very high for a whole lot of people, it seems, and in the last few days I've read over and over musings about how someone's kids won't make time for them tomorrow (though the next day, or today, but not Sunday) or how hard it is to find a present for Mom that she'll be happy with, or how unfair it is to have this day shoved into someone's face because their mother is dead and it hurts.

I get it, I really do. But I also get that those feelings of hurt and frustration are as overwhelming as they are because Mother's Day has become this commercial powerhouse, and it's practically Christmas for Moms. There's stress over who will go where and do what, how will Mom like what I got her, did I get her enough, doesn't she understand that I'm a mom, too and I want to spend it with my kids...and on and on.

But for me? The Boy is a good son all the time. He's thoughtful--just look at my Poptarts--and treats me well all the time. All the time. Not just one day a year. So maybe that's why it's not a huge deal for me; I love the gift he sent and that's enough.

And no, tomorrow will not be more difficult for me because my mother is gone. It won't be any more difficult; I miss her every day, not one day more than another. It won't feel unfair because she's gone and so many other people still have their mothers. It's the opposite: I am quite happy for those who still have their parents, who can pick up the phone and call on a whim. (And hey... if your mother is gone, or you never knew her, or she was just a bad sucks. But mother's day is not an attack on your feelings. Make it a day for yourself; do something for yourself, grab a friend and do something together, but don't dread the day because other people have what you don't.)

If you can buy your mother something weird and wonderful, it's not unfair to me; it's wonderful for you and for her. I want for your mother what my son does for me: make her laugh, make your life a thing she's joyous about...and make it all the time, not just tomorrow.

And call your mom. Or text her, if she's like me and can't handle the phone. But don't just do it tomorrow... Mother's Day is supposed to be about honoring the person who gave birth to you, not just presents and candy. If you save it all for one day, it really doesn't mean as much. So connect, and connect often.

Trust me...if you don't, you will regret it when she's gone.

TL;DR: Go ahead. Pick up the phone. You're the reason she drinks, after all.


6 May 2015

Today’s random chit

Walking season hath begun: after a lot of contemplation (seriously, a lot a lot a lot,) I won’t be doing Avon this year. I have a horrible track record with it, and I really don’t want to be that person who does nothing but fundraise. So I’m only doing one, Philadelphia in early October. My teammates have a decent grasp on my limitations and they have my back, so it feels safe. I am starting to fundraise and I will be begging asking for donations, and y’all should know by now…there will be prizes. Don’t know what, yet, but I’ll try to make them good ones.

There will probably not, however, be pink hair. This makes me a sad wabbit, but I am swimming in earnest now and who knows what pool water would do to a dye job.

Y’all also know, the right donation could make me risk it.

Y’all know, too, I am willing to walk in spandex for the right donation. Or not…I got a good one for St. Baldrick’s if I promised to not show up in skin tight psycho-clothing.
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Yelling at me to “ride on the damned sidewalk” is not going to make me ride on the damned sidewalk. I am not 5; my bicycle has just as much right to be on the street as your car. And I’m not in your way as it is. Go the fark around me, you sanctimonious blowhard.

Yeah, I’m tired. I get cranky when I’m tired.
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If you and a couple other people want to dissect my work, please don’t include me. I know you think it’s a courtesy, but it makes me really uncomfortable.

Hence, I rarely read my own reviews. The bad ones stick with me and make me question my abilities as a writer. Well, the "call a WAAAHHHHMBULANCE" review almost made me laugh. Almost.

There are only about 4 people who can point out the flaws in my work and I don’t mind, mostly because they’re reading it pre-publication and I can change things. Once it’s out there…if you like it, fine, please buy the next book. If not, fine, but please don’t pick over it with me.

Also, if you ask me what that book is about, the answer you’ll probably get is, “about 400 pages.”
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I seriously can’t do heat anymore. When we painted last weekend it was 73F outside and not much warmer inside. After we prepped, I painted just one wall and had to take a break because I was so miserably hot and nauseated. It wasn’t until the Spouse Thingy put the a/c on at around 70 that I was able to finish.

It’s 74o in the house right now and I’m sweating and not very comfortable.

No, it’s not hot flashes. The Spouse Thingy thinks I’m just doing a slow burn instead and he might be right.
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He's in IKEA hell right now. Assembly of 3 wardrobes, a dresser, and a bookcase. I’ll help when he asks, but mostly my job is to stay out of the way.

I will finally have a linen closet. It’s the simple things…
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Applebee’s Clubhouse Grille sandwich = 1200 calories.

I wish I had known before I ate half of one. I’ve been trying to stick to about 1500 calories a day, but that’s not going to happen today. And since I am already over and a blow-out day is not a bad idea every now and then, I am also going to have ice cream tonight.

Ice cream = nasty digestive things. But so totally worth it. Pretty sure that makes it diet food, anyway.
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Maybe I’ll swim it off tomorrow. Holy fark, I’m loving the swimming.


5 May 2015

The Spouse Thingy was off work all last week and is still off until Friday. We had plans to go to Disneyland for his birthday, but we then found out what the temps were going to be, and since I no longer do heat well, we decided to bail on that and just do local things.

We talked about going a lot of places: SF a couple of times to see the Academy of Sciences, the DeYoung Museum, and just walking around. We could go to the Crocker Museum in Sacramento and the Classic Car Museum. We were going to take a couple of long bike rides. Maybe even go overnight to Monterrey.

We went to the Crocker. I don't think we did anything else we talked about. We never got to SF. Or the car museum. And the bikes never moved from their spots in the garage.

We did go to the gym, where I hit a personal best of 2000 meters in under an hour in the pool. The Spouse Thingy did a demo at the art gallery on Sunday. And we annoyed the cats.

It doesn't take much to annoy them, but we went all out by moving everything out of the living room and prepped it to be painted, during which Buddah had a minor freakout--pretty sure he thought we were moving again--and Max had a reaction of "meh."

We got it painted but didn't put everything back where it had been, making Buddah even a little more upset, and Max was just "meh."

Today we moved a really big piece of furniture from the back of the hallway to the living room and put one of the cat trees next to it, leading Buddah to practically squeal with joy as he jumped on top, and Max acting just, "meh."

I don't think we're going to get much reaction out of Max anymore, no matter what we do. He seems to have a memory much better than Buddah, and knows the difference between the rearranging of things and the implementation of the M-word. As long as he has his place in the big closet, a bed at the foot of my bed, and his living room nook, he's happy. He knows it's not going anywhere.

But poor soon as he relaxes--which will be around 10 tomorrow morning--the delivery guys from IKEA will show up bearing a stack of boxes of things that need to be assembled, and his little head is just going to pop.

And hopefully by tomorrow I will have recovered from painting...we did it on Sunday and all the going up and down the ladder introduced me to a whole new level of post-exertional pain.

Getting old sucks.

Beats the alternative, sure, but man that part of it sucks.


23 April 2015

There are days I totally understand I can't even...

And some people wonder why I have issues with organized religion.


21 April 2015

Because I cannot pass up a potentially useful toy, when given the chance to get a just-released Garmin Vivoactive at a great price (seriously great) I jumped on it. It tracks a ton of things: steps, walking and running (with maps), biking (with maps), indoor treadmill and stationary bike, golf, and swimming.

Since I was planning on swimming...bonus.

And so far, this has been my favorite activity tracker. I connected it to my cell phone and get a gentle buzz when I get a text message (which I need because I can never hear the phone when it's in my pocket), I get a repeated buzz when I have a phone call (which is always a wrong number), and if I sit too long, I get 2 short buzzes to remind me that I should get up and move.

But damn, Garmin...when I get a movement reminder in the middle of a game of racquetball that's drenching me in sweat and making me think I want to drink half the swimming pool...that's kind of offensive.

I am moving, dammit.

So fine, I'm not moving all that well and I play a sucky game of racquetball but you don't need to rub it in. Sheesh.