How do you decide where to live?

Over the last two years, Sam and I have talked about mov­ing else­where. Geor­gia has almost no con­sumer pro­tec­tions for cit­i­zens, has a crap­py sup­port struc­ture for humans in just about every way you can imag­ine, and has law enforce­ment who don’t care to enforce laws unless you’ve got enough mon­ey to get their atten­tion. Essen­tial­ly, we want to live in a blue state, which means leav­ing the Bible belt. Cool­er weath­er would be nice, too. Less humid heat, at least, would be a relief.

We haven’t real­ly made plans, not want­i­ng to uproot Katie while she was in school and so on. There’s a lot of iner­tia, too, since I’ve been here all my life (except for the few years in Alaba­ma before my par­ents moved us to Atlanta). Sam was born here, and was­n’t thrilled with New York or New Jer­sey when he lived there. Our fam­i­lies are here, which means some­thing, even if we don’t see them that often.
Con­tin­ue read­ing “How do you decide where to live?”

Poetry: Michael Blumenthal

For my Sam

A Mar­riage
You are hold­ing up a ceil­ing
with both arms. It is very heavy,
but you must hold it up, or else
it will fall down on you. Your arms
are tired, ter­ri­bly tired,
and, as the day goes on, it feels
as if either your arms or the ceil­ing
will soon col­lapse.

But then,
unex­pect­ed­ly,
some­thing won­der­ful hap­pens:
Some­one,
a man or a woman,
walks into the room
and holds their arm up
to the ceil­ing beside you.

So you final­ly get
to take down your arms.
You feel the relief of respite,
the blood flow­ing back
to your fin­gers and arms.
And when your part­ner’s arms tire,
you hold up your own
to relieve him again.

And it can go on like this
for many years
with­out the house falling.

From Against Romance: Poems by Michael Blu­men­thal, Pen­guin Books, 1988

MomoCon?

Any­body going to Momo­Con here in Atlanta? I’d nev­er heard of it before today. It’s free, and may be in its sec­ond year (I’m not sure). It seems quite small, which could be nice. It’s local, which is a big plus for us. I’m unclear as to whether there’s any gam­ing hap­pen­ing or not, and there’s no men­tion of filk­ing that I can see.

News Flash: Decatur Teen Comes Home Early From Date!

What a weirdo! I mean, you’d think these kids were being, I don’t know, respon­si­ble or some­thing! Just because she has an appoint­ment ear­ly in the morn­ing, she came home ear­ly.

Kids these days! I don’t think I ever got home an hour and a half before cur­few.

Maybe she’s smarter than I was. Hmmm.

But, real­ly, she should have giv­en us a warn­ing. She caught us pod­cast­ing!

Squee! Hope is Coming!

I’m so excit­ed! We’re going to have our very own Hope Evey vis­it in a few months! We final­ly get to meet the sweet pret­ty lady in per­son!

A Cappella Music, Babylon5, and Firefly, Oh My!

This after­noon, I opened the blinds on the win­dows behind my chair, think­ing it would draw Kioshi off the mon­i­tor (his tail kept obscur­ing the screen) to look out the win­dows. Nope. He turned around, so at least his tail was­n’t in the way, but he was inor­di­nate­ly pleased with him­self because he could then sur­vey his world from his nice, warm perch.

I down­load a ridicu­lous num­ber of pod­casts, then for­get to lis­ten to them. I can’t find my MP3 play­er, and it’s tiny any­way (512k), so it does­n’t hold much. Sam has the same kind, and he gets by, but he’s more moti­vat­ed: it keeps him sane while he’s “out there” every day. I nor­mal­ly take the lazy way out and lis­ten to Pan­do­ra or Last.FM.
Con­tin­ue read­ing “A Cap­pel­la Music, Babylon5, and Fire­fly, Oh My!”

Happy Wednesday!

Sam and I had a very nice date night while Katie was out with her beau. He had start­ed mak­ing chili last night, fin­ished it tonight, and added corn muffins. I’m not a big fan of chili (I won’t eat it if Sam did­n’t make it), but it was a very sat­is­fy­ing meal.

The girl is doing very well in the online course she’s tak­ing, and I’m hap­py to say that my semes­ter is going well, too. It’s hard to believe that my baby will like­ly start col­lege cours­es this sum­mer or fall!
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Hap­py Wednes­day!”

Responses to various comments about ME and FMS

Some of the com­ments are pret­ty old by now, but there are cer­tain themes that come back, over and over again. I’ve decid­ed to answer them once, and that’s it.

ME and FMS are not “lifestyle” dis­eases. Researchers have found genet­ic, neu­ro­log­i­cal and car­di­o­log­i­cal anom­alies, so get off that blame-the-vic­tim bull­shit. We know bet­ter. We’ve done the diet and exer­cise dance. We’ve tried air-clean­ers and remov­ing tox­ins and nat­ur­al cleansers and vit­a­mins and health foods, and while some of them are nicer than the alter­na­tives, they can­not cure chron­ic fatigue syn­drome or fibromyal­gia because they are not part of the cause.

While we’re at it, no, alien abduc­tions don’t cause FMS, either. I know you’re laugh­ing, but there real­ly is site out there that makes such claims. No, I won’t link to it. It’s bad enough that it exists!

“Chron­ic Fatigue Syn­drome” is a total­ly inad­e­quate name for a dis­or­der whose suf­fer­ers expe­ri­ence far, far, more than a lit­tle tired­ness. That’s why we have a new and bet­ter name for CFS, as of Jan­u­ary 2007: ME/CFS, or myal­gic encephalopathy/chronic fatigue syn­drome. The dis­ease has been known as ME all along in the rest of the world, although some­times the acronym was used for myal­gic encephalomyelitis. Per­son­al­ly, I pre­ferred one of the oth­er sug­ges­tions, chron­ic neu­roen­docrineim­mune dys­func­tion syn­drome (CNDS), but I was­n’t on the com­mit­tee.

I would hap­pi­ly rename fibromyal­gia “you don’t want to be me” or “betray­al by entire body, tak­ing your mind with it,” but I don’t think any­body is sug­gest­ing that it be renamed. The name just does­n’t seem ade­quate to its impact, though it’s a lit­tle bet­ter than some of the old­er names, like “rheuma­tism.”

To oth­ers who have said “pre­ven­tion is bet­ter than cure.” Well, yes, and “a stitch in time saves 9.” Yup. I’ve got plen­ty of apho­risms, too. Tell me, pray, how one “pre­vents” dis­or­ders whose ori­gin is unclear? As I said above, researchers have iden­ti­fied genet­ic anom­alies. We have fair­ly good evi­dence that fibromyal­gia, at least, has a genet­ic com­po­nent. We’ve got brain scans show­ing that fibromites’ brains react dif­fer­ent­ly to painful stim­uli, and oth­er tests show­ing that our spinal flu­id has much high­er lev­els of a neu­ropep­tide involved in trans­mit­ting pain impuls­es than non-fibromites.

With that in mind, how would you go about “pre­vent­ing” fibromyal­gia? Advis­ing us not to breed? Many of us have already done so by the time we’re diagnosed—and, of course, that can’t help us when we’ve already got the dis­ease. We can use our own diag­noses as warn­ings that our own chil­dren may have a sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ty to fibromyal­gia, but what then? Smoth­er them in cot­ton bat­ting, to keep them from expe­ri­ence any stres­sors in life that might set off the FMS bomb in their genes?

Being fat does­n’t cause ME or FMS, either, although it’s com­mon to gain weight after devel­op­ing either dis­or­der. I don’t know any­one who is able to main­tain the lev­el of activ­i­ty he or she did before falling ill, and many of the drugs used to treat the symp­toms of these dis­or­ders cause weight gain. Los­ing weight is even more dif­fi­cult for us than for oth­er peo­ple. Telling us that we’d feel bet­ter if we lost weight is not help­ful in the least. I’ve nev­er once heard of any­one who was “cured” of FMS or ME because he or she lost weight—and if it were hap­pen­ing, I would know it, because I pay a lot of atten­tion to these things.

Even if I thought weight loss offered a “cure,” or even ame­lio­ra­tion of symp­toms, I see no rea­son to dis­cuss drugs like Xeni­cal at any length. Any drug or pro­ce­dure promis­ing weight loss will has an easy time get­ting approved because of our soci­ety’s hatred of fat peo­ple. Fen-phen, any­one? “Oh, the drug will kill some patients, or leave them with per­ma­nent heart dam­age? Hell, it’s worth it if there’s a chance of los­ing weight!” The weight-lossself-hatred indus­try has more than enough mon­ey and pow­er to lube their way past any flim­sy lit­tle reg­u­la­tions stand­ing in their way.

Diet and sports and their rela­tion to weight are anoth­er thing all togeth­er, and beyond the scope of this blog. I rec­om­mend you to peruse the worlds of the delight­ful Sandy Szwarc over at Junk­food Sci­ence, who does cov­er that top­ic, fre­quent­ly, thor­ough­ly, and well.