Friday, July 1, 2011

Drawing the the world black & white, or are there shades of grey?

I was involved in a conversation recently on Facebook. The topic "Monkeys found in Oregon" was an article about how researchers in Oregon found a link between a naturally occurring disease found in monkeys was linked to MS.  I did some further research on this, and discovered that the monkeys have been dying in Oregon starting in 1986 from an unknown disease.  This disease has since been identified as the monkey form of MS. Recently (in the last 5 yrs or so?) they have discovered a vaccine that prevents the monkeys from getting the disease.

To me, that is a sign of hope for the future, that a cure or vaccine will be available for humans.  Might be too late for me, but it could maybe save future people not even born yet.

Diane's post then started a conversation about whether it was right to use animals for research. One person felt it was very wrong. Using animals, is cruel, inhumane, and inexcusable. Doesn't matter that the outcome benefits future generations. It is just wrong. For her, it was very black & white.

I can understand that viewpoint.  I don't agree with it. I guess I think sometimes the ends can justify the means. I don't like to see animals hurt or tortured. I don't like to see any innocents hurt or tortured. But I also know that research can result in things that save lives. Do I value an animal's life more than a human's? The other person mentioned they valued the animal's life more than their own.  But would they value the animal more than an innocent child? where to draw the line?  My world is more grey.

M & I recently went on a bike ride organized to raise moneys for a local community park. The route went over some rural roads, through some farm land.  We past a farm house, which had a lady outside tending a flower garden in her front yard.  3 huge turkeys were walking up to the rode nearby.  We stopped to take pictures and talked with the lady.  The turkeys (2 toms and a hen) were beautiful.  The Tom's were strutting their feathers all puffed. The lady said they were very social.  That they follow them around and seem to like people.  She mentioned they had gotten the turkeys to raise and have for Thanksgiving dinner last year, then planned to have them over Christmas, then for Easter.  Finally they faced the truth that the turkeys were just pets.  They couldn't bear to eat them. She said the hen has sat on eggs, but that they take the eggs from her because they couldn't face having 20 some-odd turkeys following them around.

I could never be a farmer and raise animals to eat. M's dad W talked about having beef cattle for a period of time, but made the mistake of naming them.  Then he couldn't bear to take them to slaughter. They became pets, he did end up selling them. If I was to have cows, or pigs, or chickens or any other animal that I was trying to raise with the intent of eating their meat, I know I couldn't do it. I would get too attached. But that doesn't make me want to become a vegetarian. I still like to eat meat. See, grey.

I'm a softie when it comes to animals, and really any innocent. I don't really want to see anyone hurt. Although there have been people in my life that I wouldn't shed a tear for, and I really do think there are people that have no conscience and are pure evil.  I'm not sure I would care if they were the ones to get hurt.

I have written about our cats. They are part of the family. They were all rescue kittens.  And they have a good life. Diane mentioned about how it could be viewed very wrong that we humans try to domesticate wild things (cats) and that that could be considered just as cruel in some ways as keeping monkeys in Oregon. What about birds? People keep birds like canaries or parrots as pets. Keep them in a cage. Clip their wings so they can't fly off. Is that right? where do you draw the line?

I just don't see the world in black and white. I can't. There are so many shades of grey, I can't tell where that line is.  I think it might vary on the circumstance.  I just don't think there is any hard fast answer.

friends, family, aquaintences, or enemies?

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. People choose their friends but can't choose their family.
Sometimes friendship bonds are tighter than family bonds.

Something happened recently that made M question who her friends are. Specifically whether someone she considered as one of her best friends was really even a friend at all. In my opinion some of what the "friend" did was a betrayal of trust, friendship, and was inexcusable. Yet the friend blew it off, no big deal. Loss of trust is a big deal. Especially when it violates ethics, almost gets M into legal trouble, with potential of losing her license, potential of screwing up her passing a security clearance for her job.
So, yeah it was a big deal. So, yeah, K you can't just forge some one's name on a legal document and then say "oops" no was just "temporary" until the "real" document showed up.

Once someone betrays trust, then you doubt everything about that person. And I think it makes you look at all your relationships in a new light.  At least M did. She came to the conclusion she really didn't have any "real" friends.

Personally I think she has friends, same as I have friends, sometimes the friends you think are close, aren't so close, and sometimes the ones you tend to overlook are the ones that will be there for you when things get tough.

I think the old saying is true that each of us impact so many people, so many lives, in small imperceivable  ways, and we never realize it. Yet because of things we say or do, we can have great impact on others.  In a good way or a bad way.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring, has sprung... time to ride bike

Finally Spring.  Monday was a really beautiful day. Plus a special day.  26 yrs ago my daughter was born.  My favorite, of course she is my only, but she's still my favorite. This weekend was a nice weekend, although a little on the cool side. 

We went riding a week ago Sunday, (M & I) and put in about 19 miles. I did really well, kicked butt. M was worried about whether I would make it for the bike ride we have scheduled for this coming weekend (the 16th), but she had a lot more trouble than I did. I had been riding inside, with my bike up on a indoor stand, I like riding my own bike much better than riding on our excercise bike, I don't find it comfortable.  I admit though that I am bad about procrastinating riding indoors.  Call me lazy. that's really most of it.  I like riding outside, that's different.

For my daughters b'day we helped her get a new bike. A nice one. She's been working really hard at losing some weight and getting in shape.  She has started doing irish folk dancing - which is pretty cool, and a real workout, plus watching what she eats, and has lost around 25 lbs. Good for her! We spent Saturday picking up the bike, and went for a short ride, then on Sunday we met the kids (her and her boyfriend) and went for a ride near their house. We did 20 miles on one of the rail trails.  Great ride, but a little chilly.  After the ride we took them out for their birthdays (J's is 4/11, his is the 13th).  I think we all had fun. 

I'm riding pretty well, even with my knees. My knees are bad. But I can ride better than I walk.  My main problem is stopping - have to make sure my knee won't give out, that's how I broke my ankle last year. Hills are a problem. Or difficult climbing. I have to remember to shift down, and even if I do in time, if it is a tough hill, I might not make it.  I have to judge it right so if I'm not going to make it I can stop and get off and walk it.  If I push too far, I take the chance of not making it and not being able to stop, and get off without crashing and burning.  How hard can stopping be?

The rest of the week (until today) was rainy, damp, cold and miserable. Or may that was just me that was miserable. My arthritis flares up in the cold damp.  My MS feet flare up in cold damp.  Maybe you know what I mean? My feet are cold, fuzzy, and it feels like I"m walking on a balled up sock under the ball of my foot. It isn't they are numb.  I have sensation in my feet.  They just are fuzzy/tingly, whatever.  When they are bad, then you can test easily for the babinski sign.  My big toe will fly up.  When it is warmer, then my reflexes calm down at least some. I know it is the heat that effects most MS people.  But it is the cold that effects me.  Heat can actuallly help me sometimes.  Like soaking in the hot tub.  I'm glad too. As much money and effort we put in to installing it, and creating our little getaway with the two decks and fences behind the house.  I read something on Lisa's (brass and ivory) blog regarding Uhthoff's Phenomenom, and its opposite - Inverse Uhthoff's syndrome.  I think that is me.  I didn't really find any other text or information on it, but here is the link to Lisa's blog -

Today, however is a beautiful spring day.  Went outside at lunchtime without a jacket - short sleeves.  Think the temps were mid 60's. Sun shining.  I hope it will be as nice tomorrow & Saturday for our bike ride.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring? or Snow... Brrrr

Ok, for about two weeks now I wanted to write a post about spring. The weather was getting warmer, I was ready to get my bike out and thinking about riding.  Signed up again for the MS Ride - this year it is the Mason Dixon Challenge and takes place in Gettysburg July 21.  I have been riding my bike indoors, (I have a special stand for it) but that isn't the same at all. We need to get busy and ride, M & I are signed up to do a Ocean to Bay ride that takes place down in DE (Bethany/Fenwick Island) on April 16th. I'm not sure I'm up for doing 30 miles.  Actually I'm as much concerned about stopping & starting as I am riding. My left knee seems to have issues, and visions of how I broke my ankle last January keep coming back.  But I can't let that stop me.

So, we had the warm weather, even got up to close to 70 once or twice.  Really nice! But mother nature wasn't through with us.  So yesterday it dropped back down in the mid 20's to mid 30's and they predicted snow flurries over night.  We didn't seem to get them, but I did see it spitting snow this morning.  Not enough to run my windshield wipers but enough you could see it.  So we are back to damn bitter cold and I don't like it. My knee doesn't like it much either.  So I guess I'm back to riding my bike inside the house.  Or else wrapping up really well and trying to brave the wind.  Even without a wind, you still pick up quite a breeze riding.

I'm more than ready for winter to go away and spring to stay.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cat fun

I posted some video of the cats (well Sonny) playing with the red light.  Ruby has no interest what-so-ever and doesn't get what the fuss is about.  The other two, seem to enjoy playing. Sonny especially. We got the laser light in hopes that we could help Ziggy become more active. He is getting older, he will be 10 this year. And he is overweight. The vet had said not to worry too much about his weight as long as he seemed active, happy, etc. However I know that with cats, as with people, carrying too much weight is not a good thing. And we have noticed that he is starting to have trouble jumping on the bed. So, in order to help him, we have put the cats on a diet. We were using self-feeders, which is very convenient - for us, and for "piggy" to eat as much as he wanted. Ziggy is the one that has a problem with over-eating.  Ruby is if anything underweight.  Sonny is very close to ideal weight for his size.  He also likes to eat a lot, so he could end up with a problem if he doesn't get enough exercise.
So how do you put 3 cats on a diet? Well, I researched on the internet (google is my friend), and decided we would get food that is for overweight adult cats, and mix in with their regular food.  It isn't good to suddenly switch foods without allowing a period for their systems to get used to it. We moved the food upstairs to the kitchen where the water bowl is. Instead of leaving the self feeders out all day, we are now monitoring how much they are eating. And we are limitting the treats.
Exercise is also important. So I bought several toys to try to see if I could get them motivated to play and run around. The laser light is a big hit! Both Ziggy and Sonny will run around and chase it - especially if the room is dark so the light shows up that much more. The light is motorized so you can turn it on and set it down and it will flash the light around the room, but they seem to like it more if we move the light. It becomes more interactive that way. Sonny really loves it. M thinks that maybe he is still young enough to need something like this to help him come out of his shell.  Plus there are times that we hear him going around the house crying looking for someone to play with him.  Ziggy plays with him, but then gets tired out before Sonny does.  So I think the light is helping Sonny as much as Ziggy, even though the original intent was to get it for Ziggy.  Ziggy will run around like crazy chasing the light for a few min, then we can tell he gets worn out and flops down, and then just watches.  M says it is age and the extra weight.  Ok, so I can relate.
Ziggy is my buddy. If playing games with him and putting him on a diet will extend his life and make it more enjoyable then it is more than worth it.