All righty, the purple dye is on the hair, and I'm ready for the St. Baldrick's shaving event in 10 days.
I'm pretty sure I have dye stains on my scalp, so hopefully those will wear off before then; if not, y'all have something to mock me for.
But the big thing?
I think I need to worry more about actually going bald, not just getting my head shaved and being bald for a couple weeks.
Spouse Thingy and I are participating in the MS Walk in Solano County. He finally has a Saturday off on the 26th of April, and we're getting our asterisks up early and going to Suisun to walk and hopefully get a shiny medal.
If you're in the area, you're welcome to come walk with us!
3/05/2014 10:41:00 PM | | 5 Comments
“…yeah, write about it. I really want to know what other people think. My kid is only 21 and he’s planning out this elaborate tattoo. A quarter sleeve? From his shoulder to not quite his elbow. I don’t have an issue with the image he wants to get; it’s beautiful art. But he’s only 21; he’s not going to be the same person in 10 years. How can he choose something so permanent with so much of his life ahead?”
I’ve gotten close to the same question about my own ink; I suspect most people who get tattoos hear the same thing: how are you going to feel about that in 20 years?
Me? In 20 years I’ll be 72 and I doubt I’ll give a damn about the sags and wrinkles in my skin and what aging has done to my art. If I’ve taken care of the tattoos they should be fine in terms of fading and the like, but aging is what it is, and what it is going to do is thin out my skin, add wrinkles, add sagging, and who knows what else.
No one can change the fact that they’re going to age; if you choose to get tattoos you have to accept that those will change along with you.
After my last tattoo I uploaded it to Imgur so that I could show it to people on Reddit’s /r/tattoos subreddit; Imgur also allows comments, and when I went back to it a few days later someone had left the comment, you know that shit’s permanent, right?
I don’t know if they were trying to be sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek, but it doesn’t matter. I took it as the latter and responded in kind.
But yeah. This shit is permanent. And I get where my friend is coming from; at 21 her son isn’t done growing up and becoming himself. What he likes at 21 might not be what he likes at 31. Think about it; the band you absolutely loved at 15 is often cringe-worthy at 25. Through your 20s you make a lot of the same leaps in maturity and personal growth that you do in your teens. What seems vitally important at 21 might be laughable at 31.
I get that.
But from where I sit—and she knows this—is that if her son has been seriously considering this piece of art for more than six months, as long as a year, and he still wants it, he should get it.
A decade from now it might not be what he would choose. Or he might wish he’d done this one part a little bit differently. Or wish he’d gone to a better artist.
That doesn’t mean he’ll wish he’d never gotten it. Or even that he would change a thing about it.
I can see that now; I didn’t know nearly enough about how to look at a portfolio and determine good work from marginal and craptastic.
When you look at that first tattoo and compare it to the last one I got, the difference is astounding. In terms of quality, the first is a Yugo, the last is a Cadillac. During years between I learned a lot about tattoo quality and how to choose a decent artist.
In those years, I learned a lot, period.
Still, even though I have a fantastic artist now, I wouldn’t ask him to change it. I wouldn’t ask for anything beyond touching up the color. Everything else, I would leave the same.
When I got the tattoo, I knew what it meant to me, and what it means has never changed, even though I have. It’s a thousand colorful threads in the tapestry of my personal story; it’s a part of me, good or bad. I will always be able to look at it and have a feel for where I was in life when I got it.
Each tattoo, whether it had deep meaning when I got it or not, is a part of that tapestry. It’s my history, part of the evolution of becoming and being me.
The cats in the tree, for the rest of my life are testament to commitment and family; no matter what my parents honored the promises they made to each other and I can look at it and feel them together, even now. That family tree spring from the storybook of their lives; it’s not just for me, it’s for the sisters I have because of their commitment, for the wonderful memories of all they’ve been and done for me.
Pink ribbon feet…all the miles walked, the reminder that no matter how bad I might have it at times, someone out there needs my feet on the ground doing something, not sitting here feeling sorry for myself.
Karen Nichols for Max’s Mousebreath column is there to remind me that in the vast, echoing halls of the Internet, there are people who are creative and wonderfully generous. People who will bend over backwards for total strangers, who aren’t afraid to take that leap from the shadows into some fairly absurd fun. Max starting a blog brought into my life people who will matter to me until the bitter end.
And the latest one, purely for fun, but it’s totally the Spouse Thingy and me. The Grumpy who is rarely a grump, the laughter and the fun.
No matter where life takes me, how much I change, these images I carry with me are touchstones to who I was in the moment; they trigger cherished memories and feelings. I may not always be in love with the individual tattoos—I think anyone who has ever gotten a tattoo will ride waves of feeling about it over the years—but they will always remind me of that time in my life.
They’re always going to matter.
My friend’s 21 year old is going to change; we all do. But when he’s 40 that tattoo probably won’t be a regret, but a touchstone.
“What do you feel when you look down and see all that ink on your arms?”
In all honestly…I finally feel like me.
2/26/2014 04:21:00 PM | | 4 Comments
Every morning, even if I stumbled to the kitchen earlier to feed the cats, Max comes into the bedroom between 9-9:30 and wakes me up. He tends to take this job seriously, making sure that I get out of bed, get dressed, and take my meds. I almost rely on him; he seems to understand when I'm sick and doesn't get me up then, but otherwise it's pretty rare that my furry alarm doesn't jump on the bed and meow in my ear.
Then comes this morning. I rolled over and figured it had to be a little before 9, because there was no furry lump curled up by my head. I debated waiting for him--he does seem to enjoy being the one to get me up--or just going ahead, because dammit, I had to pee.
My small, often-faulty sense of logic kicked in: just check the time. If it was only 2-3 minutes before 9, I could probably wait. If it was 9:15, I'd be better off getting up.
So I rolled over again and looked at the clock.
Seriously...it was nearly 11 o'clock and no Max.
No, I was not worried. My first impulse was Hell yeah, I caught up on some sleep and my second was to feel a bit guilty because I was likely the reason he didn't wake me up. He was sound asleep in the living room, probably tired because I kept him up last night.
Now it's a little after midnight and I'm wide awake because...well, I got up at 10:45. Max is asleep in another room because I'm in the living room making noise. Which means tomorrow he's going to pry my ass out of bed around 8:45, just because he can.
2/24/2014 12:17:00 AM | | 0 Comments
"Penultimate" does not mean "the best" nor does it mean "most ultimate." It means the one before the last. Second to last. Not the last; not the best; not the squeal-with-happiness ending.
So if someone tells you "that was the penultimate sucker punch," you might want to brace yourself, because another one is coming.
(This aside is brought to you by the letter "Y," the number 6, and a teacher for whom the discussion on the word led to GREAT BIG GIANT SHOUTING LETTERS and I'M A TEACHER AND YOU'RE NOT SO LALALALA SHUDDUP*. Don't blame me; I just witnessed it. And I weep a little for her students.)
2/21/2014 03:07:00 PM | | 2 Comments
After getting a small bite of the Spouse Thingy's dinner--a beef brat--Max wandered over to the fireplace, pulled his nip banana close, and drifted off.
This isn't unusual; he loves the fireplace and likes to plop down there, bake on one side, flip over, bake, and then go cool off in his little hutch next to the fireplace.
But after a while, I realized he hadn't flipped over.
And a bit after that, he'd been there far longer than normal.
So I watched. And from where I sat, I couldn't tell if he was breathing or not. I picked up my phone and turned it on--that usually gets an eye open--and then took a picture, and he still didn't budge.
"Max," I whispered.
"Max." A little louder.
"Breathe, you little shit," at full volume.
I almost got up; I knew that if he was all right, just the sound of the recliner's footrest being lowered would wake him up, because it's loud and he doesn't like it. But the goal wasn't to really bother him...it was to just make sure he was alive.
So I whispered again.
His eyes popped open, he lifted his head, and looked at me like, "Did I hear that right? Treats?"
I sighed hard, and was =t h i s= close to getting up and getting him a couple of crunchy treats, when he pulled his banana even closer and set his head on it, closing his eyes.
He's pushing 13. So I worry. And I suspect he knows it.
2/17/2014 09:19:00 PM | | 4 Comments
So far, all my tattoos have had meaning, either something deeply personal or a memorial. But this time? This time I wanted something cool. Something fun. Something for the Spouse Thingy and me, but with no deep meaning behind it other than I wanted it.
The Spouse Thingy is Grumpy...or at least all his Disney t-shirts have Grumpy on them. I'm still Thumper. And that's pretty much all I told Big Greg about what I wanted. I had a picture to show him, but that was really only a reminder of what I wanted. Thumper, Grumpy, and awesome.
I'm thrilled with it.
This one was pretty ouchy, though; somewhere around the 3 hour mark I got light headed and for about half an hour wondered if I was going to have to tap out, but a 10 minute break and some sugar got me back in the seat. And at the 5.25 hour mark I was getting a little squirrely but Big Greg keeps lidocaine spray on hand and used a little to get me to the 5.45 hour mark and done.
It really does make my first Thumper tattoo look like crap...not that I love that one any less; it was my first and exactly what I wanted at the time. It's just that at the time I had no idea how to choose the right artist and didn't listen to the "Um, wait" voice in my head.
No, I'm not done.
I have nekkid legs, after all...
2/13/2014 10:30:00 PM | | 2 Comments
Random 6th grade memory:
For whatever reason—sadistics, statistics—when I was in 6th grade it was deemed necessary for the school nurse to drag a scale from classroom to classroom and get a weight for each of student. For “privacy” the scale was kept in the hallway near the door, and we were called out one by one; our teacher stayed in the hall with the nurse, dutifully recording each student’s weight as the nurse said it out loud. No whispers, no stage whispers; she said it loudly and clearly.
We were all 11 and 12 years old; pre-teens are not exactly kind nor are they particularly sensitive about their classmates’ feelings. When the 6’ tall kid weighed in at 170, no one blinked, but when the 5’1” kid weighed in at 186, there was laughter and snorting. It was covered up with a lot of general chatter, but he knew. He could hear us, and could hear the precise moment when the chatter turned to laughter. I’m sure the teacher and the nurse heard, too, but pretended there was nothing going on in that classroom other than a lot of nonsense talking.
Compared to the other 6th grade girls I was fairly tall, and when it was my turn, no one laughed. There was apparently nothing noteworthy about my weight; the kids didn’t burst out in abrupt laughter and the nurse had nothing to say to me about it. She’d spoken to kids who were a little on the heavy side and she’d spoken to kids who were on the light side. Not a word to me, other than, “Thank you, you can go back to your seat.”
When my mother picked me up from school, I think I reported the Major Event of the Day as soon as I slid into the car. “We got weighed today!”
Apparently it was that exciting for me, since I couldn’t wait to tell her, but before I could add onto that the harsh judgment of the poor kid upon whom so much ill will was heaped, she rushed out with, “How much do you weigh?”
One hundred twenty pounds.
Until that moment, it was just a personal fact. I had brown hair, green eyes, I was five feet five inches tall and I weighed one hundred and twenty pounds.
She recoiled, literally. When that number tumbled out of my mouth she blanched, pushing herself against the driver’s side door and she blurted out, “Oh my God, you weigh more than I do!”
She wasn’t just horrified; she was pissed off. This wasn’t the first time she’d been clear about having an issue with my weight: in 4th and 5th grade I had to hear *a lot* about how I’d been skinny until third grade and how I needed to quit eating so much junk. This was the first time, however, that she’d been so unbridled with her disgust about my weight. The first time that she didn’t bite back her anger, and the first time she was basically mean about it.
To be honest, I doubt she realized she was being mean. For whatever reason, she didn’t want to have a fat kid, and those numbers told her that’s what she had. And it horrified her.
It was also a lie.
Look, I was 11 years old, very active, 5’5”, 120 pounds. I walked all over the apartment complex with my friends just about every day, I was on the soccer team, I played basketball for the fun of it, and I joined the track team. I wasn’t a little cookie-snarfing slug. I know I didn’t weigh more than she did; she was 5’8” or so and if she weighed less than 140, I’d be very, very surprised. So I don’t really know why that’s what popped out of her mouth.
|At 16; I thought I was fat...|
There seems to be a theme to my life.
|At 30; I was sure I was HUGE.|
The truth is, I didn’t get truly overweight until I was around 35, and then it came on so fast it was kind of hard to believe. We moved from San Antonio where I was training in TKD 5 times a week to Illinois where I wasn’t. Without a change in diet, weight came on. It was still a few years before I was officially fat, and while I could blame chronic pain and hardly being able to move at times, I won’t. I like to eat; I don’t like to cook. So we eat out more than we should, and that results in some chub.
Do I have issues with it now?
Well, now I really am fat. But now I don’t really care most of the time. Somewhere along the line I figured out that the more important thing was to keep active and be healthy, and while I’ve done a less than spectacular job of living that way, at least now I know it. At least now I—for the most part; I do still have moments when I look in the mirror and am pissed off at myself—don’t give a damn what other people think.
There’s the key; I care what I think about myself. You, not so much. And I cared for far too long what my mother thought, and I know that more than once it was a reason why I didn’t work harder to save the money to go visit or why I didn’t shuffle my schedule around to make it happen. Because no matter what size I actually was, deep down I knew she thought I was fat, and the 11 year old me got a close up look at what she really thought about fat people.
I think if she had realized what that one moment had done, she’d have spent years back-pedaling hard, trying to undo it. She didn’t want to inflict the wounds and scars that she did; she just didn’t stop to think about it.
She’s not really alone in that; we all say things that cut our kids deeply without meaning to. Just take away from this one thing: your kids will see, sooner or later, how you react to and treat those who are different—fat, skinny, beautiful, ugly, nerd-geek-smart, slow or lacking obvious intelligence—and it will color how they see themselves. And you can change that color by a single sentence uttered in 4 seconds; whether that color is bright and wonderful or dark and painful is up to you.
Do I blame her? Sure. But I had some spectacular parental failures, probably worse, so there can’t be a lot of judgment with the blame.
And right now?
I have M&Ms, people, and I’m going to freaking enjoy them.
2/08/2014 04:43:00 PM | | 4 Comments
Then the Spouse Thingy wanted one, and they were backordered. It seems like lots of people want this thing. I finally found him one, just in time to go to Disneyland. From what I'm hearing, they're still hard to get.
The Boy has a brand new, in the box, Fitbit Force, and he's going to give it to one lucky person. If you want a shot at winning it, all you have to do is donate to his Special Olympics Polar Plunge Fundraiser.
Every $5 you donate gets you a shot at winning it. He's going to draw the winner on February 20th.
And no kidding, I really love mine. I liked the original, but this one is so much more convenient. I only have to charge it every 8-10 days, and it has the bonus of being able to set an alarm that buzzes me awake instead of using a loud, jarring alarm clock or phone ring. And every time I hit my daily goal, it buzzes and lets me know, and honestly, that's kind of a spiffy deal.
2/06/2014 06:17:00 PM | | 0 Comments
I sat here last night watching The Biggest Loser finale with my computer perched on my lap and my phone pretty much in my hand for most of it. I co-watched it with a friend who was watching it on a DVR across the country, and as we are wont to do, we commented. About everything.
The at-home contestants looked great. The woman who won that part of the whole thing dropped 175 pounds, losing somewhere around 52% of her body weight. She looked great, but she didn't look like she'd overdone it.
But then the 3 finalists came out, and it was jaw dropping.
And yeah, the look between Bob & Jillian said a lot: she went too far, she lost too much, and that loss was a train headed right for them.
But...I didn't think it was much of a problem. This is a woman who was losing weight to win a show, and she knew exactly how to do that. She knew how much weight the winners of this show typically lose, and she undoubtedly knew how far she was willing to go.
She was a competition-class swimmer before she gained weight, and it hasn't been that long since she gained it, just a few years. You know those 3 Month Progress advertisements a lot of weight loss systems used to run? The chubby guy who morphs in just 3 months into a muscle-bound stud?
They take someone who's fit, cut, and willing to chub out, don't let him work out for 5-6 months, shove 10,000 calories a day down his throat, and then take the Day 1 picture. Those few months are not enough to lose the metabolism and muscle memory, so they hit the gym and get back on their regular food plan, eating clean, and yeah, in 3 months they're cut again.
I don't think it's all too different here, other than the time between being an athlete and trying to lost the weight. It was harder at first because it had been a few years...but an athlete's body is pretty good at retaining the memory of being lean and being fit, and once the metabolism really gets back into gear, it works quiet well.
She had to work her ass off, for sure, but somewhere in her body was the memory of being that fit and that lean. She probably worked past where she would normally be for the sake of winning, and now that she's won, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if she gained back as much as ten pounds for the sake of her health.
I don't think how she looked automatically means she's gone from one extreme of having body image issues to the other.
I think it only means she really wanted to win.
The Internets like to freak. A lot. And they already are. I saw a post on FB; Bob Harper is already trying to push back from it.
But my take? She was only 3-4% higher in weight loss than the guys she was competing against. Would I do the same thing?
Hell yes, if I could. You dangle that much money in front of me and if I can do it, I will.
I bet if someone offered me $250,000 I would find a way to lost 60% of my body weight. I really would like to find out...
2/05/2014 05:01:00 PM | | 1 Comments
On July 3rd, 2012, sometime around 11 a.m., I was lying in bed on my right side with my knees drawn up and my arms crossed at my belly as if to hold life itself in; I had a notion run through my head like a cranky toddler trying to avoid getting a vaccination: Oh, God, this is why some people want to die.
I didn’t want to die; I was in serious pain and nauseated as hell, but in one fleeting moment I thought I understood why some people choose to end their lives rather than endure any more pain. I knew that sooner or later there would be at least a modicum of relief. Sooner or later the Spouse Thingy was going to come into the darkened bedroom armed with Percoset and Phenergan and that the edge of the knife of pain would have its blade dulled, and I would be able to get a little sleep. I was sicker than I had ever been, but eventually I would recover.
The longer it took for him to show up with the pain meds, the more I understood the need to crawl away from pain.
I’ve been in pain of varying degrees since 1997, but this was new; this was the sort of pain that chews you up and spits you out in large, semi-chewed bites, and keeps coming at you as if you’re a never ending buffet of sadistic culinary delights. This was pain that, had I not known that there would likely be an end point, might have sent me over the edge.
It’s stuck with me. This is why some people want to die.
Over time it’s also why I’ve come to understand, just a little bit, why addiction seems so prevalent. Why anyone would choose the risk that comes with taking that drug the first time.
No one ever thinks they’ll become addicted.
Yet I’m sure that for most, it’s the gateway to taking that knife blade and dulling the edge before it reaches the point where death is the better idea.
I was curled up in bed waiting for relief, waiting for the one thing that stood between agony and rest. The one thing I knew would make a difference.
No, I didn’t become addicted to it. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t have. I was in considerable pain and it went on long enough that I can easily see how that could have happened. Another week, another month, who knows? It worked just well enough to keep me sane, and combined with the anti-nausea medication kept me asleep enough to avoid most of the emotional drainage that comes with being in that much pain.
As I felt better I was able to ease off the Percoset; I consider myself lucky for that.
Pain is pain; whether it’s physical, mental, emotional…it’s pain. It’s draining. It robs you of your ability to see past what hurts. It becomes an entity to which attention must be paid, and while you’re trying to wrestle with it, there’s not much left. You’re pretty much lost to yourself. There’s the shell of your existence, and the pain.
The agony that left me thinking I understood why some people want to die didn’t have to be physical; I don’t imagine it’s any different for someone in deep emotional pain or crushing mental disease. And the thing I knew was coming to me to help dull that agony is the same thing thousands of people in pain reach for.
I knew that drug was going to help, and all I wanted, from the moment the drugs I’d been given in the ER wore off until the Spouse Thingy came into the room, was that drug.
Yesterday as the news of the death of one hell of a talented actor, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, was shared in stunned Facebook status updates and urgent-sounding Tweets and news bulletins, woven into the total shock came—as it always does—the grumbling from those who felt that he’d done this to himself, so there really should be no sympathy. He made a choice; he chose to take drugs in the first place, and he chose to fall off the proverbial wagon and go back to drug use.
Maybe he did.
I doubt it, though.
No one, save for those few who were privy to the personal demons of Hoffman, will ever know what made him reach for those first drugs.
The same could be said for any addict: no one takes that first drug thinking they’ll be addicted. But there’s almost always a reason they do reach for it, and I’m betting that at the bottom of the pile of detritus of their lives is a throbbing, relentless, oh-holy-hell knife of pain, the blade of which they only wanted to dull.
I don’t know the statistics; I don’t know how many people become addicted because they were young and stupid and just wanted to try sometime fun and it kicked back on them harder than they ever could have expected. I don’t know how many people slip from the occasional recreational drink to frequent social drinking to full bore alcoholism. I don’t know anything beyond my own experience and the small window it has allowed me to peek through.
There is pain so severe that you can just want to die. And there is the hope of relief so attainable that you willingly reach for it, and you simply don’t know what the end result will be.
You may recover and be able to leave the pharmaceutical help behind, or you may not. And when you’re in that kind of pain, I don’t think it’s your fault.
Sometimes you lose.
Sometimes, you die.
And when you do…it would be nice if it didn’t come with a lot of judgment, a lot of supposition about how and why, or with character assassinations.
Miss them, mourn them…but don’t judge them. Because one day it might be you curled up in a tight ball of oh-holy-hell, and you cannot, you absolutely cannot, predict how it will end.
2/03/2014 04:40:00 PM | | 4 Comments
File this under What the Frak???
Elementary school kids' lunches seized because of debt.
An elementary school in Salt Lake City handles outstanding school lunch debt by taking food away from kids, and then throwing that food away.
Kids are being humiliated because of something their parents need to handle.
Look, the lunches have to be paid for. I get that. But instead of throwing the food out, just let the kid have it and give them a note to take home reminding their parents that their accounts are out of money. Most parents will pay up.
When I was in second grade, school lunches were paid for with tickets; we bought them in booklets of 10 or 20, and traded one ticket for one hot lunch. One day I went through the lunch line and reached for my little booklet, and discovered I had no more tickets.
|I wish lunch had looked like this...|
The horrible mean man at the cash register looked at my empty ticket booklet, told me I needed to be more aware of how many tickets I had, then handed me a slip to give to my mom that basically said, "Your kid got a free lunch today, but please take care of this."
Did some parents take advantage of that policy, which made sure grade school kids still got their lunches?
I'm sure some did. I'm sure even more made sure that their kids had enough money to buy a new lunch ticket booklet, and to pay for the free lunch they'd been given (which, if I recall correctly, was never accepted. Because forgotten lunch money happens.)
But hell, you want to really invest in education, make an impact that will likely do more for kids' ability to learn? Give them ALL free lunch, every single day. Make breakfast available every single day. Because if you keep decent food in a kid during the school day, you have a kid who is less fidgety, more able to concentrate, and more willing to expend energy in learning.
But that would cost money.
Find the money. Look to the schools that have already been experimenting with this concept and find where they're getting the money--because it's being done.
Raise my taxes?
Hell yes. If I can be guaranteed that a .05 to .1% hike on my property taxes would go towards free hot lunches for every kid in school, I'd gladly pay it. With legal, law-bound assurances that it will always go towards that, and that it cannot ever be switched to something else, I would have zero problems with that.
But *I* don't have kids in school, why should I pay that? I don't want my taxes to go to schools.
Tough shit, sunshine. I don't have school-aged kids, either, but this is an investment in everyone's future, in the kids that will run the country someday. And not wanting tax money to go towards schools? I don't want my taxes to pay anyone remotely involved with the Tea Party, but I don't get a say in that. Other people don't want their taxes funding the military, but they don't get a say in that. We don't get to pick and choose exactly where our tax dollars go, so...suck on it.
Feed the kids, dammit. And don't take away food when it's only going to be thrown away. That's so wasteful, and in the end the kids are the ones hurt by it.
Yes, I am ticked off by this. Very, very ticked off by this.
1/30/2014 04:38:00 PM | | 7 Comments
I've been doing a lot of back and forth pondering about whether or not I want to commit to the Avon Walk or the Komen 3 Day this year. I have friends doing both events, and both would be a ton of fun, but after a lot of consideration, I'm opting out this year.
I'll still go to SF for the Avon, and cheer my friends on. Stalk them, carry goodies in the car or run errands they might need. And for sure I'm going to San Diego for the Komen, but again, to cheer my friends on, provide booze as needed (no, I wouldn't do that, not on a 3 Day. OF COURSE NOT. Maybe. We'll see...)
Do I want to participate?
But I think this has to be the year of diet change to really tackle all the intestinal issues I've had, and last year's Avon proved that I can't just wish those issues away. I hate the idea of fundraising and then having to back out of an event because it feels like my colon is trying exit through the pores in my skin.
This is going to be the Year of Virtual Events. As much as I don't want to have to bail on scheduled events, I don't want to just not do anything. Doing nothing is no longer an option.
For the first quarter of the year I have the St. Balrick's Shaving event (not virtual, but if I get sick I can still shave...I just won't get the t-shirt I covet), the Donna Half Marathon for breast cancer, the Cyberman Delete Delete Run, and the Firefly.
There are also virtual events to raise money for heart disease, lymphoma, and a few others. As the year goes on I'll sign up for a few of these. A lot of them don't require fundraising so much as they have entry fees, so I won't have to pester anyone for donations.
I've noticed as friends are getting into gear for their events, and especially as the Boy is trying to raise funds for his Polar Plunge, it's tight this year. Even the superstar fundraisers are having issues. So maybe not doing the big multi-day events in favor of the smaller virtual ones will be better overall.
So...I'm going to Avon and Komen, but not as a walker. I am going to stalk the carp out of my friends and other people as they walk.
And instead of self-funding a big walk this year, I'll take that money to donate to my would-have-been teammates, as much as I possibly can.
Hey, it's tax deductible.
1/29/2014 08:40:00 PM | | 0 Comments
30ish Woman: When Grandma gets here, she's going to ask if you want a cookie. Remember to say, "Yes, please."
6ish boy: No, that's not right.
30ish Woman: starts to speak, but stops
6ish boy: I'm pretty sure it should be, "Yes, thank you."
Score: kid-1, lady-0
Barista: Salted caramel square with pretzels and pecans.
Guy: Shut up! I want one. Does it have nuts?
(And yes, he was looking at several just like the ones pictured...)
In the parking lot: I'm in my car, top down, starting to pull out.
Guy walks up, looks the car over: Nice, but what the hell do you do when it rains?
I haven't been to Starbucks in a while...I think I missed it.
1/25/2014 03:23:00 PM | | 3 Comments
A few more years and maybe 20 pounds, and I'll probably have the arm flappage that will allow me to be able to do this.
1/24/2014 06:30:00 PM | | 1 Comments
New year, new endeavors...
I dunno...I think if he blows past his goal of $3000, he should jump in a Speedo.
In any case, I think the jump is on Feb 22, and he has a ways to go. Donations are tax deductible. Just sayin'...
I have several events coming up. Some are fundraisers, a couple are just entry-fee-generated funding.
St. Baldrick's head shaving event to benefit children's cancer research is on March 15, and so far I've raised $360. Not too shabby.
Per agreement for an upcoming donation, I went to Disney with crimson colored hair (and rocked it) and I'll go to the event with purple hair. And I'm still willing to humiliate myself for further donations! Unless it involves nudity, because no one wants to see that.
Mayo Clinic to benefit breast cancer. I haven't raised anything for this yet, but I also don't think I've mentioned it before.
I still don't know if I'll participate in an Avon or Komen event this year, but I am totally not done with the pink things...and I can do this.
I'm just waiting for my info packet which will include my required race bib, and then I'll probably go to SF to wander along the Embarcaderro to rack up the miles.
Busy first of the year ahead.
It gets me off my asterisk, though, so it's all good.
1/22/2014 07:42:00 PM | | 2 Comments
How writers and indie publishers conduct business in Disneyland:
1. Being all serious and chit, they sit at their tables discussing writer-like things, such as "Is this coffee caffeinated? I hate decaff," and "Are you gonna eat that? Because if you aren't, I will."
2. Someone's phone pings.
3. While one writer espouses on the lack of a common e-publishing platform, Phone Boy interrupts with, "Guys, that was my son. There are NO LINES IN THE PARK."
4. Then, "Guys, we could totally talk about all this stuff IN THE PARK."
5. So business is discussed in line IN THE PARK, where writers who use their Amazon ranking in obscure genres to promote themselves as Best Selling Authors are the topic, and wherein they are determined to be frauds and dootiheads.
It's a hard life.
Things were learned, though. It was learned that future workshops/conferences/meetings/roundtable discussions will not take place in Disneyland, because writers are immature and Disney is fun.
It was learned, too, that you want me along, because, dammit, I am classy as frak.
Also, I dress professionally. Always.
Also also, since I didn't get to drive my little red convertible to Disney (seemed like a bad idea, honestly, what with the smell of cows all down I-5) I found another one to play with.
No worries. The kids I shoved out of the way so I could get in the car were not hurt. Badly. There was no blood, I swear!
There was a lot of good food, so we ate...a lot.
We really lucked out with the crowds; on Wednesday and Thursday the crowd levels were so low that we pretty much walked onto the rides we wanted to be on. The waits were like 5-10 minutes tops, and we managed to get on everything 2-4 times. Even Radiator Springs Racers, which normally has a 1-2 hour wait, we only waited for 40 minutes at most...and that was in shade with a nice breeze, so it didn't feel like it was that long.
|Space Mountain. 4 times. 'Cause we could.|
I was exhausted by then, my gut was churning and my back was screaming, and we didn't get too far into Disneyland in the morning before heading back to the hotel where we just chilled until around 4:30, then tried again. It was still warm but there was a lot more shade, so we wandered around...and realized there were more and more people, and it was so crowded it was hard to turn around without bumping into someone else.
By 6:30 we were hungry and getting twitchy about the crowds, so we noped it on out of there and went to Downtown Disney to get dinner, because surely it wouldn't be as bad there.
The wait to get seated at Rainforest Cafe was 1:45 to 2 hours, and looking around it wasn't any better anywhere else, so we went back to the hotel and ordered room service. We'd expected to wait just as long for that, but figured we'd be comfortable while we waited...but less than half an hour later we had a table in our room and ate before the people who'd been just ahead of us in that Rainforest line were even seated.
It's the little things...
I did have to take a few breaks--no surprise there--but we had a great time. Good enough that we decided we really do like Disney better than Vegas and would like to go again this year, probably in the late fall when the weather is cooler and the crowds are a lot like they were most of the time this week.
No more work type things there, though. That just didn't work out well, and next time we want to have fun people with us. coughcough Disney would be a great getaway from Texas. Just sayin' coughcough.
Now the fun part of the Spouse Thingy's time off: the toilet in his bathroom is clogged, so we need a plumber, but we're not paying for a weekend or holiday repair, so we're sharing a bathroom right now and I HATE SHARING BATHROOMS WITH BOYS. Or anyone. Because inevitably, when I realllly have to go, someone has already gotten in there before me.
And no, Max did not miss me. He had the Grandma. I actually think he resents that we came home.
1/19/2014 11:25:00 PM | | 2 Comments
I get choked up over a lot of things: TV commercials designed to jab at a viewer's soft spot, adorable/sad/sickly wonderful pictures, beautiful song lyrics. But rarely do I see or read something that makes me literally cry out, and causes real tears to fly our of my eyes so hard and fast that they wind up splattering my glasses.
Last night I sat in bed with my iPad, poking through reddit, and found a thread in Ask Reddit that showed a lot of promise for humor and insight. The question asked: Reddit, what's a quote that makes you feel both happy and sad a the same time?
There were some song lyrics that surprised me; pop tunes that are catchy as hell, but when taken out of the melody behind it are actually quite sad. Quotes from South Park that are funny but fairly deep. Lines from major literary works, some well known, some obscure.
And then there was this, a quote someone pasted from another reddit thread.
|click to biggify|
Happy and sad.
1/12/2014 12:39:00 PM | | 4 Comments
In a few days the Spouse Thingy and I are packing a couple of bags and heading south for a few days. On one hand, this is a "work" thing; on the other, it's at the Disneyland Hotel, so how much work will really get done?
The work part started as a rather large indie publishing and writer's workshop, which became a slightly smaller workshop, which became a temper tantrum between some participants, which is now...who knows, but I'm going and taking the Spouse Thingy with me.
We're doing it much like we did a couple years ago--staying on site so that I can crash and burn as needed--with the added stress of people I don't know wanting to discuss things about which I am not particularly eloquent and one woman who may wind up tied to a pole inside the Monorail because she's just...just. Let's just say she is not going to be a fan of mine, what with the tattoos and drag king vibe, and the hair.
Oh yeah, the hair.
Crimson, or what should be crimson. A donation deal was struck with he-who-forgot-he-has-a-blog: show up to this thing with crimson hair, and then purple for the St. Baldrick's Shave.
I thought the hair was going to be darker, but, I'll live with it. I'm not thrilled about how thin it's obviously getting--made worse by that dark patch which is the result of having dyed the crap out of my scalp--but overall it's not bad.
I mean, it's not neon pink, which is good and bad. Good because it's not going to draw the slack-jawed staring pink tends to, and bad because...I like the pink.
It suits me.
I'm hoping the weather works out...while most of you are shivering, I want to be driving with the top down, except through that one stretch that smells like cow poop.
And don't worry about the kitties. They get the Grandma while we're gone. They won't even miss us.
1/10/2014 06:19:00 PM | | 5 Comments
Char: …so Rach asked why it was all right for him to say that, but not her. He answered without hesitation, “because I’m a grown-assed man, and your brain hasn’t finished cooking.” She looked to her dad, who shrugged and said, “Well, he’s not wrong, sweetheart. Your pre-frontal lobe cortex is still in development, areas of the brain that control logic—” and that’s when my dad cut him off with, “You can be a fucking drag sometimes, Glowboy.” It might have been inappropriate, but even Ian laughed.
[*How we got on the topic: after dealing with a very judgmental woman in an indie writers’ group, who—without knowing much about any of the other participants—declared that all who used the word “fuck” and any variation of it to be classless twits devoid of intelligence, anyone with tattoos to be classless heathens headed straight for Hell and deserved damnation, and anyone who sports piercings (of any kind), wildly dyed hair, or “improperly styled hair” to be classless thugs who should not be spoken to. She may be at an upcoming publishers and indie writer’s workshop this month meeting in Anaheim; this later prompted Murf to tell me (in regards to dyeing my hair) “…the first time she rolls her eyes, tell her that stick up her ass is antithetical to her so-called Christian, giving lifestyle, and your hair is, at the very least (and unlike her online sermons), doing good in the world.” It just rolled on from there.]
—whether or not to make a New Year’s resolution to cut out swearing. I’m not one to make absolute resolutions, like lose 50 pounds or go to the gym 3 times a week; I prefer to set more attainable goals, like eat better, move more, give more. The only goal I would likely set where words are concerned would be to write gooder.
I am not likely to ever agree to change the way I express myself; on paper I choose words with more care than what tumbles out of my mouth, but in both cases I will say what I mean, even if I drop a “frak” instead of its more colorful cousin.
(Battlestar Gallactica fans may be dismayed to find out that their beloved word “frak”—or “frakk” as it is sometimes spelled—did not originate with the series. I’m not sure where it came from or exactly how long ago, but it was the choice F-bomb alternative at BYU well over 30 years ago, and had been in use far longer than that. Zoobies—BYU students—are not supposed to swear. Not “real” swear words, anyhow. As is the case with most people, when disallowed one thing, another pops up as a substitute, and for whatever reasons, that seems to be all right with TIIC. )
Son of a biscuit eater.
Every time you spout off a substitution, clever or not, you’re still swearing. I know it; you know it even if you’re not willing to admit it to yourself. Much of the time, I substitute something else not because I’m refraining from the obvious word choice, but because it feels funnier. I tend to prefer a good FRAK to the tried and true F-bomb in blogs and other written forms; I prefer to work my asterisk off, not my ass. I tend to write, “well…carp” instead of crap, but I know my intention and I’m not trying to fool anyone.
If I drop a hammer on my toe, I’m sure as hell not going to let loose a string of Pollyanna Sweet Sunshine words. Oh, goodness gracious, that stings! No. I’m going to swear as hard as my inner sailor can swear—and I’ll feel better for it. Hell, yes, swearing can ease pain. Why would I not use that specific duct tape in my psychological tool belt?
And hey, it turns out that people who swear tend to be more trustworthy and honest.
I am not unintelligent; I may lack smarts now and then, but I am not stupid. Nor do I lack creativity. Nor do I lack the capacity to find other words. I swear because I swear, it’s as simple as that. I swear because I understand that more often than not the use of watered down colloquialisms is a rather immature approach to the spoken language, an alternative that is appropriate for children, from whom we really don’t want to hear a string of ill-timed swear words—their brains aren’t finished cooking.
There’s nothing wrong with using the less adult language, not at all. I don’t find it off-putting if an adult chooses to use the more immature versions of the bluer words; we’re all immature sometimes. Sometimes that other word is the better choice.
I don’t find particular umbrage with a well-timed “Well…fuck.” (By the same token, if every other word out of your mouth is tinged blue, you probably do have issues with self-expression; issues not rooted in a lack of intelligence per se…my guess would be in anger.) A few months ago I sat in Starbucks and a guy walking by dropped his scone and uttered just that. Was I offended? No. It was appropriate to the situation. It also could have been any of a dozen other words; whatever popped out would have meant the same thing.
I do find umbrage with those who would look down their noses at others simply because of the use of a particular word. It’s rarely kind and it’s often hypocritical; face it, if you can’t abide by hearing or seeing “goddammit” but freely use something like “gal-dangit,” you’re engaging in a fair amount of hypocritical thinking. It means the same thing. If you freely say “damn” or “hell” but judge someone else for saying “shit” or “fuck,” you’re a hypocrite.
Words carry the weight of intention; the finger you point at someone for saying them carries the weight of judgment.
So pretty much, the next time you let slip an “oh, dammit!” and then think ill of the person you just heard utter, “that’s fucking awesome!” just stop and think about it. (Oh, and Matthew 7:1 and all that, in case you lean that way.)
I don’t have a swearing problem, mostly because it’s not my issue. So no, I will not resolve to stop swearing. I may make a goal, however, to do it more colorfully, because, hey, I can only use the word “asterisk” so many times, right?
Oh, and yes, the hair is going to be dyed soon. Crimson for the upcoming trip where we will pretend to be exchanging ideas about the turning tides of the publishing industry and how indie writers can attain better marketability while retaining rights and higher royalty distribution while sipping Red Stupid Drinks in Trader Sams, and purple for the St. Baldrick’s Shaving event. During both, I shall endeavor to display my tattoos, and offend as many uptight people as I can with my unrefined, headed-to-Hell lack of smart thinks.
Holy hell, I’m classy.
1/04/2014 02:52:00 PM | | 8 Comments
I’m not sure how much walking I’ll be doing this year; I’m not sure yet if I’ll do a major breast cancer event in 2014 or not (the Pinks Slips, with whom I walked in Atlanta a couple years ago, are walking in San Diego…whether I walk or not I’m going down there. I could be a walker stalker for them) and I won’t be driving a sweep van for the Komen walk since they dropped SF from the schedule.
Still…I’ll be doing something. I’m looking for 5 and 10k events that can be walked and not run, and I’ve got my eye on a few virtual events for which I can set my own date and pace. I need to do things; I’m just not sure I have in me what I need to complete the necessary training for 60 miles. Not right now.
2013 was supposed to be the year of getting better, getting fit, feeling human…but it didn’t work out that way. So 2014 is in my sights; but rather than set these huge goals—knowing that at any time my own body might slap the shit out of me for presuming too much—I’m going to set smaller, attainable goals.
Cook more real food.
Ok, LEARN to cook more real food.
Expand the things to which I hope to contribute more.
My initial offering: the first person to donate $100 or more gets to choose the neon hair color I’ll done for 3-4 weeks ahead of the event. Want to see me in purple? Green? Blue? I’ll do it…people around here expect pink from me and they’ll lose their shit over something a little more out there.
So go ahead. Make me uncomfortable for a few weeks.
Got another idea? Ask and chances are I’ll do it. I don’t mind performing pony tricks for donations.
Just want to donate a few bucks for something important and get me to shave the noggin as a result? I’m down with that, too.
No amount is too small, and DKM is going to tag along with me and take pictures.
As Max would say: it's for the Sticky People, people!
12/29/2013 02:53:00 PM | | 2 Comments
As I wandered around the grocery store today, there was a woman pretty much following me as she shopped. She had sitting in her cart a little boy about 18 months-2 years old, wearing a drool soaked t-shirt, nostrils rimmed with all the wonderful things little boy nostrils get rimmed with, and he was squealing with delight. He was adorable, truly. Happy, engaged, making everyone smile and wave their fingers at him...he was sweet and Mom beamed every time someone smiled at him and said hello, me included.
Delightful little kid...and I was so glad I was only going to be around him for a little while.
I just don't like being around little ones the way I used to. Small doses of toddlerhood is all I can take; after a while those high pitched little voices just grate on my nerves, and the volume at which little kids live turns into bomb-blasting thunder in my head.
When I was a teenager I couldn't fathom why so many older adults didn't like kids; I get it now. I don't dislike kids, but I'm sure as hell glad that mine is an adult now. If he ever has kids I'm sure I'll feel different about them...but for the most part, no, I don't want to hang with your sub-5 year old offspring.
Well, that's mean of you, Thump.
Yeah, maybe it is. But it is what it is and I'm not exactly motivated to change it.
I know its roots: too much time spent working drop-in daycare, watching other peoples' kids while thy worked out in the gym, putting up with their attitudes about their precious snowflakes--the biters, the kickers, the screamers--and the tens of thousands of diapers I changed. I think I chewed way too far into my personal allotment of patience for and enjoyment of little kids long before the Boy was much more than a toddler himself, and by the time he was grown, and we'd moved away from the neighborhood kids in Ohio, I was done.
The kids in OH...they were awesome. They were fun, I loved sitting outside watching them play, but they were probably at the tail end of my solid enjoyment of little ones. I'm glad that we had that time in OH and got to enjoy them...if we were in the same circumstances now, I'd probably be that grumpy old neighbor they run from.
Hell, they're in high school and junior high now; it's been a while.
I'm okay with not wanting to hang with the wee ones anymore. Other people...they don't get it. They tend towards a degree of upset because their kids are awesome.
Well, yeah, they are. But that doesn't mean I have the patience for much of their awesomeness. How awesome there are isn't an indicator that they'll be different and I'll want to spend oodles of time with them.
Hell, I might be willing to bleed dry for your kid. Rip heads off to defend your kid. Beat the snot out of someone to protect your kid.
That's not the same as hanging with your kid.
It sounds personal, but it's not.
There's an indie publishing workshop coming up, being held in a venue where bringing ones' children is entirely appropriate. It's invitation only, and on the surface sounds like it will be informative, connections will be made, and it will be an incredible use of time and effort. But...I know there are writers and publishers planning on being there with their kids, and after the days' presentations they want to head out and have some fun.
As a group.
For three days.
Kill me now.
12/28/2013 09:47:00 PM | | 4 Comments