Fortezza, Umilitade, e Largo Core - Courage, Humility, and Largeness of Heart.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Squirrel Hunting?

I live in a condominium complex within the Atlanta city limits. It seems recently that our squirrel population has exploded. Where I'm from in Maryland, we have foot Basseting/ Beagling, which is the sport of hunting hare on foot with a pack of hounds. I propose that we organise all the neighborhood dogs and start to hunt squirrel.

Preposterous you say? I say nay. I have heard that squirrel is good eating, similar to rabbit (hossenfeffer). I just read an article that squirrels are now likely assisting in the spread of Lyme disease. Not to mention that they taunt my poor dog, smack talking him, just out of reach.

Tally Ho!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Cat Has an Eating Disorder

Bandit adopted me the Fall of '08. He was a completely ferral country cat who was coming in our house and eating the cat food (we already had 4 cats). I told him that he was welcome to dine "at my table" but that I asked for kitty-love in exchange. When I tamed him, he was covered head to paw in ticks and while being a large Tom Cat, you could feel his ribs.

He was probably 5(ish) years old when I tamed him, which means that he survived on his own, never knowing where his next meal would come from for 5 years. This is a habit that he has yet to let go of. He is constantly yowling for food (and driving me mad in the process). He is now significantly overweight. The vet chides me and says to limit his food. I understand that I am putting his life at risk by feeding him, but if I don't feed him, I am also putting his life at risk (because my fiance or I might kill him). Btw- that's a joke, I would never kill my cat. I am semi-seriously considering giving him to my future sister-in-law though; a thought that breaks my heart.

He is so neurotic about food: He will be eating, there will still be food around the edges of the bowl, but if his nose touches the bottom, he starts panicking.

Until my fiance moved in with his dog, Barron, I just knew to keep food in his bowl. But now the dog (who is the same size and just as agile as Bandit) will eat the cat food if it is left unattended. Since Barron is equally as agile as Bandit, there is no place to put the cat food that the dog would not be able to access. However, I would prefer to figure out how to break my "Fat Cat" (my sis-in-law's nickname for him) of this neurotic habit.

If anyone out there has any suggestions (preferably ones that do not cost a ton of money or require a lot of discipline, as the humans are lacking in that area) I would really love to hear them.

Thank you!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Addressing Poverty, Privilege, and Faith from a Unitarian Universalist Perspective

My final paper for Christian Ethics.

            I am troubled over the issue of privilege and poverty. As someone who has come from a privileged background, I suffer from the common liberal guilt. I was raised to not get stuck in these situations but to take action and fix it. So I have gone on an academic quest to try to reconcile this situation. I came to seminary to find ways to create the Kingdom of God here on earth, not dissimilar to when Rauschenbusch says, “When our moral actions are consciously related to the Kingdom of God they gain religious quality.”[1]
            I have experienced both ends of the economic spectrum, which gives me unique perspective and credibility with both groups. However this is also problematic in that sometimes I forget that I chose my lifestyle(s) and sometimes I make assumptions that do not necessarily apply to those who were not able to choose their circumstances. Additionally, born into a life of privilege, I had access to an education and connections that helped me survive in a way that others do not have.
There are some that believe that we should sell our possessions and become homeless ourselves; Jesus himself calls for us to sell our possessions and follow him (Mk 10:21; Lk 12:33; 18:22; Mt 19:21) but I know that money equates to power and the ability to be heard within society. Unlike Chuck Collins, the great-grandson of Oscar Mayer and a Unitarian Universalist who gave away the entirety of his birthright when he was 26 years old, I don’t believe that we have to give up everything in order to help the situation.[2] Mainly, I believe in playing fair and want to help others realize that it is possible to share without loss, that generosity builds abundance. I, like most Unitarian Universalists, know “that, regardless of our circumstances at birth, with help and effort most of us are capable of making a positive difference in our own lives and the life of our times.”[3]
As a Unitarian Universalist, I belong to a denomination that holds social justice as one of our highest principles. How far do I go to combat poverty? How do I know I have done all that I can do? How does my faith call me to act in this situation?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Kicking Lyme's Butt and Taking Names

I can't believe how much stronger I've gotten. Last night while walking the dog, it occurred to me that until recently I was unable to to walk down to get the mail- I would have to drive the short distance. Now, I'm walking all over the neighborhood and am even able to do multiple laps!

Five years ago, I was barely able to get myself to the bathroom without assistance. Even as recently as last year, I would need a cane to walk some days. This year, I was able to complete TWO 5k Mud Runs (Dirty Girl Mud Run and Warrior Dash) both in under an hour!! I am in a state of disbelief that I am the same woman.

So many Lymies ask me how I was able to get here. In truth, I have no idea. I think a lot of it is stubbornness. I have also worked hard to assemble a great health support team- a Lyme literate doctor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, chiropractor/ naturopath, therapist, general practitioner, neural feedback- all of whom are willing to work with each other for my benefit. I also practice therapeutic yoga, Pilates, RedCord, ride horses, and have recently added in Kettlebells to my exercise routine. On days that I think I can't move, I know those are the days that I have to move.

When I was working on regaining my strength, I was introduced to a mutual friend who also suffered from Lyme but was able to return to running marathons. I was in awe. I had no idea how she was able to do it, but I figured that if she could do it, I could too!

If you are reading this and are a fellow Lymie, please know that there is hope, do not give up. If you are reading this because you have someone in your life who suffers from Lyme, please do not wave my story in their face, this does not help. We each recover at our own pace, in our own way. If you have recently experienced a set back, know that it is only temporary and we each will continue to fight- for that is our only option.

Monday, June 11, 2012

How to Block Apps on Facebook

Facebook keeps changing things up and makes it difficult to protect your privacy and limit the number of notifications/ requests you receive. With the recent release of their App Center, I was finally able to figure out how to block application requests again (previously we were able to block them via our privacy settings, but now that is no more and irrelevant).

Per the request of a friend, I decided to make a step by step guide on how to block apps with the (current) setup. If there are any questions, please comment and I will try to clarify. Thank you and good luck!

Beginning at your Home screen, click on "App Center" which is located in the left hand column.

You are now at the App Center. From here click on "Requests" which is located in the left hand column.

The Spread of Lyme? [Updated]

Recently, via Social Media, I have been connecting to Lymies worldwide. I was shocked to learn that Lyme has spread to Holland, Germany, even Russia! Now I am not a doctor or a Public Health specialist, but I do have some degree of critical thinking and I can’t help but wonder how this is possible. My understanding of the current model of the spread of infection is via the Deer Tick (also known as the Blacklegged Tick or Ixodes scapularis or Ixodes pacificus) and wildlife (such as deer, squirrels, etc). There becomes a self perpetuating cycle of the tick getting Lyme from the animal and the infected tick then spreading it to other animals (even domesticated cats or dogs). [This can be seen on the CDC website.]

Even with this cycle continuing to compound without any intervention, I am at a loss to see how it is able to spread as rapidly and as far-reaching as it currently is. To take a facetious view of it: it’s not as if deer are hitching a ride on steamers from the U.S. to Europe. Ok, that’s flippant, but even with people bringing infected pets to Europe, it seems that the model above is too simplistic to explain the rapid spread worldwide.

So how is Lyme spreading so rapidly? I don’t have the answers but I sure would love for someone to come up a reasonable explanation because the one we currently have does not work for me.

After seeing my LLMD last week, he informed me that Lyme has actually been around for centuries. During the Iceman autopsy, they discovered two strains of DNA, the first being his and the second being Lyme. While reading up on the subject, I also found this article: Lyme Disease Bacterium Came From Europe Before Ice Age. So while there is conflicting data regarding the modes of transmission, the fact that it already existed in Eurasia for centuries explains my observations. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How About Leaving the Judging to God?

A deep part of my faith is the understanding that I may be wrong. It is entirely possible that there is only one way to “Heaven” and I am not on that path. I am as comfortable with this knowledge as one can be. I pray that if faced with the reality of “Hell” that I do not cave from my principles for fear of eternal damnation. I must live an ethical life at all times, even when no one is witnessing. I make this choice because it is what my heart and mind and my soul say is correct. I live my faith as fully and completely as I am able to.

My whole being believes that we are to behave justly; to act out radical hospitality; that all humans are equal and are to be treated as such. ALL humans, regardless of race, sexual orientation, class, religion, education, life experiences, or anything else. Now this is a tall order—one that I am not perfect at. My goal is to not judge, yet I find myself doing so more than I care to admit, even to myself. My biggest obstacle: not judging those that judge.

Throughout the Bible there are all types of commandments, some we still honor, others we ignore, many we, as a society, have collectively forgotten. If one were to make a database of all the commandments (which I am sure that someone has done) there are many that contradict each other. Many, if we look at them through a historical lens, we can see why they were given to us (such as the commandments to not eat pork or shellfish). Yet, it seems to me, that the one, consistent commandment is to leave the judging to God. Period.

Yet I look around and I see so much judging. I read about pastors calling to put our fellow Americans into concentration camps or spitting on fellow Christians. Jesus welcomed the leper and the prostitute at his table. Why do you, a mere human, think that your beliefs trump that of the embodiment of God? Your beliefs do not make you a better person, your behavior does. Whether this gets me to a magical paradise in my afterlife is of less significance than creating a loving community, in the image of the Divine, right now. And when I come to the end of my time here and I have to account for my behavior throughout my life, I can hold my head up high and say with confidence that I did my very best.