Longest Ramble In A While…

I’m not gonna link to either of them, but yesterday evening when I was catching up on the news on Twitter, I came across two different things that really bothered me. 😟 Both of them were in Michigan, and both were part of a protest against the physical distancing / stay at home orders that have been put in place due to Michigan being one of the most affected states in regards to coronavirus / COVID-19.

I wanna start by saying that I do get why people are frustrated and want to be heard. πŸ₯Ί In fact, they’re more frustrated than I can even empathize with because they’ve been off work, losing their jobs, their businesses going under, and that’s obviously gonna take a toll on people. πŸ™ I know that I have days where it even gets to me more than I’d expect it to, so when people are unable to pay their bills, their rent, medical bills, etc.

But the first part of the protest that caught my eye were the hundreds of people who forced their way into one of the government buildings. I’m not sure if it was the state house, but it’s where the politicians were trying to do their jobs while protesters were shouting and screaming at law enforcement, banging on doors and walls, demanding that they bet let in. 😳 I think most people would expect a protest like that eventually, but this one went further – because many of the protesters were also dressed up like militia and were carrying loaded semi-automatic rifles. 😧

When you look at the video footage, I hate to say it, but those people looked and acted like you’d expect those kinds of folks to look and act… meaning, people who show up with guns when there’s no apparent reason to do so. πŸ˜’ And the ones who didn’t have guns, it’s not like they were discouraging the ones who did. Common sense says they brought their guns with them so they would be more intimidating, but I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the only protests they’ve really paid attention to are ones regarding gun control issues, where it would sorta make sense to “bear arms” while protesting… and maybe that made them think that all protests require dozens of armed people. πŸ™„πŸ˜ 

But yeah, you can look it up if you wanna see or read more about it. But with the way tensions were, I think they’re very lucky that there wasn’t even an accidental discharge of a weapon – which would have lit the very short fuse on that powder keg. It’s just sad, the smug look that you could see on some of their faces as they stood with their rifles, in the area above where the politicians worked. πŸ˜” And if their goal was truly to be heard, their stunt backfired… because all that people are talking about are the “white guys with guns” who occupied that building without so much as a ticket for ignoring social distancing rules, and questioning what may have happened if that group had been young black men instead. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I don’t like doing those “what if” scenarios normally, but the way all those folks chose to act… πŸ˜’ oh, and because of something that I saw in the second topic that caught my eye. For another part of the protest there was a stage set up where people were speaking against the current rules, talking about the damage that it has done… understandable stuff. But then they had a performance by a couple of girls who looked as if they couldn’t have even been teenagers, wearing skimpy little dance outfits and halloween type masks. πŸ€” One of them being of a black man with exaggerated features. (Looks like they could have been Trump & Obama masks.)

They were doing a dance routine to the old song “Candy Man” but it sounded as if the lyrics had been changed to comment on the current situation. That’s unfortunate enough, where children are essentially being used by their parents to make political statements… but as these little girls were dancing, you could hear men and women in the crowd hooting and hollering as if it were some kind of burlesque show – with people even shouting “TAKE IT OFF!” as these poor little kids did their routine. 😧πŸ₯ΊπŸ˜”

It honestly made me sick to my stomach. 😟 Not just because the kids were being used in that manner, or that gross people were shouting sexual things at them, but also because nobody else in the crowd said anything, stuck up for them, or did anything to show their disapproval. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ (At least not in the clips that I saw.) I understand that people can start “thinking as a group” when caught in a moment, but even when it comes to something as disgusting as that? It’s not a good look for whatever message you were trying to send. 😠

If you’d ask a bunch of those first folks why they felt the need to bring rifles to a peaceful protest and dress in camo… the answers would probably be of the “bEcAUsE wE CAn!” variety. 😐 But that display with the girls, I wonder if any protesters would try to defend or normalize that as well. It makes me feel bad for the “normal” citizens of Michigan, because it makes the state look pretty awful – and I know they’ve got to be angry and embarrassed by all of it, the way it makes their citizens look to the rest of the country. πŸ˜”πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

One might ask why I allow myself get caught up in “news” like this. I ask that of myself too, honestly. 😏 But I dunno… I do try to limit my exposure in general, since 99% of what gets reported seems to be negative, but I guess I just feel like everyone should try to keep up on the more important things – especially if they want to have an opinion and have conversations with others about any of it. 🀨 So with things being as wacky as they’ve been over the past four years, even just “normal” news can trigger someone’s anxiety… and stumbling across “extra” stuff on Twitter, like the topics in this entry, is almost unavoidable. πŸ˜•

But I look back on old news articles and broadcasts from when Mom and Dad were young, and I see different protests, via different methods, at different locations, for different reasons… and I can’t remember learning about any of them and thinking, “Good grief… those people were idiots.” πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’m sure “dumb” protests did happen, so maybe the news was just less interested in covering sensationalism back then? πŸ€” But hell… Today? I don’t think a day passes where I don’t read about or see something that makes me grumble, “Good grief, those people are idiots.” I think they were also lucky back then, getting their news (and only a couple hours each day) from either ABC, NBC, or CBS – and that was it. 😯 Not enough “room” to cover the stupids. Thanks to the internet though, we now have an endless supply that we have to work to avoid.

VΓ‚N SCOTT: Die Young

After having my thyroid removed because of cancer, having the follow-up radiation and scans… and nobody willing to give me an “all clear” after all of it – just more check-ups and scans in the near future, it gets my brain in a weird place sometimes. In times like that, this song really speaks to me…

I’m still optimistic and hopeful when it comes to my recovery, but it’s always there in the back of my head… not getting the “all clear” really sucks. But I think they’ll be able to catch it if it returns, since most of the affected tissue is already gone. So I’m not predicting an early expiration date, but sometimes I wonder…

Christmas Eve

It sure would have been nice if there was some snow on the ground or at least some flurries falling… but we get what we get. πŸ™‚ And tomorrow, that will be 50 degrees and mostly sunny throughout the day.

I’m spending this evening watching a bunch of Christmas specials and movies, getting as much “in the spirit” as I think I’m gonna be able… plus during the day I’ve been texting with Dad, Genesee, Bri, Squirtman, and Cassi… so even though I’ve not been feeling good enough to go out and do anything – at least I’m still keeping in touch with folks. (I’ll assume Amy’s lack of reply today is because she has a house full of boys that will be awaiting Santa’s services, which may also be taking up a good chunk of her time and energy. 😏 )

This is the first Christmas without Mom, and that’s sure full of suck… 😒 but I’m doing my best to focus on all the good memories from my childhood, when Mom and Dad made sure that Santa delivered quite the elaborate experience. 😌 Remembering the music, the big old complicated tree, the bubble lights, the angel tree-topper with the cotton all around the base, hanging up all of the ugly ornaments that I’d make – including an “ET” alien, obscene amounts of icicles, leaving out cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, leaving a letter for Santa and getting a reply the next day, the little boot that got filled with M&Ms, and opening presents such as a Knight Rider slot-car track, my first Atari 2600, a talking KITT car, a little programmable robot that made all kinds of racket, Dukes of Hazzard BarnBusters stunt set, etc…

(Crikey… 😯 don’t look at how much that stuff is actually going for now… it almost hurts. πŸ˜… )

Back then it was probably 50/50 “about the presents” for me – but now, of course, it’s all about the memories surrounding everything. 😌 I hope that all parents do their best to see that Santa gives their kids at least half as good of an experience as I had – cuz even at that, they’d still be happy. It’s strange how few years the “Santa” years really were, yet Christmas still retained that same feeling all through the years. And those relatively few “Santa” years still feel like they went on forever back then. 😌

While We’re Young

Just came across this new Huey Lewis & The News song…Β  and I can relate. πŸ™„πŸ˜

After Huey’s hearing scare the past couple years, glad to see them still making songs. πŸ™‚ Not sure if he got that all sorted out or if he’s still dealing with it, but still… to spend basically your whole life with a group of friends, making a living at making music that people love. πŸ˜ŽπŸŽ™οΈπŸŽ΅Β That’s gotta be a hell of a feeling… 😌

Your Warranty Has Expired

I wish that I felt more capable of adjusting to whatever illness or injury that might be affecting me at any given time. πŸ˜’ I don’t usually complain directly to anyone about such things, instead saving it for shouting into the void here, so I dunno… maybe everyone else has just as hard of a time adjusting to certain things like I do. But for example, the better part of the last couple of weeks have been really good – and then out of nowhere my knee just decides that it’s going to hurt. Hurt hurt. 😣 And my past couple of days have been mentally, physically, and socially fucked up because of it.

It makes sense that physical pain, along with losing some ability and motion, would also trigger my twitchy… I just hate that I don’t have any more control over it than what I do. 😠 But after a few days of hobbling around, and a few nights of long but often-interrupted sleep due to feeling the pain throughout the night, I wish I could just say “Well, I guess I’ll just take it easy and stay off my feet today.” but instead I let it fuck up my day, being irritated about being so irritated about it.

One problem, almost all of my friends (for a long time now) tend to be younger than me. It keeps my mind young, but my body doesn’t get that memo. So I’m not surrounded by similarly aged people with similar aches and pains. 😏 Another problem, with my work injury happening to me as young as I was, I’ve been dealing with that pain / disability for over a decade now… and it is pain that I feel like I didn’t really earn. πŸ˜•

I’ve joked with my cousin Matt and Dad about how “At least I was never in great shape when I was young…” compared to Matt, who loves / loved playing basketball, and Dad who is a Marine and served during Vietnam. In a way it’s a joke, but you’d also like to think it would be true… if you were never in great shape when you were young, it should be less of a deal when parts start to get defective when you get older. That’s turning out not to be the case. Now it’s more like “Dammit, I didn’t use myself up when I was young, so I shouldn’t be breaking down like this already.” πŸ™„

And I’m not making this entry to complain… it’s actually something I’ve thought about as I’ve faced various things, and it has also made me wonder how I’m gonna handle things when it inevitably gets worse as I get older. πŸ€” Like my Aunt Carol, she was in all kinds of awful shape, but she didn’t bitch about it or let it slow her down – let alone stop her. πŸ™‚ I just hope I can eventually become more like that. Everybody gets old, everybody sooner or later starts feeling worse and worse, and I just don’t want to end up a grouchy old recluse because I’m still struggling to handle the changes that every other human just seems to handle.

One thing I’ve noticed though, even my younger friends don’t give me shit about it – when either my neck and shoulder are extra screwed, or when my back or knee just randomly decides to go to shit for a while. I think it’s that insecurity of (in most ways)Β being on the same page as someone regardless of our ages, and worrying that if I have to hobble around or use a cane for a few days that they’re gonna look at me like “Oh my gosh… I forgot how old he is.” Heh… but so far that’s not been an issue, and if anything it just ends up being something that we joke about rather than it being some eye-opening revelation… heh… as if they don’t know my age until a physical sign appears. πŸ™„πŸ˜„

Meh… it’s just a gimpy knee, it’s not gonna be permanent, I’m gonna be fine, and I’ll surely have plenty of otherΒ “fun” new things like this to deal with in the future. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Gotta figure out how to just start sucking it up.

The Other Stuff

TRIGGER WARNING: This entry is gonna cover some of the other depressing shit that has also been filling my thoughts and influencing my mood recently. But I think it’ll help to explain why when it did hit me, about Mom being gone gone… why it was so easy for it to knock me down and keep me there.

About a year ago my best friend Jim lost his mom to cancer. At the end of last year, Brianna, another of my closest friends, lost her mom to cancer. And Christina was more than just “Bri’s mom” to me… she treated me like family. Rick, a classmate of mine, has been fighting cancer for two years now, and rarely posts to Facebook anymore, which seems like a bad sign. Then on the first of this month, anotherΒ school friend, Stephanie, died in her sleep from unknown and absolutely unexpected causes. Her oldest son turned 18 just two days later. And then today, my “cousin-in-law” Gloria lost her sister Wanda to cancer as well.

Jim’s mom was in her early 70s, but Christina was only in her early 40s, Rick is my age, Stephanie was only two years older than me, and I think Wanda may have been barely into her 50s. And Mom’s best friend through the entirety of her adulthood, Cecil… she passed away within the year as well. I’m actually sitting here afraid that I’ve neglected to mention someone, because it seems like every direction that I turn – sickness and death is what I see, and in many cases – in people far, far too young for most to even think it’s a possibility.

(Oof… this is gonna be a downer of an entry, that’s for sure…)

And of course, having cancer myself… or at least having had cancer (fingers crossed)… all of the stuff mentioned above doesn’t exactly do a lot to put my mind at ease. A long life before passing… that is something that hurts, but we understand it. People dying at my age or younger, from things like lung cancer when they were very vocal non-smokers… those are the ones where it starts to make less sense. And then ones like Stephanie that are there one day, making posts about her dog and her son’s upcoming birthday, then *poof* … simply gone the next. No rhyme or reason, and I’m not good when it comes to shit like that.

But for my stuff, I did get another appointment with my family doctor at the beginning of this week, tried to sum up all of the things I’ve been talking about here, and told her that I’m not really comfortable with what (to me) feels like a lack of concern or urgency once my thyroid removal and radiation treatment was completed. I’m not being neglected or anything… but after the surgery, radiation, and scan – other than the thyroid guy getting my levels right via medication, nothing else has happened or was scheduled to happen until July. I realized that I’m not okay with that. “You have cancer. We cut the cancer thing out. We think we got all the cancer. See you in half-a-year.”Β Christina also got the “we think we got it all” speech after her first surgery as well (I was there) so… umm… no. Not good enough.

It would be another thing if I honestly just felt great, and all these other things were just spooking me, but that’s not the case. Without going into details, there are things that just feel “wrong” for lack of a better term, and since I’ve gone with the “flashy” insurance this year I would be dumb to not metaphorically pound my fist on the table and ask for a little more. So that’s where I’m at now… the start of “a little more” phase. Tomorrow I’m seeing someone regarding my come-and-go, sometimes excruciatingly painful back problem… and, thankfully, with the lab being in the same building, my primary care provider has ordered an assload of blood and urine tests to not only hit on the regular “physical” type stuff, but cancer indicators as well… so I’ll do those right after the back guy.

So yeah… I’ll admit that with all of this stuff on my mind, I’ve essentially disappeared as far as my friends would describe it. At least in person, I mean. One, it’s hard to want to go out and do anything fun or visit with anyone when my brain is so full of this shit… and two, more than half of the time I just physically feel too crappy to even consider it. Now that it’s going to be looked into with a little more detail, I’m hoping that with good or at least encouraging results I’ll be more likely to spend at least a few days trying to act like everything is fine, and hopefully trying to start living my life again.

I’ve been out to see Dad a few times in the past month and a half, but when it’s hard to make myself get up and do anything even on good days – I know that I’ve not been visiting as much as I should or as much as I want. It’s hard to explain “I just can’t.” to someone, when it’s hard for you to even understand yourself. I can’t remember the last time I’ve opened my e-mail app, but I’m gonna try to at least start doing that again. My biggest problem is that I’m not exactly some cheery ray of sunshine right now, and I’ll probably struggle to come up with e-mails to Dad that are any less depressing than this particular blog entry. I guess that’ll force me to really think about each day, or couple of days, to find the little good (or at least “okay”) moments that I’m sure are there. But yeah, that’s the plan for now…

(And I’ll try to limit the depressing topics here in the blog for a while after today’s posts. Wish me luck.)

Bunnies

I saw at least three, although I think the slightly larger one might be the mom… not sure.

Granted, not too entertaining here – but I’m hoping they get to playing or fighting with each other some afternoon… and hopefully all of the neighborhood cats will mind their business. I haven’t seen any around for quite a while, so I think (hope) these guys will be alright.