30 August 2013

My brain has been spectacularly blocked lately.  I’ve written a dozen blog posts and then deleted them because I was bored writing them so I presumed it would be boring to read them. I’ve written thousands of words for Max and then deleted them because they neither sounded like Max nor made for interesting reading.

Pretty much what I’ve been doing is sitting around staring at the laptop, feeling fat and not caring to do anything about it, and watching an incredible amount of bad TV.

“Why Thumper,” you’re thinking, “you must be depressed! That sounds like depression! Are you depressed?”

No. Really, I’m not.

Right now I’m just…lazy. And kind of liking it, to be honest. I’m not sitting around doing nothing because OMG life sucks. I’m sitting around doing nothing because playing online, surfing FARK and reddit and Facebook amuses me, and that bad TV is kind of fun.

On the Spouse Thingy’s days off I get off my asterisk and we go do things when we can think of things to do. Otherwise, I’ve pretty much enjoyed being a sloth.

But then I remembered I have a 40-mile walk coming up, and while the distance is not an issue my feet are not well prepped for it, and hills might be an issue.

On Wednesday we drove into San Francisco to walk around a bit, but mostly to get the giant ceramic frog I have wanted for about 3 years but had to talk myself into buying. Because, while it was awesome, it was also nearly $300 and I had a hard time justifying three hundred bucks for something that would just stand there by the fireplace freaking the cats out.

I finally decided the hell with it, I wanted the damn frog and the price wasn’t going to hurt us. So off to Pier 39 we went, where the frog had been standing in front of The Crystal Shop for as long as I could remember…and where it no longer was because someone else finally bought it.


Still, we were in SF, which I enjoy wandering around a lot more than I do Dixon. We stuck to the Wharf, so I didn’t exactly get any hills in, but we did around 6 miles and bought a couple of funny t-shirts. Next week we’re going back but heading for downtown, where there are hills, and where we can meet up with DKM for lunch.

I really should try to at least be somewhat prepared for the Avon Walk…even if it does cut into watching bad TV and playing online.

It would be easier if it weren’t so freaking hot out. I am not tolerating the heat well these days and anything over 75ish grinds me down. When I do think about setting the laptop aside and putting pants on to go outside where other people are, one look at the outside temperature is enough to make me click to the next website while muttering about the joys of having a working air conditioner.

I’m delicate, you know.

Yeah, this is boring as hell and I’m aware of it, but I need to actually not delete something for once.




10 August 2013

I spent most of today--from 9 am on--feeling like my liver was trying to exit my body through a nonexistent opening, and like my ribs were grabbing hard and refusing to let go.

I don't know what the real issue was. Could have been stomach irritation. Could have been that one spot in my colon that the GI doc couldn't explain last year. Could have been a dozen different things, but all I knew was that, while I didn't feel the least bit sick, I felt fairly awful because it hurt.

Not badly; it hurt just enough to be annoying and draining. I couldn't get into a comfortable position in my chair and I I tried to lie down for a bit to see if that would help, but no.

Around 9 p.m., when I was feeling pissed off about it, Max jumped into my lap. He usually does around then; he curls up and watches TV with me for a while, until it's time for his late night snack.

Tonight he didn't curl up; instead he practically crawled up my chest until I gave in and leaned back in the recliner, grumbling about watching Broadchurch off the DVR with his giant head in my way.

Funny thing Mr. Max did: he stretched out across my upper abdomen right where it hurt and purred his damn fool head off. The uncomfortable weight of him eased the more he purred, and the more he purred, the better I felt.

When Broadchurch was over (and holy crap, this is going to be good) and it was time for his snack, I felt 95% better. I still have no clue what the source of the pain was, but I know damn well what made it ease up.

Oh yeah, he got crunchy treats after his gooshy food.

And you'll never convince me that some animals just don't know.

3 August 2013

I had two thoughts tonight:

1) Grownups should sit down and color more often


2) I would totally own first grade art class.

Hey, at least now they look less like chipmunks and more like cats...


2 August 2013

Why join those walks? What’s the point? You’re never going to find a cure by walking for three days. You’re not kicking cancer’s ass. It’s futile; you’re raising money and exhausting yourself for nothing, really.

I wandered into Starbucks today intending to pretend to work on Max’s book while I played on Facebook and Fark; instead I bought my Venti black iced tea, unsweetened (so that I can add an amount of Equal to it that really is shameful), and sat down with another semi-regular who has noted the hair and the tattoo, and with a little additional information from one of the baristas put the pink puzzle together.

She doesn’t get it, though. She’s all for the eradication of cancer, but finds the notion that one can raise money, walk 60 miles, and honestly believe it will cure anything.

Let’s just suppose that you could find a cure by raising money; what’s the point of walking. Or biking, swimming, or any of the things people do in the name of curing a disease. Just donate money and be done with it.

Two years ago I couldn’t have answered that. In my little world friends just did it; they signed up for these multi-day walk events and asked for donations so that they would meet the minimum number of dollars required to participate. It was done For The Cure, so that future generations wouldn’t have to suffer through the long, agonizing fight needed to survive.

If walking could cure anything, it would have been cured by now.

Here’s the thing: I don’t think anyone who participates in these walks honestly thinks that 100% of their money raised goes toward the research that will one day find a cure. I don’t think that every walker, crew member, and volunteer is there with the belief that their efforts will be the difference in finding a cure in the near future or not. Not everyone involved has expectations beyond getting through the miles and collecting a t-shirt at the end.

And not every person participating is completely on board with the organization’s overall mission.

I doubt that there are many people in general who don’t want a cure for cancer, or MS, or heart disease, or any of the other myriad of causes some people raise money for. You’d have to be a particular kind of messed up to enjoy the idea that disease impacts harshly on some and destroys lives for others. If you polled 1000 people, I’m guessing that 999 would say they are most definitely not in favor of potentially fatal diseases. The remaining 1 probably mis-heard the question.

If you poll 1000 people who participate in walk events and asked them if they honestly expect this to be the year their efforts find the cure, I’m guessing 999 will say no, and the remaining 1 is simply hopeful.

So why bother?

Ask those walkers the same question and you’ll get as many different answers as there are people, but it probably boils down to one fundamental thing.

Why not?

We’re not naïve people, those of us who get involved in walk events. We understand that while we’re decked out in pink, training mile after mile, then putting one foot in front of the other while we sweat through three days and sixty miles of hills and broken sidewalks, all with the hope of finding a cure for breast cancer that there are so many kinds of breast cancer that even if a cure is found for one, we’ll be back next year to raise money and walk against all the other forms of the disease.

We’ll walk because it’s not JUST the disease we’re trying to stomp down.

All that money raised every year, the pinkwashing that annoys so many, the effort made to train to be able to walk that far…it really isn’t just about finding a cure. It’s also about raising money so that the 40-something year old without insurance can get a mammogram. It’s about funding programs that participate in community outreach, getting rides to appointments for women and men who are battling on their own without family support. It’s about putting food on the table for kids whose mothers are out of work because they need to focus every ounce of their energy on not dying.

It’s about drug trials, medications that might not work and might break a woman willing to go through the trial down to the very fibers of what makes her want to live.

It’s about walking with strands of pearls worn around the necks of people who have lost someone they cared about deeply, even if they never met her.

It’s about hope.

And more than hope, I think, it’s about being proactive. I will never be the person in the research lab, figuring out how to combine chemicals that will attack cancer cells and hopefully leave healthy ones alone. I will never have that kind of brain; I will never be that smart.

I can’t cure anything. I can’t do anything for the friends I have lost to breast cancer; I can’t do much for anyone I don’t personally know who is fighting for their own life.

But I can raise money; I can dye my hair pink because it makes my friends laugh; I can wear pink spandex even though I feel sorry for anyone who has to see that; I can put up with the sneers of the cold-hearted who think my pink is disgusting.

And I can walk.

Yes, I could just donate money. We do; the Spouse Thingy makes and sells pink ribbon pens and I wrote a book on doing a walk, and every penny made from those gets donated. We could end it there, reap the benefits of the tax deductions and be perfectly content with that. Donating alone is worth contentment. It’s doing something. It’s contributing, and I celebrate those who are willing to dig into their pockets and do just that.

I need people who do that. I need people who want to donate money. I need them because I need to sign up for these walks, and I need to reach a minimum to participate.

I cannot find a cure. I cannot do a million things I wish I could do, but I can walk in honor of my friends who didn’t make it, and I can walk in support of those who are gutting it out in chemotherapy. I can drive the sweep van and support others who are walking, because whatever their reasons are, it matters to them.

No. In September, when I walk for Avon, my fundraising won’t find a cure. My walking won’t find a cure. Every step taken over 40 miles will not mean that any particular person will get an injection of a wonder drug and their fight will then be over.

I know that.

But every dollar I raise might mean that a clinic tucked away into a run down neighborhood gets a mammography machine. Nickels and dimes might mean someone doesn’t have to pick between rent and food. The collection of pennies could very well mean someone without insurance gets to see a doctor about that tiny little lump and get it taken care of before it becomes the big lump that becomes the Big Bad. That money doesn’t line the pockets of the organizations; it goes somewhere, and most of it goes somewhere that matters.

And I walk because it’s the one thing I can do, even though the money is raised and donated. It’s the effort I can expend, something tangible that deep down, while I do it in the names of the people I care about, is only for me.

Why walk? For the hope, for the possibilities, and for ourselves.