13 November 2014

One week from today I'm flying down to San Diego and one week from tomorrow is the first day of the 3 Day, and I think I'm more excited about this walk than I've been a in a couple of years. I'm not sick this year (knock on wood) which helps...the only iffy art for me is the whole getting on an airplane and flying thing.

Everyone on the team has met at least their minimums so we can all walk, and overall the team has raised (so far) $26,000.

Not too shabby!

A few people have mentioned on Facebook wanting to cheer the walkers on and bringing me cold drinks (because YOU LOVE ME! and support my addictions.) There are some designated places for people to wait and cheer walkers on each day, and from those places you an easily see where the walkers are headed (there are arrows.)

The official Spectator Info page is here [clicky]. It lists where all the cheering stations are and there's a link to email someone about setting up a private cheering station (but must be emailed by tomorrow, November 14th.)

My team is the Pink Slips...we have spiffy t-shirts which may or may not help in spotting us, but the front looks like the picture to the right.

I'd say look for my pink hair, but trust me, that won't be unusual amongst the potential 3000+ walkers.

One week, though! I wouldn't be going without all your incredible support, so THANK YOU! This walk means a lot to me, perhaps because I'm feeling pretty decent for the first time in a couple of years, and it's the launch point for a renewed Get Thumper In Better Shape effort. So for the next week keep your cooties away!


10 November 2014

In line at the 'Bux. Woman close to my age is behind me, making small talk, when seemingly out of nowhere:

Her: That's a lovely wedding ring. How long have you been married?

Me: Pushing thirty three years.

Her: Really? But..? [look of confusion] [awkward silence]
Her: But, I thought...

Me: I'm not gay.

Her: Well, that's  shame. You would be a FABULOUS gay.

Okay,  admit, I laughed. I WOULD make a fabulous gay person.


1 November 2014

Today would have been my mom's 83rd birthday. This afternoon when I was poking around online, feeling many regrets about the fact that I'd eaten apples 3 days in a row and for me that is a Mistake with a decided capital M, I started talking to a friend who remembered, and who mused that the day must make me miss her even more.

I do miss her.

It probably sounds hard-hearted, but birthdays, Christmas, Mother's Day...those days don't make me miss her anymore than I do any other day. She's there in the ether of my brain every day--as is my dad and my father-in-law--and I think about her every day. I miss them all, but milestone days do not add to that.

Perhaps it's a personal defect; I don't know. I just know that the feeling of missing my mother is not increased by what particular day it happens to be.

 But it does make you wish she was still here, right?

No. really depends. Would she be here happy and healthy and whole, or would she be as she was just before she died, not quite all there and not really herself?

If she could be here happy and healthy, yes. I would like that very much. My world would feel a little bit more right if she were. But if she was here just to be here, that her continued existence meant her mind was still slipping and her body a mass of betrayal, my dad was gone, and she was miserable, then no.

Why would I wish that?

I will embrace the fact that I miss her every day, because it means that she mattered; the fact that it's her birthday? It's a day I can be grateful that she was ever alive, and grateful for what she left behind, my sisters and all the grandkids, and all the wonderful memories they have of her. We all miss her.

Every day.

But especially today? No. I'd rather think that today she made my dad hop from a cloud on which he was comfortable to a cloud she wanted to visit, where she partied on with her own parents and the brothers who are there with them, and their friends who have also passed on.

I suspect she's having a grand time.

Here's the thing...I think if we believe there's something after this, then holding onto grief so tightly that it impedes our lives is not only a disservice to ourselves, but a dishonor to the people we love. Yes, miss them. That hole where they were isn't going away...but it can be filled with things other than darkness and misery. It can be filled with gratefulness and happiness for the fact that not only did we get to love them in the first place, but that they're in a pretty spiffy place right now.

I miss my mom; I think about her every day. But I'm not steeped in grief, because I think that would be a huge dishonor to her and what she would want for me...that is not what she would want.

I'm happy that she's with my dad. With her parents. With some of her siblings. I'm happy that she's free of the body that was betraying her. And I know, without a shred of doubt, that she's having a happy birthday.


21 October 2014

From the This Weekend at the ‘Bux files…

Sitting here staring at the computer screen, pretending to be engrossed in work; at the long table in front of me are two women talking loudly, and I overheard one ooze, “Oh, hun, I’ve been married for five years. When you’ve been married as long as I have…”

It took great personal restraint to not laugh and then say, “Aww, that’s adorable.”

Five whole years!

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

There’s a guy across the room with his little girl. He has a tattoo running from his elbow to his wrist, nothing but outline. She has a pack of markers, and while he reads, she’s coloring in his tattoo. I may croak from the kyoot.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

Remember the lady who didn’t want to sit next to me while waiting for a haircut, who told her husband in a total stage whisper she didn’t want to sit next to “it?” And in another breath called me a faggot?

Yeah. Her. She came in and started to take the table next to me, looked and damn near flinched. I half shrugged and said, “Still not gay.”

She left. Imagine that.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

There’s a line of people seated at the wall to my right, laptops and textbooks open, concentration and worry etched onto their faces. I think the one kid is giving up, based upon his frustrated faceplant onto his notebook. I’m kind of half watching to see when he sits up, because I’m betting his face will be lined with highlighter ink.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

Because I still can’t put sunscreen on the newest tattoo, I covered it with a hot pink forearm sleeve. A 13-14 year old kid came up to me to ask where I’d gotten it and how much was it, and when I told him he let out a deflated “Awww.” I felt bad enough that if I hadn’t really needed it I probably would have given it to him.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

WooHoo, I have made enough purchases this year to maintain gold status on my Starbucks card. Which really only means I get free refills on my tea. Yes, I spent who knows how much just to get not have to spend 50 cents for each refill… Well, the gold card is pretty spiffy, too.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

Everyone working here is new. I have to TELL them what I want now. Sheesh.


12 October 2014

From a friend...

The 15 year old is helping my dad get his house ready to move into, and they were in the kitchen, looking at the work to be done. The sink is gross but salvageable, and the 15 year old mused about how to get it clean enough to use.

My dad: You can get that clean. Just use a little elbow grease.

The 15 year old nods in agreement, and then starts going through the cleaning supplies on hand.

15yo: You don’t have any.

Dad: Any what?

15yo: Elbow grease.

To his credit, my dad did not laugh or mock; no, he drove the boy to the nearest big-box hardware store, and had him peruse the aisles for the needed elbow grease. When he couldn’t find it, he didn’t even say anything to my dad, but marched up to the first person in a vest and asked with all seriousness where the elbow grease was.

At this point Dad is almost wetting himself trying to not laugh, but guy in the vest simply asked the boy what he needed it for, and then asked what type of sink he needed to clean, porcelain or stainless, and then guided him to an aisle of cleaning products and picked a strong cleaner off the shelf.

Guy in the vest: This works better than elbow grease, and takes less effort.

Cut to later, we’re having dinner and the 15yo mentioned off-handedly that elbow grease is hard to find, and related the entire story to his siblings. No one can keep from laughing now, and the 19yo explains to him exactly what elbow grease really is.

15yo turned around, looked at his grandfather, and said simply, “Laugh now, old man. I know where you live and I am very patient.”

I think war was just declared, and I can’t wait to see who wins.

This totally sounds like something my dad would have done...maybe not the trip to the store, but I guarantee he would have had me scouring the house for a can of elbow grease.  The difference is, I would have probably been bitching about it, because who wants to get grease all over them, and besides, it's not my sink and I didn't even want to move here.

Yeah, I was that kid.

Still might be.


8 October 2014

Another step along the path leading me to become one of those people my mom would have been afraid of.

This one took right around 5 hours, and wasn't terribly ouchy until the last 30-40 minutes. At one point I was relaxed enough that I kind of drifted off--not asleep but just drifting--and he moved the needle from one side of the tattoo to the other and when it touched my skin my brain went OHMY GOD MY SKIN JUST SPLIT...luckily I didn't jump enough to screw anything up, but I did jump a little.

I totally less than 3 this tattoo; Thumper just looks so happy to be kicking someone's asterisk.

In three weeks, I'm getting another one on the other arm. Not another Thumper (three might be enough, though I'll never say never) but a nice kitty tattoo.

Three weeks after that I was getting started on my legs, but because of the 3 Day--I wouldn't really be able to take care of a fresh tattoo--that one has been delayed until February.

Yep, Big Greg is enough in demand that if you make an appointment now, you're waiting 4 months. This makes me happy because he deserves the following, but I can be impatient and don't want to wait.

OTOH, me not being able to get the tattoo in November means the Spouse Thingy can take it and not have to wait 4 months. Yep, he's going to lose his ink virginity.

Maybe someday, I can get him to dye his hair pink, too.



6 October 2014...part deux

All apparently I was awake around 3 this morning, having had some insight about it not being the right time to die. Tattoos and Doctor Who, which are perfectly valid things to hang around for.


I have no memory of posting the 3:30-ish a.m. update.

In fact, when I got up this morning I was quite happy with the idea that I'd slept like a log, all the way through the night, for once uninterrupted. I suppose it's a good thing I didn't wake up wanting anything that would have had me either driving or burning down the house...

6 October 2014

3 a.m. waking-with-a-start thought:
I can't die now. I haven't gotten all the tattoos I want, and I can't miss Doctor Who.
Yeah. I have priorities, it seems.


5 October 2014

It's that time of year again.

Thumpa Goes Pink.

What started as a way to raise money and amused a few people who wound up donating a hell of a lot has turned into something I really like.

The pink hair, it makes me happy.

Now, a while back I made it pretty clear that I am not a fan of People of Walmart. I am not amused by its tone nor amused by the notion that there's anything fun or funny about taking verbal or photographic potshots at people.

It's just not nice.

So today I was sitting in Starbucks, minding my own business and not paying any particular attention to the two people to my left, other than to note that they had taken two tables meant for 3-4 people each and shoved them together, the two of them taking up enough space for several customers. The place wasn't packed, but it was busy enough that having the space for a group could have become an issue.

They weren't teenagers, either; this was an adult male and adult female, and as far as I could tell--an open laptop, a couple of textbooks and notebooks--they were there to study.

I went about my own business for an hour or so, noted the time and realized I needed to run to the grocery store, and as I was closing my laptop I heard them snicker, and out of the corner or my eye saw her take a picture.

Ostensibly, she was taking a selfie...with about 10% of her face in the shot. The rest was me.

Apparently I amused her. Probably the pink hair.

As I got up, I made a point of looking at them in a way that let them know I was looking; she was uploading the picture to either Facebook or Tumblr, hard to tell.

Now, to be fair, I don't know what her intent was. Maybe she really dug the hair. Maybe she had a moment of, "Do I know this person...?" and just took the picture. She could have been thinking a lot of things, but just based on the tone of that snicker, I'm guessing the intent was more like PoW. I suspect I am on someone's newsfeed or Tumblr with a snotty comment about the old lady with the pink hair, let's point and laugh.

As I left, I thought I should be annoyed or angry about it; I trust my gut and my gut says she was operating from a place far removed from kindness. I was not someone sitting there working, I was someone to be made fun of. Something, even. Just an object, out of the ordinary at the 'Bux.

But the truth is, I was borderline amused. She didn't make a point of saying anything snotty to me, as has happened before. She just took a picture.

And I kinda want to see that picture.

If you run across a picture of a chubby, pink-haired me wearing a maroon and gray striped shirt, let me know, especially if you find it at the source. I would so love to visit and leave a comment or two.


1 October 2014

“Pink is not going to cure anything. It’s just a damned color. Get over it already.”
It’s October 1st, the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The backlash has already started; I noticed it a few days ago online, people already complaining about it, grumbling about having to put up with all the “pink shit” for a full month.
“Yeah. We’re already aware of breast cancer.”
Allow me to interject.

No shit.
“Why should it get its own month? Men don’t get a month for anything.”
Know what September is? Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Why didn’t you know about that? There were events all over the world. This past weekend there was a global motorcycle ride to raise money, the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Motorcycle Ride, and it raised a couple million. If you shop for groceries at a particular national chain, you had the option to round up the cost of your purchases and donate that money towards prostate cancer research.

The events are out there. So why didn’t you know?

Because it’s not as big as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Give it time; in ten years you might be complaining about light blue. It’s just a color, after all. It’s not going to cure anything, either.

But think about it. You’ve become attuned to pink being the color for breast cancer because it’s been upfront every October for as long as you can remember, and it’s been well promoted. Breast cancer charities are well organized, and they’ve taken the time needed to get you to where you’re sick of it.

You should be sick of it.

The ultimate goal is for the color pink to again be nothing but a pretty color, and someday we’ll get there.

Someday we’ll be sick of light blue ribbons…and that’s a good thing. It means we’re trying harder to save lives. It deserves the passion that everything pink has earned.



This month is a reminder: do what you can. Fight it how you can. Check yourself—too many people just don’t think about it any other time of year—whether you’re male or female. Schedule a mammogram. Teach your kids about self-exams. Donate to your favorite charity.

You’re aware of breast cancer; that doesn’t mean you’ll do anything about it any other time of year.

That said…I’m not a fan of pinkwashing. I’m not a fan of every company out there slapping a pink ribbon on their product with the promise that a portion of sales will be donated to a breast cancer charity. I’m not a fan because I don’t think the amount donated adds up to much, as little as 2-5%, but it garners a whole lot of sales and profit for those companies.

Pick your own awareness endeavor. It doesn’t have to be monetary. Educate yourself, educate your kids, schedule the long-put-off exam. Support a friend going through treatment. Make this month a touchstone.

It is easier to donate; don’t buy a bunch of crap just because it has a pink ribbon it unless you really want that particular item. Find your charity of choice. Use Charity Navigator to help narrow the field down.
“Yeah, Thump, you’re a Komen freak…I’m not giving anything to them. Most of their money pays their CEOs, not to research.”
I’m not a Komen freak; I have my issues with them but overall I’m satisfied with where the money goes. As of 2013, 84% of the money they raised went directly to programs. Only 6.4% went to administrative costs—those salaries that are always getting bitched about. A little less than 11% went to fundraising efforts; it takes money to make money.

And no, not all of that 84% goes to research, though 80% of the money raised in the walks I participate in does. They do more than fund research; they fund mammograms, health screenings, education, and a plethora of other worthwhile endeavors.

I’m not 100% on board with them, but on the scale of good versus evil, they do far more good.

But there are other BC charities out there. is highly rated on Charity Navigator; they don’t spend as much on programs—80%—but they do a lot and they’re transparent about where the money goes.
“Pink is STILL just a color.”
Symbolism, guys. Red, white, and blue are just colors, too, but put them together in just the right way, and you have something people are willing to fight over.

Remember this shirt?

I wore it on my first 3 Day. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of names on it.

The next year, the number of names doubled.

Every year, the names I add give extra weight to the shirt.

This year, there are so many names that I don't think my shirt is big enough.

Try tell those people, or the family members of the people whose names are there but they are not, that pink is just a color and this is all just "pink shit."

Pink isn’t just a color, but the ultimate goal is that one day it will be.

Until then... Peoples' lives are more important than someone's offended sensibilities.


26 September 2014

Walking things.

Yes, walking things.

Up until now, training has been hit and miss; a few miles here, a few miles there, but I’m ramping up in earnest. It’s not the number of miles I think I need to worry about—I can cough up 10-12 right now without any worry, I think—but toughening up my feet a bit. I’m slower than I’ve been in years past, but this isn’t a race, so that’s all right. I don’t need to be one of the first done every day but I don’t want to be the last either…and that only because the last walker of the day is celebrated: everyone rushes out of the dining tent and gathers around the flagpole and cheers while the last walker raises the flag.

It’s a special position, meant for a special walker, but I would be about 5 kinds of uncomfortable, I think. I’m an attention whore, sure, but the idea that 2000+ people will be watching me shuffle in and then raise the flag is a little more that my attention whorishness can handle.

So I want to walk at a reasonable rate, but not drag. I was a little freaked out about it in 2010…this year it’s a very mellow feeling. I’ll walk what I walk at the rate I walk; I’ll take care of any blisters along the way, I’ll listen to my body, and I will not forget to stop for lunch again.

What is a big deal for me this time?

I'm flying to San Diego. Alone. I do not fly well, as evidenced by my meltdown in the LA airport late May 2013. Granted, the stress level was much higher then—my mother had just died and we were on our way to her funeral—and the 3 Day is not stressful, just fun. I didn’t make it to my mom’s funeral (and I’m pretty sure she would have forgiven me for that) but I’m pretty sure I’ll be all right for this. It’s a short flight, I made sure to get a nonstop flight, and I paid extra to be sure I was on the plane in the first group so I can get my chit stowed in an overhead bin and get my asterisk into a seat before the throngs of people that might make me a little more nervous.

I kinda need to do this alone.

This is taking me so far outside my comfort zone that it’s a Big Freaking Deal. It’s shoving into my face more than one thing I hate: flying, flying alone, going somewhere new for the first time, going there alone, getting from point A to point B, alone.

The worries aside from my phobias, cortisol and blood sugar, I’ll just have to deal with. I’ll have a blood sugar monitor with me and hope that I don’t have an overly stressed response.But I want this to go smoothly, mostly because I would like to hop on a plane in the not too distant future to go see my sisters.

(My sisters who, BTW, are apparently walking machines as evidenced by the numbers being racked up on Fitbit. I am so lame by comparison right now. But I’ll show them. I’ll win.)

(It is a contest, right?)

Ahhh…and speaking of contests. You wanna know who wins, right?

But first...another prize has been added.
Five prizes, actually.
Five identical prizes.

Five people are getting one of these spiffy goodie bags; I gave a couple away a few years ago and people seemed to like them, so  I've added five of thee hard-to-find Komen string backpacks, and contained within are useful things. Pink things, but useful nonetheless.

And here we go.

Winner of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4
#191 Jeff Blackshear

Winner of the Soleus Go Activity Tracker
#150 Caroline Hendrix

 And winners of the Goodie Bag:

#214 Eileen Hendrix
#223 Susie McGavin
#78 Mark Halfpap
#40 Brenda Mendes
#85 Joan Durbin

I'll be contacting each of you via the email you used when donating, so keep an eye on your email. Prizes will be mailed out as soon as I have confirmation of your mailing address.

Now...there may be ONE MORE PRIZE, but I have not yet firmed things up with the donor. I'll ;et ya know!



23 September 2014

So the collective is losing its chit online because the President saluted a couple of marines with a coffee cup in his hand.

The horror.
So disrespectful.
He's a horrible, horrible man.

(Yes, this is dripping with sarcasm.)

So tell me, how did you feel when President Bush saluted with his dog awkwardly pressed against him? Horrified? Disgusted?

The President, while Commander-in-Chief, is not required to salute at all. We can thank Regan for the change; he started doing it and it's one of those things hard to get away from. The President doesn't have to so much as blink at the marines who stand at the ready.

But Obama and his cup and Bush and his dog...neither is or was being disrespectful.

They're a couple of men who are taking a moment to do something they are not and were not required to do, by statute or even long-held tradition: acknowledging those who serve at their orders and for their needs.

They don't have to, but they're both good guys so they probably always will.

People need to get getting so butt hurt over stupid things. Cripes, we're bombing Syria. Pay more attention to that and less attention to the little things that don't matter at all.


22 September 2014 - b

Goal reached.

Fully funded.


22 September 2014

A guy or reddit, /u/Worldsday, created and posted this, and I have spent way too much time just staring at it.

You're welcome.


19 September 2014 close.

As of 8 pm, I am at 88% of goal, so just $270 shy of y'all getting to see me don the spandex and sing. Which, after having given some singing a go this past week, is a kindness to you all. It was bad. Really bad.


All is not lost. You still might get something out of it!

Everyone who donated is in the running for a couple of really cool prizes. For every $5 you donated, you get a shot at winning. And it's not over--if you haven't yet donated you still can.

What's up for grabs?

Soleus Go Activity Tracker
It's a fitness watch band that you can connect to your phone via Bluetooth, and it has a 3D accelerometer, step counter, rechargeable battery, shows calories burned, sleep pattern tracking, fitness goal tracking, and has vibration alerts. And yes, I am holding it with my feet.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7-inch tablet

An Android tablet running Kit Kat 4.4 OS with 1.2 GHz quad-core processor,8 GB Flash Memory, 1.5 GB RAM Memory, 2GB of memory available through a microSD slot and 50GB of free Dropbox storage, and it comes with over $300 in content and services.

There may be a few more smaller prizes up for grabs, but hey...these are pretty spiffy. 

Let's make this a quick one. Deadline to have a shot at one of these is 8 pm Pacific time, September 26th. And so you don't worry about that one huge donation that got me started...half of that was a cash prize I won, and the other half was a Pay Pal donation from someone who took herself out of the running for anything right from the start (but is demanding pink hair), so all those five dollar increments will not be included.

I only have $270 to the minimum I need to raise in order to be able to walk. Let's do this!

Donate $5! $10! $15! However man chances you want!


18 September 2014

There are at least 13 people who are trying to use my email address for various things. Most of the time it's clear they just simply forgot a digit or two when giving it to people--for their kids' activities, one to a Realtor who keeps scheduling appointments via email, a couple for school and I now know their grades--but tonight I got one that was clearly not meant for me.
I'm sorry, but I can't be friends with you anymore. You know why.
It's not from anyone I know, so I'm pretty sure I'm not being dumped by a friend or even a casual acquaintance.

So I replied.
I'm sorry. Who are you?
I doubt I'll get a response, but I'd like to think I helped whomever it was intended for get a bit of a dig in. If not, well...really, who the fark are you?


16 September 2014

Oh, yeah...there will be
Details forthcoming. And don't worry, if you already donated, you're already entered.


14 September 2014

See this guy?

He totally just won the 2014 Arty for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet.

I *TOLD* you my kid was an amazing actor!

He owned that role. Fark yes I'm proud.


12 September 2014

There are 70 days until the San Diego 3 Day.

There are 6 days until online check in begins.

I am a little more than halfway to reach the amount raised that will allow me to walk.

I have spandex.

I have a low threshold for embarrassment, but I'm willing to go there for this.

Spandex. Colorful spandex. What I have here are spandex tights with matching tank tops. Clingy, clingy articles of clothing.

I am not a small person.

I am, in fact, quite chubby.



So... Here's the deal. I have $1015 to raise still. If I hit that by 19 September, 8 p.m. Pacific time, I will don said spandex, grab a guitar, and I will sing. In spandex. And there will be video.


If you guys get me to goal by that deadline, not only will you get me to do something I truly will find embarrassing, I will fully fund DKM's walk.

So what you're getting:

Me, in eye-blinding spandex
Me, singing, while wearing eye-blinding spandex
Video of my singing while wearing eye-blinding spandex
And two walkers fully funded for the San Diego 3 Day

It's all to save the boobies, people.



7 September 2014

All righty.

It's going to happen. There are about 75 days until the San Diego 3 Day, and I'm pretty determined to get there and walk.

The intestinal issues that have plagued me in the past couple of years have been addressed (it was simple...cola-based soft drinks apparently hate me. This was discovered by accident when I stumbled upon Snapple Diet Raspberry Tea and stopped drinking Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, and bingo...misery cleared up) and my foot is 99% better. I have splints and special tape to use on the foot to get me through training, and I don't think it'll be too much of an issue.

I will get fit with new shoes soon.

Walking has commenced; I can still do 10 miles without problems, which is about 23 kinds of spiffy. We've gone to SF to walk around and are planning on heading that way this week to pound out a few more miles on the hills there, because it's far cooler in SF than here, and here is pretty flat and boring.

There will surely be pink hair, because what's a walk without pink hair now?

The downside to that is that my hair is no longer an effective fundraising tool. I still don't have any great ideas for that, but there is new spandex on its way so I might use that somehow...just not sure how.

I'll figure it out.

I am prepared to self fund it, no worries about that. But if you want to grab a charitable tax donation, I have a spiffy page where you can do just that.

Think I suck? You can always donate to DKM, who is doing the walk with me, and with our team The Pink Slips. We each have to raise $2300...right now we're both sitting at exactly zero.