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.