Sunday, September 30, 2012

Kasey Kinnzensox - part two

Yesterday was her first full day as a part of our pack. As expected she spent most of the day wandering around the house looking a bit dazed.  We all tried to stay quiet and calm, and make her welcome.

She gets along well with Holly, with the playing and stuff.  But as night approached, I was worried about more whining and crying and other puppy type things.

But after we went out for the last tie, I put them both on the landing, which serves as a large kennel, and turned out most of the lights to see what would happen.

Holly plopped down on her bed, and Kasey looked at her for a second, sniffed the blanket we had down for her (one of Shoba's) turned around three times and settled in!

And that was the last I heard from her all night!

This morning we heard a small whine, so soft and short that we had to listen for it to see if it was coming from the dogs.  After a bit it came again.  Still small and short. It wasn't Holly.  When she gets started, she'll sing a song.

So I got up and went to look.  There were the two dogs, sitting patiently, waiting to go out! 

When we came back inside from a successful outing, I noted with some pleasure that Kasey was actually wagging her tail, greeting the family as we came out of bedrooms, and seemed all together 100% happier than she had the day before.  She is still looking a little dazed from time to time.  But I have even better vibes about her this morning that she will settle into our family well.

I also noticed that she is sort of a mix of the "Big Three", Shoba, Ben and Rascal.  Her face looks like Shoba especially the way she uses her ears, and she is mellow like her. Likewise her temperament is similar to Rascal in that she is sweet and LOVES the kiddos.  And when her tail pops up and curls around to wag, it is very reminiscent of the way Ben's tail looked.

These similarities are not enough to make me sad for the loss of the other three, but to remember them fondly and see that this dog should do well here.

We were also thinking about the name Tanner for her.  Because she is TANNER than ANY OTHER DOG WE HAVE EVER HAD!  It is a little strange to see her padding about, as having all or mostly  black dogs has been the norm since 1997.  But she is cute and sweet.

In short.  We like her.

More Later

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kasey Kinnzensox

After Ben the Dog died last October, we thought we would wait until Spring before we started looking for another dog.  When Spring rolled around, we decided that Holly was doing pretty well as a solo dog for the house. So we shelved the idea of another dog.

The summer rolled by, and one day in mid August ago I spotted my wife looking through, at dogs of all things!

Are you ready for another dog?  Asked I.

Just looking to see what is out there. Said She.

So on and off since then we have perused petfinder and talked about what we would like in a second dog.

Medium to large.  I'm not a fan of little dogs.  Mostly because they yip instead of bark.

Female.  Although we loved our boy dogs, the marking and occasional humping of random things was not something we looked forward to working through again.

Temperament.  Always a toughie.  Has to be good around kids, dogs and cats, since we have all three at our house. Secretly I always look for dogs that seem most like Shoba in spirit.  Holly fits that bill. Kind and gentle.  Patient with the kiddos, and friends with almost everybody.

Age. Not a baby.  Young to adult.  Not a senior.  Though we found many puppies and seniors that need homes, puppies can be!  And though we know dogs grow old and die, we'd rather do that later as opposed to sooner.

Even with our search narrowed, there were hundreds of dogs on petfinder that fit the general description.  So we spent weeks browsing through the candidates, finding possibilities one day that would find homes by the next time we looked.

Then one day a listing popped up for "Emily".  She was supposedly a shepherd/husky mix. Good with dogs and cats.  Nervous sometimes.  Looking for a new home because on the farm where she was born she had a penchant for chasing the chickens.

As we kept our eyes open for other possibles, Emily kept topping the list. Finally a few days ago we decided we should call the number and see if we could meet her. 

We weren't expecting the first dog we looked at to join our pack, as when we were looking for Holly we must have seen a half dozen dogs or more.  But yesterday I called the couple that had Emily to set up a meeting.

They told me that three other couples were interested as well. But didn't indicate if any of them were serious or not.  I almost asked to be put on a waiting list, but at some point decided that the least we could do was go meet her.  So I asked, and they said we could!

I thought she was in Decorah, just an hour or so away, but it turns out she was in Marquette, Iowa, a little over two hours away!

We hemmed and hawed a little as we went to pick the boyo up from school.  Maybe we weren't ready for another dog yet. Maybe getting Holly a friend would just encourage the both of them to run like the wind away from our house. Another dog meant training, food, toys, stuff.  Making room for two on trips, or boarding two at the spa, doubling the cost.  But by the time the Boyo was in the car, we had decided once again to at least go look. 

We probably wouldn't bring this one home anyway.  It was a beautiful autumn day, so a drive to look at leaves in scenic Eastern Iowa wouldn't be bad. And it was Friday, so the kiddos could stay up a little longer before bed.

As we drove to Marquette, we talked about names for a new dog.  Emily wasn't going to do.  Since we have Emma the cat and Holly the dog. Emily seemed to just combine the names.  So we listed off some potential names.  The Wife and I liked Molly, but feared it would sound too much like Holly to the dogs, and nobody would know what they were supposed to do.  The Boyo liked Bambi, as in the deer, and a few names from Star Wars.  Sweet Pea was not interested in naming anything. 

We arrived at the meeting park in Marquette with nothing decided.

We had Holly with us, and it was only a few minutes until the man arrived with Emily.  They sniffed at each other a bit, wagged tails, and that was that.  No growling or snapping.  Emily had her hackles up at first, but after some butt sniffing they seemed at ease with each other.

I put Holly back in our car and called the Kiddos over to meet her.  She greeted each of them with ears back and tail tucked in classic submissive form.  Tail wagging furiously as she did so.  She was also very submissive to the Wife and me.  I wondered if she would be too meek to deal with Holly and some high energy kids.

But she was very sweet, cuddled right up to us and let us pet her.  Even let the kiddos give her hugs.  No aggression whatsoever.  Then she wandered off and pooped.  I had grabbed a couple of bags in case holly did the same, so I went to pick that up.  When I approached her again she dropped into a play stance and wagged her tail at me.  So I dropped into play stance too, to see how she would play.

Like any puppy, she used her teeth, once even getting my face in her jaws.  But she never clamped down, and when I corrected her she was quick to get her teeth off of me and give me a lick instead.  She was very playful once she got to know us a little.  Soon the Boyo had her leash and they were running around the park together.

Her foster dad told us that she did pretty well with being housebroken, was a bit skittish sometimes, but overall a really good dog.

I was hooked.  The Kiddos were hooked.  She even charmed the Wife, who would ordinarily want to sleep on any decision of this nature.

So we asked the man what we needed to do to adopt her.

"Oh.  Just load her up, I suppose." Was his reply. He offered that if things didn't work out, they would be happy to take her back.  A "free trial" he called it.

But I asked him if I could make him a knife in trade, and he accepted.

So he said his goodbyes to her, and we loaded her into the back with Holly.

The first fifteen minutes of the trip home were spent in disbelief that we had just acquired a new dog.  It was so easy!

The New Dog hopped over the seat divider and made herself comfy between the kids car seats.  They lavished her with hugs and petting and she loved it.

We decided we had better get her a name.  So started talking seriously about names again.  Molly, Cora, Piper and Tanner were all in the running, but the Sweet Pea would say "Naaaah." to every idea we offered.

Since the Boyo named Holly (with a little guidance from mom and dad, as if we had not intervened a little her name would have been Joseph Bedudah) We decided to get Anna to give some name ideas.

Her first, and only choice was "Cereal".

Hmmm.  OK.  But, we argued, when we ask you what you want for breakfast and you say Cereal..... well no good can come of this.  So we suggested more names.

Eventually we came around to using initials, sort of like BK for Bobbi's Kitty, or JD for John's Dog.  But nothing really fit.  The Wife had a nickname way back from before we were together of KC, her initials at the time, so I suggested Casey.  Also made easier by passing a convenience store of the same name at the time.

Hmm.  We seemed to like the name. So we asked the kiddos.

Boyo liked it right away, and we were waiting for the "Naaaah." from the Sweet Pea.  But there was a definite hesitation before she did this time.  Could it be?

So we asked Sweet Pea to come up with names.

"CEREAL!" she said.

How about Casey Cereal, sort of like Holly Bedudah?


No. From the front seat.

OK, Come up with the silliest word you can think of.

She ran through a few, including one that inadvertently included a swear word, and the ever classic
"Dsjtk5rt"  Which I thought would make a great password, but not such a great middle name for a dog.

As she babbled and they both giggled at every utterance, I heard the word kin-sin-socks.

"Kids in socks?" asked the Boyo.

"No." And she spelled it out for him. "K...O...I...R...kin-sin-socks!"

Casey kinsinsocks.  I liked it.  It had a nice ring to it.  The Wife was laughing.  The Kiddos were chanting it.

Soon the Wife pulled out her cell phone and began playing with different spellings .

I suggested Kasey with a K, since the Sweet Pea spelled kinsinsocks KOIR.  Maybe it should be Kasey Koir (pronounced kinsinsocks.)

But after some doodling around, the Wife came up with Kasey Kinnzensox.  So voted and so approved, we tried it out on the dog.

  Nada.  She answered to nothing.

But today, well.  She's starting to learn her name!

We got her home at bedtime last night, and found that she did not like being separate from her new pack.  At first she wandered into the Boyo's room, where we found her curled up on his bed at his feet.

This was particularly endearing, and the Boyo argued that this is the way things should be.  But we do have some rules about furniture.  So she sniffed and explored the house some more before finally joining Holly on the floor in the living room.  She was doing great!

When the grown ups went to sleep, we put her on the landing with Holly.  She let us know her displeasure at this as well, and I decided to try and ease her into her new sleeping space a little more gently.

I didn't want to sleep on the landing, so I brought the dogs up to sleep on the floor while I took the couch.  This worked OK, but every time I closed my eyes for awhile, Kasey decided that would be an excellent opportunity to slide up into the comfy chair.

She is learning No and Down quite well.  Soon she was sleeping on the floor and I was able to sleep for an hour or so.

I woke with a puppy nose pressed against mine and some quiet whining.

She then got her first lesson with the phrase "Do you want to go out?"

Once back inside, I brought out an old bed that we had and set them both up on the landing on their own beds.  Then I sat with them until she was settled enough to lie down.  I waited for twenty minutes or so, then made like the Alpha Dog just getting up and readjusting.  I stepped over the gate keeping the dogs on the landing, walked up a couple of stairs, turned around a few times and settled in to "sleep" again, with a loud, satisfied exhale.

She perked her head up when I moved, and let out a small whine when I sat down.  But shushed when I asked her to.  After another ten or twenty minutes she was settled and asleep again.  So I "shifted" to the top of the stairs, again eliciting a small whine which was easily shushed.

Another thirty minutes there, and I decided to go for the couch.  Using the same methods I rose slowly and headed to the couch.  She was on her feet this time, but after I lay down and sighed, I heard her turn around a few times and curl into a puddle on her bed.


I was finally able to go to my own bed, where I spent the rest of a short night!

I foresee some challenges in training, as she is very skittish to touch.  I think at some point she may have been angrily chased or hit, or maybe exposed to loud noises. Not by her foster family, I think the guy who gave her to us will miss her a lot, and they rescued her from being put down. But we've still got some work to do to get her comfortable.  She reminds me in that regard of Shoba.  So a little patience and a lot of love is in order.

But she has the makings of a fine dog.  We are happy to have her in the pack!

More Later

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Yesterday my kiddos were arguing. I could hear them from where I was.  The Boyo was poking at the Sweet Pea verbally, and she was getting a little hot under the collar.

Picking, picking, picking. And I could hear her getting more and more frustrated until she yelled at him to stop!

I walked in to intervene (I like to stay out of it for a little bit to see how they resolve their issues).

"What is going on in here?" I asked.

"Daddy?" Sweet Pea said.

"Yes dear?"

"My brother is AGONIZING me!" She said with her best angry, pouty lipped face.

"Do you mean 'antagonizing'?" I asked.

"Yes.  He's antagonizing me!"

Apologies were offered and accepted. We talked about better ways to treat each other and better ways to express frustration.  We role played a little.  And Sweet Pea got ten points for her attempted vocabulary!

And life goes on.

I love my kiddos!

More Later

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I've been swimming long distances lately.  On the 12th of September I did three miles straight.  Just to see if I could.  (Turns out I can!)

All that swimming gives me plenty of thinking time.  Lately I've had a singular question floating around in my head that I can't seem to answer satisfactorily to my inner self.

Am I a hypocrite?

Recently I wrote about all of the hate speech being used in the political campaigns this year.  I tried to address not the usual mudslinging, truth bending things.  But the direct hate and intolerance others seem to feel so self righteous about.  I may not have been entirely successful at getting the point across, as somehow I offended people by posting offensive memes.  They weren't offended at the memes themselves, but the fact that I found them offensive.

On Facebook today, a friend of mine posted an article that has been making the Interweb rounds since 2008. I posted the Snopes take on it as being false, but somehow one of her other friends jumped on and said it was true, mainly because he doesn't like Obama, ergo anything bad said about him must be true.  My guess is that he is a birther, too.  But I found myself getting aggravated by his lack of logic and failure to discern truth from fiction.  I am trying to be civil in my discourse, but how do you reason with someone that the sun shines light on us during the daytime, when they firmly believe it gathers light from the stars, the moon and the planet Krylos to beam down on us?

I say at the bottom of my blog, jokingly, that "I hate haters and so I am filled with self loathing."  It was tongue in cheek when I first wrote it, but developments in the past few years have led to some re-examination of my beliefs.

And so we come to Intolerance.

I have little tolerance for those who are intolerant.  So am I a hypocrite?  Perhaps.  Perhaps.  But I am tolerant of those who will listen to my opinions without judgement.  Of people who believe vastly different things from me, as long as they aren't trying to force those beliefs on me.  I am tolerant with my friend Josh, who politically is about as far away from my beliefs as Pluto is from the Sun. But we can listen to the other view point.  Disagree with each other. Agree that we won't see eye to eye on the best path politically for this country. Yet still talk about knives and hunting and bows and stuff.  If the end of the American Empire suddenly fell on us and anarchy and chaos were the order of the day, I'd still trust him to have my back.  He knows what he believes and I respect that.  In turn he respects what I believe.  Seems simple.

We disagree, and we tolerate that facet of our friendship so we can maintain a friendship.

But there are those out there who honestly believe that if I am not 100% in agreement with them, then I am their enemy.  People who don't know me from Adam, but decide that since I support Obama, I must be an anti-American, Socialist, insert your particular brand of hate here, no good SOB. (Which no longer means Short Of Breath to me.)  They willingly throw baby out with the bathwater, and seem to believe they are right for doing it.

If I claim to be a tolerant person, am I a hypocrite for being rather intolerant of them?  I must be.

But if I am, how do I go about tolerating their hatred and vitriol?  Does tolerating their beliefs mean tolerating their behaviors and attitudes?  Tolerating lies told at the expense of truth?  Is it not possible that if we sat down for a meal or two together, that we might find more things to agree on than to hate each other for?

My kid skins his knees when he falls down.

Hey, mine too!

I hate shoveling the drive after a heavy snow.

I hear you there!

Every morning the sun comes up and I try to do the best I can with what I have, and try to make a better life for my little ones.

Holy cow!  The sun comes up in my world, too!

When we get down to it, nobody has all the answers. Almost everybody goes day to day doing the best they can. Republican, Democrat.  Christian, Muslim.  Rich, Poor.  Black, Yellow, Red, White.  Everyone wants a better future. There just seem to be differing opinions on how to get there.

But one thing is for darn sure. Hatred and Intolerance have never solved any problems.  With their little buddy Lies, they tend to do more damage to a better future.  Is it too much to ask for Truth, Kindness, Compassion and Reason to find their way into debates and disagreements? Or God forbid, to become a norm for a political campaign?  Perhaps I spoke too soon when I said I'd stay out of politics until November.  Perhaps my goal should be to only use positive attributes of my chosen candidate to highlight, rather than the obvious flaws of the opponent. Hmmm.  I'll give that some thought.

Until then, I believe that intolerance of intolerance will have to be OK.  I don't mind reasoned disagreement.  I am tolerant of that. I cannot tolerate those who hate others because they disagree.  So I think it is OK to be intolerant of intolerance. 

What do you think?

More Later

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11th. Forget?

(In lieu of the gravity of this day, this post does speak a little about politics of the past, and a little from today.  It simply cannot be avoided in discussions about this day. You've been warned.)

Well.  It's the 11th day of the 9th month again.  9/11.  Now also known as Patriot Day.  Most Americans who were at least seven or eight years old on that day back in 2001 probably remember exactly where they were when the planes hit the towers, the Pentagon, the field near Shanksville.

I remember walking during my lunch break and seeing the strangely empty sky.  Thinking that the world was about to change in pretty drastic ways.  And if not the world, than at least the US.

I got home that evening and brought in my American flag - then the only one flying on the block, and one of a few in the entire neighborhood.  Other flags were flying, of course.  Garden flags of leaves and rainbows, college or pro football team flags or colorful welcome flags.  But very few American flags.  I had Kraft mac and cheese for supper, and sat on my couch with Shoba, watching the TV in disbelief.  I didn't go to bed until late, and even then had pangs of worry about the future.  My last thoughts of the day were to check in with the Marines to see if I could or should re-enlist.  Or maybe go into the Navy as a medic. (But only if I could be guaranteed assignment with a USMC unit, of course).

I remember everything I did that day.  As does everyone else. 

Never Forget.

Not a problem.

But unlike a great many of my fellow citizens, I also won't forget the next few days, weeks and months.  How suddenly my lonely American flag was not alone fluttering in the breeze.  Within a week nearly every house had an American flag flying.

How the Congress, both Dems and Republicans gathered on the Capitol steps to sing "God Bless America".  The feeling of solidarity regardless of political views, religious views, sexuality.  The country seemed to come together, and even I - who thought that George Bush was the wrong choice for a President - stood behind him as he called for all Americans to stand strong and stand together, and we would get through this crisis together as a country.  We would be stronger on the other side for our unity, and maybe the world could be a better place.

We all stood with the New Yorkers, with the families that lost members.  We all wondered why.  And the answers came slowly but surely.

And as we got answers, I remember that something else started happening.

I heard of back lashes against Muslim people, communities and places of worship. I saw anger and hatred of those who were different start to rear its ugly head.  I heard songs on the radio about how the USA is the greatest and we'd have to kill the bad guys, songs filled with hatred and sung to whip up the hatred of the "enemy" when the enemy was very undefined. I watched religious and political extremism bloom in response to an act of religious and political extremism.  "Let's Roll" went from being a call of hope, courage and sacrifice, to a battle cry to attack, attack, attack!  Hate and Attack. It was a sad, sad time.

I watched as a President, who had an amazing opportunity to bridge political gaps that had been widening for years, instead drive wedges into the gaps.  Then threw dynamite into the chasms to widen them further still.

When I was a paramedic, it seldom failed to amaze me that when we arrived on scene, no matter how chaotic, bloody, life threatening... whatever was happening, our attitudes and actions often dictated what happened next.  I admired most of the medics I worked with because when we got to the scene, we were calm and level headed.  We made quick decisions based on our knowledge and experience, and put minds at ease, brought some order to the chaos.  Found a way to move forward and get through the crisis.

I remember how our leaders didn't seem to have the same skills in a crisis.  Instead we charged ahead with ill advised wars based on supposition and knee jerk fear and not fact.  Our leaders, both right and left, ran amok all in the name of Patriotism and National Security.  "We" had been "attacked" and now we had to fight back. 

To use a metaphor, we responded to the hornets attacking us by screaming maniacally and going off to kill every badger we could find.

I remember one of the newscasters saying in closing that the only way the terrorists could win was by dividing the American people, which he was sure wouldn't happen. And I remember the months and years between that event and today, wondering if somehow the terrorists did win a little bit.  Because we are awfully divided today.

I will never forget the events of that day and today, as I do every year on this day, I fly my flag at half mast to remember the victims of the 9/11 attack and the servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much since then.  I will also never forget the repercussions of that day that linger to this one. And I'll fly my flag at half mast for the rest of the month as I do every year on this month, in remembrance of the unity and non-partisan cooperation that glimmered in the days following 9/11. The feeling of hope that was squashed by political and religious fervor.

I sure wish things had turned out differently, and my prayers today include prayers for the intolerant and partisan. Because the very thoughts that drove the perpetrators of 9/11 to their acts of violence seem to be infecting the minds of extremists in our country.  And if that continues, then the terrorists did what they set out to do that awful day.  Divided the country irreparably.

Do you remember?

More Later

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Summer is "over", but the fun continues.  I am back in training as far as swimming goes.

The English Channel Swim Challenge has begun!  This means I have a goal of getting twenty one miles done in the pool before the end of the month.  I wasn't able to start until this past Tuesday, when I swam a very broken mile. 

By that I mean I swam 1650 yards in 50 and 100 yard groups, with some breathing and relaxing in between.  I haven't been in the pool to lap swim in months, so it was a slow start.  It took just shy of 50 minutes to do. 

Thursday I decided to up my game a bit and swam 2 x 250 yards followed by an easy 50, then swam 2 x 500's with a 100 yard cool down at the end.  That took a little over 40 minutes.  Still pretty slow.

But this morning I felt pretty good, so I swam 3 x 500's in just over a half an hour, with easy 50's after each one.  That brings me to 3 miles this week.  I'm going to try and get up early before church tomorrow and do a solid two mile swim.  We'll see how that goes.

I do love being in the pool.  I always have.  So one of my other goals this month is to get the kiddos in the pool and swimming like fishes as often as I can. 

Know of any interesting distance swims in your area?  Let me know in the comments and I'll see if I can do them next season.

More Later

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Politics and the American Dream

I've been giving some thought to this lately.  Mostly due to posts on facebook by friends of mine.  Democrat, Republican, Independent, whatever, they are almost entirely negative about whoever the "enemy" is. 

I understand the history behind negative ad campaigns.  They've been around as long as politics.  But it seems to me that sanity and logic have fled from the everyday person.  That the lines that divide us politically are being widened into chasms that cannot be bridged.

But I'm seeing a trend in this sort of thing that has given me some pause.

Take the following for example...

 Memes from the left, centering on the Republican candidates. They focus on making Romney and his conservative peers look foolish, incompetent, out of touch, etc. Twisting facts to fit a stereotype and make Romney look bad.

I found these by googling "liberal attack memes".

Then I googled "conservative attack memes"

The ones from the "conservative" sites were similar in tone to the "liberal" sites...

Again, using half truths and insinuation to make Obama and the liberals look bad.
This one struck me...
because of the ongoing cry of the extreme right that they don't like being labelled "racist".
But it was not hard to find the following pictures by googling "tea party attack memes"...

There is a difference about spinning the other sides weaknesses or faux pas to your advantage, and spreading things like the above, which focuses on outright hatred and yes, racism.  Now, I am aware that not every Tea Partier is a racist.  Just as I'm aware that not every Democrat is a socialist, nor every Republican a rich, white man.  But this sort of thing is disgusting and should not be tolerated by other Tea Party members. Does racism exist in the Tea Party?  I'd have to say yes. Lots of hate out there.
Then there are those on the right that post stuff like this....

Note the t-shirt on the guy in the picture above.  "Glenn Beck is my Hero" People like Beck and Rush Limbaugh are not much more than hate-mongers.  They spew lies and twist things to fit their narrow worldview, and for some reason people eat it up, usually while chanting "USA! USA! NUMBER 1!"
This too, sickens me.  There are actually people out there thinking that armed rebellion is in order if Obama is elected to a second term.
Really?  What sort of patriot do you take yourself for if armed rebellion is an option in a legal election cycle?  Don't tell me you stand for the Constitution and believe in that. 
But I digress.  The hatred from the right of center just seems so much more...intense these past four years. Much more pervasive. And it only seems to be getting stronger. 
This surprised me a bit.  That the Christians and especially the Catholics, seem to be coming out in droves with their own brand of hate.  But they call it persecution.

War on religion?  Seriously? How are men and women so different that I as a male can choose what is best for my body, and you as a female can do so as well, except when it comes to your uterus?  How does two guys or two girls getting married and enjoying all of the same legal protections I do being married to my wife threaten said marriage?  How is any of this a "War on Religion"?  This country was based partly on freedom of religion.  Which literally means that no single religion should be dictating the law.  We are not, as some would have us believe (see the guy in the top photo) a Christian Nation.  We are a nation of many religions, and those who have no religion.  I think Jon Stewart summed it up pretty well...
It boggles the mind to think that there are people out there who actually insist that their beliefs are the only true way to be American.  We are a melting pot of race, religion, sexuality, socio-economic classes, etc. And rather than finding ways to come together for "America" we seem to be falling apart into those very boxes that would define us.  Then we build a fortress around that box and arm ourselves with hate and lies, and somehow anyone who believes differently from you is not American.  Not a "True Patriot".  Not a "real Christian".  "They" become the enemy.
I've been unfriended on Facebook by those whose views I disagreed with.  I would like to say it was only a couple of whackadoos who I wouldn't really miss.  But my "friends" numbers over the years has fluctuated a lot because of those choosing to block or unfriend me.  And some of those people I do miss, very much.  Because I value their opinions, even though I disagree with them.  Because I value their friendships, even though we will vote for opposing candidates this fall. Because, politics aside, I really enjoy enjoyed their company.
But better still, I have friends out there who are staunch Republicans. Fiery Libertarians and Independents.  Outspoken Tea Partiers. Even extremely devout Christians.  They post memes on their wall.  And while I don't agree with some of them, none of them have been so offensive as many shown here.  These are the people that will disagree with me, vehemently sometimes, but still value my opinions and we have mutual respect for each other.  I feel extremely protective of their rights to voice differing opinions, as that is one of the things I signed up for as a US Marine.
Best of all is when these same friends and I are able to talk through our frustrations and realize that solutions do exist beyond that point.  That compromise is possible, and sometimes even preferable to the way things stand.  That sometimes "my side wins" and sometimes "their side wins" but both sides realize that the sun will still rise in the morning and life will go on and we'll still be friends.
My American Dream is that some day the seats of power in Washington DC will be held by people like those friends.  People who can disagree on issues, but compromise to get things done, and have mutual respect and honor.  People who discourage their supporters from lies and hatred. Actual leaders who take calculated risks in the hopes of making things better for the people they represent.  People who are able to see their ideas voted down and not be filled with vitriol for those who voted against them.  I'd like to see leadership that does not use God or the bible as a weapon. That takes into consideration ALL the people in the country, not just the loudest or the wealthiest.
I'd like to see an American people not filled with blood lust against those with opposing political views.  Those with minds that are able to grasp that not everyone will believe as they do, and that's usually OK.  And although I consider myself a Christian, I'd really like to see a day when Christians realize that opposition to their beliefs is not a war, and that our country must remain separated between church laws and secular laws.  I think I stated some spiritual truths in a previous post.  All religions should stick to that and let others do the same.
Most importantly, people like this guy...
.... words fail me.  Just... don't be this guy. OK?
OK, enough rambling.  The hour is late.  Bravo to you if you've read this far.
I'll end with this promise.  For the remainder of the political cycle leading up to the elections in November, this will be the last I speak on politics unless directly asked or challenged.  My mind is set for who I'll be voting for and what I'll be voting for.  As ever, my vote goes to the people who most line up with my core beliefs. I can't see anything that would change my mind between now and then.
And if you disagree with me, that is your right.  Just don't deny me my right to disagree with you.  Go vote! Vote your convictions and beliefs.  But when all is said and done, don't hate.  I promise I won't if I don't get what I want.  Have a little faith in the future.  I believe there are still more good people in this country than whackadoos.
No More Later (on this topic)

Monday, September 3, 2012

It's All Downhill From Here

I recently celebrated my 41st birthday.  Not long after that I visited my doc to check on my hip, which has been bugging me a lot lately.

And by bugging, I mean being so painful after a training run that I couldn't run again for weeks.  My triathlon season was non-existent because of it, so consequently I have not done much training in the other disciplines. 

So finally I went to my doc to see what was up.  I was expecting a torn tendon or something, but x-rays showed something else.


What?  I said to her.  I'm only 41!?!  How do I have arthritis?  And only in one hip? What?

Yeah, so I'm now that "old" man with the arthritic hip.  She gave me a script for some souped up NSAID's, and if that doesn't help, we'll move on to steroid shots.  If all else fails we just replace the thing.  Sounds easy peasy, huh.

Well, the meds are doing ok.  I can walk pretty well again, and the constant grinding ache that was there has been tamed a bit.  But I have a feeling my triathlon days are numbered.  Or at least the solo tri's. 

Turns out I can still swim like a fish, so I'm looking into doing some distance swims.  5K.  10K.  Maybe the Alcatraz swim or a swim around the Statue of Liberty someday.  Heck, maybe I'll swim the Mississippi some day.  Or the English Channel!

Speaking of which, this month I am entered in an English Channel swim at the Dan (gym).  I'll log each swim and try to get the total mileage by the end of the month.  More on that later.

As for the arthritis diagnosis.  Well.  I'm not that old, and no arthritis pain is going to stop me, so I'll do what I need to for the treatment and prevention of it getting any worse.  Until then, anybody wanna do the "run" part of some triathlons next season?

More Later