Sponsor my mum in the Cancer Research Race for Life next Saturday, 12th June 2005

This summer I had intended on entering the annual women-only charity event organised by Cancer Research UK the Race for Life along with half a dozen other nodergirlies. The response to my call to arms was pitiful :( as the quota for group entrance was not achieved I dropped out. So, now I want you to sponsor my mum instead. My mum is doing this because she survived breast cancer but her brother lost his battle with cancer and so many of her close friends and family have been affected in one way or another. Talk about an amazon. She's 65, overweight, asthmatic and severely lopsided. And she's still about to jog 5 miles to bring this to the attention of as many people as possible. Show some support, come on!

Fair enough. I'll do it cos I enjoyed her Parsnip Daphnes so much. Where do I sign?

When an individual or a group signs up to participate in the race for life they are given a sponsor page on the Race for Life website. Sponsoring is easy and if you are a UK taxpayer the charity can claim back the tax under the Gift Aid regulations. You don't pay any more money but you end up sponsoring more. Cool.


Please say you're a noder when you fill in the sponsorship form, so mum knows. Ta.


I don't know your mother from Adam!

Maybe not, but she knows you! A few noders have met her at various birthday party-cum-nodermeets, but that's not the point. She asked me to ask you so here I am. I am asking, begging and pleading with you to help. It would make her smile and that's what counts.

But aren't all these charities just money-grabbing dodgy types who give all the money to the Board of Directors?

You cynic! My mum's attitude is that by doing this she has been able to use it to talk to people, to raise awareness and to tackle issues that have affected our family. At a recent party to celebrate my parents' 45th wedding anniversary, my mum's birthday and my mum being given the all clear by her oncologist, she stood up in front of the assembled guests and talked about cancer in her life. That includes losing someone, surviving the disease and the suffering that the family members go through, often in silence. Now isn't that a good thing? She also raised around £60 by passing round a bucket for people to sponsor her.

However, to put your mind at ease, I have done some research and Cancer Research UK do have excellent credentials. They really do put the money where it is needed.

On behalf of my mum I'd like to say thank you very much to all who sponsor her. In return, I will request she passes on another of her scrumptious recipes for us all to share here on e2.

I feel like I am in a strange time of my life. A lot of tensions have been building in all parts of my life over the last year or so, and it's all coming to a head this summer.

At work, our group (a great bunch of really smart people who work well together) is being slowly dismantled by the new management. Our old bosses were forced out and replaced by some guys from IBM - they seem nice enough, but have told us they expect that we'll have to travel over half the time, do sales work, and so on. Before last fall, nobody had ever quit and nobody had ever been fired in the 4 year history of the group. Since then, we've been loosing people right and left, and it looks like by the end of the summer we'll all have bailed out for (hopefully) greener pastures. I really have no idea what I'm going to do. I think in a lot of ways this is a good chance for me, I wasn't really that happy with the job and I would like to find something more personally satisfying. This would surprise most people who know me, but what I would really like to do is work for some sort of non-profit progressive political organization, either as a tech of some sort, or maybe something else. I'm tired of feeling like I work so that some executive can get rich and treat us peons like dirt (example: last year they canceled the office Christmas party and then gave themselves bonuses). Something where I can go home and feel like I actually accomplished something that helped people. But it looks like tech jobs at DC non-profits are few and far between, so I don't know if that's going to happen.

I won't go into as much details about this part, as nobody wants to read another node about some girl, but I'm also dealing with what could best be described as a protracted breakup with a girl that I never dated. We were (and are) very close friends, and would talk for hours and tell each other basically everything, even those awful fears and insecurities you can never really talk about with most people (or at least I can't). A lot of intimacy and physical affection between us, and for me, a very strong attraction. Sadly, she didn't feel that part of it. I think we'll get past it eventually, and just be friends, though I sometimes worry that I'm going to end up forcing her away from me. Several times we've discussed if the right move for both of us is to just not talk anymore, but neither of us wants to give up on the friendship. This has been going on for about 6 months now, and it's wearing us both down.

Aaaannnnnd, I'm going to be moving in August. And I have no idea where, because I haven't been able to find a new job yet. Maybe into DC, maybe to Baltimore or Philadelphia, or who knows where.

I don't deal well with change in the best of circumstances, and this summer seems to be a whole lot of changes in all areas of my life. Sometimes I feel sort of paralyzed, like I really can't do anything. I had one of those days yesterday, and I don't believe I left the house at all except to smoke cigarettes. I wrote this primarily to help me form my thoughts and actually think about what is going on in my life these days, but thanks for listening.

An experiment in contrast.

Love! (circa May 4, 2004)

I'm certainly not qualified to expound on the intricacies of love qua love, no one is I'd wager. But lately I've started to realize that what I have actually is love, and not merely lip service. I can't imagine (read: I would prefer not to imagine) my life (in this regard at least) as any different than it is right now. It's unpleasant and difficult and it requires some decisions I'd rather not have to make, but I'd do it the same way again if I had to, perhaps I'd do a better job on my end in some ways, but nothing drastic. The prospect of being apart for yet another year, and perhaps more years even after that has made me incredibly unhappy, but I'll take unhappiness with her over some modicum of happiness without her. A certainty in my life. How novel! I have been worrying, however, about just what she thinks about the whole affair. I mean I know what we've discussed, infinitely and exhaustingly, but I say things I don't mean and I don't say things that I probably should; it must be similar for her. Although, I'm by nature rather more duplicitous and 'opaque' in a lot of ways than she is. So much the better (for both of us!). This is an aimless tangent, but one I've been thinking about a lot as of late. I hope things work out, I'm not very sure at all that they will.

This just in: FRAUD! (circa June 12, 2005)

So many times you feel as though you know somebody, that the tendrils linking you with them are clearly visible, that you can see why they are who they are--that the kind of secrets they keep won't alter what you think of them, or how you feel about them.

But all we know is what we see and what we infer: what we see is a partial picture, sometimes carefully crafted to avoid certain infelicitous impressions that might otherwise allow us to see something we weren't meant to. And what we infer is even more tenuous; what we infer relies upon an impeccably accurate analysis and understanding of what we've seen, felt, and known. Without this our inferences rest on nothing but misplaced trust.

I'm not a very strong person, I'm not a master (or even an initiate) of self control. But I'm capable of seeing what--who--is valuable in my life and at least attempting (with all my clumsiness and rudeness) to maintain it and support it.

Up until now I've assumed that you've also been able to do this, though, obviously, in your own way. It's part of what I loved about you, part of who I thought you were. But you're clearly not the person I've imagined I loved.

You're either a very different person, incapable of a modicum of self-control, or you simply don't care about what I thought existed between us. In either case I'm now certain that I've been deluded (by you, by myself, or both) about all of this, and I'm not the sort of person who willfully maintains delusion.

I'm cutting all this away.
And I'm doing it as impersonally as I can.


I'm an arrogant and self-absorbed person. And what of her? I deserve what I've gotten.

I escaped the SoCal June Gloom today by going to Joshua Tree to rock climb. The only climbing with ropes and carabiners I've done in the last couple of years is scaling some 60-80 foot trees to install and maintain a weather station and webcam. We did take my future ex-wife climbing a few years ago - she had gear and had done a fair amount of climbing, and claimed to enjoy it, but her form of enjoyment that day was to complain about the rocks and her shoes and her butt the whole time. Hindsight is 20/20 :)

Anyway, today I was huffing and puffing way too much at the tops of the routes. Man am I fat and out of shape! I've been riding my mountain bike 30-45 miles a week lately, and I was glad of it today, but clearly I have a long way to go. Only a couple of scrapes on the shins and right now my body feels stiff and tired all over. Luckily, my climbing partner is an ex-climbing guide, so I got lots of good refresher tips. One route was up a big rock called 'The Headstone', at the top of a big pile of Josh rocks. It was a fun, relatively easy climb up an outside corner and rappelling off the top was mostly hanging in mid-air. It felt very adventurous and had all the things I like about rock climbing. The second route up it was on another corner, and my partner did it easily, but with some grunting and long pauses. I barn-doored off the crux move 6 or 7 times, swinging out into thin air; my forearms were wasted and my fingers were getting raw. I decided I was getting too sloppy, and more climbing wouldn't be prudent.

The park was deserted, but it wasn't that hot, only in the 80s. The quiet and serenity was very much worth the long drive. It is fun to have other climbing groups around though. One group was finishing the Headstone just as we arrived - perfect. One cool thing was that I had marked waypoints in Josh using my Topo! mapping software in the morning and had uploaded them to my new GPS (Garmin Geko), so we diverted ourselves with navigating and finding distances, though in Josh you hardly need such gizmos. Having complete topographic maps of California on CDs (and general maps of the entire country) and being able to transfer information back and forth to the GPS is a modern technical convenience that I really marvel at. It's real handy for planning bike rides, keeping track of speeds and routes too. Downloading hang glider flight tracks is a real source of enjoyment, though there are specialized units that are much better suited than the Geko to that application. The mapping software plots tracks on the surface of the maps, and you can see all the little circles done while climbing in thermals. Soon I'll buy some software that will plot tracks in 3D, so climbs and descents in the air can be clearly visualized.

Over breakfast we had ended up talking about the state of the United States Hang Gliding Assn., various new gliders, how to attract more new pilots - basically shop talk for me, since I work for the world's largest (though quite small, as a business) hang glider manufacturer. Later, after some climbing, a couple asked about the racks on my truck, and they were intrigued about trying hang gliding, so we answered a lot of questions and told some stories for half an hour. I enjoy that, but given that when I fly for fun on the weekends (most every) I end up talking shop a lot on my off-time, sometimes I like to get away from all that. Oh well.

All in all, a pretty fun day. We made something of a pledge to get out and climb at least once a month. Onward and upward!

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