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.


14 June 2015

About the Anonymous commenter on the post below...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


10 June 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I counted them, I really did!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your heart will appreciate it.

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

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

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

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


7 June 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It got ugly.

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

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

Last week she killed herself.

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

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

I can't even pretend to understand it.

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

I don't know what my point is.

I'm just ticked off.

Really, horribly, ticked off.


2 June 2015

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

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



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

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

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

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

Progress, I hope.

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

She’s right, but…

LOL I am still weighing myself.

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

I know…broken record, broken record.

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


29 May 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My brain hurts.


27 May 2015

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

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

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

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

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

It’s something that has to be figured out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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