Monday, September 17, 2012

Kilted to Kick Cancer, Sh*t Just Got Real

One week prior to the kick off this this year's Kilted To Kick Cancer fundraiser I started wearing a kilt. I figured since this year I was actually going to participate I should give it a go early considering I was working over the first few days of September.

When my sisters and I were young, our mother made most of our clothing, since kilts can be expensive, my mother agreed to make them for me and so after picking up the materials needed I made my way up to my parents house, a 70 mile drive from my current home in Southern Maine. It is very easy for me to fall into old routines at my parent's house, and so we had lunch and talked and visited while she was hemming and pleating and stitching, but the one topic of conversation that we didn't really discuss with my father's prostate biopsy that was coming up on September 3rd. I suppose this is typical of men's health issues- we just don't talk about them, which is one of the reasons why Kilted To Kick Cancer is so important. Men need to talk about these things

The following week I went about my business and went everywhere in a kilt. I went to the grocery store, I went out to a couple of bars with friends; I ran my errands and went about my day wearing a kilt and I grew to be comfortable in it. My father's prostate biopsy had been in the back of my mind and I told myself that everything was going to be fine.

This past Thursday evening I was napping on the couch when I awoke to a phone call from my mother, we chatted about the usual things and then she told me "Your father got his biopsy results back. He has prostate cancer."

I froze.

I managed to hold myself together, but I'm quite certain that she noticed that I was reduced to single word replies to most everything she said. The conversation came to a close while I was standing in front of the refrigerator looking for something to drink and as I pressed the end button on my phone I fell to the floor and sobbed.

You see, while I realize that prostate cancer is treatable, particularly when caught early, I couldn't help but think of everything else that he has been through. A few years ago, due to some health issues and at the urging of his pulmonologist he retired early from the paper mill where he worked since before I was born. He was enjoying his retirement when he developed a very severe case of diverticulitis a couple of years ago. He underwent several transfusions and a major, life altering surgery and despite the severity of this illness which almost cost him his life, he survived. My parents are two of the strongest people that I know and so I know that with my mother by his side, he will come through this. But knowing this doesn't help me to not worry.

I want to raise more money for KTKC this year. I want more people to talk about men's health issues, particularly prostate cancer and testicular cancer. I want more men to get checked so these problems can be caught early. I want everyone who reads this to count off six men in their life that they are close to and realize that one of them WILL get prostate cancer. We tell ourselves that "It'll never happen to me" but it does. It happens to us, and since my father has prostate cancer I am now twice as likely to develop it myself. Add to that the fact that I live north of the 40th parallel, and not only do I have another risk factor, but I am now at a higher risk of dying from prostate cancer.

We all talk about wanting to do something and now is the time. Please, make a donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Do it for me, do it for my father, and do it for one out of every six men that are important to you.

Every donation counts, be it five dollars or five hundred dollars, every donation counts.

Thank you

Monday, September 10, 2012

Kilted to Kick Cancer, 2012 Edition

Did you know that 241,270 men will be diagnosed and 28,170 men will die of prostate cancer this year?

Did you know that one out of ever six men in your life will be diagnosed with prostate cancer?

Did you know that a man with a father or brother who developed prostate cancer is twice as likely to develop the disease and that it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, second only to lung cancer?

Did you know that testicular cancer is the most common malignancy in young men between the ages of 20 and 34 and that approximately 7500 men will be diagnosed and 350 men will die of testicular cancer this year?

We talk about breast cancer all month long in October, yet no one seems to realize that September is prostate cancer awareness month and that funding for male specific cancers is 1/50th of that of breast cancer. Plenty of our local agencies go pink for breast cancer in October, Kilted to Kick Cancer’s mission is to raise funds & awareness for prostate & testicular cancer in September.

All month long, if you catch me out of work, you'll catch me in a kilt. I'm doing this to raise funds & raise awareness through Kilted to Kick Cancer. I'm doing this for one out of every six men in your life.

Think about it, one out of every six men you know, your father, brother, uncle, son, nephew, brother-in-law, grandfather, friend. Count off six of them, one of those men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is the most common malignancy in men, second only to lung cancer.

241,270 diagnoses and 28,170 deaths this year alone. Let's raise some money, let's do some good.

Make the the clicky here to donate to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Or you can click here to donate to LiveStrong.

Last year the Kilted Army pulled together $12,000 in donations. This year we're aiming for $50,000.

We have set a very lofty goal, we can only do it through your donations.

Thank you.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Addendum to Musings

Addendum to Musings on Christopher

I certainly won't be sending an email to your best friend. I'm glad we talked. I'm glad things are cool between us now. I'm glad that I'll at least get to see you before you leave. I still mean every word that I wrote in the original post and I'm happy that I have my friend back again.

Thank you, Christopher.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


 I was all set to leave a comment over on MattG's post about his family's cat, but instead wound up writing my own post.

When I was a young boy, probably about five years old, or so, my father brought home a cat for my mother, she was a gray tabby that somehow managed to get named Tabitha, Princess of Fuzzballs. Once she became acclimated to the house she promptly became my cat. Not my mother's cat, not my sisters' cat, certainly not my fathers, but mine. She would climb up onto my lap when I sat at the table doing homework where she would eventually climb up and sit across my shoulders. She would also do this if I failed to securely close the door before sitting on the toilet. She would make her way into my bedroom at night and I would wake up to find her either sitting on my pillow licking my hair, or lying on my chest licking the tip of my nose. I couldn't do anything without this cat following me.

A couple of years after she came to live with us I was in the yard one summer day and there was a group of kids waiting for the summer rec program bus and one of them was holding my cat. As the bus approached I asked this kid what he was doing with my cat and he let her go only for her to go sit on the porch. When I finally made my way to the porch I found that it wasn't my cat after all, but it was another gray tabby. Younger than my Tabitha but with tufted ears and without the extra digits on both of her front paws. My sisters and I searched for her owner but had no luck and so she came to live with us. This one, because we put a pink collar on her came to be named Pink.

Pink and Tabby did not get along. Pink was young and energetic and Tabby wanted nothing to do with her enthusiasm and so they tolerated one anothers existence. Tabby remained my cat and would curl up on my lap whenever possible while Pink would immediately bolt whenever someone attempted to pick her up or pet her against her will. This living arrangement went on for years. At the time I was dispatching for the local police department and a neighbor up the street, a cranky woman who hated cats, would call the police department and request the animal control officer any time a cat wandered into her yard. She irritated me, but I thought little of her. One day, my beloved Tabby went missing. She failed to return home and after a couple of days it finally dawned upon me that the woman up the street may have had something to do with her disappearance. I called the animal control officer and lo and behold he had my Tabby in a crate at his house just waiting until he had time to take her to the shelter.

I brought my Tabby home and she was ill, she was weak, she hadn't been fed or watered in days before the ACO took custody of her. By this time we she had been a part of our familiy for 15 years, the vet estimated that she was about five years old when we got her and so, now in her 20th year after having spent a couple of days being neglected she wasn't doing well. I knew that she wasn't going to last long and I laid out a towel on her spot on the living room floor and I spent the night lying next to her and petting her when she cried. She had been my companion for fifteen years and so I insisted that I accompany my father to the vet the next day because I couldn't stand the thought of not being with her. I called out sick to work and sat silently in the truck. I couldn't speak and when it came time I sobbed like a little child as I kissed her on the head one more time and handed her over to the veterinarian.

I don't think I said anything on the way home as my father drove. I'm quite certain that I was simply doing my best not to bawl my eyes out. I was certainly in no mood to interact with anyone and so when I got home I went straight to my bedroom. As I lie on the bed crying with my eyes closed I felt something. Pink, the cat who had always hated to be touched or petted, who now herself was at least 17 years old, jumped up on my bed and sat on my chest and allowed me to pet her. She remained there until after I fell asleep. I woke up a couple of hours later to find her sitting on my bed still. When I got up and walked out to sit down to dinner with my parents she followed me and sat on the chair next to mine.

When she became a part of our family she was my father's cat, she would sit on his chair, but from that day forward she became my cat and she would sleep on my bed and sit on my lap. In some way, I thought that she too would live forever. One day she would do nothing but lounge around the house looking horrible and the next she would deliver a freshly killed mouse to the front door. Pink remained with us until I was done paramedic school and I recall that it was my father who took her on her final trip to the vet when she became very ill. I recall being sad, but also thankful, that when my Tabby was gone, Pink moved in to comfort me. It's probably been ten years since Pink left us and I haven't had a cat since then, but some day soon I hope to have another one. I just hope that whatever new cat I end up with will be as wonderful as Pink and Tabby were.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Musings on Christopher: Sadness, Catharsis, then Happiness.

Wednesday Evening.
We start collaborating on a photo project that you’re excited about and that fits us both well. I’m fairly certain I’ve found my muse.

Friday night
“That sounds bad ass!” was your response to the idea of a midnight walk along Old Orchard Beach.

Saturday night.
You cut me out via text message. “So to make it easier for me when I move soon, I’d rather we sever our ties now.” I dismissed it, assumed you were drunk, high, emotional or some combination of the three.

I opted to wait before contacting you again, instead I reflected on the last few months. I knew from the beginning that our life paths would cross only for a brief time, what I did not know was how hard I would fall for you. We’re both fucked up; just in different ways and I know that you’re not over the boy who broke your heart, I get it. I actually do and I still care for you and want to be around you. I know you think that you’re damaged goods, but you’re not. What you are, is afraid, not of me, per se, but of what I represent- honesty, loyalty, trust even when you kiss another boy in front of me to make me jealous. You’re afraid to let someone truly care for you and even more afraid to let them get close to you.
For the past few months, you’ve been an almost daily part of my life. Regardless of how you see it, we’ve bonded and now you’re walking away and you’re not going to afford me the chance to say goodbye. You can’t just walk into my life, have me fall for you and then walk away. I fell for you. I fell hard and you know that I desire you in ways that I haven’t desired another man in a very long time. I have a deep-rooted attraction to you, on much more than a physical level, despite the fact, or even because of the fact, that you confound me. If you’re going to leave, then I deserve a proper goodbye.

I texted you saying “What would it take to make you want to stay?” and you didn’t reply.
No one expects the 6’4” giant to fall into a blubbering mess of tears, so fuck you for making me cry, but remember, no matter where you go in life. I’m only an email away.

Wednesday night.
I texted you again saying, “Is this really how it's going to be? You're just going to cut me out completely? I understand you're leaving, but I think I deserve better than that.” You didn’t reply, then you blocked me on Facebook. I composed an email that I will never send to your best friend, then I went to sleep angry and hurt.
I realize that we’ve never met, but I know that Christopher has told you about me. I’m not asking you to get involved or to intervene in any way since he decided to cut me out of his life. I just want to know that he’s okay. I never thought that I would find myself drawn to anyone the way that I am drawn to him. I suspect that perhaps I was a bit overbearing, but it was out of nothing but concern. I know he’s leaving and I’ve come to accept that. I just want to know that he is okay. If you could, please, just let him know that I won’t try to contact him any more if that is his wish, but should he ever have a change of heart, he can reach out to me and I will always be here for him, as a friend.
Thank you,

Thursday afternoon.
I woke up this morning and realized that I don’t deserve to be treated that way. I’m still a little sad, but I’m not angry any more. Believe it or not, I want to thank you. The last few days have sucked, but I’ve experienced a catharsis; I’m okay with it all now. I understand that you have to go. It doesn’t make me happy, but I understand that it is necessary. I knew this wouldn’t be a long lasting thing and I knew that when it ended I would feel sadness, but I also knew that I would eventually come to accept its ending, and I have. You’ve taught me that it’s okay for me to get attached to someone. You’ve reminded me that even though there may be pain, the joy that comes with getting to know someone makes it worth it. You and I weren’t meant to be, I knew that from the start yet I pursued you. Right, wrong or indifferent, I’m still glad that I did. You’re an amazing person and I do hope that someday soon you can realize that. I hope that you get yourself sorted out. I hope that you find peace and happiness, because even though the last few days have been rough for me, you’ve helped me find my own peace and happiness. I tend to be pretty full of myself sometimes, some call it confidence, some call it insecurity, but the truth is I am just me, and someday I will meet someone who makes me feel the same way that you made me feel.

The sun shines, the grass grows, the flowers bloom, the wind blows, the birds sing, the leaves turn, the snow falls, the rain drops. We live, we laugh and we love, all to varying degrees and though the road may not always be smooth and filled with happiness, sunshine and roses, as long as we learn and grow in the process we’ll be okay. Thank you Christopher, you reminded me that life is still good and that it’s okay to be vulnerable and that as long as I learn, I’ll be okay. I’ll still be here for you, as a friend.

The email that some day I will send to your best friend.

I realize that we’ve never met, but I know that Christopher has told you about me. I’m not asking you to get involved or to intervene in any way since he decided to cut me out of his life. I’m simply asking that you pass on a message to him. Could you just tell him that I’m not mad, I’m not angry or sad. I understand why he needed to sever our ties. I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know him and when he’s ready, I’d really like the opportunity to be his friend again.


I certainly won't be sending an email to your best friend. I'm glad we talked. I'm glad things are cool between us now. I'm glad that I'll at least get to see you before you leave. I still mean every word that I wrote in the original post on here. I'm happy that I have my friend back again.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Having One of Those Nights.

I haven't missed you like this in a long time.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Charlie Brown Christmas

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.' That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

-Linus Van Pelt