The End of Breast Cancer Awareness Month..










I have a love/hate relationship with the pink ribbon..

As many of you know, I had (have, perhaps?) breast cancer.  I was diagnosed just over 3 years ago.  Lost the left one to a mastectomy and did chemo from July to November 2008.  It wasn’t easy, I lost all of my hair and now I can’t eat avocados because they tasted so good when I was on chemo.

I appreciate the advantages of having a cancer with a strong political lobby — don’t get me wrong.. the research and attention breast cancer is getting is a great thing.  I wish all cancers had such good politics — and it’s sad for other folks who have had cancer (I’m not a survivor, thanks.. I’m a one boobed woman), that they don’t have similar power.

What gets to me is the commercialization of the pink ribbon — last year seemed worse to me than this year, perhaps because Andy and I don’t spend nearly as much time at the coffee shop… but, it seems that companies who plaster the pink ribbon on products to sell and then don’t give a significant amount of money to research ought to be outed by some consumer watchdog group… or boycotted in a public way by people impacted by breast cancer.

Last year I spent the whole month bitching about breast cancer pink ribbons — so much so that Andy got me a pink ribbon as a joke.  I also caught him buying and donating pounds of coffee to Amy’s cause (or whatever, the Cariboo deal) — although, I don’t think I ever told him I saw.. hmm..

This  year Andy’s suggestion was that I come up with something to be grateful for instead of bitching.  He’s bright that way… so, whenever I feel a ribbon-bitch coming on, I’ll look at him and tell him what I’m grateful for at that second — and it’s worked.  I’ve had a better attitude about it and it doesn’t really bother me if other folks want to buy pink ribbon stuff to “support” breast cancer.  I don’t think I have to – I gave my breast tissue to research and participated in a drug trial — that was enough, doncha think?

I’m happy to see November just around the corner… although the commercialization of Christmas gets me down every friggin Halloween.. sigh.


Environmental Ethics

The fundamental question in Environmental Ethics is whether or not the physical world has inherent value, or whether it’s value is derived from its usefulness to human beings.

Clearly, this photo of a flower that I took someplace (really, I don’t remember where) has some value.  It’s a pretty photo, it’s a photographically good photo because the flower is clear while the background is fuzzy (the real term for that is bokeh) and it has nice color.  But, the question is whether or not the flower has value when nobody observes it?  This is kind of like the “if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound” kind of question… or, when I’m feeling sarcastic, “if a man speaks in the forest and no woman is around to hear him, is he still wrong? ” — (just kidding, I love a man… and like lots more… and they’re not always wrong 🙂 ).

If the environment has inherent worth, then it seems to follow that it has some version of rights… at least, if you’re a Kantian.  I’m not so sure that follows.  If you’re a utilitarian, nothing has inherent worth, even human beings.  If you’re some version of a virtue ethicist or social contract theorist, it doesn’t make sense to give inherent worth to inanimate objects because they can’t act to find the mean and they can’t support or violate a social contract.

But, we seem to act as if the environment has some kind of value in and of itself.  We preserve natural spaces.  We make trips to them, we photograph them (well, I do… a lot) and we appreciate their existence.  Would we do that if the environment didn’t have value in and of itself… maybe.

Perhaps the real answer is that natural spaces are good for us at a fundamental level — good for all people.  Maybe when we pay homage to them, what we’re really doing is honoring the value they bring to us — as human beings.  The effect on us is pretty clear, at least to me, they refresh and replenish our souls.  Last Spring Break I went to Colorado with my partner.  We spent several days in the mountains looking at the amazing scenery of Rocky Mountain National Park.  It was relaxing in a way that looking at the photos online never can be.  When I look back at the large number of photographs we took on that trip, I’m transported back to that clean mountain air, the warm sunshine of March in Colorado, the amazing experiences we had together in that beautiful state.  All of those memories are special because they provided a place for my soul to rest and rejuvenate.

I think every person, if they so desire, should have a similar opportunity.  That’s why it’s important to preserve natural spaces.  Protecting them for generations to come makes me realize that future generations will be able to have similar experiences to my own.  The ability to get outside of your normal life, to see amazing places and appreciate them for the wonders that they are and to put your life in perspective.

Does this mean that these spaces have inherent worth, I’m not so sure.  Perhaps they do have inherent worth for other reasons, but it seems to me that they are worth protecting for what they do for human beings…  I suppose that if it were necessary to harm or substantially alter our special wild spaces to save humanity, I’d aprove — but, only then.  No amount of money, influence or politics should be the reason… human survival, sure — greed and affluence should have no part in the decision.  period.

Why Andy’s my BFF…











..When I need him, he’s there.  Period.  Yesterday I needed him… I got hugs, understanding and someone who would just listen to the good and bad about my little sister.

We both have many flaws — but the one thing that’s solid is that we always make time for one another.  That’s just the way it is.

Thanks Hun,


Happy Halloween….

Here’s a link… to our Happy Halloween video…

From both of us…. this video was made with Andy’s phone an a pumpkin… and it isn’t for kids…


Missing Pam..

Clan Ross
  • MTH Photography

My little sister should have been 40 today..

She’s the one missing from our family photo —

She should have been there on the beach with us.

She should have been there on the porch talking to grandma.

She should have been there looking up at the stars in wonder.

She should have been on the porch with me, Andy and the rest of her cousins.

She should have been here for me when I’ve needed her in the past few years.

She should have to be here when hard shit happens in the future.

She should get to be here when good things happen in the future.

She should have her own kids by now.

She should get to be Auntie to the best 20 and 10 year old kids she’d ever meet.

She should get to have a dinner Andy cooked.

She should get to have dinner with her HS vice Principal — and realize that he’s probably forgotten her HS sins long ago, because they weren’t that bad.

I should get to hang out with my sister — we spent long enough fighting, we were just getting to be pals when she died.

I should get to talk to her when I need it.

I’d say that I should get quiet times with her, but anybody who knew her knows that just didn’t happen… seriously, the girl could talk.

Most of all, I should get to welcome her into being 40 — really, it rocks…

I miss you Pam, I miss you a lot…. and, you shoulda been at the beach house with us, trust me on that.

“At Sea” days…

In my family we have a concept of the “at sea” day…

Andy and I have been productive this week — he’s doing homework, we made a video we’ll release on Friday and I’m getting my grading and things done.

Sometimes you need a day in which you only do what you want to do… this doesn’t include spending a lot of money, but rather spending your time like you want to.  If you want to nap, you nap — if you want to read, you read.  If  you want to spend your whole day in your pajamas, you do it.  This is based on the concept of the cruise ship “at sea” day — a day when you don’t have to plan to get off the ship.  You don’t need to watch the clock — you eat, nap, read and relax however you’d like to.

We’re doing that today — it’s all about watching stuff on netflix, having really good conversations and existing.  It’s a great way to spend a day — the real world will come crashing back around us tomorrow, but for today we’re “at sea”…. and I think a nap is in order…

Grown up dating…

… is much more complicated than it was in high school.

I’ll admit it — I graduated from high school in 1987.  That makes me officially ancient — almost.

Also, as those of you who know me in person already know — the hubby is soon (tomorrow, officially) the ex.  My final and only words about him are that he’s a fantastic person, articulate, smart, passionate and a great catch for someone else.  He and I parted on friendly terms.  He got the cats, I kept the apartment.  With my blessing he took a lot of the stuff.  We (especially he) have been civil, compassionate and polite as we ended our marriage.  I wouldn’t trade our happy years for anything.  Many folks would consider themselves lucky to have had our so-so years.  I wish him all the happiness in the world and I hope that he finds someone who appreciates his good qualities and finds his (few) faults to be charming personality quirks.  We married when we were barely legal to buy alcohol, were on the same path for a long time and now we aren’t.  End of story…

This has been a major life change for me — and has led me to poke my toe into dating as an adult.  Since I spent the time between 1990 and 2011 married, until recently I hadn’t had a first date with a new guy since 1986.  Folks, it’s weird out there.  In high school things were pretty simple.  A cute boy sits in front of you in class.  You talk, flip your hair and maybe go out a bit.  You know his friends, he knows yours.  Your parents probably know one another etc.

In 1987 we actually had to talk on the phone to communicate over distance.  We didn’t have cell phones, e-mail or facebook.  We had no real way to check up on someone other than to ask around about them.  If they had a “bad” reputation, you decided to date them (if you’re into bad boys) or not.  There was no such thing as meeting someone online.  The internet as we know it now was only a glimmer in someone’s techy-brain and the internet itself was used for military communication.  To say a lot has changed is an understatement — and not exactly the purpose of this post.

The thing that’s different about dating as an adult is that our dates have pasts.  For a 17 year-old, last week is a “past”… that’s no longer the case.  Most single adults have been married, many have kids and other responsibilities — and how you choose to deal with those responsibilities can make you happy or sad.  It seems to me that a person is the sum of their experiences (awfully empiricist of me, eh?).  As a result, it seems illogical to want to wish away part of their life before you.  That’s, in essence, wishing away part of them.  Just like it’s important to accept a person’s family as influential on the person you know, it’s probably even more essential to embrace a person’s current responsibilities.

In other words, you weren’t with them since you were both 12 — accept the fact that other folks have had them before you and hope that they’ve learned something from those relationships.  Just as you’d accept the fact that they have friend and family commitments, accept their past as part of who they are now — today.  If you can’t hack that, then stop seeing them because the past is one thing that isn’t going to change no matter how hard you try.

One more thought — ladies, take a lesson from one of my oldest and dearest peeps — he’s not going to change for you.  Let me say it again — no matter how fantastic you think your relationship COULD be, it’s what’s in front of you that counts.. in other words, he’s not going to change just because that’s the way you want the world to be.

My peep was in a kind-of relationship.  They’d been on and off for a long time (decades, perhaps) and when it was convenient for him, he’d come around.  He was open about her place in his life — he didn’t lie to her about his other commitments – other folks came first and she was well aware of that.  In fact, she knew him long enough that she knew him before these commitments and was well aware of them… I knew him back then too — this peep and I go way, way back.

Finally, about a year or so ago, she decided she wasn’t going to take it anymore — that he wasn’t worth the stress and heartache she put herself thru.  She told him in no uncertain terms that he was no longer welcome — and her life has been significantly better ever since.  She’s in college, she’s happy, healthy and living her own life again.  She doesn’t worry about when he’ll grace her with his presence, because she knows it ain’t gonna happen…. and she’s moving on down the road finding folks who are on her path.  It’s a good thing — trust me — and my peep is all the happier for it.