Happy. Healthy. Heathen.

Traveling, training, thinking, talking, typing


January 2013

Best dilemma ever.

Followers of this blog will know that I came out as an atheist about 2 years ago.  Here’s that post, and here’s another about why I don’t do that quietly.


Over the past several years, I have continued to be involved in atheism activism on the local and national level.  I have loved this journey; I love being open to learning something new every day, whether that’s in the arena of science, or politics, or morality, or community, to be challenged with an old belief I hold dear that needs to be examined and either discarded or updated.

This blog is about a new thing I’m learning.  For the 45 years I was a believer and a church attender, I never questioned my charitable giving.  The instruction in the Bible is pretty clear about the relationship between believer and church and money.  The word itself, tithe, historically means giving 1/10th of one’s earnings to the church.  I took this admonition seriously, and along with my spouse, regularly and consistently contributed 10% of our earnings to our local church.  Having served on said church’s budget committee, I knew exactly where that money was going:  staff salaries, utility bills, literature for classes.  It was a mindless, relatively painless automatic task, and I never questioned whether or not we would comply with that mandate.


Now that I’m secular, I’m free to give or not to give.  And if I give, I’m free to choose to whom I give, and I’m free to make that choice based on whatever qualifications I wish.  And not only am I free to give, I’m finding the process of searching and deciding to whom and how much to give both exciting and challenging.


I met with my accountant today (it’s been almost 12 hours – I think I’m finally starting to relax my shoulders).  I have a modest budget, and a modest lifestyle.  I have no debt, and The Squeeze tells me that the only time he sees me splurge is on the kids.  With the OCD, color-coded, to-the-penny budget I have created for myself, even with tuition, I am now in a place where I can add a line item for charitable giving.

I could not be more thrilled.

I have a file on my desk with requests for donations.  Those requests are from some favorite organizations:  The Human Rights Campaign, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the Adventure Cycling Association.  I also want to support my local Freethinkers Group, whether through sponsoring the website, or helping with other expenses.  I  want to be free to respond to any emergency, on the national, local, or interwebs level.  I want to do the fun stuff too – buy supplies for Aden’s classroom, give a grocery store gift card to a friend in need, send a little extra cash to a peace corps friend.


Rereading this post, it seems a little simplistic and almost…remedial. Maybe it’s not something everyone else gets excited about.  But I’m not embarrassed about that.  I think it’s okay to learn a new skill, and be tickled to be doing it, at 52.

I love hearing from you.  Tell me your “giving stories”, how you choose, how it helped.

Thanks for reading.

Running with the grand!

What a wonderful thing!

Yesterday was the Zoo Run Run, the annual 5k through the Nashville Zoo.

This was a run chosen by my beloved massage therapy school posse in an effort to show that the caretakers take care of themselves too!  We preach health and fitness and nutrition and stress reduction every day to our clients, and it is past time for us to live what we teach.

The squeeze and I had registered for the race together, but business took him to California for the week, so I ended up with an extra registration.  I also ended up with the grandson for a sleepover Friday night.  When I offered him the opportunity, he was ALL. FOR. IT!! After all, as he reminded me when I ordered him a Little Boy’s Hot Chocolate from Starbucks, “Gammy, I’m not a little boy.  I’m 8”.

So after Friday night’s Snacks n Movie on the big couch (Cheerios and milk, and Stand By Me), and after helping me do some work at my gym on Saturday morning, into our warmest running gear and off to the zoo we went.

First thing was registration, checking in to get our race bibs and tshirts.

Representing my school too!
Representing my school too!

Then it was visiting vendors, and seeing runners in animal costumes, or animals in runner costumes, picking up a few freebies, and petting the animals brought out for just that.

I think there's a pony under all that shag.
I think there’s a pony under all that shag.

Then we had a few minutes to stretch before they called us to line up with 2000 of our closest friends, and it was time to get our Zoo Run on!

Race Face!
Race Face!

3…2…1…GO!  We shot right out of the corral at, well, a fast crawl, til the crowd spread out a little, then it was full speed ahead.  My race strategy was this:  I was sure I could outrun him, even if I am a little older, so I was going to let him run til he was tired, then we would walk/run the remainder of the race.  That’s exactly the strategy we implemented, but we added a few short stops for animal pics.

Some kind of a red-haired pig or something - neither one of us could remember the name of this cutie
Some kind of a red-haired pig or something – neither one of us could remember the name of this cutie

Then we came upon the elephants – they were magnificent!

Look closely to see the big guy behind us!
Look closely to see the big guy behind us!

Then it was the kangaroos, then an ostrich, the zebras, the cats, and finally the flamingoes!





Then, in one final, reserve burst of speed and energy, he tore across the finish line, arms raised in victory, cheered on by the crowd!

He did it!
He did it!

I am so proud of the little guy, and we’re already talking about our next race.  I once made a promise to my kids that whatever they would allow me to participate in with them, I would do my very best to do.  That promise has taken me to the top of black diamond slopes, down rapids that scare the hell out of me, to runway fashion shows, and up rock walls.  Now I’ve made the same promise to my grand.  I can’t think of a better way to stay healthy than that.

Our celebratory cones at the "ice cream place with the two lips".  Took me a while to figure out too.
Our celebratory cones at the “ice cream place with the two lips”. Took me a while to figure out too.

Thanks for reading!

Where have you been?

Where have you been?!  I’ve been waiting and waiting!

From the The-best-defense-is-a-good-offense files…

When I logged in to write today’s post, I was astounded to see I haven’t posted since November!  Where did the time go?  Maybe the kids coming for Thanksgiving or my best girl and her wife visiting for a few days or taking my finals for the end of my second year of law school or going to Amy’s graduation or moving her to a new apartment or Glenda coming home for the semester break or my parents coming for Christmas or going to Las Vegas for my studybuddy’s 40th birthday or driving nonstop with Son2 from Colorado to Tennessee to reposition a vehicle or starting my third year of law school?  Still no excuse, I know.

I do love being stimulated, but this has been a little over the top, even for me.

Starting with kid news:

#1 had better grades than me after fall semester, and I had good grades.  That was tough to take, but I’m so proud of him.  Ben is a political science major at CU Boulder, home of Ralphie the Buffalo (extra credit if you know the history of the mascot at this school).  Kirsten finished her master’s in architecture this year, and they’re trying to get used to NOT living in a resort town.

Ben and Aden
Ben and Aden

#2 is in his winter semester as the asst director of the outdoor program at Virginia Commonwealth U.  His group of students went on a ski trip to Breckenridge, which is why he ended up there with his Airstream B Van needing to bring it back east.  I volunteered, so 24 hours later, we arrived home, where Sam slept, then drove the rest of the way alone, visiting his sisters along the way.

Sam and the James River in Richmond
Sam and the James River in Richmond

#3 is in what may be her final semester at UT.   In a painful twist of irony, she’s having to defend a French class she took IN FRANCE in order to get credit to graduate.  The less said about that the better.

Glenda and darling Caroline
Glenda and darling Caroline

#4 graduated from East Tennessee State University in December.  She’s applied for a job with the parks department of Johnson City and is eagerly awaiting an answer.  She has a kickass plan B, so I’ll wait for that post until she hears the result of her interview.

Amy and darling Curtis
Amy and darling Curtis

As for me, I’m now past the halfway point in law school, the bar exam notwithstanding.  That’s an entity unto itself.  I have 23 more tuition payments, 23 more months of school.  If you’re keeping track, this year’s subjects are:  Evidence, Corporations and Business Organizations, Professional Responsibility, Legal Analysis and Writing, Legal Research, Employment Discrimination, and Cross Profession Ethics.  It is as much work as it appears to be.  Do not think, as I did, that law school is top-loaded.  I love the topics; the challenge is cramming the daily 12 hours of study into 4 or 6 hours.

In training news, son Sam has decided he wants us to do a triathlon together before one of us gets too old.  And of course by triathlon, I mean the big bad one.  We’ve decided on the window of Mar-Sept 2014, so we’re looking at races all over the world to find an iron distance we want to do.  That gives us the maximum time to train, and before I start my big push studying for the Bar.  Stay tuned for details.

I’d like to say here that I’ll do a better job of blogging more regularly, but we all know I’m kidding myself.  It’s not that I don’t have a lot to write about, but you already know that.  However, it is a nice refuge from the intensity of my academics, so here’s my empty promise to try to do better.

And, for no good reason, here’s a face:

How could you not love this face?
How could you not love this face?
We can destroy a hot dozen
We can destroy a hot dozen


Thanks for reading!

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