Monday, October 30, 2006

The Very Sckary Pumpkin

This picture and story is by my 6-year-old daughter. I was so proud of her that I told her I would put in on my blog. Spelling and grammar are exactly as she wrote it. Enjoy.

by Sophia

This pumpkin is a Vary sckary pumpkin! Ooooooooooooooooooooo! Went a ghost! and everee boddy Ran and Ran and Ran!

The End!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Same Old Stereotypes

Persons with disabilities are still fighting for their basic civil rights in this country. While people with disabilities are the largest minority population in the United States – 19.3 percent as compared to African Americans who make up only 12.9 percent* – they are given little respect from the world and their lives are considered nothing more than a bother by the majority and other minorities for that matter.

Disability is an all-encompassing minority population, consisting of persons from different socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities, gender, location, and sexual orientation. Disability is no respecter of persons. Chances are that every person in the United States is more likely to know one or more individuals with disabilities, than they are someone with HIV/AIDS. Who doesn’t know someone with HIV/AIDS?

Still yet, the old perceptions of people with disabilities are still present today, even from the educated. These misconceptions, which lead to discrimination, are prevalent and rampant in the American psyche. There are several stereotypes that are still prevalent in today’s society. One of which is the idea that people with disabilities are scammers, liars and cheaters out to get ahead at the expense of everyone around them and scam their ways into a cushy, lazy lifestyle. So said Rush Limbaugh about Michael J. Fox and his battle with Parkinson’s disease.

“He is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act…. This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting.”

And so it goes for many people with disabilities. For some reason this stereotype is still running rampant throughout our society and people with disabilities, and disability advocates, sit idly by and say little about the real issue. Oh they complain about Limbaugh’s remarks and insist he apologizes, but they don’t do a good job addressing the underlying stereotype. People with disabilities are not lazy or out to steal the state’s money any more than African Americans have that extra rib and are genetically inferior to whites. It’s a ridiculous argument. Sure, there are people in the world who look for an easy ride, but I can tell you that disability is no easy ride.

Living with diabetes, post-polio disease, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, Down syndrome, autism, spinal cord injury, HIV/AIDS, head injury, multiple sclerosis, or any other host of disabilities is a rough ride. Yet the sheep believe that if you have a disease or condition, then that disability affects you the same every single day. That too, is simply a case of ignorance on the part of the Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the world. Someone with multiple sclerosis never knows how their disease is going to affect them day-by-day. One Monday, someone can walk on their own, and then on Tuesday they may have to use a wheelchair. From the outside, that has the appearance of scam, but it isn’t. That’s the nature of multiple sclerosis.

The same is said for many disabilities, including Parkinson’s. People with Tourette’s Syndrome speak out inappropriately. They may curse profusely and be unable to stop. However, someone with Tourette’s may be able to control it for short amounts of time, giving the perception that they can really control it if they just try harder. What people do not realize is that when the person goes home the dam breaks and they will be worse than typical, spouting curses for longer periods of time. Control of certain diseases can be achieved for short periods of time, but it doesn’t last and can be very taxing for the individual. It’s a case of understanding, real understanding, of a disability.

Why do we care what Michael J. Fox has to say, anyway? Lots of people think that actors have no business talking about issues.

I care about what Magic Johnson has to say about living with HIV/AIDS, not because he is famous, but because he lives with the disease every day. He knows about it. That’s why I care.

I care what Oprah says when it comes to managing weight because she knows what it’s like. I care what Carnie Wilson says when it comes to living with gastric by-pass surgery. They both get it, albeit from different perspectives, and they understand the struggle. So when they speak on the subject, I pay attention to their thoughts.

Right now, a lot of people would try to get us to believe that because someone is famous, then we should not care about what they think. Working in Hollywood or the entertainment business does not automatically discount someone’s perspective. It has nothing to with Hollywood at all. When someone speaks out on a subject they live and breathe every day, then their perspective is valid and deserves it due. I may disagree with them, but people in similar circumstances often disagree.

Pundits, television and radio show hosts, and newspaper editors and reporters all think they have something important to say about stem cell research or other various issues, but the fact is, it may be those radio show hosts and reporters that are the least qualified to offer opinions. In the case of Parkinson’s disease and stem cell research, Fox has a valid perspective. Why do we care what some radio show host says? What qualifies Rush Limbaugh as an expert on stem cell research? Are these media personalities somehow more educated; are their thoughts more valid than someone living with Parkinson’s disease or diabetes? Could be they are living with a disease, or know someone that is. We don’t know that unless they tell us, which in the case of full disclosure, they should do.

Michael J. Fox is not being exploited. That is something idiotically stated by those who disagree with him in an attempt to discredit him, but it’s bunk. Fox has been a supporter of stem cell research and has dedicated his life to finding cures and has his own foundation. That doesn’t mean that someone has to agree with him, but his thoughts shouldn’t be invalidated either just because he is an actor. He’s an American living with a disease and he knows something about that.

I care what Michael J Fox has to say about stem cell research and I care what veterans say about politicians who vote against veteran’s benefits. Just because I listen to their thoughts doesn’t mean I vote their conscience. I vote my own, thank you very much.

(* According to the 2000 Census Bureau.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Trick-or-Treat for Unicef

You already know that Halloween is a big deal in our home. This year my wife decided to start a new Halloween tradition: Trick-or-Treat for Unicef. We will be collecting donations for Unicef while we trick-or-treat.

I’ve never really known anything about this, but it sounds wonderful. By emptying the change in her purse ($3.76), my wife provided a child with the following:

  1. A pencil
  2. Paper Pad Ink pen
  3. Saved the lives of 11 children (by providing 11 packets of Oral Rehydration Salts which is used to treat dehydration due to drinking contaminated water.)

If we only raise $4 we can purchase a large wool blanket. If we raise $35 we can provide pencils and books for 50 children so they can participate in school. If we raise $150 we can buy a hand pump for a village well to provide safe, clean water.

A one-time donation of $17 (yes, seventeen) we can purchase life-time vaccines for one child, immunizing that child against the six leading child-killing diseases (measles, mumps, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, and tuberculosis.)

So while we are out having fun and celebrating, we will also be thinking about other children who are starving and dying. It doesn’t take much; just some loose change. Unlike other fundraisers, where they guilt trip people into donating, we will simply be saying: “Trick-or-Treat for Unicef.” Those in the know, who will also see us carrying our little orange Unicef boxes, can give if they like. For those who ask, we will explain what we are doing and offer them the chance. For those who don’t ask, we will move on and wish them a Happy Halloween. You can also give online if you prefer. If you'd like to join in, you can pick up Unicef boxes at Pier 1.

It’s a new family Halloween tradition. My wife’s good idea.

New to the Blogosphere

Some announcements:

My friend, bicycle budding, and one time guest Blogger, Heavy P, started his own blog (Heavy P’s Think Tank) to which he has two posts. He lives in the Ozarks and we’ve known each other for many a long day.

Another compadre, Lenny, has also plugged into the rapidly growing Internet revolution as LENISIMO1WORLD. I’ve known him for a few years and now he works over there with Larry and Bryan.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

How To Raise A Hooker

I’m not crazy about some of the dolls being created for our girls these days. I don’t generally participate in bans and I don’t think the Tele Tubbies are gay. But the idea of creating dolls that dress like hookers doesn’t really appeal to me either. I think there are better choices.

Barbie has been a staple in girl toys for generations. I have my issues with Barbie and the images she projects, but I allowed my daughter to have them, once she asked for them. I didn’t introduce them to her before that. The antes been upped with the introduction of the Bratz line of dolls, by MGM Entertainment.

This line of doll has pouty, Angelina Jolie, come-hither lips, big eyes, lots of make-up and skimpy clothes. I’ve objected to them since I saw them and have encouraged my daughter toward other dolls. The other school children are serving to circumvent my work. Everyone has Bratz dolls, backpacks, shirts and other products. It’s everywhere.

We have told our 6-year-old that we don’t’ have Bratz. Then last year she got one for Christmas from someone else. I allowed her to keep the doll, as this particular one was dressed appropriately. Still don’t like those lips, or rather I don’t like what those lips convey to my daughter, but she kept her.

A Bratz doll is on the top of her Christmas list. She’s been asking for one for quite a while. My wife was borderline on the idea and was encouraging me to find another doll with better fashion sense. My Mother agreed, making a fine point: Wonder Woman doesn’t have many clothes on either and I have no problems with her.

So I conceded, saying that I will not buy her one, but if Santa gives my daughter an appropriately dressed Bratz doll, then I will be okay with it. Actually we ordered it yesterday from Amazon. Gotta love free shipping. We shop for Christmas all year long. It helps us with expenses and decreases our seasonal stress.

This morning my wife came into the office while I was blogging and apologized. Bratz is introducing another toy. This had baby Bratz in a dance club, dressed in club wear (tit bibs and ho shorts) shaking their stuff. The toy has platforms for the dancing babies (babies referring to the age of the dolls and not as a sexual inference). My wife said she agreed with me, that these toys are getting out of control.

These Bratz are flying off the shelves and it is hurting Barbie enough that she has introduced her own line of whorific dolls called Bling Bling Barbie. Again with the eyes, lips and club wear.

As I stated earlier, I don’t do the whole ban thing to well. I am certainly not a Victorian, puritanical nut job. I believe in teaching all pre-teens about their bodies and safe sex. I don’t see teaching as some kind of permission slip to have sex. I do not wish for the good old days of discrimination and social oppression of women. But I’m not sure that these toys are appropriate for children, that’s all. I am going to provide you reader with some pictures of the dolls. You may up your own mind about them. As for me, I’m going to allow Santa to bring my daughter on, so long as he brings one that doesn’t look like a hooker.

This is back-to-school cloe from the Bratz line of dolls. I find her dressed appropriately and have told Santa that if he brings her one, then this is the one to bring. She's cute. I don't have a problem with her. The next little one, on the other hand, I have some concerns about.

This little darling is wearing a thong. A baby in a thong. There are so many things wrong with this. For the love of God, what is MGM Entertainment thinking with this?

These are some Bratz Babies, dressed for a night on the town. These girls aren't any better than thong-along above.

These little hookers are ready to grind and groove at the local discotech.

One of the teenaged Bratz dolls.

This is new Barbie line known as Bling Bling Barbie. It was developed to compete with the Bratz. Notice the change in Barbie's lips and eyes. How about that tit bib?

Does it bother anyone else that the Bratz Babies are dressed more scantily than the teenagers? We have enough sexualization and exploitation of children as it is. I am fearful of encouraging young children to act and dress in a sexual manner. Predators already claim that the child actually wanted it in the first place. I would think that this would only exasperate the situation. Babies in thongs are an easy line for me to draw. Obviously not so with others.

Yap, Yap, Yap

Education majors are the talkingist groups of people I have ever seen. They yip and yap and carry on in the middle of lecture like no other group of people I have seen before. It’s not only rude but also very distracting and for some reason may of the professors say nothing about it.

Now I have noticed that people carry in during class like nobody’s business, but I hadn’t put together who many of those people were until my friend, Heavy P who is also going back to get his Master’s degree in education, pointed it out to me. The worst offenders are education majors. That just befuddles me, but so far his observation is proving true. I have several education classes this semester and I am amazed how much talking goes on.

One instructor has called on one particular offender and mentioned that he is going to answer her question if she’s ready. You know what, that didn’t detour her in the least bit. He answered her question and she went right back to yapping her damn head off.

Now it deserves mentioning that I may refer to these offenders as “she”. However you shouldn’t infer anything by that. The vast majority of people in education classes are female and so that is going to naturally occur. That is not to say that the only yappers in college are ladies. Actually I think it has more to do with the independent and personality of those who choose education. Education majors may tend to be more outgoing, talkative, independent and instructional (in that they will help or tutor their neighbors).

Now I don’t talk out of turn in class, but I think that has more to do with my age. I am a talker by nature. I have to say that it would seem that the future teachers might want to show more respect for their teacher. I don’t want my students to have conversations when I am talking or giving instructions. I do expect interaction and I promote collaboration, just not when I’m speaking. I wonder how these honkers will react when their students yip and yap?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Gone Daddy Gone, The Gizzard is Gone

(Pictured Above: The purple organ in the middle is my gallbladder. The red organ above that is my liver. That yellow stuff cradling the gallbladder is a soft protective pillow of fat. How about that? You can see more pictures if you click here.

This is the most descriptive picture I have. It's the only one taken inside my body. The rest are either of me before the surgery, the doc holding my gallbladder in his hand, and one of my incisions. So don't fret about checking them out.)

I had to have my gallbladder removed. It was only functioning at 12 percent. That is, when it fills up it is supposed to empty at 30 percent or so. Mine was only emptying at 12 percent. So it had to go. No stones to speak of, so that is good. I’ve been having a large amount of pain over the last year and the thinking is that it is due to the gallbladder. It’s too early to tell because I hurt all over right now.

Laparoscopic surgery is the way to go. The recovery time is much less and the pain is quite tolerable. I was up and slowly puttering about the house all day on Tuesday after the surgery. I was sore and groggy but I could move a bit.

Monday (the day before the surgery) 4:30 p.m.
I had received no information on my surgery time as of yet. I called the doctor’s office to find out my surgery time for the next morning. I was told that this is typical procedure and not to worry. I got my time to show up the next day: 5:30 a.m. That is early, but I’m used to getting up before the crows.

Tuesday – Surgery Day 5:30 a.m.
I showed up at admitting and there was a wait. A wait at the crack of God? Come to find out they have 22 surgery rooms on the third floor of the hospital. Seems like a lot to me. No wonder they have a hard time scheduling everyone’s surgeries.

5:45 a.m.
I was led into a room to dress into the new fall line of hospital gowns. I found that the new ecru colored gowns complimented my mood well and was appropriate for the morning’s event. The fashion guru’s of What Not To Wear would have been proud of color choice but would have found fault with the fit. The first one was a Large and wouldn’t even go over my shoulders. The next gown was a mammoth moo moo, but at least it covered my backside with no gaps for the gals.

6 a.m.
The nurse came in to the room to check my blood sugar and ask me a host of questions that every other person in the hospital would also ask me. I discovered that she wasn’t in the mood for any shenanigans, but she got some anyway. When she stuck me in the finger to test my blood sugar I yelped like a dog whose tail just got run over by a 3-year-old on a tricycle. She jumped and just apologized all over herself; explaining that they have to use the larger, square pen needles because some people have tough skin. I just smiled.

Of course my peanut gallery was giggling and hiding their eyes out of embarrassment. She slugged me and kept on smiling. If you’re going to be cut on, you might as well have fun with it. You know, I don’t think she ever came back to check on me after that.

6:30 a.m.
The orderly came to wheel me away to the anesthesia barn. With 22 surgery rooms the anesthesia holding tank is some kind of huge barn-like room – rows and columns of cows lined up ready to have their teats connected and milked.

Sure enough Farmer Millie, Farmer Susan and Farmer Brown all asked me the same questions in succession. The funny part was they were all three standing next to my bed at the same time. Millie asked then left. Susan asked the same questions as she prepped my prepped and ran a line into my arm. She was a heck of a farmer. Typically the stickers have to jab me several times, pulling and pushing the needle in and out to get the vein. Farmer Susie knew what she was doing. She numbed the hand first before sticking me and she nailed it the first time. I like Farmer Susie. She walked off and the head drug doc took her place and asked the same questions she did. Redundancy is safety. After that I just waited, watching them hook up the other heifers until my doctor came for me.

They took my glasses away so I wasn’t able to see the clock or follow the time, but I can estimate it pretty well.

7:15 a.m.
They wheeled me down to the surgery room – a tile room with lots of machines just haphazardly scattered about. We chatted for a bit. I asked the doc if he could let me have the gallbladder in the Mason jar I brought along. He agreed to take pictures for me and that appeased me. I reminded them sawbones which side the gallbladder was on, at which point they had their fill of me and put me down.

Sometime thereafter
The surgery only took about 20 minutes, as I was told later. I woke up hard from the surgery. I don’t care for the feeling right after you wake up from anesthesia. Fortunately it goes away in seconds as I gain my faculties. I don’t really remember it, so maybe my faculties were not really about me, but they wheeled me back into my original room where my family was waiting for me.

By that time I was ready to get up and empty my utter out and walk around. They let me use the little cow’s room, but didn’t indulge my desire to explore the hallways. If I was going to fall it had to be on my own property. Somewhere in there I must have gotten dressed back in my own clothes but I don’t remember it. I do know they wheeled me out in a wheelchair sized to fit a king of my stature. It was very kind of them to not cram me into a skinny chair. To the homestead I went.

Since then I’ve been home recovering and working on homework. You see, Thursday and Friday of this week is fall break, but don’t assume that means anything to our instructors. They have no respect for the concept of break. I have two novels to read, two papers to write, two midterms to study for, and other various assignments due. Surgery or no surgery, everything is due Monday and Tuesday so I am doing my best. Good thing that I am recovering so quickly or I would be screwed come next week.

I’ve had lots of help at home as both my wife and Mom are home. Good thing to because we’ve had lots of visitors and phone calls. I’m not complaining about that. It was nice. I have been going a bit stir crazy between resting and homework.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Surgery Update

Gallbladder surgery went well yesterday. I’m home recovering and doing pretty well. I’ll have an in-depth report later this week. I have photos of the surgery (thanks to the doc) which I will have to have scanned before I can post them. Now that's something you can look forward to.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Developing Grey Idealism

By Heavy P
Guest Blogger

One of the beautiful things about the society we live in is that we can buy almost anything anytime. If I want the latest issue of Playboy and a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby to soothe the pain of loneliness while Linda is out of town, I can. Of course this also means that I can buy anything I need anytime also, which is probably of more importance.

I am 38 years old and I find that often I still think like a 20-year-old. Besides sex, I am talking about black-and-white idealism. This is my term for looking at a complex issue in an overly simplistic way. An easy example is the Iraq war. I tend to run around screaming that Bush is an idiot and what the Hell is he doing over there except pissing on a hornets’ nest. But the truth is I don't know what is going on over there. For all I know his plan is brilliant and I am just too ignorant to understand all the factors that go into a decision like that.

The idea of Black-and-White Idealism is how I (and I believe most of us) look at most social issues, which brings me to my "local issue" consumerism. Since we have the privilege to buy anything we want or need at anytime we also have the power, and Spiderman would say the responsibility, to use that dollar to promote our values. But sometimes the local health food store isn't open at 3 o’clock in the morning so I can get some organic maple syrup to put on my Waffle House waffles. What is a hungry man to do, go to Wal-mart? Wait, I hate Wal-mart. They under pay employees, run local shops out of business, sell inferior merchandise, harm the environment, strong-arm government and other meeker corporations, and are way too smug.

But I really want my syrup!

So in the spirit of Grey Idealism (the idea that complex issues demand complex solutions) I have developed a methodology of consumerism:

1. When possible I make it myself. This might mean anything from my breakfast oatmeal to my china cabinet. But often I am tired or the kitchen is filthy or I am out of oatmeal so step two.

2. I buy from a local, independent, retailer that sells local independent products. Since there are not many local producers of Scottish oatmeal we go to step 3.

3. I buy from a local, independent retailer that sells products that are national but are not mass-produced to an extent that the craft is taken out. Sometimes I can't afford a crafted product or can't find a non-mass produced product, so step 4.

4. I buy national brands at local shops like an i-Pod from Database Systems instead of Best Buy, but sometimes I can't afford that national product from a local dealer or I am going to have to wait much too long before I get said product, so step 5.

5. I buy national brands at chain stores that share my values, like Newman's Own Organics (they give all their profits to charity), but sometimes I need something that this store doesn't carry, so step 6.

6. I buy national brands at chain stores that I view as having corporate values that are neither positive nor negative. Like Starbucks (they give employees the benefits but they move in next to established coffee houses and try to steal their clientele.) But sometimes it is 3 o’clock in the morning and Linda is sick and she needs Comtrex so she can sleep. So Step 7.

7. I buy national brands at chain stores that have horrible ethics (gasp). I know, I know but here is the deal. Do I let Linda suffer all night, or do I give my dollars (and therefore support) to the devil in a mega-building? I probably say, "Hello Lucifer".

I know this plan isn't perfect. I know that emergencies are subjective, but I think by adopting a Grey Idealism maybe I'm starting to balance pragmatism and idealism.

(JACK’S NOTE: This piece was written by my long-time friend and bicycle buddy, Heavy P. He’s been discussing his Grey Idealism with me for a long time, so I invited him to write about it and publish it on my blog. Unlike some of my alter egos who publish on this blog, Heavy P is a real person. He’s just doesn’t want his own blog.)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Legislators Should Quit Preaching to the Choir

I've decided to write a Letter to the Editor regarding the upcoming election. One of the hot races involves my local district, the 135th, between incumbant Charlie Denison (R) and challenger Nancy Hagan (D). I've had communications with both of them – Denison in the past and Hagan more recently.

Larry at Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind got me to thinking about the candidates. He was very impressed with how one of his candidates, James Owens, persisted in communicating with Larry, even when Larry disagreed with him. In fact Owens went to great lengths to locate Larry.

I am convinced that a good legislator listens to his or her constituency. Considering all voters, despite party affiliation, is important to the process and is the foundation for a good democracy. Too many legislators only listent to those that agree with them. They preach to the choir. Too bad. So I decided to write a Letter to the Editor and express my views.

The prose writer in me has a hard time sticking to the 200 word requirement. I don't like that, but understand it as a pragmatic necessity. So here is the Letter to the Editor that I submitted:

Representatives, good representatives should listen to their constituency even to those who have dissenting views. That is the basis of a functioning democracy. That’s why I voted for Republican Roy Holland twice. I disagreed with him on many issues, but he always listened to me and responded to my letters and visits to Jefferson City.

Unfortunately, my thoughts are no longer considered valid. My Representative, Republican Charlie Denison, unlike his predecessor, doesn’t have time to listen to my views even though we’ve written letters and visited him in Jefferson City. When justifying his vote to cut the MAWD program, he promised that if people who really needed it were hurt that he would “fix it.” Well they were hurt and he did not work to fix it.

His opponent, Democrat Nancy Hagan, has come by my house more than once. She has responded to my inquiries and agreed to have our correspondence published on my blog. Party affiliations aside, it is more important that a Representative actually listen to me, even when we might disagree.

This time around I’m voting for Democrat Nancy Hagan because she has listened to me, and that is the foundation of a functioning democracy.

Jack Wilson

And yes, I included my blog address. It's time that bloggers are taken seriously, which means we must take ourselves seriously. So I included my blog address in my signature. I also sent a note giving permission to use my blog address if they choose to. We'll see what the News-Leader does with it. It doesn't really matter to me either way, but it will be interesting to see.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gutting My Gizzard (revised)

Apparently the doctors have decided not to do my surgery at the outpatient surgery center, or whatever that place is called. Instead I’m to show up at the hospital to have my gizzard removed. Still planning on a laparoscopic surgery. The only thing to change is the place.

Because of the place change, that also changes my surgery date to Tuesday, October 17. That doesn’t really bother me except it means I miss two days of school – something I am not wishing to do. It’s excused, but I’d still rather be in class if I could.

So while I’m recovering, the local bloggers will be having a meeting at the Patton Alley Pub. Someone please have one of two drinks for me:

  1. Uno Dos Equis
  2. Scotch on the rocks

These Boots Are Made For Walking

And that’s just what they’ll do.
These boots, right here, someday I’ll say,

Will walk all over you

And they’re likely to walk all over me if I don’t watch it. This daughter of mine is a precocious little thing – confident and strong – a child that loves to argue semantics. And boy does she have a temper. Some might find that hard and try to tame her. I prefer to channel her strength into positive places. I wouldn’t want to educate those qualities out of her. She may be a challenge to discipline at times, but it's the price you pay to bring up a strong leader.


You might think that my fridge is not a thing to blog about, but you would be wrong. But if MTV finds it of interest to show the interior of the fridge of some obscure musician, then surely you will be interested in my ice box. Come on, how often does a fridge look that clean? The wife got a wild hair on Saturday and really went to town on the fridge. I won’t tell you what we found, but I will show you a job well done.

I’ve been informed that the microwave is in need of a bath in some kind of serious way. I’ve also been told that my wife has put away her washrag for a while so the zapper is mine. That’s a fair trade so you won’t hear my complaining. Of course I have seen the microwave yet, but still. She also keeps pointing at the closet where the vacuum hides. I think that’s a sign of another job to come.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Ugly Side

My recent health problems, which turned out to be the gallbladder, have given me pause. I have been thinking about death a lot, while sitting around and wondering what was wrong with me to cause me such pain. It’s made me realize just how delicate our bodies are.

I am considering, based on the surgeon's recommendations, weight loss surgery. This includes gastric by-pass and the lap band surgery … (You can read the rest of my post here).

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Are We Doing Anything Important in Class Today?

One of our projects in my Children’s Literature class was to write a report on six different children’s picture books. Not really a hard assignment as far as I can tell, but an important one as it helps to build our ability to present literature to our students and help us to talk intelligently about the books, using literary terms. It’s a rudimentary class designed for teachers, so I tend to get a bit bored, but I enjoyed this project immensely.

The instructor set aside two days for us to present one of the books to the class. We were to talk more in-depth about the book, the illustrations, the plot, the characters, the use of language and the intended age of the audience, among other things.

Monday most of the class had gone. Today, Wednesday, one of the students who presented on Monday sat in his chair and read a novel while the other students presented. The instructor was on the other side of the room and I think the student was using me to eclipse him from her.

I just wanted to smack the living crap right out of him. Now I understand being bored in a class, but this is a class for future teachers. Everyone in there is supposed to want to teach. It’s supposed to be our field of interest. He wants to be a coach, and maybe that explains it, but it seems to me that he’s playing into our negative stereotype of coaches. A coach can be an intelligent and effective teacher. Now I will say that not one single coach in my high school was a good teacher. Not one. Most of them told us to read the text while they wrote down plays in their playbook. Yet I know that can’t be the norm, and it angers me when folks play into those stereotypes.

Not only should he be engaged, but he should at least be respectful enough to listen, or pretend to listen, to the other student presenters. We all respected him when he presented. Stupid Jackass needs a kick in the head. Where is Chuck Norris when you need him?

Gutting My Gizzard

(The gizzard is shown in green and sits below and behind the liver.)

I'm having my gizzard removed later this month. After almost a year of pain, the doctors have discovered that my gallbladder isn't functioning properly and is causing me great pain. This has been quite an ordeal to find out what was wrong with me.

This has caused me an incredible amount of pain and worry as no one knew what was wrong with me. I have stayed up many nights concerned about my health and wondering if something life threatening was wrong. I'm relieved to know that it is not fatal.

(You can read more about my gallbladder experience and my journey to lose weight at my new blog: FAT JACK – skinny whinny.)

Monday, October 02, 2006

My Skinny Suit

My life has taken a major turn in the last year. Federal funding for my job was terminated for all like agencies, I decided to change careers, I went back to school to get my Masters Degree and I’ve encountered several health-related issues.

With all of these changes, I decided, with the support of my family, to revamp my life and make lemonade. My self is in a state of flux. I embrace change from time to time. My life seems to ebb and flow and several times in my existence everything has been turned upside down.

My health is one of those issues and we, my family and I, are still working on toward healthier goals for me. I bought a bicycle and I ride between seven and 10 miles per week. It started at three and has steadily increased, especially with the support from my bicycle buddy and long time friend, Paul (Heavy P.)

Together, we are Ton-of-Fun, as we are both BIG men. We are our own health-related support group. He and I are on a journey to find, or carve out, a new frame. I am documenting my odyssey of weight and my search for my own Holy Grail – The Skinny Suit.

I invite you to follow along this journey, a mouse in my possible bag. I am ready to share my life of weight, my BIGness, in all of its glory and grief. It will not be easy as I will share with you harrowing experiences, agonizing thoughts, and disturbing imagery. Many of you may not wish to know such things about anyone, especially me. You may need to be selective in what posts you read or maybe refrain all together. But it will not all be sorrowful. I will also share my success, my acceptance of me, and my understanding of BIGness and how I have come to discover and define myself. You can join me at:

FAT JACK –– skinny whinny