26 November 2015

I've been playing on Facebook off and on all day, in between bouts of activity (getting dinner ready, facing the treadmill, getting sucked into Jessica Jones) and every time I pop onto FB it demands to know what I'm thankful for today.

Well, FB (since this will pop up over there :::waves at my FB peeps::: ) the things I'm thankful for today are the things I am thankful for every day. You never ask any other time. What's up with that, FB? Is it that you don't really care? Hm?

But... I am thankful. Very thankful. I have too many things to be thankful about to list, but I can try to hit the highlights.

♦ I have a kick-ass family. I would twist your nipples and make you cry like a little girl for my family. I have the most spiffy Spouse Thingy, a frakking fantastic son, wicked awesome sisters, amazing nieces and nephews, and I hit the in-law lottery several times.

♦ Hell yeah. You would be so lucky to have my mother-in-law.

♦ I am especially thankful that my son has found such a wonderful, amazing woman, and that she wants to spend the rest of her life with him. She's bringing a level of class to this family that is sorely needed. (Either than or we're bringing the total opposite to hers, but hey, things balance out.) She brings out in him so much of what we always hoped for: he's always been a good man, but with her, he's a Good Man.

♦ My friends. I have the best circle of friends. And it's an eclectic circle of friends, from cat people to writer people to my tough-as-nails pink people. They're spread out all over the world and while I might not see them often, they are part of the glue that holds me together.

♦ All that pink stuff...while on the surface it's all about finding the cure, doing what little we can to make a difference, that pink stuff has given me focus and a drive to better myself so that I can participate. By taking this year to not walk, I realize how very much it matters to me. The people I've met because of it are people I have come to love, especially my team mates. I truly love the Pink Slips, Rock the Pink, Blogging Babes for Boobies, the people I've crewed with... I will rock my Pink Slips t-shirt until it falls apart.

♦ Other peoples' patience. I know I am not the easiest person to be friends with, because you never know when my crap is going to float to the service and throw a wrench in things. The patience of others has made it possible for me to feel all right about signing up for things and giving them a try.

♦ The furballs. Even though they seem to not want me to sleep and spend far too much time every day reminding me that Food O'clock is almost here, and in spite of the number of piles of cold yak I've stepped in, life is definitely better with them in it.

♦ Reasonable health. I know I will never be at the pinnacle, but I'm damned thankful that all my issues are pretty much manageable.

♦ That I can try, and not be afraid of failing. And I can do that because of everything listed above, because my friends and family will catch me when I fall, or help me get up and dust off, and then cheer me along when I try again.

♦ And the ones who take care of me when I am giving things a try...yeah, so very thankful.

♦ And DKM, I am very, very thankful you don't shout at me when I'm in the passenger seat squealing because WE ARE GOING TO DIE! and THAT CAR IS GOING TO HIT US! and I'm really thankful you haven't hit me yet. ;)

I could go on. And on and on and on. I am honestly thankful for all these things and more every day. Life is good; the people in mine are better.

He's thankful for today's turkey, and the nice, long nap he can now have.


22 November 2015

Odds n Endz #974,194,194,555.666

♦ I’m sitting in Starbucks, with every intention to make some headway on a manuscript that was begun 2 years ago but barely outlined. My brain is not engaging because 1) this is the first caffeine I’ve had today and 2) somewhere in the vicinity of my table is a (presumable) woman who apparently bathed in a giant vat of perfume today, and it’s making my head pound….and the inability to breathe will surely follow.

♦ Seriously, why do people feel the need for perfume? It rarely smells good and too many other people have airway issues because of it. Just freaking take a shower, use a nice mildly scented soap, and call it a day. No one really needs to smell like anything other than their own self.

♦ Why, yes, right now I do feel a little grouchy, why do you ask?

♦ After just a year and 4 months, not long after the warranty expired, my laptop croaked. I liked that laptop. I am not happy. I replaced it with a Surface Pro tablet, reasoning that it runs all the software I need, but I didn’t stop to consider its size. I have 54-year-old eyes; I probably should have just gotten another big-assed laptop.

♦ I will suffer before giving up, though.  It will work one way or the other.

♦ Anyone got a head-mounted, face sized magnifying glass? That might work.

♦ Ok, I am no longer sitting in Starbucks. I am at home, at my desk, where I can breathe without coughing. And where I have Max tail flicking at my face.

♦ This is almost as annoying as the perfume, though perhaps quite a bit less in the way of potentially deadly.

♦ I stopped at the grocery store on my way home. Hungry. Yeah, you can guess how that went…

♦ I didn’t want to stick with the diet, anyway.

♦ And on that front…I have reached the pinnacle of a great big old pile of frustration. I eat well, I watch my caloric intake pretty closely. I move, I sweat, I burn calories. But my weight loss has stalled and I haven’t lost a damn thing since August. I honestly thought that at this point I would be much closer to goal, but I’m still 50 pounds from it.

♦ I know what the answer is: either move more or eat less. Since I don’t want to be a giant mass of unhappy and starving, I refuse to eat less. I’m at 1300-1500 calories a day as it is. So I need to get off my ass even more. And that makes me unhappy, too.

♦ Well, unhappy other than the goals ahead. I registered for the Hot Chocolate 15K in San Francisco in January (which was, in hindsight, a mistake, seeing as how I will be nowhere near the pace needed and I should have gone for the 5K) and there’s the Pixie Dust Challenge in May.

♦ I want the shiny medals. Seriously. Weight loss and better health? Meh. Shiny medals? Hell yeah.

♦ I never said I was mature.

For the hell of...Buddah, looking quite annoyed with me.


18 November 2015


The day after the 10K I got on the scale, expecting a jump, because I do tend to hold onto quite a bit of water after adding new exercise, and a little extra after pushing myself. I normally end a 3 Day about 6 pounds heavier, and it's gone within a week. Sunday I was 4 pounds higher than Saturday, and thought nothing of it.

Same thing Monday.

And Tuesday.

When it was still up today, and by the same amount, I was more than a little annoyed. I can feel it, the bloating in my arms and legs, puffy feet that barely fit into my shoes, the right side of my face first thing in the morning. I hadn't expected it to hang around this long; it was just a couple of hours on one day, not slogging through 60 miles in three.

I also hadn't expected the level of soreness I experienced on Sunday. I could barely move, but I mocked myself because it was actually pretty funny and I knew it wouldn't last. Monday it hurt about 75% less, and yesterday only a little. Today, there's just a hint of ouchiness in my my hips and, oddly, my upper arms. I had hoped the water retention would whoosh away with the pain.

"Well, yeah, it'll take you longer," the Spouse Thingy said at dinner tonight. "You have no growth hormone. There's nothing there for muscle repair. It will take you longer."

I had forgotten, really. When I did the first 3 Day I was still on daily HGH shots; now it's just left to time, and all those micro-tears in my muscles have to repair without the aid of growth hormone.

So, I can deal with it. I *know* that it's water weight because I haven't been pigging out, and it's a self-correcting problem. So tomorrow we're heading up to Old Sac and checking out the other end of the river walk path, and I'm going to push myself a little bit, walking fast after warming up, and adding some slow jogging if I can, until I feel like I need to stop.

I really want to make this work. I don't ever have to be the fastest, but at some point I want to be a runner.

And anyone who knows what I used to think about running is probably sitting there slack-jawed right now.

Yeah, I didn't get it. I think I do now.

Plus, runners get shiny medals every now and then. I like the shiny medals.


15 November 2015

Before the start... me, Emi, and Amanda; Photo by DKM
I did not die. I can barely move today, but I did not die.

It was a beautiful day; chilly when I left the house but already in the high 50s by the time I was standing here, at the start. And the start gate framed the Tower Bridge nicely; I've driven over that bridge dozens of times, but on this day I was going to get to walk over it, right down the middle, and honestly...that was kind of cool.

Aside from not training for this, I made a couple of mistakes. I couldn't eat beforehand--partly because it was just too early for me to get any food down, partly because I was actually a tiny bit nervous--and I lost my water bottle before we even got started. The water bottle wasn't an issue so much as it was a worry, because there were 4 aid stations along the way where water and Powerade were available. My real issue was that, not having eaten, I forgot to stick a roll of Lifesavers in my waist pack, and just before the 2nd aid station, maybe a quarter mile, I realized I was feeling nauseated and dizzy.

My blood sugar was tanking. Not having candy on me was probably the worst thing I could have done. But, I made it to the station, where there was cake.

photo by DKM
A bite sized piece of cake, some Powerade and water, and I felt awesome. My pace was better than I'd hoped--under 16:30--and I took off.

Well, "took off" is relative; I was not speedy even though I was bettering my usual pace, and I was getting passed...a lot. Honestly did not care, as long as I wasn't last. And I don't even know why I cared about not being last.

I slowed down some after mile 3 and started feeling blisters forming around mile 4, but none of that was much of an issue. The route was beautiful, taking us down the river and through part of downtown, including a stretch up Capitol Mall which was an incredible view. If I could have stopped for a picture, I would have, but at that point I knew if I stopped I wouldn't get started again. I slowed down enough to grab another piece of cake (we're talking one-bite sized pieces...I didn't really want it but wasn't chancing another drop in blood sugar) and Powerade, and headed for the final stretch.

My main goal was to finish 10K in under two hours. My typical walking pace has been 20 min/mile, and all I really wanted was to better that.

The finish time is from the time the first wave of runners crossed the start line; I was in the 3rd or 4th wave, so started about 10 minutes after that. My chip time, what I finished at, was 1:47 minutes.

My pace...17:14 min/mile.

I was one of the last hundred fifty people, I think, but I am not unhappy about that. Hell, I'm stoked. It gives me a really good idea of what I need to do to get ready for Tinkerbell, and in spite of how freaking sore I am today, I had a fantastic time. All the swimming was terrific for my cardio; my feet took a beating for lack of training, but I was never winded not felt like my HR was too high.

So. Next goal is a 15K in San Francisco on January 10; it has a pace requirement of 15min/mile and while I'm not counting on being able to do that and thusly not getting the shiny medal at the end, it's another test. If I know I have to *really* train for that, I will.

And who knows? I sure as hell didn't think I'd do any better than 18-19 minutes for the Beat The Blerch.

Photo by DKM


12 November 2015

A few months ago I signed up for a 10K; it's purely for fun, what with there being couches to stop to rest on, and cake at the end for all the participants. I fully intended to jump right into training for it...right after I healed up from a new tattoo. And then I bought the scooter and spent ,y free time breaking it in.

But yeah...right after the second new tattoo, I was going to really get to training. For reals.

Somewhere around week 2 of the healing process, I had a thought: 6 miles is no big deal, distance-wise. It's the time it takes, and I wanted to shave time off my minutes-per-mile pace. But what is my current mpm? It used to be 20, but that was at an in-no-hurry pace, and I know I ca go faster than that.

My ultimate goal, one I need to achieve before next May, is to be able to manage less than 16 minutes per mile. For that, I will train my asterisk off, because I committed to the Pixie Dust Challenge, and I want that freaking medal. I am motivated by shiny things.

The thing is, I can do the Blerch 10K in time to finish; it's a fun run, and there are 4 hours to complete it. At my leisurely pace I can do that in 2, so there's been no urgency to train hard to get the medal I know I'll get anyway.


This is also the chance for me to push myself and see what my pre-training pace is under event conditions. Yes, I can walk at a good clip, but that's around town, with nothing dangling in front of me, no expectations other than not peeing myself because I can't get to a restroom fast enough and not dying. I learned from the 3 Day that what you do when you're training by yourself, and what you do when in the middle of it are, can be two different things.

So I didn't do anything special to get ready for this 10K. I want to see what my pace is when I want
something (besides cake) at the end. And it will mark the official start to my 10K + HM training.

So. I did not train for the Blerch but I will not die...and PARTY IN ANAHEIM IN MAY! I'll be a zombie on race days, but we're staying a couple extra days, so...if you're there, LET'S JAM FOOD IN OUR FACES TOGETHER!!!

Today's lesson: don't try to write a blog post while texting with someone...soooo much backspacing was needed here...


7 November 2015

Odds N Ends #805,043,

♦ I have been getting up at normal-people hours lately. While I enjoy the time to relax before having to get up and get things done, there are a couple of negatives. Like, it’s too cold to go for an early bike ride. It feels like a *really* long time between breakfast and lunch. And I still have trouble getting to sleep early enough. I’m not sure how you normal people manage.

♦ Though it’s over a year away, the plan for the 2016 walk is to do it in San Diego. Most of the team is going to Atlanta, but I won’t know until May if my doc will be comfortable with me making a flight like that on top of the physical exertion. I can handle one hour in a plane or if push comes to shove, drive down there.

♦ The Spouse Thingy is going to sign up for medical crew; he could walk it, but the truth is they would need him more as crew than as a walker, since they’re always looking for medical people.

♦ I have a 10K next weekend. I have not trained. It will not be pretty. But…at the end there’s cake. I don’t know if they have sweepers but if they do and I wind up being swept, oh well. But I’ll get cake at the end, and that’s what matters, right?

♦ Hell, I can do a 10K if I walk it all. It’s a matter of how much time is allowed. I have no clue.

♦ Email: I was in San Francisco once and I didn’t call you. Didn’t even think of it. But you were in Ohio at the time. That still counts, right? Of course it does. LOL

♦ Email: Are you telling me that if you went to San Antonio to see the Alamo you wouldn’t see your sisters? No…the only reason I would go to San Antonio would be to see my sisters. It’s a damned goal. But I am telling you if they were in SF and didn’t have time or had other reasons, I’d be cool with it. (And no, that did not come from any of my sisters, just someone who enjoys poking the bear.)

♦ Girl Scout cookies are going up to $5 a box. They’re good but not five dollar good.

♦ I am ready to start Christmas shopping. No clue what I’m getting anyone, but I’m ready to go wander aimlessly around the stores. And Amazon. Lots and lots of Amazon browsing.

♦ I should get some work done first. I still haven’t formatted Max’s newest book for e-readers…


6 November 2015

Ok, this may be a new record for the longest I’ve gone without blogging. But I’ve been a little busy, what with having coloring books to play with, and a new scooter to ride all over the place (srsly…I had the BMW for a year and only put 590 miles on it, including the 45 mile trip to the dealer to trade it in; the MP3 has 800 miles almost, and that’s with having left it at the dealership for a couple weeks waiting for a new horn switch) and the new season of Doctor Who in full swing. And there’s the whole getting Max’s new book finished.

That’s all apropos to nothing. I went to Starbucks today to so something other than write and edit and write more. I just wanted to ride my scooter over there, have some tea and play online, with no real objective in mind.

While I sat there with my iced tea and coffee cake, I started getting texts from a couple of friends. I felt like I was about 3 levels of normal, sitting there like everyone else with my face plastered to my phone. Well, maybe 4 levels, because I did have a Macbook Air in front of me, and it seems to be the required form of computer in the ‘Bux.

One friend started off with a plethora of apologies: she’s going to be in San Francisco next week, with her husband and 5 of their 6 kids, and she wanted to see me, but… no time. They’ve got only 3 days and each of the kids has been promised they could pick something for the entire family, and…and…and…

The gist? She was worried that I would be offended.

No. I am not. I don’t think she believed me, but I truly am not.

Look—and this goes for everyone—your vacation is just that. Yours. You do not owe it to anyone to change your plans, or create new plans, just because there’s someone in the geographical vicinity who may or may not have time to see you. I’ve been caught in those cross hairs and it’s horribly uncomfortable; just because you’re there and you might want to see someone...that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or even possible.

We’ve made plans to go somewhere before where there are nearly 20 people—some who are family, some who are friends—who would expect to join us. The sheer exhaustion of that many people, those expectations, and the fallout have made us just not go. Because really, whom do you disappoint? With whom do you make plans? Whom do you not? Who gets told they don’t make the cut? Who do you piss off? Who will understand and who will trash talk you because clearly you’re able to be there so why are you not visiting?

It’s never simple. The things that are genuine reasons can be brushed off by others as mere excuses, and it just turns sour. Hearing “but we’re family” from someone can be irritating as hell, because they’re not stopping to consider that they’re not the only family in that area harboring the same expectations, and there are only so many hours in the day and there’s no kind way to see one side of the family and not the other.

At some point it stops being a vacation and turns into visiting people. Nothing wrong with the latter if that’s what you wanted all along, but if your goal was the former and you don’t get that much needed you-time to do any of the vacationy things you planned simply because you know there will be repercussions? It sucks.

So no…I will not be offended if you’re in San Francisco or Sacramento or three streets over and don’t have time to see me. No, it doesn’t matter who you are or how much I would have liked to spend some time with you. I do understand.

I damn well better understand, seeing as how I’m the Queen of pissing people off by not visiting when I’m in the area. I hate feeling like I’m walking on eggshells just because I want to go somewhere but also know my own limitations and my need to crash at unexpected intervals. But, I always feel that way. We go, and I seriously worry about it half the time we’re there. Who’s mad at me? How bad will the fallout be? Who just doesn’t get it? Who thinks I’m faking? Who’s going to throw the well you did that so why didn’t you do this? thing in my face?

(and in seeing how hard I’m pounding the keyboard, apparently this is a spot more sore with me than I realized…)

The friend who was so worried? I know she would like to see me. I would like to see her. But this is her vacation and her kids deserve the time they’ve been promised, and she doesn’t need to worry about perceived expectations and the possible hurt feelings that come with not meeting those expectations.

Go forth and have fun, people. If your friends and family don’t or won’t even try to understand…it’s their problem.

2 October 2015

It's just after midnight here, which means it's 3 am in an hour or so walkers will be rolling out of bed, wondering why morning burns, and crew members will already be up and on their way to opening ceremonies or the pit stops and grab-n-go stops where they'll be working.

The Pink Slips for 2015...Jenn, Beth, Sandra, and Jenna...these ladies totally rock. Send 'em some safe walk mojo!*
My first walk started five years ago today; it both seems like much longer ago, and not that many years. That year I walked with Blogger Babes for Boobies, invited to give it a whirl by Roberta, who is owned by the Grate Jeter Harris Hizself. I never would have imagined what deciding to give it a shot would bring me.

I didn't have a clue.

It turned out to be so much more than blisters and pink hair, and a willingness to do fairly odd things to raise money, things that surprised even me, It's more than the money raised (and y'all...your willingness to donate and bribe me to wear spandex and dye my hair and flounce around San Francisco and ride a bike through the outlet mall while head to tow pink spandex and a cape has raised over $15,000.Go you.) and in a way it's more than the good being done with that money.

When Roberta invited me to join her team, it was a door creaking open--one I would have been too shy to knock upon on my own--and on the other side were people I never would have otherwise met, and people I have come to love.

I don't say that easily or lightly, not ever. I'm often taken aback when people who are not family say it to me, even though it makes me smile.

But these ladies? The women I have walked with and gotten to know better on Facebook? Blogger Babes and Pink Slips?

I love these women.

I am a bit sad I won't be there with the four walking as the Pink Slips this weekend, but I'm more excited for them--I'm pretty sure there's some booze being shared--and I want nothing more than for this walk to be spectacular.

This is the weather they're facing. Heavy rains and wind tomorrow, more rain and wind Saturday, and they might catch a break on the last long as the hurricane heading for the east coast doesn't get much bigger and push further inland.

So give the walkers a little mojo, well wishes, or prayer that this weekend is fun and uneventful, and a little extra for my team mates, because I don't think anyone brought any floaties with them.

And day we're going to be in the same place at the same time, and I owe you a big sloppy hug, because without you I never would have met all these amazingly cool people.

Pink Slips...NO BROKEN BONES AND NO ONE GETS SICK THIS YEAR!!! I'll cheer you on from here, and maybe I'll even go walk a few miles.

*I totally stole this picture from Beth's FB page.


27 September 2015

It’s very nearly October; Thursday is the 1st of the month, a day that my plans at the start of the year would have had me in Philadelphia for a day already, relaxing before the start of the 3 Day. It was to be the kickoff for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in my own personal little sphere, a bubble in which I was going to ignore the naysayers, and just go about the business of doing what very little I can.

Instead, I’ll be home, not walking. But that’s fine. Next year holds a lot of promise, and I fully intend to be where ever my team chooses to walk, ready to go the distance, even if I have to crawl. I just hope the consensus is somewhere fun, and not somewhere hot at sticky.

I was also *this close* to saying to hell with it and walking in San Diego, but…

Cooler heads have prevailed.

So I’ll be here, playing online a lot while I cheer my team mates on, and online is where I’ll witness a whole lot of the inevitable backlash to All Things Pink, with particular venom spit directly at Komen.
It’s no secret that I’ve had my own issues with Komen. They’ve made some pretty big errors in the last few years, big enough that I’ve been “done” with them more than once. Stepping back and taking deep breaths, though, has given me the chance to look at the bigger picture, and in that bigger picture they’re doing far more good than not.

But there will still be those people who choose to not see it, who choose to spit out statistics as proof that Komen is evil and proof that the pink ribbon needs to be burned at the stake. The main one I see all the time: Komen only puts 20% of what it raises toward research.

But…does it really?

Actually, in fiscal year 2012, it was 21%.

“Just” 21%.

So the statistic isn’t far from the truth, but let’s look at that bigger picture.

In that same year, 15% of funds raised went to screening. The oft-decried Planned Parenthood grants? They go only to screening; women who can’t afford a mammogram can get a voucher from PP, funded by Komen, to get proactive care. That same pool of money is funneled through its affiliates to reach other women and men in need of screening, but who lack the funds or insurance to get it done.

8% went to treatment. The results of that research? Drugs with the potential to become cures, used in clinical trials for people who have run the gammit of the standard treatments. Those have to be paid for somehow; Komen funds many of these.

38% on education. No, in spite of what you read on the Internet, this is not a disease that “everyone knows everything about.” There are always going to be people—either because of age, economic status, level of education—who do not have the facts and instead have a plethora of old wives tales and urban legends as the crumbling foundation of what they know about breast cancer.

11% went to fundraising. You have to spend money to make money, that’s just a simple fact.
One of the biggest complaints I read about and hear about? The bloat at the top, the outrageous salaries being drawn by the CEO and Board.

Yet…only 7% went to administrative costs. That includes all the salaries. The CEO, the VPs, the Board. And when you compare the CEO salary against other major charities, it’s right in line. It’s not as much as the CEO of a major corporation would command, even though the job is on par.

Komen disperses over 80% of its income. The American Cancer Society, which few people seem to have an issue with, is at a rate of less than 61%. On Charity Navigator, they have a 2 star rating. Their top salaries exceed a million dollars…yet few people seem to hone in on them. Komen is rated higher, is transparent about where the money goes, yet they’re the target of inexplicable ire where the supposed statistics tend to be the issue.

I get it; people are tired of pinkwashing. It’s an over-used and misused monetary generator, and far too many companies are going to slap a pink ribbon on their merchandise and claim that it’s for breast cancer, when the truth is that .0001% might actually find its way to a charity. still notice it.

You’re more aware this time of year than any other.

It’s a reminder: get yourself checked. Make sure your daughters understand how to perform self-exams. Make sure YOU know how to perform one.

And yes…donate towards the cause, because money really is the first step.

Pink is not “just a color” anymore, but one day it will be. That’s the goal: beat this sucker down until the only thing pink happens to be is a happy color.

I will never be 100% happy with the things Komen does. But it’s the bigger picture: they do a tremendous amount of good, far more than the hiccups that pop up along the way.

So next year, unless I croak between now and then, I will walk for them. There are too many people who really will die before then, too many who found themselves availing Komen’s programs, and too many who probably thought it was all just “pink shit” and wouldn’t really look at where the money goes. There's not much else I can do; I will never be smart enough to understand the science needed to do the research that will eventually find a cure--that will find the dozens of cures needed, because breast cancer is not simply one cancer.

I walk because I can, because it's doing something when I can do nothing else.

Oh, and the money I raise for those walks? 80% goes to research.

Eighty per cent.

That’s worth a blister or two.


14 September 2015

From a writer friend*:
Look, you and I will never agree on the issue of gay marriage. I don't support it. It goes against not only my religion but the way I was brought up. 

Where you and I agree is in regards to Kim Davis. It comes down to the fundamental issue of the separation of church and state. She does not have to believe in gay marriage, but she should also not cross that line of mixing government with her religion. 

The rest of it really doesn't matter. One side is harping on her hypocrisy for doing this wile talking about having the authority of God on her side when she's been married so many times, has committed adultery, and had children out of wedlock. The other side is defending her with the idea that she became a born-again Christian after all of that, so she is forgiven. Those things don't matter.

The only thing that really matters is that we have separation of church and state, and we have it for valid reasons. We have it so that I am free to worship in a way that makes gay marriage seem wrong to me; you are free to worship in a way that makes it seem all right to you. We have it so that my kids can go to school and not have to recite prayers that are not of our faith, and we have it so that we don't fall into the trap of theocracy, which would turn the United States into something else, some place where the Sharia Law that so many claim to be against become the de facto law of the land.

It boggles me that there are people who think that because gay marriage is not technically legal in KY that all the gay people who get married there are breaking the law. It's federal law now, so it doesn't matter what the state says.

And like you said, keeping an oath is right there in the Bible.

I won't ever agree with you on gay marriage, but what these so-called Christian defenders of Kim Davis are doing is just wrong.
This was a conversation that went on for a while, and a few other people joined in. There was no name calling, no finger pointing, no YER WRONG SO GO KILL YERSELF hysterics. It never got personal.

We just talked.

No, we will never agree on the point of gay marriage; from where I stand, my personal beliefs should have nothing to do with what other people do as long as they're not hurting anyone. I don't accept the sanctity of marriage argument, because as a group straight people have done a hell of a lot to destroy that anyway. But the biggest thing for me is that what you do is none of my business.
You say that, but if the Mormons decided to bring back polygamy, I bet you'd think different.
You think? I might surprise you.

I never accepted what I was told about plural marriage when I was a member of the LDS church--that it was necessary because there were more women than men and women needed to be protected under the umbrella of the priesthood--and had a feeling it existed because Joseph Smith wanted a reason to screw around (and I still think so.) I don't understand the appeal nor the want of a plural marriage.

But...if you're not trying to marry 12 year old girls and every person who is a part of the arrangement is a consenting adult of legal age, it's none of my business. If that's how you want to live your life, why should my opinion even matter?

Do I find it a bit creepy?

Yeah, honestly I do. But it's not my life, not my marriage, not my problem.
State law should be followed, though. If what other people are saying is true, that gay marriage is illegal in KY, why can't that be enforced?
Federal law > state law > city ordinance.

When laws conflict, it essentially falls to the order of operations. A state law will always be the rule over a city or county ordinance, and federal law trumps state law.

It really is that simple. So no matter what the law on the books in KY is (and I honestly don't know) the fact that gay marriage is legal in the U.S. at the federal level makes it legal in KY.
So then why is this even an issue? If federal law trumps state, why is she even doing this?
Someone else's answer:
The easy answer is martyrdom. She becomes the figurehead for a movement trying to bully their way into changing a law they don't agree with. Another easy answer is that she wants the attention. No one takes a stand like this, a stance that defies a law that is basically fair for everyone, unless they want attention. 

I doubt the crux of the issue is actually a intent to put an end to it; my gut says this is another push of the religious right. They want to "put God back into our country," but they're not looking ahead. You have a group that yammers on about our President being a closet Muslim, how the terrorists are winning...and yet they want to insert their religious beliefs into our laws. They fail to see the irony. There is no appreciation for the fact that they are asking for exactly what they complain about. 

In short: Kim Davis is doing this because she doesn't understand that if we allow religion into the workings of our government, we risk becoming something akin to the fringe, to the hard-core religious terrorists that are destroying the Middle East. (I should clarify, I don't think Muslims are terrorists. I do think a high percentage of the religious right in the U.S. do.)
That was said far nicer than I would have. I wanted to say she was an attention whore using religion as an excuse for her actions (because honestly, the longer this goes on the more it feels to me like she's enjoying the hell out of it. I'm ready for her to be non-news, and I'm especially ready for Tea Party-like thinkers to just stop and thinks about what they really want.

Government by religion is not it.

And he's right...the fundamental thing about the entire issue of Kim Davis and gay marriage is the separation of church and state. That's what it's about. And why she needs to resign, if she feels so strongly against it.

*shared with permission


6 September 2015

From the email-conversations files:
"I am stuck. I've been working on this story for months now and I just can't get anywhere with it. I thought it was because it was a story that wasn't ready to be told or shouldn't be told but I realized last night that I'm having a hard time with it because the whole premise feels like I'm stealing someone else's idea. It's not fan fiction but the idea did grow from a love of someone else's work and I keep feeling like these characters aren't mine, even though they're not from the original work, and that I shouldn't keep writing their story. I'm not a real writer, so does it matter?"
First off...if you're writing something, whether it's for public consumption or just for yourself, you're a "real writer." There's no special test to take in order to become a real writer; there's no income requirement. If you're putting words to paper (virtual or otherwise) and you do it because to not write feels like you're not paying attention to an important part of yourself, you're a real writer.

Secondly...there's nothing wrong with getting ideas and inspiration from something that already exists. It happens all the time, often becoming wildly know, from "real writers."

Let's set aside the 50 Shades books; everyone who hasn't been living in a cave probably knows those bubbled out of the frothy brew of Twilight fan fiction.

Ever watched Sons of Anarchy? Awesome show, wasn't it? Would it surprise you to learn it was a retelling of Hamlet?

How about Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series? I read recently (no proof of its truth, but I love that it might be) that the inspiration for that was Doctor Who.

Look how many times Romeo and Juliet has been retold. 

My point?

Write what you love to write. If it's fan fiction, go for it (but don't try to publish it without permission of the copyright holder.) If it's a retelling using unique characters, go for it. If you're inspired by a TV show or movie or another book, tell that story the best way you know how. Make those characters who are whispering in your ear spring to life, and give them a wonderful, ultra-high-def, colorful existence.

Don't ever rip off someone else's story using your own characters, but it's fine to draw inspiration from everything around you. That's kind of the way it works much of the time.

We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?
~Doctor Who


4 September 2015

I am honestly surprised by the number of people on FB supporting Kim Davis... also surprised by their idea that she is somehow honoring Christ in this. "I support Christ! Free Kim Davis!" "Jesus stands beside her!"

I really don't think so.

Read your Bible, folks. Look to the books of Deuteronomy (You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth) and Numbers (If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.)

In short: when you take an oath, you honor it. Davis took an oath; it doesn't matter if what she is then required to do offends her religious sensibilities. She swore to uphold the law as applied to her office. And while I don't know for sure, I'd bet real money she made that oath while swearing on a Bible.

And while you're hiding behind Jesus, claiming that gay marriage offends him, take another flip through your Bible and find all the things he said about homosexuality.

Keep looking.


I know what you found. You found...nothing.

There are very few actual references to homosexuality in the Bible, and none from Jesus. They're mainly found in the Old Testament (which, in many Christina religions, is made mostly null by the crucifixion of Jesus and his sacrifice for our sins) and in Paul's writings. To fall back on that particular rhetoric doesn't support a position of gay marriage being somehow immoral and offensive.

There is a particular hypocrisy in supporting this woman, who bases her actions on her religion, who is trying to take the moral high ground here. She's trampled on the very ideology she's using as the foundation of her argument: married 4 times, committed adultery, hasn't been stoned to death for it.

Unless you're willing to drag this woman out of her jail cell and start chucking rocks at her, you don't have much of a leg to stand on here.

And in the end, none of it has anything to do with taking a religious stance. We're supposed to have separation of church and state. For someone who embraces their Christianity as a total way of life...follow the tenants. When you take an oath, you have to honor it. Period.

It's right there in the Bible.


1 September 2015

Just to be a little more, I'm not going to be pestering people for donations. Wanting to participate in a walk and mulling it over are just part of the chatter that goes on in my brain every day. In spite of being told I could do it if I followed certain criteria, I do understand that my own best interest is to follow the original plan of taking this year off.

I still need to train, but for a couple of things that have nothing to do with raising money and everything to do with just being able to do them.

The Spouse Thingy took this past weekend off, so we've had 10 days of doing pretty much anything we wanted (yet not much of anything we'd planned) and while there was a lot of walking I haven't been to the gym and am now feeling spectacularly lazy.

I also haven't done any real work in the last couple of weeks.

So...first order of business is to get back to both of those things. And I will, just as soon as I'm done watching the last 4 episodes in series 5 of Doctor Who, and after I've eaten the giant pizza that's calling my name.


Right after that.


31 August 2015

I’m still angry. I’ll probably be some grade of angry for a while, until I hit that sweet spot of not giving a damn anymore, when the whole thing becomes an afterthought. Something I won’t think about until someone else mentions it, and it will take my brain a second or two to engage and respond with “Oh. Yeah…huh.”

Here’s the thing: if this had been someone else, someone I only knew as a name online or it was the friend of a friend of a friend, I would not have been at all surprised. The Internet is littered with dipshits doing the same thing in one vein or another. Catfishing, digital kidnapping, bogus support pleas. It’s not unusual. It’s wrong, but not at all unusual.

What I don’t want to do is dwell on it…which is proving to not be as easy as I hoped, mostly because the result of my knee jerk reaction of emailing a coach to change the city I was registered to walk in and of messaging my doc about walking was a coach changing my city with no other work necessary on my part, and my doc saying—with some caveats—that I could walk.

Mentally, I was prepared for not walking this year; I’d finally gotten to that point. Now I’m back at the start, wanting to walk and not knowing if I should try or blow it off.

There are 12 weeks to go. I can train for the distance I’d walk (which would not be the entire 60 miles, to be honest) but that’s only 12 weeks to raise $2000. I don’t think I can do that.

So there’s something else to be angry about. Being put in this position. I had finally gotten to being all right with not walking this year.

I can get all right with it again, but still.

And here’s the part where I’m honest with myself: I want the damn victory shirt. This year it’s a spiffy magenta color instead of white, and dammit, I wanted one. Sure, sure, raise money to save the boobies, of course. But…MAGENTA.


I know I’m immature.

And yes, I own other magenta shirts.

But not that one.

Now…how sorry should you feel for me?

Yeah…this sorry…this is how I shall soothe myself:

Don't worry about the lack of's not moving.
Scooter rides.

So maybe I won’t have all the training time. I have rides to take.

Granted, rides to the gym, but still.

Fun times :)


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.