wwcitizen: (SteamPunk Stephen)
It was ever-present. It wasn't obvious at first, but it crept into existence. It got bigger and bigger quietly over the years. Then all of a sudden, it was the one thing that everyone noticed when they hugged me: My Family Mole.

Why "Family Mole"? Because everyone in my family has a version of the mole. Mine was only the largest of the entire family's moles. Everyone in my family has a mole in the middle of their back - just out of reach, almost proportionately in the middle of each person's back in my family. However, mine was about the size of the end of my pinkie. 

Years ago, I was told I should remove it because removing it would cause "an imbalance in the organ that is [my] skin". This was coming from a general practioner at Pfizer back when I was working for them.  I thought at the time it was a pretty quirky little myth someone had created and he was promoting it without any dermatological basis. But, I held onto that myth thinking, "Maybe he's right! I need to ask a dermatologist."

Well, yesterday I did just that!  And today I have no mole. It's gone. It's no longer a part of me. It's now bio-waste getting ready to be cremated somewhere and then become dust in the wind.  My family mole has thankfully preceded me to the Pearly Gates.

Now, I can hug without thinking, "Are they gonna ask what that little thing is?  Are they gonna stop hugging me when they hit 'IT'? Are they gonna feel strange about patting me on the back knowing 'IT' is there?"

All those questions would always run through my mind. Even when I removed my shirt on the beach, in a pool, or on the dance floor, I wondered how many people noticed it, pointed at it, and thought, "Ew. What's that?!" 

Thank goodness it never grew an eyeball or a little tooth and tongue. Who knows? It could have been the manifestation of my twin - finally finding a window to the outside world, trying to break free!

Alas, it was just a mole. A family mole. One mole that is no longer hanging from a snippable little isthmus, dangling there begging to come off. It took literally 30 seconds for it to be gone.

Why had I not had it removed earlier? All these years that I either had "off from work" or working from home, why didn't I set up that appointment to have it looked at and promptly removed?  Maybe because, simply put, it was a part of me.

Now, it's not. I did feel a slight, small, little twinge of sadness that it's gone. I do not know why. But, now, I'll no longer have those lingering questions or anticipations from society, friends, and family who constantly asked or acknowledged, "Oh, there it is!"  The mole is free. I am free. And, after that little spot heals, I'll be whole again.

A Snippable Little Isthmus
I had a family mole
That would only cajole
Inquisition, queries, and thought:
"What is it? He simply ought
Remove that big tumor
Like any good groomer.
It's gross, yet it's natural...
I could recommend several
Doctors, who'd wanna snip!
It'd be GONE!" They'd quip.

No, on my own time
And in my own way...
The mole in its prime
Would simply one day
Come to its demise.
It was totally wise!

My mole, my protrusion
That incited much confusion
Is no longer part of me…
It’s weird, but I can see
My back is now flat
So, I guess, that’s that!

A big apparent flaw
That seemed so bourgeois…
Misconceptions abounded
Apprehensions – unfounded!
No need for tears
Cuz I faced my fears
Of something worse that might happen.
But my mole’s grand assassin
Was my doctor, Dr. Lee.
He was happy to hear, very happy to see
That I was willing for him
With sterile scissors - not grim
To snip off my isthmus
After all, that’s his business.

My mole now fully gone
Before I said, “CYA, anon!”
I should’ve really named it,
Cuz it left a small pit
That Neosporin will soon heal.
I’ll strip my shirt with more zeal!

I’ll not worry nor fret!
But I’m also willing to bet
That someone somewhere
Is bound to say,
“When, see? I compare
This photo that day,
You had a big mole!
Where’d it go? Hey!”

I’ll say with a smile
It took me a while,
But my big family mole.
I gave it a new goal:
It had to go and be gone from my back
My doctor simply, steady went THWACK!!
All at once it was history.
It’s simply not a big mystery.
It was what it was
My back’s no longer abuzz
With strange looks and lost hugs
In 10 seconds, and NO drugs!
Now, there’s a small hole,
Where there once was a mole.

©Stephen Lambeth 2013
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
Aside from the tummy issues, we did have a great time in Ptown for Bear Week. I mentioned the events I hosted in a previous post (that took me a while to write up for some reason...).

We met TONS of new people and got to see people we hadn't seen in a long while, such as [livejournal.com profile] texwriterbear, [livejournal.com profile] slothel, and [livejournal.com profile] delmarmar Also in attendance were [livejournal.com profile] profundis (apparently - didn't get a chance to meet up), [livejournal.com profile] thetarnishedowl, [livejournal.com profile] mat_t (I think), [livejournal.com profile] faghatesgods & [livejournal.com profile] mondragon (Matthew saw them  both on separate days from afar),
We got to meet [livejournal.com profile] dewittar and [livejournal.com profile] fishfin for the first time in person!!  Very happy we were able to meet up and connect.  When I first encountered Rodney and Allen, they both looked so different in 3D than in 2D. Plus, I hadn't expected such pleasanly homey southern accents to come out of them like they have!  Very enchanting couple.

The day we were together at Vorelli's for bloody Marys, the power kept failing throughout the Cape from allowed brownouts. One of the cooling towers at the nearest nuclear plant wasn't cooling as quickly, so they diverted all the power for cooling to one cooling tower and shut the second off, which took some time and created brownouts.

Even still, we got to see some shows, including Miss Richfield 1981, one of our favorites! Those tickets were for Matthew's birthday gift. And we were both well enough to have a nice dinner at the Crown & Anchor and then head to the show! She never disappoints and always brings in some fresh, unexpected stuff. Very fun!
So, yes, we got to experience a lot of what makes Bear Week great: friends, shows, dinners, Tea Dance, and evening dances. But, we just took it all a lot slower than in years past. PLUS, the ultimate greatest thing was that I had no back pain like in 2012.

On the second and last Saturday of Bear Week, we decided to stay till around dinner time. The previous times we had been to Ptown in the off season, we discovered that leaving later in the day allowed everyone else to get off the highway. Our drive went from 7-9 hours (with everyone else leaving the Cape) down to a normal 4.5-5 hour drive home.  We spent the day shopping around, which we didn't do during the week, and spending time with a couple of friends of ours from NYC.
Fun times were had by all! Yay for vacation, Bear Week, and GREAT FRIENDS!!  We're already looking forward toward next year's Bear Week in 2014!!
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
Bear Week 2013 is over. Well, at least the in-person experience.

The Beginning of OUR Bear Week
Our vacation started off with the "exciting", long, soul-sucking drive through Connecticut, as usual, no matter what time we leave on Friday. There are always road blocks, construction sites, traffic, delays without explanation, and then SUDDENLY everything clears up around exits 72 or 86 right around a nearby prison (there are 93 exits in CT on I-95 and WE start before exit 1...).
IMG_4814
In the car ride, we munched on baked sesame sticks (YUM!!), grapes, pork sandwiches that Matthew had made the night before (EXTRA YUM!), rice chips (blech), Chinese crackers, and peanuts. We brought only filtered and seltzer waters with us to drink all the way up, but didn't drink a lot of it. Matthew was happy that we didn't feel the need to stop to go to the bathroom, since we weren't drinking that much.  We checked into the Gifford House for the Friday night by about 8:30 - a 7-hour drive for what should normally take about 5 hours.  Thanks, Connecticut!  We were mellowing over a martini at the Porch Side Bar at the Gifford House by 9:15PM and stayed there till about midnight. We were tired, so went to bed; Matthew had a small tummy ache when we got to the room.

Matthew's Birthday
At 5 AM, Matthew woke me up to tell me to call for an ambulance. He hadn't slept much the previous 2 hours because of major abdominal pain that had woken him up. He felt that he had an abdominal obstruction. The EMT who heard Matthew's description said, "It's probably his gall bladder," which seemed really off - Matthew's never had gall bladder issues and our regular diet is perfect for a healthy gall bladder.
20130713_054702
By 5:30 AM, distraught and bleary-eyed, I stood watching the love of my life get into the vehicle, knowing he'd be on the road for no less than an hour to the nearest hospital down the Cape. I had to stay behind to move our stuff from the Gifford House to the condo across the street and get things settled for the week, which I did. We wouldn't hear his prognosis till about 9 or 10. It took them 2+ hrs to admit him and then he went for an ultra-sound. They found gall stones, but nothing to report in his abdomen; there was no infection and he had no fever - just pain. The doctors from hell didn't prescribe any pain medication for him or anti-biotics. Nothing. They wanted to remove his gall bladder - FOR NO REASON! So, he promptly grabbed the CD from his ultra-sound and made a mad dash back to Provincetown in a cab.

Three Cheers For Equality!!
I will say this: I was greatly encouraged by the Massachusetts health care system and the level of equality/acceptance I experience in MA - on a regular basis.  At about 10:30 am, I called the hospital to check up on Matthew, because the last text at that point from him was, "I'm running out of blood, TTYL!" I called and said, "My partner was admitted there at 6:30 this morning and I would like to speak with his nurse about his status and why his blood is running out." They put me right through to Matthew's nurse, Frank, who gave me an update.

Once I hung up, Frank went to Matthew and introduced himself and relayed my information; Matthew had not met his nurse until I called asking for information - WHICH I GOT WITHOUT QUESTION!! But, because I, his partner, called to check up on Matthew, his nurse got more on the ball - Matthew wasn't alone. I can pretty much guarantee that that experience would not happen in any of the states that currently do not recognize same-sex couples as equal in the eyes of the law - no matter what the hospital employee-patient manuals say.

My Matthew was safely and soundly back in my arms by 3 PM. I had gone shopping for all our food, including vodka and rum. I had everything set up for him for his birthday - all the decorations throughout the house - and set up his suitcase, hanging shirts, and our Internet for the week, so that we'd be WiFi-enabled.  He didn't have to lift a finger. Instead, we both took a nice, long nap and went to Tea Dance by 5:30.  Then we had dinner at the Red Inn and enjoyed a slice of cake that I had delivered from Relish Bakery down the street.
BEAR WEEK 201322-smaller
Steve's Events
For this Bear Week, my Facebook group suggested some get-togethers and I picked two to host: One on Sunday for the Facebook group at large, and one on Monday for the "Bear Week Virgins" to meet some veterans.  The Sunday morning coffee house get-together went over GREAT. Matthew and I wore t-shirts that we had made with the logo of the group that Matthew constructed. I had also gotten a huge banner made up for the events and hung that up, too.  Over the course of about 2.5 hours, about 50+ people made their way by us for the get-together out of about 200+ people who'd responded as "Going!". A 25% turnout is pretty successful.
IMG_4907 1373812870920 20130717_171909
Monday's turnout at the Aqua Bar was about the same and I was very happy to introduce people to a bar that seems to get lost in the shuffle between all the other bars in town. The Aqua Bar has great views of the bay and the wharves, as well as other bars' decks.  For this event, we wore the t-shirts, I hung the banner, and I passed out Pride beads; I had bought 4 bags of 6 dozen beaded necklaces; I gave out 1.5 bags at the Monday event, which was about 85-100 necklaces.  That means about 33-50% of the people who responded came!!  Even more successful - and some people from the Sunday event came to the Monday one, which was even better.  The bartenders (Brecken and Morgan - loving their names) made up a summery, fruity cocktail special for the event.  But, I didn't drink any alcohol on Monday, which I'll explain next.

Steve's Tummy
Sunday evening after Tea, we went out to dinner with some friends. I was playing it "safe" by ordering mussels, a salad, and a Provincetown staple: fish soup. That dinner at 7:30 pm was practically all I had eaten all day except some store-bought hummus late in the afternoon.  Sunday night I could tell something wasn't right and it seemed that I had eaten something bad.  By Monday around noon, just before my "Like A Bear Week Virgin" event, I started feeling odder and a little queasy. By the time the event was over, I really needed to be back at the apartment because I was getting delirious and dizzy.  So, we went back and we took a 2-hour nap, skipping Tea.

We had dinner reservations for 7 pm at one of our favorite restaurants, Ross' Grill.  Every hot appetizer or entree I saw on the menu made me feel nauseous.  So, we ordered the raw bar (which for some reason didn't disgust me) and I got a salad as an entree.  Matthew got the mussels and chicken (he felt fine) and I ended up not finishing my half of the BEAUTIFUL and delicious raw bar or my salad. The waitress brought me ginger ale after ginger ale and then THAT made me ill.

When we got home, my tummy was really bad, but nothing was moving. I got a fever in the restaurant and it got up to around 101.8 at one point in the evening. I dozed off and on for 3 hours and went to bed around midnight. The fever broke around 2:30 and I ended up sleeping till around 9 AM Tuesday and napped from 11:30-1:00.  I didn't feel like eating anything at all and by no means was I drinking alcohol.  I ended up not having any alcohol for three days!

Matthew's Tummy
Matthew started getting my symptoms from Sunday by Tuesday evening after dinner of Greek salad with chicken. That night we had another salad and chicken gyros because we were both kind of hungry. His tummy ache and fever kicked in later Wednesday afternoon. We both made sure that his tummy aches were definitely not the same as the ones from Saturday. We were quadruple-booked for Wednesday evening events and parties. I went to Tea on his insistence, and came back with a light dinner for us both at home by 6pm.  Matthew insisted that I go out and have fun with some folks, so I went out for about 2 hours, checking on his temp from time to time, which held steady at around 100 degrees (thankfully, less than mine). I brought him back some Tylenol and by midnight, his temp was down to almost normal.

A Godsend - All Tummy Issues Aside
In the end, Matthew and I spent a lot of time together this last vacation, making sure the other was on the mend and back on his feet. Since I got my new job in May, we've both been feeling lots of separation anxiety and the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) of each other's presence.  We haven't spent this much time apart for almost the last 5 years!! So, having time together on a vacation, where we usually are out and about all day in town spending time with friends, we would have felt like we spent no time together. In a way, it was a godsend that we got food poisoning.

It might be strange to say, but there's no one I'd rather be sick with than Matthew and he feels the same way. We take care of each other and know each other's needs. The main thing I never want to experience again is watching him leave in an ambulance by himself.  That was probably the worst and most helpless I've felt in a long, long time.  No matter how much he insisted that we had to do it that way and no matter how it all turned out, it was awful. Seeing my love, in pain, leaving without me to an unknown place with unfamiliar people was awful.

All in all, we relish in the fact that we did, actually, have a great time!!

A-Z Meme

Jul. 9th, 2013 01:21 pm
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
So, no, I haven't done a meme in a LONG, LONG while. This was prompted by [livejournal.com profile] erstexman, so I thought it would be fun.

A - Age:  45 (for just under another month)
B - Bed size: Queen
C - Chore you hate: Folding the laundry
D – Dog’s (Pet’s) Name: None currently
E - Essential start to your day item(s): Blueberries with yogurt and coffee
F - Fun Factoid: I was daytime entertainment on a cruise ship for a month
G - Gold or Silver: Silver (I think I might be allergic to gold!)
H - Height: 5’ 10”
I - Instruments you learned to play: Piano, Hammered dulcimer, violin, handbells, trumpet
J - Job title: Sr. IT PM & BA
K - Kisses or hugs: YES!!
L - Living arrangements: In a condo in a high rise
M - Mood: Joyous!!
N - Nicknames: Steve, Bother, Dude
O - Overnight hospital stays (other than birth): None
P - Pet Peeves: Not knowing the difference between "You, You're, and Your" or "it's and its" or "their and there"
Q - Quote from a movie: "That's just what this country needs: Another cock, in a frock, on a rock."
R - Right or left handed: Right
S - Siblings: 4 altogether
T - Time you wake up: With alarm – any time. No alarm, normally about 8:30 AM
U - Underwear: boxer briefs
V - Vegetable you dislike: Eggplant, but learning to enjoy it
W - Ways you run late: Caught in a Facebook rant or exchange
X - X-rays you've had: abdomen and teeth
Y - Yummy food you make: green bean casserole and enchilada casserole
Z - Zoo favorite: Lions and tigers and bears! The meerkats and sugar gliders are always fun, too.
wwcitizen: (Bavarian Bear)
I choose to reject the concept of rain or clouds for the upcoming first 5 days of Bear Week in Provincetown. Reject it, I say!!  The winds are going to come from out of nowhere, baffle meteorologists all over Massachussetts, and sweep away all the bad stuff. The temps will remain tame between 80 & 85 degrees every day with evening lows between 72 & 75.  I think that'll make for a beautiful WONDERFUL vacation. That's the story and I'm sticking to it!
WeatherPtown
wwcitizen: (Lincoln Tunnel)
This morning at QuikCheck, the cashiers were trying to lure customers into visiting any QuikCheck at lunchtime for a free submarine sandwich. In order to get the free sub, you had to succumb to a hand stamp.

I had stopped there for veggie snacks on my way to work. It's a "quik stop" off the highway. I overheard the cashier explaining the "Sub Club stamping program" to a female customer ahead of me: Once the cashier stamps a customer's hand, the customer can go to ANY QuikCheck today to receive a free sub sandwich for lunch. The female customer didn't seem to be heading to work (wearing jeans and a polo shirt) and even seemed to consider getting stamped for a free sub later. But she declined.

However, that QuikCheck gets a LOT of business folks throughout the morning on their way to their office. How could QuikCheck possibly expect that these business folks (like me) would want a "Sub Club Stamp" on their hand when they're heading to work (I don't know if that was the title of the program, but it sounds funny...).

My excuse? As I glanced dramatically at my hand and tie, I replied in a short burst of overacting, "Oh, I coudn't possibly have a stamp on my hand like that at the office. **sigh** Thanks, but no thanks."  <-- Not that I would return to any QuikCheck for a free sub for lunch today.  I wouldn't have returned to any QuikCheck even if they had offered some other form of "program conformity", like a paper coupon because I eat my lunch at work.  But, I if I had given the real excuse, I couldn't have been so audibly and visually dramatic this morning. It was invigorating to give the pretense of being high maintenance.  B-)

Somehow the previous customer's lack of enthusiasm left a morning drama void that I had to fill.

The whole thing was strange this morning. Even the cashier was visibly bothered and annoyed at having to ask me to stamp my hand - she even knew I was going to say, "Oh, huh-uh."

I'd never heard of any store offering a hand stamp in the morning for something free at lunch. Stupid campaign.
wwcitizen: (Car in the Country)

I am so irritated and flustered. I had just gotten off the phone with Matthew and turning off the highway onto the exit for the street where I work. There's always a back up at that exit.  I noticed this morning that the turn off traffic was backed up more than normal. I thought, "I'll cut through the Burger King or the diner parking lot and come up the back way onto my street (something I've never done before).

So, I turned into the Burger King parking lot, where no one was because it's closed this early in the morning, but out of the corner of my eye I see a car - don't know what kind. I get to the entrance to whatever the back street is leading up to "my" street, stop completely, notice that there's an "Entrance Only" thing for the Burger King parking lot and think, "Oops".

I make a right turn, safely - with no one behind me, and go up to the merge onto my street. Then I notice that there's an SUV DIRECTLY behind me. I mean like ON MY ASS. This SUV is RIDING MY ASS all the way from when I turned right and jerking back and forth.  I thought, "Oh, could this guy be seriously full on road rage this early in the morning?"

I almost felt like pulling over to the side of the road to let the guy pass.  Instead, I make a legal merge/turn onto my street go over a bridge (that goes over the highway), stop at the next traffic light - fine. This guy is still ON MY ASS. Even through the light, he's lurching forward, jerking back and forth, and I think, "Jeez, fella, calm the hell down and get around me."

He finally does and pulls along side me. He's apparently an off-duty cop - not even in an undercover cop car!! I glared at him and soooo wanted to say, "Dude! Calm the fuck down!"

But, I didn't. He stays driving next to me, looking at me then back to the road for like a block. He's swerving and jerking his car as he keeps turning up his hands to look at his speedometer and back at me. All the while, I'm driving around 35 mph in a 40 mph zone.

He speeds up, passing me, but has to stop at the next traffic light and eventually turns left. So, it seems as though he was trying to make me speed and go over the speed limit or do something illegal, so that he could pull me over or something. I did nothing illegal - even in the BK parking lot, really.

There was no sign stating "No Thru Traffic", which some lots have if they're on the side of a highway.  And the "Entrance Only" sign is a private sign - not installed by the city, but possibly monitored by town cops. That's the only thing I could imagine was this guy's beef, but he couldn't really nail me on it.  Maybe I came into the parking lot too quickly. Who knows?

The only thing I could imagine being an issue is, the NJ statute that reads, "Operating a motor vehicle on public or private property to avoid a traffic control signal or sign". But, I wasn't avoiding a traffic signal; I was avoiding the backup of exit ramp traffic heading to the same signal I was ultimately heading towards, just from the other direction.

UGH!! That type of cop behavior pisses me off so much! Enough venting. Thank you for listening.

wwcitizen: (Car in the Country)
This is now my fourth week starting off at the North America Corporate Headquarters for Jaguar Land Rover. It's interesting work being a Senior Project Manager and Business Analyst for them. There's lots of work to be done, that's for certain.
It's also interesting working for a company where most of its employees can't seem to afford one of their products. But, there are plenty of opportunities to drive the cars, whether as part of the corporate fleet for work-related travel or as a demo run for a new car that's coming out.

I just missed the opportunity to drive an F Series, which they allowed employees to test drive the week before I joined up. Here's a video of the car traveling around France. VERY HOT!!
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
Everywhere we go in almost every city, there is some graffiti. San Francisco, Berlin, NYC, and DC have some of the best I've seen. Philadelphia is known for their spectacular murals (which are commissioned by neighborhoods), but I wouldn't classify those as graffiti. NYC has phenomenal graffiti. A few weeks ago, we were in the Lower East Side, and I captured a couple of interesting pieces from around Prune on 1st St. & 1st Ave. I noticed - possibly for the first time - that graffiti is now being painted on sidewalks or (as the Eyeworks piece was probably commissioned) on cellar doors, but on the sidewalk nonetheless.

Some captures of LES graffiti... )

Yesterday, we spent the late afternoon and evening in Brooklyn: Matthew had an appointment there next to the Brooklyn Brewery, so I dropped him off and spent about 30-45 minutes driving around checking out the graffiti in the area. I kinda wanna go back there and find more specimens.

Graffiti holds my interest because it's fleeting and dynamic! You see it, you appreciate it, and you might capture it.  It'll be there once for maybe a week or two, sometimes a month. Then it changes. Someone comes along to add their touch to the item.  Or someone else decides to cover that one with their own thing. The graffiti that is the most exciting is the wall that grows and expands off of one particular tag or image. San Francisco and Berlin graffiti artists, I find, tend to build on others' work, while in NYC, it seems that most artists want to be the ones on top. Perhaps the individual's or collective's cultural expression is coming through the graffiti and its placement - on top of others' work or next to and feeding off of another's.

Here are some examples of Brooklyn graffiti from yesterday's foray; notice the differences between Manhattan and Brooklyn graffiti. It's slight, but interestingly different and both unique.  Also, does a scarf wrap qualify as graffiti? Perhaps. Why not? One of the telephone poles in Brooklyn (below) has a knitted thing around the base, which is covered in graffiti. How about an old, broken, miniature skateboard? It's interesting to see that artists are using stencils and stickers more and more - why not other artistic mediums and materials - like yarn or wood? Enjoy!

See the Brooklyn graffiti collection... )

In honor of this graffiti post, I even graffiti'd my finger!
IMG_3342
wwcitizen: (Tax Season - UGH)
I just changed my settings on Twitter NOT to post my tweets to LiveJournal. I hate the format, the re-tweets are impersonal, and just, well. Ugh. It's all too much.

BUT, my LJ posts do go to Twitter!  So, yay that.  (<-- saying that makes me think of [livejournal.com profile] dendren).  :-)

HAPPY HUMP DAY, TOO!!
wwcitizen: (Smell The Flowers)
Happy May Day everyone!!  What does "May Day" mean to you?

When I hear, "Mayday Mayday Mayday!" I first picture airplane pilots in black and white war movies having mechanical troubles. They're going down in a blaze of glory. Then there's the "zzzzt!" of the radio going out as the camera pans back to military command center.  It actually has nothing to do with "May Day": It is an anglicized form of "m'aider" from French, which means, "Help me!" and is always said three times.

When I read, "The 1st of May...", I think of Maypoles (in Germany, they're called "Maibäume", which is a fun word to pronounce in German - "my-boimah"). I have visions of little girls in pastel dresses dancing around a tall pole with ribbons, wrapping it up as they skip and sing.  The Maypole history - in Germany - is how a "secret admirer" symbol arrived at a love interest's doorstep.

When I google images of, "Happy May Day", there are pictures of flowers, fists, Maypoles, propaganda, little children in pastel, worker marches, vintage cards, equality marches, flowery garlands...  What a strange mixture. I captured some here for personal posterity. As with most all "holidays", May Day has its origins in pagan celebration.

Interestingly, May 1, 1707, is the date when England and Scotland united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Over the last century and a half, the first day of May became in some countries "Labor Day". Hence, there are also lots and lots of demonstrations regarding labor, workers, unions, and the like.  Even though the US Labor Day bank holiday begins our autumn and is always the first Monday of September, worker and labor movements historically carry out many protests and demonstrations on May 1.

Lots of things converge, then, on May Day: flowers, pagan traditions, strife, fights for equal rights, riots, protests, Maypoles, love interests, political unions...  The pagans knew something was special about the seasons changing, the spring sort of ending on April 30 and the summer sort of beginning on May 1.  The welling up of the human experience in a way.  From the statement, "April showers bring May flowers...", the expectation is set that so much will change when May comes around; there are brighter days ahead. People hope for change on May 1.

I place my hopes in positive change!  HAPPY MAY DAY!!Pictures... )

My tweets

Apr. 30th, 2013 12:01 pm
wwcitizen: (Default)

My tweets

Apr. 28th, 2013 12:00 pm
wwcitizen: (Default)

My tweets

Apr. 27th, 2013 12:00 pm
wwcitizen: (Default)
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
Hey there folks! If you're on Twitter and are interested in connecting to or following me, here's my Twitter page:

https://twitter.com/Steve_Lambeth
(@Steve_Lambeth)
I only succumbed because my MATTHEW (@matthew_vecera) took the plunge the other day. This is his first real social media involvement and I kicked and screamed every step of the way whilst signing up for Twitter. I really, really didn't want to get involved, but because I wanna support my man, I did it. You can find him on there, too, but he's not posting much - yet.  ;-)  

My tweets

Apr. 26th, 2013 12:01 pm
wwcitizen: (Default)

My tweets

Apr. 25th, 2013 12:01 pm
wwcitizen: (Default)
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
About a year ago, Matthew bought us an 8-cup ZeroWater filtering system. We had tried multiple filters over the years, but never really stuck to them. The absolute worst experience we had with the filtering systems was the PUR faucet filter. We threw it out within 6 months, I think.  We had been drinking the water straight out of our faucet for years and even did from time to time after trying out different filters. I had a Brita filtering system for years, but it was just a PITA, so we got away from it.

Test Scenario
This last month, I set up a test scenario because I wanted to know how much water we drank daily using the filter. I was also wondering why we were all of a sudden going through filters hand over fist - like two filters a month! The "test" was that each time we filled up the basin to filter water into the 8-cup pitcher, we ticked off a mark on a little pad.  We discovered that we drink at least 40 cups of water a day! This is, of course, including coffee, water itself, tea, and drink mixes (e.g. 4C drink mixes with Splenda). We also use the filtered water for steaming veggies and fish as well as for boiling things - even eggs! Who needs extra metals sneaking into our food?

Filtration & Measurements
The filtration system removes all sorts of metals and are certified specifically to remove lead and chromium, but also can remove chloramine, flouride, uranium, and other inorganic compounds.  The pitcher and filters we ordered and received came with a
TDS meter that determines how many "Total Dissolved Solids" are in the water before and after filtration. Prior to the hurricane last fall, our tap water was measuring in at around 230 parts per million. Our tap water now measures 350 parts per million TDS, which is substantially worse for some unknown reason. It is possible that the NJ water contains more chloramine than our neighboring states, which will substantially reduce the efficacy of our filters more quickly.

As a point of reference, Manhattan's awesome tap water is approximately 5-10 parts per million! So, as long as the tap isn't coming through lead pipes, the Manhattan water is really good. Our water? Not so much. The reported average TDS in our area of NJ is 100 (which I think is very wrong). Matt's sister's water about 20 minutes north of us reads at around 249 ppm. Once filtered through a brand-new filter, though, the water TDS measures in at 0-1 ppm.


When the ZeroWater filters are full of filtered metals, water still comes through them. After about a week or so of regular filtration, we start testing the water. We throw the filters out once the TDS reading is around 20 ppm because the water starts smelling and tasting funky. If the water filter actually breaks (internally), the filters dump all the metals they filtered out into the pitcher that we're going to drink!!  Seems like bad design or a design flaw, but we're now aware of it. Our tap water smells like chlorine and bleach to begin with and when the filters break, we usually know it before we taste it. Yes. We've tasted the water after a filter has broken. IT.CANNOT.BE.SWALLOWED. It's so disgusting.

Cost Analysis
The ZeroWater filters are not cheap. In the store (e.g. Bed, Bath & Beyond or online), they can be about $15 apiece! We get them via Amazon's subscription service, which replenishes our stores every three months at about $8.50 per filter.  But, frankly, part of our test was determining whether filtering our water using ZeroWater was less expensive than just buying bottled water. A couple of weeks ago, we had to buy bottled water (in gallons) because we ran out of filters before the subscription kicked us out a new supply.

We even tested the water straight out of the gallon jugs for the fun of it. Spring water from Maine measured in at about 25 ppm and spring water from Pennsylvania measured in at 50-65 ppm. And the amount of TDS differed from jug to jug on all accounts.  Poland Spring (from ME) tasted the best.

Bottled water here (natural spring water is what we chose) costs anywhere from $1.50-$1.75 per gallon.  For the equivalent consumption of 40+ cups a day, we're paying slightly more than half the cost of an equivalent supply of bottled water. We're actually saving money using the ZeroWater filters!!

Environmental Savings
We're also saving the environment from all those bottles.The problem I have always had with bottled water was the bottles or gallon jugs. They get thrown away. Even if there's a promise of recycling them,  the plastic is still around. The ZeroWater company provides a recycling program themselves. All you have to do is ship back the filters to the company's Texas facility. Then they send you coupons for your next purchase, which can be used at Bed, Bath and Beyond or on the ZeroWater online store.

Better Health
Matthew and I have determined that by drinking more filtered water, we are thinking more clearly and sleeping more soundly than ever before. Our skin is also reaping the benefits of drinking better water.  We have paired up drinking more ZeroWater at close to 0 ppm with drinking less Splenda-sweetened drinks and removing all Aspartame (you make your judgement) from our diet; i.e. no drinks or food sweetened with NutraSweet or sweeteners containing Aspartame. We find ourselves drinking water straight more often than not now and can tell that our health is improving, which is an added bonus!

The end of the story is, use filters for your water, especially if you drink bottled water. It will save the environment from plastics.  If you have to choose a filter, Matthew and I recommend ZeroWater due to the better taste of the resulting, cleaner water, and its probable good health effects.

HAPPY EARTH DAY 2013!!
Fullscreen capture 4222013 104031 AM2
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
Where ya at? Where ya at? Where ya at? Where ya at?
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
Matthew and I were graciously invited by a friend of ours to speak at an LGBT rally against DOMA and Proposition 8 at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ, a couple of weeks ago. The timing was perfect, since on the day we spoke (27-Mar-2013), the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) was hearing arguments for an against DOMA that day and had heard arguments for and against California's Prop 8 the day before.

The speeches we wrote were not completely the speeches that came out, but the essences are here.  I spoke first and Matthew spoke second. What an exhilarating experience!  Three of our friends were there in real time and others have seen the initial video taken by one of those friends.  These videos below were done more professionally by a student at the university.  Enjoy, comment, and please forward these speeches to others who will benefit from them.  We are interested in becoming more and more active in these fights and would like many more opportunities to speak out against discrimination.



My original speech (behind the cut)... )

Profile

wwcitizen: (Default)
Stephen Lambeth

May 2017

S M T W T F S
 123456
78910 111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 09:48 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios