Monday, April 8, 2013

Robbie the Robot , Cicadas, and Various Cancer References

I was thinking today about one of my glaring parental failures.  One that sticks with me always, one that will likely stick with our boy forever, too.

It didn't start out as a failure.  In fact, it started out as a wowser victory.  You see, we saved a lot of old boxes of varying size (and some large wrapping paper tubes) and, with a LOT of aluminum foil, built our boy a robot.

Our boy,  many years ago, with "Robbie" the robot
Oh, our boy LOVED his robot.  "Robbie" hung around for a couple of YEARS, though it wasn't long before he started taking damage--cat scratches here, a crushing wound there, parts falling off over time.  Understand, too, that "Robbie" was LARGE.  He was large, and he took up a large portion of our boy's room.  And then, one day, "Robbie" got cat-pissed upon.

And that was it.  My boy was, at the time, very into Viking-type things.  I explained to him that "Robbie" had lived a long, productive robot life, but it was time for him to go.  Our boy agreed.  I asked if he'd like to send "Robbie" out in style, with a real, live funeral pyre ala the old Norse.  He agreed.


And so we took "Robbie" (and all his loose, sad pieces) out to the fire pit and did the deed.  Our boy's excitement over the send-off was short-lived.  In fact, it was only a minute or so into the torching that the heartbroken tears began.  It was, of course, entirely too late to pull "Robbie" out of the flames.  

My poor boy.  He cried and cried for his robot, and I cried, too.  I cried for him, I cried because I'd obviously screwed up, and, yeah, I cried a little for "Robbie."  

I'm not the worst mom out there, but who'd aspire to that?  I totally blew it, and I still feel bad.


Went in at the butt-crack of dawn this morning to have the stitches out of my cancer arm.  It looks awful, and, for all my talk of "What's another scar?" fact is, I feel sad about it.  I don't have a lot of pretty on me, I don't have much to recommend me.  Now I have a big, ugly, puckered, disfiguring scar on my arm.  Yay.

They called later to let me know that the margins were clear, they got it all.  That's something good.  They won't need to see me for a year.  I've taken a bunch of pictures, and once a little more healing has taken place, I'm going to post a big, long series of shots, from before the excision to a few months after.  Maybe someone will get a feel for what they can expect in their own experience.


It's funny--they say that Red Winged Blackbirds are year-round, that they don't leave for the winter.  That may be true, but they sure do shut up for the winter--I haven't heard one since last fall.  Until today.  The weather has warmed up dramatically, and suddenly my yard is full of the sounds of blackbirds.  Maybe it's a breeding thing, they only come near in the spring because the feeders and breeding grounds attract them.


Hubby has an ex-girlfriends who's gone deeply woo recently.  Very "natural health" and "conspiracy theory" and the like.  One of her recent ones?  Cancer rates are increasing, and it's because of Monsanto.  

Okay, straight up, I don't like Monsanto.  I don't like the way they actively disregard the health and well-being of folks unfortunate enough to live near their manufacturing facilities, I don't like their predatory farming practices, and I don't like unlabeled GMO crops.  Considering our unwillingness or inability to bring down carbon emissions in a meaningful way, I recognize that the GMO crops I despise may well prove to be our saviours down the line, but that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it.  All of that aside, there's an "Occam's Razor" kind of answer to the cancer rates that doesn't require conspiracy theories, government cover-ups, or corporate evil.  

An aging population.

When I was born, the average life expectancy was something like 66 for men and 73 for women.  For children born today?  76 for men and 82 for women.  

Most (not all, there are exceptions) cancers become more common with age.  That makes sense--things get old, they break down, DNA screws up, lifetime exposure to various things piles up.  Add to that the fact that we are curing or effectively treating SO many things that used to kill people BEFORE they could get cancer.  Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, heart failure, etc.  People are living long enough to get cancer.

And let's not forget the BABY BOOMERS, who are all now hanging about in prime cancer territory, age-wise.

No, that doesn't mean that I don't think there are things in our food supply and in our environment that are carcinogenic.  Of COURSE there are, hence CANCER.  But I think people overlook some of the more mundane reasons for more cancer.  We're living long enough to GET more cancer.  

Or at least that's my interpretation of the data.  You know me, that whole "Principle of Parsimony" thing gets me every time.


So, we put down more grass seed last night.  Temps are supposed to get up to the high 80s this week, and that means . .  .


That's right.  It's that time, folks!  We had a few cicadas here and there last year, but this is supposed to be a little more . . . horrifying.  Like floods and waves and drifts of cicadas.  While not supposed to be as bad as BROOD X (that's Brood Ten) in a few years, it should be enough to be getting on with.  It'll do 'til the REAL trouble comes, right?

For folks who haven't had to deal with cicada broods, here's a little taste or two:

And from the local news:

Plus a good story right here, from the Baltimore Sun.

Oh, and when is this supposed to happen?  I believe I read that it's "scheduled" to hit when the soil temp hits 64 degrees Fahrenheit.  Considering we're supposed to be up in the 80s this week?  I'm thinking that's VERY soon.


And now?   It's time for something ugly, house-wise.  Maybe paneling, maybe wallpaper, maybe flooring.  It's a surprise!

Do not reprint without permission. © KAQ

1 comment:

  1. Free lunch? Could help during the sequester for all the gov. employees. Maybe they could serve them in the congress lunch room as a sample budget cut measure.