Sunday, July 28, 2002

Michael on Wheels, Abby's birthday

Everyone is really upset about the beached whales down on the Cape. Yesterday, about 50 pilot whales beached themselves in Dennis, MA. Volunteers from experts to vacationers came to help keep the whales moist and comfortable until the tide came up enough that they could be pulled back out to sea. Experts were keeping an eye on them, expecting that they may try it again.

Well, they did. And they succeeded.

This time 40 more whales, give or take, managed to beach. Some died on their own, others had to be euthanized. Regardless, a lot of people are incredibly devastated that this happened.

To me, I have mixed feelings.

I think whenever anything happens like this en masse that it is sad to see, but part of me believes they had their reasons. I kind of liken it to cult suicides. No, don't laugh. Seriously. I think that sometimes groups of people, or groups of ... whatever, get the notion that something is so wrong with their world that they commit suicide in bulk.

Or perhaps someone in the group perhaps was sick, the leader or patriarch/matriarch, and they followed to death. Or, perhaps all of them were sick... the first day they all wanted to die but they were stopped by humans who wanted to prevent it. But they were serious, hell bent for sand, so they went to another part of the Cape and succeeded.

Is the notion of suicide alien to species aside from humans and lemmings? I don't think so.

My buddy Chad (the one expecting the twins whom shall be nicknamed "The Bus" and "Slash" during football season much to our glee) is a marine biology guy. I should pose these questions to him.

I guess they've got expert scientists coming from all over to study this one. In December of last year a large group of whales beached down the Cape, but the efforts to rescue were minimal.

Not enough tourists from Ohio who wanted to help, and the water was too damn cold in December.

But it all got me to wondering... if I knew someone or a bunch of someones contemplating suicide would I talk them out of it or try and help, or would I say "Knock yourself out, pun intended," and wish them a speedy and non-messy demise? That's all something to chew on, isn't it?

Next topic. But sort of related.

A few years back, a friend of mine from college was in an horrific car accident. He's now in a wheelchair, for good. I honestly haven't seen him in 10 years, and of the last decade about 7 of those he's been on wheels.

He came to visit on Sunday, and I was so glad to see him, and to be honest, so blown away by how able and adept he is with that chair. He said that a few years ago he was bedridden almost all day, and now he is up 8-12 hours a day. He drives that chair around with such precision, he's still got his wicked sense of humor.

He seems to have it all together and he's such an amazing person to me. I'm happy he is here.

I'm more than impressed by him, I'm humbled by his abilities. I'm happy to see him around.

Part of me says, if that were me, I'd have wished that I could die. And I probably would try. But he makes me rethink those thoughts... and I see new life and hope where "beaching" would have been the first and only option I would consider. Michael teaches me life lessons just by being, and I give thanks and am joyful just to know him.

One of the professors I'm working with this summer gave me a copy of "Tuesdays With Morrie," the book of Morrie Schwartz' battle with ALS, written by his former student Mitch Albom. I read it in one day and I was devastated and joyful all in the same breath by the time I finished. Lessons in living -- Morrie had time to think, consider, build, work on teaching, and in his life and his death makes "beaching" seem so not the thing to do. What an amazing man.

So, in short -- I think if I were down the Cape yesterday I'd have made an attempt with those midwestern tourists and those New England Aquarium workers. And I'd be sad to see the next day that they managed to accomplish what they set out to do.

But I'd accept.

Lessons in living, after all, sometimes carry lessons in dying, too. Alright, enough sad stuff.

On Saturday we went to Abby's birthday party. Here are a couple pictures.

Jessie and Ian, peas in a pod. Friends since before birth... They are two wackos.
Geoff made friends with some of the kids, here he and Philip share a moment of calm, quiet reflection.
This picture cracks me up. Abby, the birthday princess, looks like she's going to cry, but really I just called her name and she looked up at me... then right after I snapped this she burst into a huge grin. I didn't get that shot.
The neighbor dog, not the family dog, Pilot. He followed us over when we came up the driveway, and just stayed at the party. He was so sweet and well behaved. And you know I'm such the other people's pet whore.
The piƱata awaits it's destiny... It was awesome. What a cool dragon.
Karry orchestrates the whacking line. Birthday girl first, then up through the age ranks to Jessie and Ian!
Whacking complete, the kids rush in to pick up their loot
"Look at what I got in my goodie bag, mom!"

Jessie and Brittany bonded pretty tightly (her dad's a big Steelers fan too! WOOOO!)

Brittany is SO cute, it's hysterical. I got a really cute picture of her and Abby, cousins in crime, on Karry's camera.

Ian trying to convince us that we didn't have to leave yet, that there were all sorts of good reasons for us to stay, and Jessie can continue to hang out and walk the neighbor's dog with him... he was very sad when we drove away. It broke my heart to see him in my mirror behind us, standing there.

Notice Geoff on the rock in the background. He was stuck there for a while. heh heh heh.

And this is Ian with said neighbor dog, Meco (he spelled it for us a bazillion times, saying it was "Me Company, Me Co., Meco. Get it?" He is getting paid to take the dog out, walk her and spend time with her. They seem to be getting along like a house afire. He's doing a super job with her. I wish he lived near us because I'd pay him to take care of Kinger and Jack when we go to Chicago!

Today I had meetings with both professors at the College, had lunch with the boys, stopped in to see my Rupa but she was not at her desk (sorry I missed you my Rupa!) and I got home in time to do dishes and make dinner. My mom is visiting, so I should go be sociable.

On Friday Doug pulled all the muscles in his back and he's almost back to normal. He looked pretty miserable halfway through the party on Saturday and spent most of the day in bed Sunday and yesterday. Today he's walking straight and not crying out loud every time he moves around. So I'm hoping he'll be sound as a pound and we can go do something fun. I have a ton of professor work to do, and a new site to design (woooo! But again, it's for free for someone I love, but it means a lot to build my portfolio and do something good for someone). So there's a lot to do in the next two weeks. Did I mention I'm TEACHING all week next week 8:30am to 4pm at the college! I'm going to be one worn out girl. Today was the closest day to a full work day I've put in since January! Criminy! So wish me luck and strength. I'll need it.

Okay. Off to be sociable.

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