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    For yesterday's Big Game, I bought along a snack food that I have taught myself to love in spite of its citric bite and the shock to my sensitive tooth fillings: grapes.

    We began discussing the grapes and my forced adoration because of my kidney malfunction. My fellow players knew that I did not drink alcohol but were unaware of the reason. I explained my particular kidney malfunction and said that when my kidneys fail, the amount of water I can consume will be limited, but gaining water through natural food sources is a different quality of water. Nothing holds natural water like grapes and watermelon. Grapes, I like. Watermelon, not so much.

    It also occurred to me in the tellilng that I have developed a nonchalant attitude toward my problem. I know that I am in Stage 2 of ADPKD, that my liver is already affected by the disease, and that eventually one or both organs will fail. I know that when that happens, if I survive the initial failure, I will be added to the tail of a rather long list of people in need of a kidney and/or liver transplant. My options will be severely limited, and there is no cure apart from a transplant, but why tilt at windmills? It could be worse.

    Yes, there's worse.

    A friend here at The Fort has cancer, and her family is devastated, obviously. We all are. She has children at home as well as her husband, extended family, and friends. She's trying to fight it, and we're all pulling for her in our own way.

    As much as my diagnosis was a shock to me, I already knew that ADPKD was a genetic malfunction, and that there was nothing to be done but get my body healthy in all other aspects in an attempt to prolong the inevitable. Cancer, on the other hand, is completely different. There are things that can be done in a lot of cases, but they're pretty much all frikkin' miserable treatment programs, with hair loss the best of the side effects. While some cancers are hereditary, most come out of the blue. Sometimes the cancer is very tough to beat, and sometimes it just won't quit.

    Her situation and that of Mister's friend from school have opened my eyes to the surprisingly large number of people I know who've either had cancer themselves or who have had someone close to them with cancer. It's absolutely shocking how many! It has also brought to my attention the disparity in treatment options when insurance is inadequate or unavailable as well as how some hospitals deal with that situation.

    My father's wife discovered a lump in her breast. A biopsy turned up cancer. Because she had no medical insurance, the cheaper option was to perform the double mastectomy with reconstructive plastic surgery later than to even attempt chemo/radiation.

    Luckily for my dad's wife, the oncologist who confirmed her diagnosis had staff privileges at the one hospital in the tri-state who would allow her surgery pro-bono. Well, not so much pro-bono as "we know you won't pay us, but we'll pretend we don't," and they did not refuse to treat her. A big thank-you from me to the hospital, because even though I don't like her much, she takes care of my father and I don't have to.

    I have my own problems, but they seem so small when compared to the crises of others. As much as I would love a non-surgical cure for my problem, cancer really needs it more.

    I ask for nothing

    I was raised by a family and society that expects me to be Christian of some variety. My father expects me to be of the Catholic bent, at one point encouraging "the fat one" to become a nun. Events have occurred since I became an adult which have shaken my hesitant faith into non-existence. However, to say that I am not a Christian is to suggest that I am some other thing, such as a Buddhist or Muslim. The greater truth is that "religion" is no more than a history-based mythology for me.

    Instead I believe in the power of me. Whatever I can do to make our world, our society, our friendship better, I will try. I will recycle, install solar panels and rain barrels, grow my own tomatoes, smile in the face of rudeness, listen to hurt feelings, give comfort and relief, and meet for karaoke in bar even though I neither sing nor imbibe.

    It is human nature to need something to believe in. It is my opinion that belief in oneself should be enough. However, humans are emotional and occasionally weak. A person might require belief in someone or something else in order to believe in themselves.

    For those people, the power of prayer is amazingly beneficial. When one feels helpless, "lifting" ones troubles to a god is like removing a weight off the shoulders. In the case of a dear friend slowly dying of cancer, the prayers of her friends and family not only eases their pain, but helps her feel their love for her and so calms her spirit in the face of death.

    However, some people take this prayer thing a little too far, in my opinion.

    A relation of Mister's often sends out prayer requests. They are as varied as the weather. When her granddaughter was born premature, the prayers were along those lines. Later, they shifted to prayer requests for a safe drive to/from the doctor's office and the like.

    A week or so ago, an in-law passed away. It is my understanding the the lady had lived a long, full life and was much loved. Fantastic. If only I can be so lucky! However, if I judge the requests correctly, this relation's spouse was absolutely devastated and required much praying to make through the week. Really? Am I the only person who celebrates a life well-lived? Why not pray thanks for that? She could have been beset by misfortunes, or like my friend with cancer, painfully wasted away while her small children watched, helpless.

    And now we're being asked to pray for this guy who has worked nearly 40 hours this week, with another 20-30 to go before his working week is done, so that he may have the strength to make it through. How about instead we pray our thanks that he's got a job at all, adding an additional prayer for those who are unemployed and hungry that they might find relief soon?

    Day after day, week after week, this relative posts request after request. The sheer quantity of of requests, all along the lines of gimme-gimme (give me strength, get me there safely, etc) even if for the benefit of others, makes me frown. On the one hand, it is very generous of her to be thinking so much of others. On the other hand, only one request of the dozens so far was a request for thanks to be given.

    Am I being harsh for thinking of this as very selfish and un-Christianly?

    lulz wut?

    I hate purposely-misspelled words. Hate them! For instance, the use of the word, "pak" or "pac" instead of "pack," makes me nuts!

    On the other hand, hilarious-but-innocent misspellings get me laughing and it's so much fun.

    This weekend, a teenage friend on Facebook posted the notice that he was "makin pancaks." Another comment reads, "HOLLY CRAP I JUST LOOKED AT THAT PIC AND IT SCARRED YHE HECK OUT OF ME!!! WHY THE HECK WOULD YOU PUT SUMTIN LAKE THAT WAHERE THE PUBLIC CAN SEE!!!!! hahahah jk jk but it is scurry!!"

    I laughed so hard just now, that I decided to find and join a "misspelled words" fanpage on the site.

    Yes, there are fanpages for misspelled words. There are also fanpages for "watching clouds go by" and "turning the pillow to get to the cold side."

    On the first 10 of the 225 fanpages related to misspelled words was a 43-member prayer group titled


    I'm going to let that soak in for a moment. If it weren't all so darn funny, I'd cry.

    Serious blogger is serious. Srsly.

    The "actress" Jessica Simpson is an airhead. Everyone knows this, and usually what comes out of her mouth is disregarded after some eye-rolling and/or rude giggling at her expense.

    She was recently asked if she would demand the return of a gift she had given to her ex-boyfriend, Tony Romo. Her comments pissed off many Native Americans because she said she was no "Indian-giver."

    This anger confuses me. I had always assumed "Indian-giver" was a slam against white people, because of the many treaties signed and then broken by the white settlers in North America. You see, much was given to and promised to the Native Americans ("Indians") by the whites, but much was retracted and ignored by the whites. In this respect, an "Indian-giver" is one who gives a gift only until such time as the giver wants it back. No gift is truly "given." As I read her statement, I got the impression she thinks the same way.

    Sure, she made her case worse by stating outright that she was herself an "Indian," but who knows? Perhaps she is.

    If my interpretation of the phrase is in fact incorrect, please help me. I want to be as well-informed as I can, although I haven't used that phrase since I was a child and didn't understand how words hurt people.