Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekend plans

Well, this weekend is going to be an interesting one.  My daughter, is going to her second dance competition.  They had a smaller one here in Virginia last weekend where the studio she attends cleaned up in the awards.  You can see that all the hard work has paid off for these girls.  This weekend, it's a 3 day affair down in Rocky Mount, NC.  She's been so excited for this one that we've almost had to strap her down in her bed to get her to sleep at night.

So, it's just me and the three boys.  Should be fun.  Two of them are going to be helping their uncle on get a truck street legal so that my oldest can eventually drive it (when he gets his license).  The youngest is going to be at auditions for the local school division's gifted and talented programs for theatre and voice.  Should be interesting.

Me?  I get to play slave driver (want to surprise my wife with a neater house than when she left), taxi driver, and mechanic.  Oh, and we might through in a visit to the Hunger Games in there somewhere.  Oh, and a trip to the range on Sunday.  Haven't been for several months (bad Sham! No cookie!) so I need to go and work on a few things.  After the way the last several weeks have gone, I can use the recoil therapy.  Time to see how the practice on the grip in dry fire turns out when everything goes live.

Everyone have a nice and safe weekend!

-- Sham

A Guy in a Skewed World: Better Living Through Modern Chemistry

One of the things that I've had to come to grips with while dealing with my FMS and other arthritis conditions (little of which actually shows up on x-rays. Go figure) is the experimentation that doctors go through.  Let's try this drug and see if it helps.  Take this drug for a couple weeks and then come see me.  Anybody with a chronic, long term condition is familiar with this cycle of ups, downs and completely freaked out reactions of your body.

Now, don't misunderstand me.  I appreciate the hard work that doctors do to try and help us reach a point where we can live a functional life or put us back together after we do something monumentally stupid.  My rant (because it's not really a complaint, because I can see and understand the logic behind it) is born out of an overloaded sense of frustration. 

It's frustrating to deal with the cycle of hope and disappointment that comes with each new treatment plan. 

It's frustrating to have something start working, and then having to quit because the side effects are more dibelatating than the condition being treated. 

It's frustrating to realize that there might not be a way to actually bring my health levels back to a point where I can remain a functional member of society. 

A recent visit to a new rheumatologist (and one that doesn't think it's all in my head) has me hoping again that we might be able to find something that'll work. New tests, x-rays, and a willingness to not assume that I'm making it all up for attention.  Those have sparked something that's been missing for awhile (despite my family’s best efforts).

Here's hoping that we can finally break this cycle of hope and despair and get something accomplished.

-- Sham

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Take on the Shooting in Florida

By now, most people have heard about how George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin one night down in Sanford, Florida.  Some of the facts are available, some aren't.  911 calls show that Zimmerman was suspicious of Martin walking around the neighbourhood after dark.  Other calls reveal gunshots, sounds of a struggle, and cries for help.  The call from Martin to his girlfriend shows that he was worried about the guy following him through the darkness. 

One witness claims to have seen Martin on top of Zimmerman, punching him.  Zimmerman even had a wound on the back of his head and a bloody nose.  These wounds tend to confirm the witness statement.

Now, Zimmerman is claiming it was an act of self-defense.  This is where the whole thing gets murky.  The available evidence is inconclusive either way.  The whole thing hinges on whether Zimmerman instigated the fight or if Martin attacked first.  Depending on who attacked whom, the case can go from a legitimate self-defense to manslaughter, possibly murder.  A grand jury is being convened to review the evidence and see if there is probable cause for a murder investigation/trial.

Those are the facts as I'm aware of them.  Now for my opinion.

There are many things that could've (and should've) been done to avoid the necissity for this shooting.  Zimmerman could have remained in his truck and shadowed Martin until the police arrived.  Zimmerman could've shadowed on foot, if he felt the need to keep Martin in view while waiting.  Either one of these would've kept Zimmerman far enough out of reach that an escalation could've been avoided.

In my opinion, based on what little evidence we've seen, I think this is a bad shoot.  A man deliberately escalated a situation to a point where he was forced to pull his concealed pistol and shoot an unarmed teenager. 

Now, just because I think he's guilty, I don't think we should string him up under the nearest tree.  He should be given every bit of due process that we expect for anyone else.  The grand jury is the first step of this process.  If the grand jury returns an indictment, arrest him.  Try him in front of a jury of his peers.  If the jury of his peers can be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that this was a bad shoot, then lock him away as the menace to society that he is.  If none of these end up happening, then drop it.  Leave him alone. No death threats.  No outraged press releases by hate mongering hypocrits like Al Sharpton. Yes, that link goes to the wikipedia entry for Tawanda Brawley - it's a classic example of Sharpton's bigotry and hypocrisy.

As horrible as this event is for the community and both families, the national media and other people are turning it into a media circus.  There are several groups saying that it's a hate crime.  White on black killing just because the boy was "walking while black".  National media and even local papers keep referring to Zimmerman as a white man.  Funny, Zimmerman is Hispanic.  Strange that media sources leave that out of their narrative.

To wrap up this wall o' text, it was a bad event.  It's going to haunt Trayvon Martin's family for a long time.  I'm sure that it's going to be a night that George Zimmerman will never forget.  Lay off the racist hatemongering in the press.  Lay off the death threats to Zimmerman.  Remember that, though the wheels of justice turn slowly, they inexorably turn to show the truth.  If Zimmerman did murder Martin, it will come out and he will suffer for it.  But that's up to a jury to decide, not a racist militia or an agenda driven media to decide.

-- Sham

A Guy in a Skewed World: Next step

One of the things that I deal with regularly is skepticism.  There are a lot of people (quite a few of them in the medical professions) who don't see Fibromylagia as a real condition.  They see it as someone trying to get attention or faking to get out actually being a productive citizen.  I've dealt with several doctors, rheumatologists even, that did little to help me find ways to remain productive and able to provide for my family. 

Having said all that, I'm happy to say that I've found a new doctor that is actually trying to help.  For once, someone's looking at my symptoms and actually trying to figure out if there's an underlying problem that triggered the FMS (likely Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA) or if the FMS is just tagging along on it's own.  He's seems sincere in trying to find a way to get me back to some semblance of normality.  It's been only one visit, but that one visit has given me the hope that someone out there does believe that there's actually something going on and is willing to work with me to find out how to stall it.  It's going to take time, effort, and many small steps (even some backwards), but I'm willing to put the time in to be able to live a somewhat normal life.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Someone thinks I'm not crazy ...

Rather, someone thinks I'm not crazy ENOUGH.  :D 

I know it's a bit late, since it actually came in before Thanksgiving, but the Commonwealth (and my local county) decided that I wasn't crazy enough to deny a Concealed Carry Permit. 

Now, if only I can get my wife to finish the paperwork and get hers and I might not worry as much about her out and about with the kids.  Maybe when she sees what I got her for Christmas, she'll be inclined to stop procrastinating.

Sadly, working on a Federal reservation (not naming it due to privacy issues), I'm forced to be unarmed on the way to/from work.  When I run errands after work, it's a choice between driving home first (which usually means I'm going to end up NOT running the errands 'cause frankly I don't want to leave again when I get home.) or going unarmed to run the errands.  Hitting the grocery store - not a problem, usually as it's literally on the drive home. 

Ah, well.  It's all good for driving me even crazier (and yes, the peanut gallery will say that it's a really short trip).

- Sham

Friday, November 25, 2011

What a Wonderful Wife

It's been 17 years (to the exact day - it was a Friday, it's now Friday) since we held a small ceremony in my father-in-law's church.  17 years where things have been up, down, sideways, bent, spent and mutilated.  17 years that I don't regret for even a moment.  As Garth Brooks said in "The Dance", "I could've missed the pain, but then I would've missed the dance."

For Better or For Worse - We've had rocky patches over the years.  What pair if humans can live in close confines with another without SOME disagreements? And if you says "My parents didn't fight", I just say - they were better at hiding it.  It's natural to disagree, even with your mate.  What's not natural is for you to allow that disagreement to come between you.  We've had to work hard (extremely hard at some points) to manage the disagreements in a healthy manner, but we did.  Still together 17 years later and she's still my best friend.

For Richer and For Poorer - We've never been rich, money-wise.  Many years ago, we made a decision that I do not regret.  Even knowing what I do now, I'd still make the same decision.  We decided that the best thing for the children (of which we have been blessed with four) would be She Who Must Be Adored would remain home with them.  It's made it ... interesting ... from time to time dealing with a single income, but with loving family on both sides, we've managed to survive.  Seeing the way the kids have turned out, we would do it again. She Who Must Be Adored is a wonderful mother (even if she doesn't always think so) that has done right so far by her kids.  Oh, and by me.  But I tend to forget about me.  :)

In Sickness and In Health - Both of us have health issues that make it difficult sometimes.  Between her health issues and my fibromyalgia (and associated conditions), it's been difficult sometimes.  When the pain or the depression hits so bad that it's hard for the other person to understand what's going on, that's when we depend on each other the most.  I know that I would've been hard pressed to make it through the last couple years as the FMS symptoms have gotten worse and my arthritis has become almost unbearable, at times.  Having the support of a loving, caring mate has helped me get through the worst of it.  Having her and the kids in my life gives me a reason to push myself to not allow this disease to beat me.  From the bottom of my heart, her unwavering support for me during this time says more than she's ever been able to vocalize (and since she's where the kids got their chatterbox tendencies from ... that's saying something.  :D )

Til Death Do Us Part - Today marks the start of our 18th year of marriage (21st year of being a couple).  For me, it's just a down payment on the time we're going to spend together.  She Who Must Be Adored completes me (and this is just one of the reasons she must be Adored.  :) When we aren't together (I'm away on business or she's off with the kids somewhere for a couple days, what-have-you), I feel a chunk of myself missing.  The bed feels empty.  The house echos.  There's a feeling of missing something.  When she returns, all of the emptiness is filled again and I feel complete, once more.

For my beautiful wife, thank you for making the last 17 years special for me.  Happy Anniversary, love, and here's to another 53 years.  'cause 70 years together has that nice round feeling to it, don't it?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Things I Am Thankful For

There are many things in this life that I am thankful for.

I am thankful for:
  •  My wife.  After almost 17 years together, she's still by my side.  Considering how much of a stubborn, pigheaded, grumpy pain-in-the-neck I can be, well, this definitely tops my list for this year.
  • My family - my wife's been nice enough to play host to four wonderful children.  They are smart, talented and the light of our lives.  I might not show it to them as often as I should, but I very proud of the people they are growing up to be.
  • My extended immediate family.  I'm thankful that I've got family in the area that are more than willing to help when we need a hand.  I'm thankful that they are there.  Our lives would be much less without them in it.  From my mother and brother (the one that's in town) and the other brother and his wife (both of whom moved off to Texas and rarely wander back this way).  On the wife's side, I'm thankful that her mom and dad have both accepted me into their family with open arms.  They've even gone so far as to make the same invitation to the rest of my side of the family in town.  They're a very loving and generous couple.
  • My health - as miserable as I am due to health issues, I am very thankful I can still function relatively normally.  On any given day, it's in doubt, but on average, my health is reasonable enough to let me live a semi-normal life.
  • My job - Given the current economy, I'm truly grateful to still be employed.  Pay cuts hurt, but being unemployed hurts worse.  With my health making it difficult some days to be at work, the fact that I'm still employed, even with the health issues, makes me very grateful.
  • Our cats - It's little things in life, like watching two fuzzy friends grow from a small kitten to full size cats that make the world seem even more amazing.  Guen and Bel are both very opinionated furballs but definitely members of the family.  Guen loves to come and lay beside a family member that's not feeling well.  She'll lean up against them and just lay there purring and keeping them company.  A little ray of sunshine to make it easier to deal with illnesses and fatigue. Bel (aka Bellatrix and Mud depending on what she's up to) is just like another kid in the house.  She's cute, she knows it, and she intends to use it against us.  :) She's also a very loving little pest that tries help make everyone feel better.
There are many other things in my life that I'm thankful for.  I just wanted to hit the highlights for everyone to see, here.