24 December 2014

17 December 2014

Many years ago I received a card in the mail; I can't tell you if it was a birthday card, a Christmas card, or just a random thinking-of-you card. Those details were lost to the aftermath of what was in the card.


Not just a little glitter glued to the cardstock; no, the person who sent me the card filled it with loose glitter, and I assume laughed at the cleverness of it and the mental image of me opening the card and getting glitter all over myself.

The real problem was that I opened my mail while sitting at my desk, and all that glitter spilled onto my not-old-at-all laptop computer. One that at the time we could barley afford, but I was working on the last draft of my first book and had a deadline, and I was going to school at the same time, so a laptop became more of a necessity than a luxury. And back then, they weren't cheap; the equivalent system now would be three hundred tops, but that one cost us $1200. That was a freaking lot back then.

I opened that card, the glitter went everywhere, including the nether regions of that laptop, and it never worked the same.

Within a few weeks, it just sort of stopped.

I was not amused when I opened the card, not amused as I tried to clean the mess up, not amused as I desperately tried to get it out of the computer, not amused as the computer died. Not once was I amused.

Even if the laptop hadn't been right there and taken the brunt of the glitter bomb, I would not have been amused.

It's not funny, people.

I was reminded of this while poking through the Secret Santa subreddit on Reddit, when someone posted a picture of a card they're sending along with the gift; it's clearly labeled on the envelope that the card contains glitter, which is at least something...but still, I would not be a happy recipient.

Don't be the douche who thinks it's funny. It's not. That glitter gets everywhere, sticks to everything, it hard to clean up, and if you have little kids or pets, there's the additional worry that they'll get into it before it can be cleaned up.

It's one of those things that the mental image is funny but the reality is not. So please...don't.


13 December 2014

Things like this are why I love my friends, and also find them a little disturbing:


3 December 2014

I've had a story bubbling in the back of my head for over two years; it tends to work its way forward for a few minutes every night as I fall asleep, and I have a grasp on the bigger details of it, and of the characters...except for their names.

This is a first for me. I usually have names well in hand before I know much about the characters to which those names will be attached, but even though I can see their faces, know their ages and some of their quirks and likes, I've renamed them a dozen or more times.

I also know this will be a newer genre for me; it has the feel of a young adult novel, so instead of jumping right into it, I think I'll take he rest of this year to load my iPad with YA books and just enjoy myself without worrying about working. Max will also take a break and let his ideas simmer...and hopefully there will be another Max book.

And on that front...I've been taken to task a couple of times for the cost of the print version of his latest book. Amazon is not discounting it yet and at $11.95 for a 140 page book, yes, that price point is high.  Higher than I'd like, but other than essentially working for free, it's where the book had to priced.

Prices aren't just pulled out of a hat like a angry rabbit; there's the cost of printing and the costs associated with distribution. In order to get stores to make it available for order, they require a fairy hefty discount up front, generally 55%. Print costs run about $3.80 per book.

11.95 - 55% = 6.57 ... leaving 5.38
5.38 - 3.80 = 1.58

That's roughly the royalty on the sale of one copy of Epistle through distribution channels.

I still have to pay income tax on that.

I kinda think my work is worth a buck and a half a copy.

Still...twelve bucks is a lot for a book that short; we ordered 50 copies at cost and Max has been selling them for $6.50 + shipping on his blog. It's less money for interested readers and in the end nets about $2.70 pre-tax.

But I do hear you about the cost of a short book.

The Kindle version is a much better buy--especially if you have Amazon Prime. You can borrow it and read it for free.

I'd go that route, personally. And I generally preferring buying books, but I'm totally down with the masses reading it for free *if* they get it from Amazon. I'm not down with anyone sticking it online and sharing it that way. That's just...mean.


28 November 2014

Max woke me up at 6:30 this morning to announce that, while it was not yet Food O'clock, the hour was rapidly approaching and it would be a good idea if I started to wake up so that I'd be able to open a can without slicing my thumb open.

I assume that's what he meant when he jammed a paw full of fur up my nose and began meowing at me nonstop.

I rolled over and tried to ignore him because it was six-thirty in the freaking morning and I don't do morning, but he was persistent and the thought that just one week ago not only had I been awake at that hour, I'd been awake for a good 3 hours and I was standing in a mass of pink people, in the rain, ready for the 3 Day opening ceremonies to start.

We won't melt...I think
At the hotel, as we boarded the bus to the Del Mar fairground where opening was, the rain was coming down at a fairly steady rate, but by the time we got there it lifted quite a bit and then stopped. People gathered under gray clouds and dodged huge puddles in the parking lot, but the mood was overwhelmingly positive and the atmosphere bubbling with excitement.

If we were going to get wet, we were going to get wet, and there was no reason to be upset about it.

I'm usually mentally itchy during opening because I just want to get started, but it felt different this year. I did want to get going, but I also wanted to soak it all in; Nicole Hercules and Jim Hillman--people I admire--walked every event this year and were speaking at opening and I wanted to hear, so I pushed back the itch and paid attention.

Once we did get going, after slowly making our way out of the fairgrounds, trying to not step in the deep puddles that would have meant blisters early on, turning the corner and heading down the first street we would walk on, the clouds parted, the sun came up, and the most beautiful rainbow appeared.

The walkers might have been prepared to pound out all 22 miles of the day in the rain, but we weren't going to have to. It was absolutely beautiful and the temps were perfect.

Photo by DKM...I loved the view
More amazing than the temps were the views. Day 1 was filled with incredible beauty and I'm pretty sure that in the first ten miles I uttered more than once, "I have to come back here."

Seriously, I have to go back.

I did jump on the sweep van--there was no way this back was making it up the hill in Torrey Pines and my hat goes off to everyone who did it--which meant I got back to camp a little earlier than most of the rest of the team, which in turn meant I had time to set up our tents.

I got pretty freaking good and putting those little tents up. I think I feel more accomplished about that than anything else.

It's probably a good thing I have that to feel good about, because the rest of the walk didn't go anywhere near what I planned.

The view from my tent
Some context--around a week and a half before the 3 Day, I posted this on the San Diego page:

My annual PSA to newby walkers: if, in a short period of time, more than 3 people ask if you're all right, you're probably not all right. Learn from my Atlanta 2011 mistake: that many people asking means you look a bit off, and you might not realize you're heading into trouble. Take a moment to do a real assessment: am I really drinking enough, did I skip that last pit or grab-n-go and don't have enough fuel on board, am I just tired or is this the feeling of heading into Something Not Good?
And if in those people who are asking how you are someone suggests they get a sweep van for you...let them flag down a sweep for you. Don't let the want of walking every step of the 60 miles cloud your judgment. There's no shame in sweeping, and the van drivers need *someone* every now and then.
Your fellow walkers are your best friends on this walk. They have your back. And have an AWESOME 3 Day!

Now, you think I would keep my own advice in the forefront of my brain.

You probably know where this is going.

I felt a little off on the first day, but I chalked that up to having gotten up at 4:00 in the morning after not enough sleep, and also to a very long downhill we walked where there was little to no shade. Heat + me = yuck, so I assumed I was just feeling the effects of the heat. No big deal; I kept up on my fluids, so a little sleep would fix that.

I felt a little off when I got up, but of course I did. I slept in a tent and my sleeping bag zipper kept popping open, exposing my giant asterisk to the cold. I got dressed and headed for the dining tent, where the smell of food convinced me that I was not going to be able to eat, but hey, I'll take a granola bar with me and then chow down at the first pit stop.

As I headed for my team I got the first, "Are you all right?"

Then, "You don't look so hot."

Still...I headed out and only bent over to dry heave a couple of times. At one point I considered getting on the bus that skips the first part of the walk and heads for lunch, where I could walk out the rest of the day, but decided to push on.

As we scanned out of camp: Are you okay?

I walked on...until we reached a point where getting anywhere required going up some stairs and it hit me: I cannot make those stairs. I will pass out and then barf, choking to death on my own vomit.

I turned around and headed back to camp, determined to just get on that bus and walk the second half of the day. I pushed my way through the sea of walkers ("Hey, you're going the wrong way!") and bumped into a few people from my team, told them I was heading back, and was asked if I wanted to go to medical.

I was headed for the bus.

Jennifer, team co-captain, kindly escorted me back to camp and I'm pretty sure she mentioned more than once I should go to medical, but I was looking for the bus.

I ended up in medical.

I stayed in medical until 1 p.m., when I felt a little better and no longer looked like death warmed over. I was cleared to do whatever I wanted, but there was no way to get back out onto the route, so I walked around camp. I knocked out 8 miles just walking around camp, sticking close enough to the med tent and people to have help if I suddenly crashed and burned.

I felt decent--I ate dinner, stayed in the dining tent through the camp show and spent some time with my team--one major thing I wanted to do in the first place--and then went to bed secure in knowing I would be able to walk the last day.

Being red-carded involves an actual red card

I woke up feeling like crap, but hey, that was residual, right? I headed for the dining tent, passed a team mate who said I didn't look good at all, smelled the eggs and bacon and noped myself right out of there. I crawled back in my tent, hoping that resting a little bit more would work.

Not much later Jennifer was there... "You want to go to medical?"

No, I did not want to, but I finally took my own advice and listened to someone sane before trying to formulate my own plan for getting back out on the route.

The doctor in the tent determined I was not lacking physical or metal fortitude: I had a virus. I was actually ill. He took my credentials--necessary to walk--and red-carded me.

My Sunday view
I was officially done.

This was my view for most of the day...I spent it on a cot, looking out the front door of the lunch-area medical tent, watching other walkers stream through.

A couple hours into my boredom Terri Parsons, FB friend and Max fan, showed up to keep me company for a while. I started feeling better and was given a couple of tiny cookies to nibble on, then a sandwich I ate a part of, but I couldn't go anywhere until a team mate came to rescue me. I'm not sure of the logic, but I think they wanted to make sure I wasn't going to wander around and pass out somewhere alone, and that I wasn't going to try to sneak onto the route for the last 5 miles.

I kind of wanted to, to be honest. It was only 5 miles. I felt like I could do it, but by then I had accepted the inevitable. I knew I didn't not walk because I suck at it, I was actually sick. And I was pretty sure I was actually sick not because of the doc, but because the Spouse Thingy texted from home, where he was puking his toenails up...we both had it.

The Pink Slips
I did make it to the closing ceremony.

I did get to walk with my teammates.

Other than a lot of walking, I got to do pretty much everything that was important to me--I spent time with my team, I met a lot of new people, and witnessed some pretty amazing things.

According to my pedometer, I managed about 30 miles over the 3 days, and while those weren't largely out on the route with everyone else, I'm totally counting them. Half the distance is better than standing still. Half is about what I expected to do if I had been out there on the route.

So there was some disappointment, most of it in myself until I had confirmation that I didn't feel like crap because I just don't have what it takes to face that walk anymore--I really worried about that--and that the Spouse Thingy also had what I had, but overwhelmingly it was a wonderful weekend.

I'd stay here again!
I got on the plane. By myself. I wasn't happy, but I didn't throw up or pass out;  the Spouse Thingy dropped me off on Thursday and I got myself from bag check-in to actually being on the plane, and it didn't kill me (though to be honest, I was at my limit by the time we landed.)

DKM picked me up from the airport, sparing me having to find a cab; Jenna took me back on Monday, saving me the $$$ for a cab. But I got through the airport and flew home. That's a bigger deal than it seems.

And the view from my room Sunday night? Holy hell, cannot complain about that, not at all.


13 November 2014

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

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

Not too shabby!

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

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

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

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

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


10 November 2014

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

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

Me: Pushing thirty three years.

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

Me: I'm not gay.

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

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


1 November 2014

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

I do miss her.

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

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

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

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

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

Why would I wish that?

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

Every day.

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

I suspect she's having a grand time.

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

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

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


21 October 2014

From the This Weekend at the ‘Bux files…

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

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

Five whole years!

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

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

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

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

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

She left. Imagine that.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

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

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

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

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

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

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

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


12 October 2014

From a friend...

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

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

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

15yo: You don’t have any.

Dad: Any what?

15yo: Elbow grease.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, I was that kid.

Still might be.


8 October 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



6 October 2014...part deux

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


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

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

6 October 2014

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


5 October 2014

It's that time of year again.

Thumpa Goes Pink.

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

The pink hair, it makes me happy.

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

It's just not nice.

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

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

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

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

Apparently I amused her. Probably the pink hair.

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

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

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

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

And I kinda want to see that picture.

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


1 October 2014

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

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

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

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

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

You should be sick of it.

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember this shirt?

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

The next year, the number of names doubled.

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

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

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

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

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


26 September 2014

Walking things.

Yes, walking things.

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

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

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

What is a big deal for me this time?

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

I kinda need to do this alone.

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

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

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

(It is a contest, right?)

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

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

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

And here we go.

Winner of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4
#191 Jeff Blackshear

Winner of the Soleus Go Activity Tracker
#150 Caroline Hendrix

 And winners of the Goodie Bag:

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

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

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



23 September 2014

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

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

(Yes, this is dripping with sarcasm.)

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

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

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

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

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

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


22 September 2014 - b

Goal reached.

Fully funded.


22 September 2014

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

You're welcome.


19 September 2014 close.

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


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

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

What's up for grabs?

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

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7-inch tablet

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

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

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

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

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


18 September 2014

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

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


16 September 2014

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


14 September 2014

See this guy?

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

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

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


12 September 2014

There are 70 days until the San Diego 3 Day.

There are 6 days until online check in begins.

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

I have spandex.

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

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

I am not a small person.

I am, in fact, quite chubby.



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


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

So what you're getting:

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

It's all to save the boobies, people.



7 September 2014

All righty.

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

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

I will get fit with new shoes soon.

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

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

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

I'll figure it out.

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

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


3 September 2014

A couple of weeks ago I traded in the pretty blue motorcycle on a pretty red one. It was a little more complicated that normal; the dealership has sold their last red one earlier in the month and all they had on the floor were a couple of fugly weird gray-green models.

Added to that: I needed the low suspension version, because my lower back no longer allows me to get on and off a taller bike without issues.

So the sales guy called around, and by the day after we asked, he'd located a single red F700 GS with a factory lowered suspension in the LA area, and they were willing to trade bikes.

Yay for me.

It got here about a week before my birthday, and I've been having some fun on it.

Now, with it being lower--only a teeny bit higher than the seat on my last bike--I didn't think I would have any problems getting on the bike or getting off of it.


There's this little knob on the pillion grip bars; it's there because it's a fix-point for BMW's hard cases (saddlebags, which I do not yet have because they are freaking spendy).

While we were taking a break from a mediumish-long ride (70 miles...long for us, short for most riders) I attempted to get back on my bike to move it forward in the parking space...and did not swing my leg up high enough to get over that low height seat, and slammed it right into that freaking small knob.

That freaking small knob freaking hurts when you slam your freaking leg into it.

This is the end result, several days later. It's about the size of my palm and while it's healing quicker than I normally do, it's still very ouchy.

Still...ouchy aside, this new bike rides so smoothly, is so well balanced, and stops so much easier than the Bonneville that I'm already convinced it was the right move. I don't miss the Bonneville, even though I thought I would, probably because the ease and smoothness of the BMW overrides the prettiness of the Triumph.

Whoever winds up with the Triumph is going to love just wasn't the right one from me.

And the most important thing...the new bike matches my car.

Hell, yes, that's more than half the reason I wanted the red one. IT MATCHES MY CONVERTIBLE.

Priorities, people. I haz them.


1 September 2014

I woke up at 4:20 this morning with--surprisingly--no help from Max, mostly due to the weirdness of a dream I'd had, in which I had been arguing loudly with someone about the pronunciation of the word "meme."

I contended it's pronounced "meem" because that second 'e' elongates the first. They contended it's "memm" because...reasons.

I don't know who won, but just before I woke up I called them a Farking Flaming Bag of WonderSnot. Only it wasn't "farking."

No, I didn't eat anything weird before bed.

Max was thrilled I was awake, because this meant he didn't have to work hard to get breakfast. It did mean he had to wait until 7 a.m., but he seemed all right with that.

I was up until 8:30, when the sleep bomb went off and I had to crawl back into bed. I have no idea what I was dreaming about when I woke up later, other than I had just saved the world from a contagion of evil that was turning people ginger.

Redheads, I apologize.

I don't think you're evil. At least not consciously. Well, not all of you. There was that one guy I dated just after high school...

'Course, now I won't be able to sleep tonight because I didn't get back up until almost noon, and I have to be up tomorrow because for Bast knows what reason, the insurance company is sending someone over to evaluate our house for replacement costs. We haven't had a claim, ever. We don't anticipate a claim. The only thing we can figure is they were notified of the permits pulled for the kitchen re-do. The county tax assessor wanted an itemization of costs for it, maybe the insurance company got the notice, too.

Well...I suppose I don't have to get up. She can assess right over my sleeping body, I suppose. That would assure she'll also be taking pictures, right?

Maybe I'll make the cover of USAA magazine.


28 August 2014

All righty.

I tapped 3 people for the ALS ice bucket challenge, all 3 followed through. Sandy and Curt actually dumped ice water on themselves--and Sandy went big, she got a bunch of her students to do it, too, and Ian donated $1000.

Since they ponied up, it's only fair that I do, too. So tonight the Spouse Thingy pulled out the clippers, and went to work.

I started out with a nice blue was really stylin', too.

When I looked down...all may hairs. Well, almost. He buzzed it, he didn't shave it.

And's about an eighth of an inch long. And I look like a serial killer here, cripes.

There is video, but it's almost 3 minutes of a haircut. I'm going to see if I can figure out how to edit it down, and then if it's even worth seeing. Probably not. But here are the results, which is what matters, I suppose.

And the Spouse Thingy did his challenge tonight--the Boy got him--and he even did his with real ice cubes. There's video on Facebook and it's public, so anyone can see it. I'll share it to my wall, so just pop on over there if you want to see it and hear me laugh at him.


25 August 2014

All righty... I have been tapped twice to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, by Roberta Harris and by my sister Mary. Because of health reasons I can't drench myself in ice water (the sudden, biting cold has too high a chance of sending me straight into the flare from hell), but I could certainly make donations, so I've donated $100 for each of those challenges.

Now...I'm supposed to challenge three people, so I'm tapping Sandy Swartwood, Curt Thompson, and Ian Murphy (which is why I'm doing this on my blog and not of FB, because SOMEONE can't remember his FB password, but I knows he reads this.)

Here's the deal: For Sandy and Curt, if you do the ice bucket, you only have to donate $10 to the ALS Association. If you choose to pass, it's a $100 donation.

For Murf, since I know $10 is like Kleenex...if you do it, you only have to donate $100. If you pass on it, you need to cough up $1000.

This my serious face cuz I'm serious.'s the kicker. If all three of the people I've tapped follow through, I'll do something I've done before but really don't enjoy.

See my messy blue hair?

I kind of like it.

I kind of don't like not having hair.

But since I can't do the ice bucket, if Sandy and Curt and Murf follow through, I will buzz that hair down to stubble. And we'll find a way to record it for proof.

Tomorrow is my birthday, peoples.

All I want for it...take the Ice Bucket Challenge or donate.


16 August 2014

I am in line for the self checkout at Walmart. Behind me is a guy that's practically followed me up and down the aisles, and near him is a woman I've seen around a lot, mostly at Starbucks. The guy apparently thinks I'm totally deaf.
Him: Fucking faggot freak.
Her: Huh?
Him: I hate faggots. (I can see him out of the corner of my eye, he nodded in my direction)
Her: Wow. Her husband is going to be surprised.
Me: snickers audibly.
Random asshole stomps off, presumably to another line. Yes, I thanked her. No, it's not the first time someone has brought up my marital status when countered with someone being a bigoted assmunch. I really don't care if people assume I'm gay; so what? I don't care if people think I'm different; I probably am. I do care about the underlying anger when someone says it that way, and I appreciate how other people can drop them like flies with just a simple sentence.

Not sure what I would have done if he'd said it to my face.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

 Asked by a friend:
The Parkinson's angle; if you suffered from something--not necessarily that--that locked you into your body, would you still want to live?

Barring anything else...yeah, I think I would. If I still have my mind, I think I'd be okay with being stuck inside my body if I'm not in additional pain. My brain is a freaking fun place to be most of the time; I might not be able to sit and write, but if I can still create those things in my head? Of course I'd want to live. I'd feel bad for my caretakers, but I would want to live. And they damn well better know that I want to watch Doctor Who.

Pretty much...give me a TV tuned to what you know I like, music you know I like when that's not possible, audio books, and chocolate every now and then, and I'll be okay. There are about 200 worlds spinning inside my brain, and I'm comfortable there.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

It's another one of those days...

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

I should go clean the bathroom, but...meh. I need to mop the kitchen floor, but...meh. 

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

My birthday is in 10 days. Hopefully this will end this years' How freaking old am I? mindfark. I get confused a bit every year, because most of the time the Spouse Thingy and I are the same age, but for 4 months he's "older" and I start thinking of myself as the same age, and then my brain trips on itself and I have no idea how old I am.


It makes sense to me.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

I really need to get up and do something. My ass is starting to hurt from sitting here.


15 August 2014

From a friend:

He sat there with the bottle in front of him for hours and says that he knew if he opened it and took just one drink, that was it. He was a dead man. He wouldn't stop until he was dead. We asked him if he'd thought about the damage he would leave behind, how many lives would be broken because he'd killed himself, and he said something I'll never forget: I thought I would be doing all of you a favor. You'd never have to deal with my shit again. Killing myself would be like doing something good for anyone who cared about me.

He's been sober for what, three or four years? He seems happy and healthy, but we will always worry. It will only take one thing, it could be something big or something small, and he might bypass the drugs and alcohol and go straight to ending everything, and in his mind he's giving us the gift of him being gone. It doesn't make sense to us but it makes sense to him, and that's terrifying.
I've never had depression issues; I've never had suicidal thoughts. I've had anger issues, self-worth issues, body image issues, chronic pain issues, issues about my ability to keep writing anything worth someone else reading, issues about a plethora of other things that I'm sure I share with a majority of the world, but I don't think I've ever really been depressed and I know I've never felt suicidal.

So is it puzzling that I understand what he was saying? I get the point he was trying to make?

The discussions opened this week about depression--true depression, not the sorts of sadness or the blues that are a part of being alive--are already dying down. It's like, yeah, sure I get it, now let's move on.

Not everyone can.

I've been metaphorically holding my breath the last couple of days, hoping to not find out that a few friends who do teeter on the edge have had triggered, hoping to not realize that a few who struggle hard with depression are slipping deeper into it. I don't know whether the open discussions that have been going on have been helpful or harmful to them, if it's giving them a line to grab onto or if it feels like someone is trying to shove them under and hold them there.

But I do get what my friend's brother-in-law was trying to say.

It's scary. I'm sure right now he grasps the concept of suicide being a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but I get it.


11 August 2014

Only a short time since the news hit that Robin Williams is dead, and quite likely by his own hand, and the shame-blame games have begun.

He committed the ultimate sin.



And that's utter bullshit. Suicide is not undertaken because someone is weak or selfish or flipping off God and "sinning." Suicide is the last hope far too many people have for ending pain.

Many, many years ago, a very gentle soul known online as Boston Bill, someone to whom I had spoken and had gotten good advice over the chronic physical pain that had consumed my life, became one of Jack Kevorkian's last patients. He made a conscious, deliberate decision to end his life because the only thing he could see ahead of him was unrelenting, unforgiving pain. Pain that narcotics couldn't even touch, even if his doctors would have given them to him.

He was not weak; he had endured more than most could ever fathom. He wasn't selfish; he spent hours upon hours helping others, even when he couldn't help himself. He didn't commit some grievous sin; God's a better man than you, you know. If anyone understood, He did.

The only thing to blame for Bill's choice was the overwhelming pain that had grabbed hold of him and refused to let go. He couldn't take it anymore, so he chose his own way out.

Many of you remember Hoss, that wonderful, spirited, incredible soul who spearheaded Oregon's Right to Die efforts and chose assisted suicide in the end. He knew when his time was done and he wanted to go out on his own terms. I still miss him. I will always miss him.

I have known far too many people, most of them online, a few in person, who saw no other way out. Unlike Bill and Hoss, who left for reasons that are easy to touch upon and understand, most of them suffered from depression. It varied in degrees from day to day or week to week, but the undercurrent was always there for them. It was always the shadow in the hallway, one that could jump out and strangle them at any time.

No one chooses to live that way. There's little to be gained in blaming someone for their depression and so much damage to be wrought.

Blaming someone for having depression is like blaming someone for having diabetes. Blaming someone for needing medication to control it is like blaming a diabetic for needing insulin. We don't choose the diseases that invade us, and no one should have to defend the medications that control them.

And yet, that's what happens.

The cold hard truth of it, too, is that even when you understand that on a very fundamental level, it doesn't mean you're going to be any good at dealing with someone who has depression. Chances are, you're not. It's not because you're thoughtless or dismissive; you just don't know the right things to do or say. Listening doesn't seem like enough, so you spout off these platitudes that you've heard online or on TV, not realizing that not only are you not helping, you're hurting.

Chances are, too, you don't realize that what you're seeing is depression. 

I learned a long, long time ago: I am not the person to whom someone struggling mentally or emotionally should turn. It's not because I don't care or want to brush it off, it's because I am not good in any situation in which I don't have the time to self-edit. I go quiet while I'm thinking; I'm panicking because I don't know if what tumbles out of my mouth will be the right thing or something monumentally stupid that will make things worse. Quiet is often interpreted as not caring. And that helps no one.

I suspect most people are a lot like me; they might want to have the coping mechanisms that a friend with depression needs, but want those tools does not equate having them.

Depression is a stone cold, black-hearted, mean little bitch.

If you suffer from depression, you already know that more friends than not are a lot like I am, and the things they say not only don't help, it often hurts. It doesn't help that you know it's not intentional; you're backed into a corner where nothing is really helping. Those shadows get darker, thicker, and it's just so hard to see anything where the light is, and it's so incredibly fatiguing to keep trying.

But I'm begging you: reach out.

Find those who DO know what to do, and who know the right words and the order in which they should tumble out of one's mouth.

It might not be a friend--it probably won't be a friend, because we're up so close that we can't see the bigger picture, not really-- but try to reach through that thick molasses of fog, the one that makes your arms feel like they weigh a ton and a half, and pick up the phone.

Check out the International Suicide Prevention Wiki. Bookmark it. And please don't be afraid to use it.

In the U.S., if you don't want to wade through the Wiki, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They also have a website.

Believe me, this world is so much better with you in it than not--more platitudes you don't need, I know--and there are people who have been trained, who know how to help you cope, and will never, not ever blame you. It's not your fault, no more than it's my fault for having a bad back or for having had that tumor.

Shit happens, and it feels like it splatters really good people the most; your friends might want to be the ones to clean you up and be some magical fairy like ray of sunshine in your life, but the reality is that they will unintentionally say some really stupid things. So please, reach out. Call one of those numbers.

I don't want you to die. I desperately, truly do not want you to die.

And if you're one of those people who think depression is weakness, selfishness, and something that a good attitude check will fix...fark you.

Depression is a disease. Blame doesn't help and can only make things worse.

So don't be a dick. Try being understanding and compassionate. It might not help, but it at least won't hurt.

...and I'm rambling because I honestly don't know how to end this, because all I really want is for the people I love, the people I care about, the people I know only peripherally, and the people I don't know at all to be okay.

Bookmark those sites.

Call if you need to.

It's okay to call.