Today was my 24th session of Deep Brain Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. I feel amazing. There have been a few difficulties, but they are all related to the flood of emotions that returned after my first treatment. When you are in the grips of a deep depressive episode, you stop having other emotions, at least I did. dTMS brings those emotions back all at once. They were not there and then they were all there. The first time I giggled in the kitchen with my wife, I was so startled that I stopped dead and just stared into the middle distance. It was very dramatic. There was the Week of Shame™, when I was paralyzed by the reality of the past four years and the impact my depression had on those around me. That was just painful, but I was able to get past it. Then there was the mini-TMS “dip”, when a very mild version of my symptoms stopped by to say “Hi!” for a few days. Every treatment just reinforces the healing I felt from the first couple. The key is to be consistent with the treatments and do follow-up “touch-ups” every couple of months. Science is amazing.
Folding bikes… I didn’t even know that they were a thing until my wife said, “hey, check these out”. Now we have two by Zizzo. I ride a Forte and my wife has a Via. We’ve logged just over 50 miles on them, but we already love them. They are solid, well designed, and comfortable to ride. Here’s a pic or two for your viewing pleasure.
Dogs. I grew up with lots of cats and one dog… Yankee the Australian Shepard. Back then, I was very much on the cat’s side of things. Now that I’m all grown up, it’s all dogs, all the time. Cats are a curiosity only. I love just about every breed too, but Australian Shepards are by far my favorites, in part because of Yankee. He was a wonderful dog.
So, what makes Aussies special? The puppies are adorable. The average Aussie is smarter than most people. They are fast learners. Aussies are very active, so they like having jobs, but they can chill when they need to. Aussies are velcro dogs. They will become your shadow. They are outstanding dogs as long as they are trained a bit and socialized. Aussies are great with kids. They bark but not excessively. They will vocalize and talk back, but it’s nowhere near Husky level. My wife and I have rescued two over the past twenty years. Lacy, who we adopted when she was about 4 and Mocha, who we adopted as a puppy.
Lacey was a Blue Merle. Their coats are so special that they have been crossed with dozens of breeds to get that coat. When we got her, she was about 20 pounds overweight. We had her for about four years before she developed inoperable bone cancer. We were able to get her weight under control and gave her a happy home. She was great with our kids when they were little and her loss was very difficult, especially for our youngest, who had a strong bond with her.
Mocha is a Double Merle. This means that she is the product of two merle parents. Almost 25% of puppies born when two merles mate will have some significant genetic issues. They are often deaf and blind. Mocha is lucky. She had partial vision out of one eye for her first 11 years, only going totally blind in the last six months, and her hearing is good.
Double Merles stand out because many of them are partially white and the health issues get worse the whiter they are. When breeders cross two merles, they know that this will be the result, but the healthy merle pups are worth a lot of money, so irresponsible breeders continue this practice. Keller’s Cause is a non-profit that works to find homes for these wonderful dogs. They have information about how to adopt special needs dogs in almost every state as well. Here is the American Kennel Club’s site on Aussies.
Here are a few pics of our pups. The last picture is of Max, a Lhasa Apso/Shih tzu mix. Not long after my wife and I bought our first house, we rescued Max. My wife and I are both teachers, so our summers are very chill. I woke up late one morning to find her out on our second story deck with this random puppy. It had climbed the stairs to the deck and barked at the door until she went out to see what was wrong. She then fed it cube steak from the previous night’s dinner. My wife did not grow up with pets and so she did not know that the random puppy was now our puppy. I was not a fan of small dogs and we had talked about getting a big dog. Like a Golden or an Aussie, but Max became our first dog. He lived 14 years and turned out to be a delightful addition to the family. He was very sweet when we started having children and lived for a couple of years after we adopted Lacey.
OhMyGod, that was way more about the dogs than I intended to write. So, let’s just get right to five, shall we?
January 6th, 2021, was an attempted coup. It’s really that simple. There is a mountain of evidence that says they planned it with the knowledge and input of the sitting President of the United States. The intent was to overturn a lawful election and to maintain their hold on power, perhaps indefinitely. Members of congress were involved, the Trumps where involved, wealthy GOP donors were involved, State level GOP officials were involved, Fox “News” was involved, and a dozen right-wing organizations were involved.
Currently, the January 6th committee is holding hearings during prime time. All the above-mentioned groups are working overtime to deflect attention away from this. Fox is not showing the hearings at all, although just about every other news outlet is. Senate and House GOP members are screaming about everything from Hunter Biden to gas prices. There are still many who are watching, or will see parts on the news or social media. The message will get out that the GOP wants to end what little is left of our democratic way of life.
Next week I will talk about what may lie ahead for the United States if we continue on our current path.