Moving On

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Today we close on our new house.

When this process started in mid-summer of 2014, the driving impetus for us to make this move now rather than waiting as we discussed was that I simply didn't want to live here anymore. The Big Yellow House was haunted not only by memories of my lost Moe, but with guilt and grief at her passing. I think I believed that by getting out of this place my grief journey would somehow be shortened in some fashion.

I no longer believe that. Grief is grief, and it will take as long as it takes. Moving the location of my grief isn't going to make it easier to bear.

But something did happen on our way to the closing. I began to look at our new "forever home" not as an escape from my grief, but a goal worth pursuing in its own right. We knew we were going to have to move out of this house eventually (three floors, no bedroom or full bath on the main). So we intentionally selected a floor plan that will accommodate us not only now, but when we're no longer as spry as we once were. We selected a location that would suit us as retirees as well as full time employees. And we found a way to get our new home paid off prior to my impending retirement in 15 years - a gating event in our retirement plan.

So I now believe it was a good decision for us, in many different ways. We're both very excited about moving in, and getting settled. Our new neighbors all seem very nice, and our pre-planning* seems to be catching most of the things that need to be done with a newly constructed home. We believe the Big Yellow House will sell quickly and for a great price.

But it's still bittersweet.

We raised the kids in this house. Boogie lived his entire life in this house. We grew as a couple in this house. We survived the Worst Year of our Lives in this house. And we've shared a lot of laughter and love in this house with the people who make our life worthwhile.

So I'll be sad to leave here. There are a lot of things to recommend this neighborhood, including the fact that it's now a "walkable" neighborhood. Jax and I won't have so many choices for our weekly runs, and getting "into town" for errands and such will no longer be a three minute affair. But it's time to leave, and let another family put down roots here and watch their children grow up. We're empty nesters now, and our new house has been built for that purpose.

I'm trying to appreciate the old and anticipate the new, and hope for a little peace along the way. Wish me luck.



*Google spell check suggested "pee-planning" for this rather than "pre-planning." How is that a word? Seriously.

Link Me Up, Scotty - Sticking it to the Man Edition

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Ta-Nahisi Coates takes on the issue of Authority versus Power as it relates to changing police culture in this country. Thoughtful as always.
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George Lucas has decided to build hundreds of units of affordable housing in his home county of Marin in California. His fellow residents have been fighting him tooth and nail, so he decided to just fund the entire project on his own to the tune of $200 million. A fine rebuttal to the NIMBY phenomenon that seems to run rampant in the upper class in this country. Well done, Mr. Lucas. Well done, indeed.

H/T Brother Eric.
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I found the Photos of the Week over at The Atlantic's In Focus to be especially meaningful this week.
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The American Library Association has published its 2014 list of the most challenged and banned books, and also notes that "attempts to remove books by authors of color and books with themes about issues concerning communities of color are disproportionately challenged and banned." There isn't a single book on that list that I would vote to take off the shelves on our local library if the challenge came before our Board.
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In the lovely town of Parma, Missouri, they recently elected and swore in a new mayor. Mayor Tyrus Byrd is a woman of color, and has lived in the Parma her entire life. What to guess what happened next? Five out of six of the towns police officers resigned, as well as a number of other city employees, citing "safety concerns." Because having a woman of color running their town is obviously AN INVITATION TO THE APOCALYPSE. Or they don't want to work for a woman, or a person of color, or (even worse) BOTH. Good riddance, jerkwads, and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

H/T Brother Vince.
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How to be a good wife in the 50's. This totally made me throw up in my mouth. My personal fave: "Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him."

Yeah. How's that "Master of the House" thing working out for you?
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An interesting commentary on Internet trolls and their habits. The money quote:
The researchers were looking for ways to anticipate trolls, who were referred to as FBU (future banned users), by studying their habits. The study examined over 10,000 FBUs and found that their commenting life began with a lower level of literacy or clarity in comparison to the rest of the group that they were conversing with. They were generally semi-literate, provocative, and fairly persistent before they eventually got banned.

Link Me Up, Scotty

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
In Focus takes a look at an equine hospital in Istanbul, with fascinating results.
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Just in case you needed a reason to wonder once again What the fuck is wrong with people, here's an article about human trafficking. This time the victims were young gay men. I tend to believe 155 years in prison might not be sufficient.
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Once again the Armed Forces lead the way on our nation's path toward integration. Sergeant Shane Ortega, a trans male, is still on active duty after three combat tours. His final disposition will depend on a formal ruling issued by the Department of Defense. I never thought I'd say this, but GO ARMY.
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Australia considers revoking government benefits from families who refuse to vaccinate on spurious grounds such as "it causes autism." We all know how I feel about this particular issue,* so I have to say I'm for this measure. Parents are under no obligation to vaccinate their children. And governments are under no obligation to subsidize families who pose a public health risk.
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Brother Eric provides esoteric proof that Marco Rubio really is as clueless as he looks, and also makes us wonder what happened to those Bush boys, given their father's humor, intelligence and intestinal fortitude.
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Popehat takes one Colin King to task for attempting to stifle free speech at UCSD, and also for having a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the fourth estate in America's form of government. Sorry, Colin. You play with the bull, you get the horn. Or the Popehat. One of those things.
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*Vaccinations are the single greatest medical discovery in the history of the world. Seriously. And I have the numbers to prove it.

Basenji Blogging Monday - One Year Edition

Monday, April 13, 2015

Miss Jackson Pi has been with us for a year now.

It's been a challenging first year. There were a lot of things about her history and mental state we didn't know when we agreed to adopt her, and overcoming those things has been stressful all around. It would never occur to us to take less than excellent care of an animal under our protection, but growing to love her has taken longer than it did with the Boogie-Dog.

Which is not to say she hasn't made amazing progress. With the help of a structured environment, daily training, plenty of exercise, and doggie Prozac she's much calmer, less impulsive, and has much better manners. She still suffers from leash aggression, although it's somewhat better. Since we don't know what caused it, it's hard to remediate, and we're not sure she'll ever get over it.

One thing I'll give her - she's a happy dog, with a huge capacity for FUN. She's our CFO - Chief Fun Officer. Which is better than any other CXO title I can think of.

Link Me Up, Scotty - Poetic Justice and Animal Cruelty Edition

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Depression is a multi-faceted motherfucker. I've had to increase my attention to my own self-care in the last month or so, as I could feel myself slipping. Sneaky, that's what it is.
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An interesting description of the waves of grief that can overcome us during the worst times of our lives. My own journey has progressed to the point where my grief is more like a tide, with irregular cycles.
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France is passing a law that restricts how thin models can be in order to work. They're using BMI as a yardstick, which is odd, since it's such a bogus measurement for individuals (rather than groups).

I'm not sure how I feel about this. There's a part of me that applauds their efforts because I don't want the young women in my life to feel they have to be on the edge of starvation in order to be attractive. But on the other hand, it seems more than a little paternalistic, and punches women's right to self-determination right in the crotch.

H/T Sister Kaye
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Apparently, men and women approach moral dilemmas from different points of view. I find this unsurprising, and find myownself somewhere in the middle between Utilitarianism and Deontology, leaning slightly toward Deontology.

Oddly, when I read the first dilemma (the classic "go back in time and kill Hitler" scenario), the first thing that came into my mind was "I wonder what the unintended consequences are of such an act?"rather than the morality of the act.
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That dude is who used to run those disgusting "Revenge Porn" and "Change My Reputation" websites? He's been sentenced to 18 years in prison for his trouble. Well, now. Isn't this a sad, sad turn of events. Remember, kids, bortaS bIr jablu'DI', reH QaQqu' nay.
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Finally, a religious movement I can get behind. Plus it has the added benefit of allowing me to ignore those whose belief system negatively impacts my own. Because, FREEDOM.
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New federal laws will make animal cruelty a more serious crime. Because being intentionally cruel to an animal is a sure sign that something is very broken inside the perpetrator. Get some help, people. Seriously.

H/T Brother Paul
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Video of the Week: Peter Hollens covers The Hanging Tree from The Hunger Games, and lays it down with 119 voice tracks. This dude is ridiculously talented.


Link Me Up, Scotty - Shake That Thing Edition

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Who's tired of seeing the war criminal Andrew Jackson on our $20 bills? How about we get a WOMAN on that bill, someone worth emulating and admiring? Well, here's your chance. It's a grass roots movement to get Jackson off the $20 bill and replace him with a woman. The first round of voting is going on now, and there are 15 worthy candidates on the roster. Go vote!
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People are complex. People who engage in self-examination, in introspection, who try to grow internally as a way of life tend to be even more complex. And that's a good, good thing.

H/T the Incomparable Anne™.
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This male tortoise chasing off the rude naturalist who interrupted his mating session is a complete (if slow) badass.
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Sexist prosthesis, and the women who want to do something about it.
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New research into suicide offers treatment and hope.The money quote: “That there is nothing like ‘mental illness.’ It’s not an abstract thing. It has a place of residence and it’s the brain, that suicide is a disease of the brain,”

While I'm glad our donations to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are helping research scientists make strides in identifying and treating this disease, I can't help but wonder if these tests and new medications might have helped Moe, had they been available to her caregivers. 

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Video of the Week: Watching this sign language interpreter do his work for what appears to be the Swedish version of "American Idol" makes me furiously happy on his behalf, and a little wistful, too. "Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy." - Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

H/T Kat


Link Me Up, Scotty - Short Edition

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
50 pictures from 1965, my birth year. Has it been so long?
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My friend David, a history professor, wrote an essay on Thomas Malthus and his analysis of the enlightenment. I'm pretty sure my friends are smarter than your friends. Except where they overlap.
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What the fuck is wrong with people? No, seriously - WHAT?
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So apparently Mitt Romney is going to take on Evander Holyfield in the boxing ring. For charity. I think this is a FABULOUS idea, and the greatest fund raising scheme of all time. After all, who WOULDN'T pay good money to see politicians (of any stripe) get punched by retired professional boxers?
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As a woman working in technology who is constantly being interrupted, talked over, and mansplained, it makes me snigger to see someone called out in public for this bias. The fact that it was Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and the person who called him out was his own diversity expert who manages Google's unconscious bias program makes it all the sweeter.

H/T Brother Seth