Thursday, June 28, 2007

Liberal Lucy's Bleeding Heart Club

If you're a regular reader of mine, you should be accustomed to these impassioned posts from me now.

There's a post over on MichiganLiberal that's the first in a series of posts on Stem Cell Research that will be scattered over the Michigan blogosphere in the coming week.

There's no doubt both my family and I have a vested interest in stem cell research, particularly embryonic stem cell research. As I explain in my post, it's not about me, or my family, it's about what makes the most sense for our state, our country, and mankind.

Check it out, add your thoughts, and weigh in. Our state and our world only get better each time we get involved.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A life worth remembering, a lesson to be learned

Living with a chronic illness teaches you how precious life is, how bittersweet it can be. The value of a day without pain, the blissful moments when you forget that you have that illness.

It also teaches you how murky the depths of depression can be, a seemingly endless cavern of darkness and despair, devoid of any hope or light. When you hit that point, the road out seems long, unattainable, and ultimately impossible. Most of us overcome the impossible, and sooner or later crawl our way out. There are some for whom, whatever reason, don't.

That was the case this weekend for my friend Dave. He was the classic All-American Boy Next Door. Good looking, a shy grin, and one of the kindest souls you'd have ever met. Dave and I knew each other through the United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA).

Dave's gone, and his many friends scattered across the country are left stunned. It's easy to ask why and walk around saying how hard it is to believe that something like this could happen to an incredible guy like Dave.

But for those of us who suffered like he did, living with a chronic illness, bodies forever altered like his was, we remain silent.

Dave's not the first of my friends from the UOAA community to die, and I imagine, that unfortunately he will not be the last. Whatever his reasons were, the precise cause of his inextinguishable anguish, those of us who walked with him, we're too familiar with it all.

Just as with all things in life, I will not let Dave's life or death go unnoticed. He will be sorely missed by many, many people. I will remember his light, his smile, and his kindness. There are so many things that we can and must take from every single experience, good, bad, and the tragic, otherwise, they are all in vain and we're left asking ourselves 'what's the point?'

Dave was worth more than that, and so are we.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saturday Special - Cruise Director Style

Happy weekend!

Last night I volunteered at Festival of the Moon, and I'll be doing the same again today at Festival of the Sun in Old Town. I strongly recommend you come on down and join in the fun. While you're there, I highly suggest trying out Uncle John's Hard Ciders. I tried all three, Apple, Perry and Apple Cherry and they were delicious!

Of course I'm busy preparing for tomorrow's MichLib Summer Family Picnic, and for one, final time, I'm inviting you and yours to join us at Frances Park, right here in beautiful Lansing. Most of the Lucy Family will be there, as will many family members of some of MichLib's finest. Consider bringing yours!

The following selections are some of my favorite posts/blogs are some of my favorite that I read on a daily basis to help keep me sane. Some are as far from political as they get, others feed my soul. Check 'em out because you never know, you may find yourself with a new blog favorite to add to your Bloglines.
  • - One of the funniest, most random blogs out there. Jamelah is a proud Michigander, and her antics will leave you rolling on a regular basis.
  • Around the Keg - Another Michigan blog, this one is all about beer, particularly beer, with a smattering of politics thrown in, from the right and the left to keep things interesting. Funny thing, I'm not a beer drinker, but I enjoy reading about beer, which I realize probably makes very little sense. Ahh, well just goes to show you never know with LL. :-)
  • The Chaplain's Assistant : God, Country and Vietnam - The book from one of our own Isabella County bloggers, jtcaldwell. I have a love for all things military history, passed along by my dad the Vietnam Vet, and this will be finding itself in his birthday present.
  • The Hunger Site - did you know that with a few short clicks of your mouse you can help feed the hungry? It is one cool site that we should all be clicking on every day.
  • Never in Our Names - From the site
    Never In Our Names is an online community dedicated to human rights and individual dignity. We support the Geneva Conventions, The United Nations Human Rights treaties and The UN Declaration on The Rights of Children, as well as the very basic tenets of human rights, including a statement on our masthead by an 11 year old: "All you have to do to qualify for human rights is to be human."
Well that's it for me today. I'm off to get everything prepared for tomorrow's picnic. Here's to a happy Saturday and seeing YOU tomorrow!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Standing in Solidarity: Local Paper's Gone too Far

In response to the Lansing State Journal's decision yesterday to make over 53,000 non-exempt state employees information public on their website, I found myself strangely uncomfortable.

I'm all for right-to-know for the public, and increased transparency within the government, but why does the LSJ choose to flaunt this?

Isn't there a time and place for things like this? Why do we need all of this information flashed across the front-page of one of the state's largest papers? If all of this information is already public knowledge, why can't it be left at that?

There's no doubt there's a delicate balance between the public's right to know and the privacy of state employees, and to me, this whole thing just feels a little off.

I'm fortunate to have several state employees who are regular readers of my humble little blog, and more than one of them contacted me yesterday over this latest firestorm.

After reading both yesterday's LSJ article and the follow-up they posted today, I'm siding with the outraged state employees and fellow blogger Christine Barry, by expressing my displeasure and disbelief toward the LSJ. (In my protest, I refuse to publish the link to the story and/or the online database.)

I encourage you to head over to MichLib and check out my post, weigh in on the debate either here or there, and stand up for our state employees rights. Between John Engler, the Senate Republicans who would slash them to the bone, God knows they have enough fires to fight on a daily basis.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

When Good Squirrels Go Republican

This is what happens when renegade squirrels, possibly Blackwater-trained squirrels, discover LucyLand, and the single, important wire that connects LucyLand to the Tubes of the Internets.

Although you may think me off my rocker, the Comcast Guy did confirm that my lack of access to the Tubes these last couple days has been caused by one of these furry little fiends who decided to chomp through my cable line. I'm the second such casualty this week, according to the very-trust-worthy Comcast Guy.

This news, coupled with a certain MI-GOP Chairman's silence on MichLib, and too much time spent trying to catch up to the massive amounts of emails from my absence, lead me to one conclusion - the Michigan Republicans are using trained squirrels to block the highly effective efforts of Michigan's liberal bloggers on said Tubes of the Internets.

Yes, that's really the only explanation that makes sense. :-)

What are YOU doing this weekend?

Here in Lansing there are plenty of incredible events, full of fun, good friends and food.

Of course, if there's one spot you shouldn't miss, it's Unplugged: MichLib's Family Summer Picnic this Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Frances Park.
The event is open to friends/supporters/readers/bloggers and their crew, which by proxy, means you. Hope to see you there!

I'm just not sure how I'm going to squeeze all of this into my weekend:

Annual Chili Cookoff sponsored by the Lansing Board of Water and Light - This will be my fourth year at the event, and I'll be hard-pressed to miss it. The chili - mild, hot, and five-alarm is incredible. $5 gets you in for all you can eat, incredible live music, good friends, good times, and some tasty treats (and drinks!) to cool you off!

Festival of the Moon sponsored by the Old Town Commercial Association - this Friday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. in downtown Old Town (Grand River Ave and Turner St.) Excellent food, good spirits, fun times, and great music.

Festival of the Sun sponsored by the Old Town Commercial Association - more good food, great beer, awesome music including Lansing's own Root Doctor this Saturday from 2 p.m. - 10 p.m.

:sigh: and here I thought I might get a day of rest of or two this weekend!

No worries, you can be sure that no matter how you spend your weekend here in Lansing, it's going to be one incredible time!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Happy Father's Day Indeed

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads and Granddads out there. For everything you've done to raise us right, you deserve at least one day to call your own!

Today I'll be spending the day off the Tubes and with Dad, as we do the Ford Rouge Factory down in Dearborn. It should be an interesting and informational time, that I'm looking forward too.

Here's to you and your dad!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

For a Good Time...

this weekend, try out the East Lansing Jazz Festival.

There will be some excellent food from all over the Mid-Michigan area, and some of the best jazz music around including my good friends over at Organissimo, from right here in Lansing.

Performances include the top-notch MSU Professors of Jazz and the Big Band Machine, among others.

Of course, don't forget to mark your calendars for next Sunday's MichLib Family Summer Picnic, Unplugged. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mixed bag of messages from the LSJ

Reading the Lansing State Journal this morning has left me with some mixed thoughts.

According to the cover story, it looks as if the Downtown area is starting to see a real up kick in business and commercial traffic, which translates to a boost for our local economy. The timing of this with the new Michigan Business Tax that got passed just a few short weeks after the Mackinac conference makes for a happy Thursday.

Of course, when you flip a couple pages back and see the editorial on the smoking ban, you may find yourself a bit puzzled. There's a post that I just did over on MichLib, but the long and short of is that the proposed smoking ban in bars and restaurants is as much about saving money as it is protecting our health. It definitely is not rocket science. What it is is frustrating as hell. I would be interested to hear what everyone else has to say about it.

While you're chiming in below, be sure to stay cool and hydrated today, it's going to be a hot one.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Misc. Mutterings from around Michigan

I'm still catching up on sleep and rest from my trip to NY, but here's a couple things going through my head.

Snuffing it out: Applause for Sen. Ray Basham and Rep. Brenda Clack on banning smoking inside restaurants and bars. If you want to smoke that's fine, but that doesn't mean the rest of us need to inhale your pollutants. This issue rings especially true for me this week as my lungs recover from the smoke and smog that covered New York City. Smoking in restaurants and bars is banned in New York, just as it is in Ontario, and I think it's great. Please contact your representative and senator to voice your support for this public health issue.

From the mailbag: A leader of the Young Americans for Freedom, the right-wing student group who's MSU chapter was deemed the very first university-sponsored hate group, has come out of the closet as a gay man. Todd Heywood at PrideSource has the full skinny.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An 18-year-old leader of Young Americans for Freedom and a conservative campaign operative is coming out of the closet.

Tyler Whitney, the immediate past chair of Western Michigan University YAF, the chair of the Michigan Teenage Republicans, or TARs, and the current webmaster for the Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) for President website, has been telling other conservative activists for about a month of his coming out journey.

Wow, talk about rocking the boat. Tancredo's one of the nuttiest Republicans out there, and I wonder how he's really taking the news?

Reaction: Apparently my guest-post at Republic of M has gotten some fantastic response both here in Michigan and across the country. For those of you who didn't catch it, upon request from a good friend and fellow blogger at Republic of M, Gay Michigan, I wrote a post titled The Importance of being an Ally, an explanation of my personal decision to be ally to the LGBT community. It's not rocket science, just common sense and good will.

Current Events: Tonight I'll be speaking along with one of my blogmates, Marcy Wheeler, in Pittsfield Township down in Washtenaw County on Democratic politics and blogging.

Up and coming in Michigan: Staying true to my duties as Cruise Director, I announced Unplugged: The MichLib Family Picnic here in Lansing on Sunday June 24th. It's open to bloggers, readers/commenters/lurkers, and supporters of the MichLib community, which goes for those of you here at LLP. It'd be lovely to meet you, and I hope you'll consider coming out for a good time, great food, and wonderful friends.

Waiting on a Tally: I'm still waiting on a fundraising count from the Get Your Guts in Gear office, but apparently quite a few folks sent in (or are still sending in) last minute donations. Don't stop, keep sending! I'll keep you posted on the final tally.

Here's to a fantastic day to you and yours.

What I did on my trip to NY

My trip to New York was great, full of exciting moments, interesting discoveries, and as we now know, pollution. :-)

Just so you know I wasn't slacking while I was away, here's what I did on my Summer Vacation trip to NY.
Yes, all that in only six short days. Whew!

Now it's time to get back to business here in Lansing. First up, a hard look at financial literacy this afternoon with a Lunch and Learn at the Capitol. Come on down and get educated. WDIV's (Channel Four in Detroit) Rod Meloni will be the guest speaker. Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Glad to be home in Michigan

From Lansing to Brooklyn to Manhattan to Saratoga Springs (and everywhere in between) and back again in Lansing, oy vey, what a trip!

I am sooooooooooo glad to be home, regardless of how exhausted I am. Thank you to everyone for your kind words, phone calls/text messages, thoughts, and of course, donations. Apparently quite a few donations came in last week, so it might take the Ride office a week or two to get caught up on entering all the donations to my ride page. I'll keep you posted on that.

I had an incredible time, an exciting journey filled with unforgettable memories and new friends.
I'll post a couple more pictures in the next couple days, but first, there's plenty of catching up to do, whether it be laundry, work, or sleep.

See you tomorrow morning over at Michigan Liberal for Coffee Talk.

Trading the bike for an airplane

My friend and fellow ostomate, Emily rides in triumphantly to Skidmore College as we finish up our ride.

The entire crew lines up to welcome the riders in to the closing ceremony, where we shared tears of joy, muscle aches and good food before heading back to NYC.

The 3.5 hr bus could have been a tedious one, but thanks to a good movie and lots of good friends, the time went quickly. It was nice to sleep on a bed instead of the ground and to take a hot shower that didn't require coins to operate.

Now I sit at LaGuardia airport awaiting my flight that's already been canceled once. Perhaps, just maybe I'll make it back to Michigan soon. :-)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Day 3 of the Ride: The Last Leg

As my fellow riders start to head in, the rest of the crew and I are setting up for the Closing Ceremony and BBQ here at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. The scenery is absolutely beauitful, the air clean and clear, minus the eau de horses. Turns out Saratoga Springs is a huge center for horse racing. 

Tonight after we're cheered in by all our family and friends, those of us flying back out of NYC will hop a 4 hour bus back to the city and I'll be back in Michigan by Monday afternoon. 

I'll be sure to grab some photos of closing ceremony and put them up on here on my way back to NYC. 

Till then!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Allergic to New York (literally)

Yes, after only 40-odd miles yesterday, it turns out I'm allergic to New York. I went into a full-blown asthma attack and had to be taken to the nearest hospital. After a breathing treatment, a short course of steroids, and an inhaler, I was informed that I wasn't allowed to ride and to be properly checked out when I returned to Michigan. As bummed as I was, I still had it better than my fellow rider who got hit by a deer while riding. and had a serious case of road rash that required stiches and a sling.

I was informed that I would now be crewing since I couldn't ride. I was very upset that I had come all this way, raised all this money, and couldn't do the one thing I came to do. As soon as I started feeling sorry for myself, I realized that I was still alive and healthy enough to even be here, and that was a feat in itself.

It's so important not too overlook the little miracles in life, such as surviving a terrible journey with Crohn's Disease.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Crossing the George Washington Bridge

The air is thick as pea soup with humidity and since its NYC, plenty of smog/pollution. Boy, do I miss Michigan's fresh air.

The bad air is aggravating my asthma, but the hills aren't too bad. Today''s concern is going to be not becoming dehydrated and "bonking", which is a huge concern to all riders.

I'm about to leave rest stop 2 and to #3 where lunch awaits. I've already cleared about 25 miles and the temp is already 72 @ 9:45ish. Woo-whee, it's gonna be a warm one!

Breakfast before the big ride

It's a beautiful day here in NYC, with temps expected in the 90's and it's an official Ozone Action Day, which technically means we should limit physical activity - ha!

It's a breakfast of bagels and juice and we're filling up our water bottles of gatorade and water. Then there's an opening ceremony and we're off, crossing the George Washington Bridge on our way finishing up in Beacon, NY some 70 miles away. I'll continue to update from the road as I'll bring the latest news from the 120 riders and 50+ crew.

Here's to a beautiful ride and day both here in NY and in Michigan!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

WTC - now

I stand here and there's a slight chill that runs down my spine and just won't seem to go away.

This is hallowed ground.

WTC - Then....

While I'm away in NYC...

Mike at Republic of M was kind enough to ask me to do a guest post on LGBT issues in Michigan. You can read the post at his blog, and also over at Daily Kos.

Thanks to Mike and the entire fantastic LGBT community in Michigan for all of their hard work and participating in keeping Michigan great! We are lucky to have them!

Framing Immigration from Ellis Island

Over 12 millon of Americans passed through this very hall with one unified wish, to be afforded the same opportunities that you and I probably take for granted more times than not.
In Michigan, there's very little being said about immigration. There is a myriad of reasons for this, without a doubt. But as I found the record of my great-grandparents passage through Ellis Island in 1910, the issue of immigrant rights suddenly became much more real to me. I am about as WASP-y as they come, and it's easy for others like me to disregard the immigration debate as a Latino or Middle Eastern issue, but my trip here today made me realize it is anything but. For probably the first time I really thought long and hard about what it must have been like for those 12 million people that streamed through this great hall, the hope, the fears, the sacrifices made, all for the promise of a chance at the American Dream, something exemplified by our very own Henry Ford.
I still don't have the perfect solution or answer to this debate that rages on in the halls of government and hearts of millions of us from coast to coast. I'm not sure that many of us do, but I do think we should consider the very history that shaped who we are and even more importantly why we are before we make any future policy decisions on such a complex issue.
Perhaps the most fatal flaw of the human race is the repeated failure to learn and commit to memory the lessons of the past.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Lady Liberty How I love thee

What a sight to behold! It wasn't just the cool air off the river, but the very thought of how many other millions of people looked to this very statute as a means of hope and freedom that sent shivers down my spine!

Here's to NYC!

Chinatown & Mass Transit - Live from NYC

On my last day before the ride, I thought I'd play tourist for a bit, particularly with the weather a balmy 72 degrees and the sun brightly shining. I'm making my way to the Staten Island Ferry ( did you know you can ride it for free?) by way of Chinatown.
One thing that NYC definitely does right is mass transit. For only $7 I can ride unlimited anywhere around town by bus or by rail, hmm sure would be nice to have better mass transit in Michigan!
Speaking of which, I'm just about to board the train. Be back later with more pictures and tales from New York City!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

So far smooth travel to NYC

Knock on wood, but so far, so good. My first flight was smooth sailing flying. I'm on the last leg of my journey before it's hello New York City!
Keep thinking good thoughts for me, and I'll breath easy once I'm there.
I'll keep updating via mobile blogging, so keep checking back!

Monday, June 04, 2007

On the eve of the trip...

Dear Friends -

Many, many thanks to all of you for your support both on and off-line as I gear up for the ride.

With this as my second year, there's a little less anxiety involved, more excitement, and a bigger stock of pain relievers going with me on this trip.

I'll be the first to admit, I'm not nearly in shape like I was last year. Through my friend Robert's tragic death, moving to a new place, getting settled into a new career, and life in general, I'm grateful just to be able to go. I may not ride all 210 (218 to be exact) miles, but I'm proud that I'm going, have raised a good deal of money for a great cause, and will be there to show myself and the world that living with Crohn's Disease and an ostomy doesn't mean your life is over.

I'll be staying with a friend/fellow blogger, Lipris from The Albany Project (think the NY version of MichLib) in NYC for a couple days before the ride to see the sights and have some fun before the big ride that starts next Friday morning at the crack of dawn.

You can follow the 79 other riders and 50+ crew and I as we ride here at LLP - I'll be updating at the end of each day.

Despite a less-than-fabulous forecast of showers and storms Friday and Saturday, I'm excited. I'll be seeing a beautiful part of NY for the first time, and will be taking in all the sights. I've heard nothing but beautiful things about the Hudson River Valley.

Check out the website to follow the path we'll be taking, or if you're feeling the need to help me get a little closer to my goal of $15,000.

Be sure to look for the pictures when I get back!

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. Your support never ceases to amaze and humble me.


Gearing Up

Things have been quiet here on The Tubes of the Internet because I've been gearing up for my bike ride next weekend.

Pedaling 210 miles, well 216 to be exact, is no small feat, and requires an enormous amount of training, and that's what I've been doing.

I'm actually leaving Lansing tomorrow to fly out to NYC a couple days early to stay with a fellow blogger and meet some other folks before the ride. I'll be doing a more extensive post later today, but I just wanted to pop my head in and say hello, and give one last shameless plug to say it's not too late to donate!

For those of you who haven't been following my journey, visit my ride page and see why I'm Getting My Guts in Gear!