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At noon on January 1, 2010 I found myself in a big crush of people, milling around, ready to run up and down a giant hill in the cold for the sheer thrill of it.

That's not quite true. I am running because I have a reason to run. This 5k was part of my training for a bigger run on February 6th. In exactly one month, I will be running in my first ever half marathon. It will likely be only my second scheduled race. It's a challenge, for sure, as I've never run that far in my life and I'm not quite sure how to go about it yet. I am training, but is it enough? Will I hurt myself? Will I be able to finish? Do I have the strength of mind and body to push through it? I'll have to, because as I said-- I'm running for a reason.

This half started out as just a good idea. However, it snowballed, and now about 10-20 of my classmates will be running not just for ourselves, but also for our classmate, Josh. If you hadn't heard, Josh passed away unexpectedly during the summer. His loss is with us Josh's memorial scholarship. It is being offered to students like Josh -- good kids from small towns who show a natural skill for one of veterinary medicine's less savory and more neglected fields. Josh was an amazing force for the advancement of bovine reproduction, and this scholarship goes to support people who share that drive and that passion.

Right now, there is enough money in the fund to support awards of a few hundred dollars a few times. To form an endowment, we would need to raise $25,000. This is a long haul and a distant goal, but we are determined to put money in the bank and keep this idea alive as long as possible. So, we are looking for sponsors for our runs. You can help out by just giving a little for each mile we run for Josh - a dime for every mile I run in training, a dollar per mile I don't stop and walk during the race. All of this goes toward Josh's scholarship and helping us to preserve his memory and his mission for all of the classes of veterinary students who will never be blessed with his presence in the way that we were.

I know it's a lot to ask of people, especially of the nebulous internet, but if this is something you think you would like to help with, please let me know. I am trying to get in shape, and that is the easy part. The harder slog will be trying to raise the money to keep Josh's dream alive. Any little bit helps, and I can provide you with more information on Josh, his scholarship, and what his interests were if you just ask.

I don't know what kind of response this will garner, but thank you for reading this far. I appreciate your support for the run, as well as our class and our classmate. No matter where I finish (and I WILL finish) it's good to know that I'm working toward a worthwhile goal.

On Christmas Day I got a rather intriguing message from a biological cousin of mine (I was adopted, hence the need for me to type the word "biological" a lot since I'd found out over ten years ago). I had, by chance mostly, discovered her a few years ago. She is on my biological father's side. When I had found out I was adopted soon afterward I went and met some of my family on my mother's side but until a few years ago the paternal side of my heritage was largely a mystery. When I found this cousin I finally began learning about my father.

I didn't like what I learned.

I had been holding out hope that my biological father was at least a semi-respectable human being since my mother was... well... not sure how to end this sentence, maybe just to say that she's not somebody you'd like to meet. I was not given up for adoption, I was taken away from them. Anyway, when I heard how much of a violent loser this man was it was clear that I'd never want to meet either of my biological parents.

So, yes, on Christmas the message from my cousin told me that, as it turns out, I have a brother. My loser father had spawned again with another woman he'd been married to three years after I was born and taken away from him and his ex wife.

So I have a brother.

It's so weird and it's going to take getting used to because I had grown up with sisters, never a brother. "My brother" had been a phrase I'd never uttered, obviously.

I friended him on Facebook last night, which was the final confirmation that what I had been told was true, that he does exist. At first I was kind of excited, but this event has been soured somewhat by the fact that this guy is not very literate, evident from the often-incoherent messages he's been typing to me. I am hoping that the guy is actually fairly intelligent but writing isn't his strong suit. But some of it is just sooooo bad. He's a Kansas redneck. No, I'm not being disrespectful, "kansas_redneck" is part of his email address.

So now I have a brother, but hold onto your hats, BREAKING NEWS, today I found out from my brother's wife that I have yet ANOTHER brother! But supposedly this one is "metally changaled" and the implication is that he is this way because of abuse he'd suffered at the hands of my father. So now I have one brother who doesn't seem all that intelligent saying I have yet another brother who, according to his standards, is mentally challenged. Oi.

To sum up, I have a brother BROTHERS.

Weird. This is so weird.

I guess I'm going to meet him at some point. I really, really hope that he's not the typical conservative, religious, ignorant, homophobic, xenophobic redneck. If he is, we may not get along as much as I'd hoped we would.

We'll see.

UPDATE: I was just told that my other brother, the metally changaled one, his name is Timmy.

TIMMMAAYY!!

Oh you just can't make this stuff up.

I used to dream I had travelled in time. Now I place head on pillow and this happens:

It's difficult to get a narrative of this first one. A bramble bush is also the highways of the land and the hallways of a hotel. I'm staying there with various other people, and I learn that Kay and Jay are booked in as well. In real life we've fallen out of touch, an inevitable result of the distance and their (well, K's) later-than-usual spring into parenthood. I decide I must look them up.

For some reason, we're all booked into a session with a glib motivational speaker who wears a Hawaiian shirt, the sort of asshat at whom I'd normally laugh.


In the second dream, someone kidnaps my cat and arranges a meeting. We're in some alternate universe version of Postman's Park. We must meet in the tunnels, and I'm given a choice of two entrances. I'm warned that at one I'll face a fire, and at the other, a beautiful woman. It's sort of the tiger and the girl riddle.

I'm not certain if I'm supposed to be tempted by the girl, or think that she's a trap and go the other way, or..... So I take that entrance. She's a tough-looking kid, and she ushders me to where the others gather. They look like internet trolls. I eventually get the cat back, and we end up in a lobby discussing why they're doing any of this, because it seems so pointless, and they didn't even get any money or blackmail information on me. I think they were seeking blackmail information. An eager young member, a socially clueless university student, explains how their plot sometimes nets them money and when it does, it nets them big. I'm just one of the "causalities of their methods". Nothing he says makes any rational sense. A woman, possibly the girl from the beginning, talks to me about the situation and seems kind of nice, but I don't trust any of them, and I leave with my cat.


In the third subconscious drama, I'm driving with Dee's mother through an industrial landscape filled with warehouses and factories and abandoned motels. We turn into her subdivision, where the routes have names like "Swear Street" and "The Young and the Restless Boulevard."

I bring my cat into Missus Dee's house, which has many felines. She punishes them for arbitrary reasons by removing some of their food from the dish. I do not like this. She's also garrulous in a way her real-world equivalent isn't, and she talks about all manner of things. She notes how much she loves Xena, Warrior Princess, but never mentions this to her art class because they're all so homophobic.

I frequently have to go to the washroom, and so does Dee, once Dee arrives. However, we must use kiddie potty seats placed out in the open. I do not like this, and the final time, they're out of toilet paper. She explains that I have to go out to the communal bathroom around the corner if I desire privacy or wipe.

Morning comes.

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