Rest

After three weeks of long drawn out teaching 5 – 6 days, sometimes 10 hour sessions, here I sit on the first day of my vacation. I spent the whole day sitting on the sofa watching TV, playing video games,and napping with the man of my dreams. I can’t think of a better way to start my vacation. My voice is a bit hoarse and I’m just flat out tired but I couldn’t be happier. Total contentment.

Sometimes when you aren’t looking, life sneaks up and gives you that one thing you thought you’d never have.

Chip

The beloved Cooper is microchipped. He has been since I rescued him. It gave me peace of mind knowing this. But, it never dawned on me to check to see

image

if the chip had ever been updated. I assumed the shelter would have done that. Turns out the assumed I did it. The ensuing drama fest is a lesson learned.

It all started with me trying to download an app for my phone to track Cooper‘s health and med history. Most of the apps I tried out had an option to include a pet’s microchip number. This got me to thinking about Cooper‘s chip and I decided to call the original rescue shelter to see if they had updated his chip after I rescued him. Turns out they had not. So I had him all this time and his chip was never updated. Yeah, I know right?! lol  It turns out that the shelter didn’t actually chip him, the original breeder did. This was why they didn’t update the chip. They could have mentioned that little tip at the time but whatevs.

Anyway, I then discover that chips aren’t issued by just one company but several and none of them use the same format. I’m bouncing around the web trying to figure out which of the 9 companies owned his chip. I finally track it down and then discover they want the act of Congress to update the chip. lol  Which I guess is good because no one could just randomly change the chip info without me knowing. I had to go thru a lot of hoops to get it though. They wanted not only a copy of the original adoption paperwork, which I still have, they also wanted records from the vet showing he’d been treated with me listed as the owner. Since the adoption paperwork didn’t have the shelter’s logo or letterhead, they had to send me a letter showing that I had in fact gotten Cooper1 from them. Funny side story, when I reached out to the shelter, I happen to reach the lady I originally dealt with. She remembered little Cooper almost immediately. She was very happy to help and that Cooper was doing so well.

I also learned that Cooper is actually a year older than we thought. So instead of being 4 this June, he’ll be 5 on May 16th. The original breeder had at least listed his birth date when they chipped him. During the discovery process, they revealed the original chip date and the listed birth date. This isn’t necessarily bad news. It gives me a little hope as I’ve been worried he would start developing hereditary issues.2  Knowing he is a year older now gives me a bit of relief as 3-5yrs is about the range when problems start to develop. So far Cooper is doing well. He does have a little tone-deafness but it isn’t bad at all.

So now my monster is all up to date. I’ve made sure his chip data is accurate. And he’ll be celebrating his 5th birthday this May.




  1. Norm was his original name []
  2. White bullies are often very prone to health issues, primary amongst those are blindness and/or deafness []

Engage

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Moby and The Pup's Engagement rings

I’ve been MIA here as of late due to my work schedule. If you’re here via the web, you’ll notice the new template. This is the one I will most likely keep for awhile. But in other news and if you haven’t heard by now, I got engaged!

For the first time in my life I’m engaged to marry. The historical importance is not lost on me but that is a rant for another day. Today is about how happy I am to be eagerly awaiting such a big event. This is truly a life event for me and I couldn’t be more excited. Being with The Pup has taught me what it is like to be so in love and completely compatible with someone. He is my best friend and my lover and I have no hesitation tying the not with him.

Everyone keeps asking how I did it? The Pup and I are both gamers. I rent games thru GameFly, which is like Netflix for video games. The envelopes come pretty much the same as they do for regular dvds. On a tangent, we’d already decided a while back that we wanted to do two sets of rings. One set for the engagement and then a complimenting set for the actual event. Anyway, knowing he would kill me if I did anything big or hugely public, I settled on a more subtle surprise. If you’ve ever rented thru Netflix you know how the game sleeves work. I managed to get the cardboard cover and game out of the envelope without actually tearing it open. The disc comes inside with it’s own protective fiber sleeve that also has the game name and info. Well, I decided to apply my own sticker and made it look like the game sticker as a close as possible. Except where the name and description were I had my proposal instead. And instead of a game disc, there was the ring. With some effort I got it back into the envelope and put it back in the post box.

I contrived a small chain of events that led to The Pup opening the game and examining it. Of course, he saw the proposal and to my delight said yes. It was a very personal and shared moment for us. I don’t think anyone around knew what had just happened. I honestly thought it was perfect. I wanted to surprise him and still not embarrass him. And he really liked the way I went about it. He had no idea it was coming either. hehehe 

We don’t have a date for the big event yet. It will most likely be another 3-4 months before we set a date. Both of us are content with where we are and don’t feel the need to rush it. And while I will invite friends to be present, it will not be an overly dramatic event. lol Neither of us are into the whole big-wedding sort of thing. Something simple and local will be more than sufficient to officialize what we already know and feel.

It’s an exhilarating feeling to be honest. Knowing that this will be my last LTR makes it seem even more right that this is the first time I wanted to and could legally marry my partner. If you’d told me a year ago I’d be proposing to someone, I’d have probably laughed or shrugged it off. It’s funny how you can meet someone and they totally change your world.

As I always say, ‘hope springs eternal..’

Here

I’m still here. It’s just been a busy few weeks.

The work project I’ve been working on for the last year is in its final stage and things are more than a little crazy. Beyond the deliberate delays introduced by a certain outside agency, things are moving right along. The build phase has ended and the training phase has begun.

Last week was the ‘train the trainer’ sessions and this coming Sunday night starts the mad push to get everyone trained on the new system. I’ll be a primary instructor along with several of my coworkers. Since the old and new systems cannot run side by side, it’s an all or nothing cut over. That means everyone has to be trained before we can go live. That translates into a mad dash to cram 24 hours of training into 3 sessions across 3 watches.

This next week I’m working 6 days. I’ll most likely end up doing a few 12-14 hour days as not only do we have an entire workforce to train but also a brand new cadet class. We didn’t plan it that way but due to schedules and delays it worked out that way.

So yeah, I’ll be a busy bee this next few weeks. lol Afterwards, I should be back on my regular shift doing my regular job. Well I say regular, I went to days so I’ll still be in early every day.  Ugh

Feedback

Interestingly enough, I got a ton of feedback from my PrEP post. Mostly in private though. .People reached out to me by email, pvt messages, and even texts to share their thoughts. Most were supportive and a few who disagreed in varying degrees.

I was just struck how so few people were willing to go on the record, so to speak, about the decision. The general consensus I got was that it was a very personal decision and many didn’t feel it should be up for debate by others. This in itself was a bit encouraging. It means people are ignoring the stupidity over ‘shaming’ and making informed decisions about what is best for them. The flip side, in an age where a complete stranger will show you vividly detailed pictures of his anatomy before even meeting, it isn’t so easy to discuss HIV prevention. We have some work to do. If we are ever truly going to get a handle on this we have to let go of the blame and guilt so common associated with STDs in general.

One dissenter was particularly focused on the drug companies making a huge sum of money off of PrEP. I’m not one for conspiracy theories but I also understand greed. But ‘knowing’ something w/o facts or proof isn’t really knowing at all. And frankly the drug companies don’t have to push their drugs on the negative folks. They can just as easily depend on the ignorance and fear to keep the transmission rate high and sell it to you when you convert. And since they aren’t the ones behind the idea to use Truvada as PrEP, it is really hard to sell that theory.

Anyway, I was happy to hear from so many who reached out to me. Some thanked me for my insight and discussion. Some lamented an age of ‘whores’, whatever that means. Overall, the general feeling was of acceptance, not as a solution but as a possible solution. The idea is that you consider it if it would be right for you. And many of my readers seemed to approach it from that perspective as well.

Freeze

My workspace at work is always an ice box.1 We have this awesome temp control system that allows to control the temperature in virtually every room but mine. lol  The space I work in and the space next to me used to be one big room. After a reconfiguration project a few years ago, it was split in two. That’s great but now the temp controls for the other side no longer effects my side. So I work in this nether space of frozen Tundra temperatures. Someone made a conscious decision to not include this little space because all the temp sensors have been removed. Seriously?! lol

My workstation has a little Johnson control heater which is usually enough to off-set the worst of it. But on days like today, it’s just a polar zone up in here. brrrrrr. I keep an extra warm up on the back of my chair so I can bundle up. If you see updates on Google+, twitter, or FB that ramble off into one or two letters, call 911, I’ve frozen to death.




  1. That’s slang for refrigerator for you young’ens []

Gym

The Pup and I are back in the gym after an extended reprieve. I say reprieve because only part of it was laziness. hehehe  There was a 2-3 week window there where one of us wasn’t feeling so well. Either I felt fine and he didn’t or vice-versa. While neither of us got the full-blown flu, I think we may have extended the issue a bit by sharing it back and forth.1  Anyway, after that we’d just gotten too comfortable coming home, making dinner, and then curling up on the sofa.

And yes, some of it was pure laziness. We like spending quality time curled up on the sofa together. Be it Tivo, video-games, or movies, the sofa is quite comfy for the three of us. The desire to be in the gym hasn’t left me. I still enjoy it when I’m there but I do find the desire to stay home and cuddle is often stronger. I’m sure we are still in the bonding phase so that is to be expected. However, if I don’t want to turn into a pumpkin, a routine needs to be re-established. I wonder if this is what a lot of couples go thru when they move in together? I’m sure as hell not letting myself turn into a heifer, but I can see the allure. The Pup tends to like sweets a tiny bit more than I. This means I’ve succumbed to keeping more sweets in the apt. And of course, once the temptation is there I’m all for it. 

It’s our first week back and even sitting still today my effin’ chest is sore as hell. I am by no means fat but I feel flabby. hehe My muscles have lost a bit of that tightness that comes from a daily gym regimen. He looks hot as ever (I may be biased) but I’m sure he feels the same way.

Regardless, I ache today. OY! I can only imagine what I’m going to feel like by Saturday after all my muscles have been put the ringer.




  1. Sick or not, I can’t seem to resist kissing him []

PrEP

So I’m diving head first into a topic of news lately regarding PrEP. *This is a bit of a long post today so grab some caffeine*

If you aren’t familiar with the term PrEP, it stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylactic.1 The drug Truvada has been on the market to treat HIV since the late 90′s. It was recently approved to help with the the prevention of HIV transmission for individuals that are HIV negative. This news has been received with some very mixed reviews from within the community and the fight over it rages on.

The disturbing part is not that the decision is contentious but that there have been attempts to silence or shame anyone who has embraced the option. I must say I don’t really understand the latter. Even worse, much of the criticisms are based on ignorance and baseless (so far) assumptions. I get the advice for caution and concern but the level of vitriol and condescending attacks is unnecessary and counter-productive. If you don’t understand something don’t ramble on about how awful it is because ‘you know someone will abuse it.’ As often turns out, you don’t know and that ignorance can cause real harm in this instance. You have zero right to demean anyone who would choose a path that may help prevent them from getting HIV, even if that path doesn’t line up with your personal preferences.

I blame some of it on our conditioning in Western culture to hate our bodies and/or any idea of sex outside of coupling. We are institutionalized from birth on 1man+1women=babies. Well, that social construct doesn’t apply so well for us same-sex lovin’ folks. And having moral apprehension to a method to prevent the transmission of HIV is perfectly fine for yourself. Sex is not dirty, wrong, or shameful. And this continual shame based approach to sexuality is reprehensible. Frankly, it should dispel any remaining allusions that we are in any way unique or more evolved than our straight brethren.

This particular argument isn’t about personal standards. It is about the prevention of HIV transmission. Infections are once again on the rise at an alarming rate.2 And while HIV may not be the death sentence it once was, it is still incurable. It is time to branch out and embrace more ways to combat the spread. The ‘you should use a condom’ argument has soundly failed, as evidenced by the continual rise in infections from a generation that missed the mass die-off in the beginning. And why we of all people continue to fall prey to this failed ideology escapes me. The ‘you should’ method has never worked. If it did, we wouldn’t have teen pregnancies, drunk drivers, continued HIV transmission, or even wars for that matter. You are right, people should use a condom. Many do but many more don’t. It is time to fight the transmission from a different angle and from as many angles as we possibly can.

There are some pros and cons to going on PrEP. It isn’t for everyone based on your risk-factors, health, eating/drinking habits, relationship status, etc. If you have questions or concerns, ignore all the hype and drama. Talk to your health care professional about it. At the end of the day, what I or anyone else thinks you should do is irrelevant. You should act to protect yourself and if this would help you, then you should consider it.

*

For my own view, I support the approach to limit the spread based on sound statistical evidence. So far, the studies are showing that PrEP is truly effective in preventing the exposure and spread of infection.

One big argument I hear has been people will use condoms less. Statistically, so far that proves to be inaccurate. Two of the studies (which use blind testing – meaning you never know if you are getting the real drug or a placebo) showed that overall condom use did not decrease. But let us assume for a moment that people did. How many times have you trusted a complete stranger to be honest about their status? And how many times have you engaged in riskier sex based on that belief? The way I see it, we have several scenarios3 where HIV transmission can occur:

Both partner’s know they are neg.
This is a fallacy. You should never assume someone who has sex with others besides you is neg. But let us assume for the moment, both partners think they are neg. You aren’t in a monogamous LTR and you engage in unprotected sex. Not being on PrEP means you are at the highest exposure rate for transmission. Being on PrEP would mean the ratio of transmission is reduced significantly (As much as 95% without a condom according to the efficacy rates of the studies so far).

One partner doesn’t know his status.
I would argue most of new transmissions via sex happen when one partner doesn’t know his status or assumes his status hasn’t changed. Again, if one of you are on PrEP, the exposure rate is reduced significantly.

Only one partner is neg.
Usually this means the poz partner is already on a drug regimen and undetectable. (You should still ask)  Plenty of sero-discordant couples already weren’t using condoms prior to PrEP. In an LTR or not, now the neg partner has an extra layer of protection and assurance he is not at risk. Not only does this reduce the transmission, it also de-stigmatizes the fear that comes from being with a poz person. Knowing you can be with a poz person and not put yourself at risk helps many who want to get past the mental mind-block, overcome their fear, and move forward.

Both partner’s know they are poz.
These are the least of your worries. These guys know their status and sero-sort on purpose. Primarily, to avoid the afore mentioned stigma that comes with being poz. I’d argue the only time this becomes an issue is when you get into assuming again. “We’re barebacking so he must be neg”, meanwhile, the other guy is thinking “We’re barebacking so he must be poz.” Never assume anyone is neg.

So which category do you fit in?

There are some cons and real concerns to consider. The biggest concern so far is the idea that guys will go on it inconsistently and cause resistance. Keep in mind resistance is only relevant if you sero-convert to being positive. Adherence to the daily regimen is key to the drugs efficacy. But think on this for a moment. The drug is already used for post exposure. Say you aren’t being very consistent with taking it daily. Then you have an exposure. How many of you reading this wouldn’t, out of that same fear, start taking it every day after an a possible exposure?

So far, the medical community is much more worried about resistance from folks that are using it as treatment, not preventative care. And let’s be real, people who spend the time, energy, and money to get on it as PrEP aren’t being cavalier. I’d argue they are doing just the opposite. It isn’t just a simple prescription. You have to visit your doc every 3 months, at least for the first year, for regular checkups and blood work. That decreases over time but you see my point. And when has a doc ever given you a prescription with an unlimited refill amount? See, when you think it thru you start unraveling some of the preconceived notions.

Another issue is cost. Fortunately, most large insurers already cover it so if you have insurance, chances are higher they do cover it vs not. I won’t even entertain the conspiracy theories I’m heard on this one.

And then we get to side-effects. The are some rare but sometimes very serious side-effects that can come from long term use of the drug. That again, is why you discuss it with your doctor and get regular blood work. Almost two decades of use show overall it is well tolerated by most. Even still, you are not given a prescription and never return. The hype over some of the more serious side-effects has been quite dazzling. I encourage you to go to WebMD.com and do a search for both Truvada and the little blue pill.4 No one is up in arms over the side-effects of the latter, which by definition aren’t much better. You can choose pretty much any drug site of choice to do a comparison.

In the end, you have to decide for yourself if this is right for you. If you are someone who uses a condom without fail (pun intended) then it may not be the choice for you. However, if you find that you aren’t 100% consistent and/or just want an extra layer of protection, then it might be for you. Talk to your doctor. Talk to others who are on it, regardless of their status. Decide for yourself if PrEP would be an additional way to combat the spread of HIV for YOU.

/rant




  1. Not to be confused with PEP, Post Exposure Prophylactic. The same drug is used for both []
  2. Ironically, many don’t stigmatize the treatment of other STDs, like Gonorrhea or Syphilis, that used to be considered terminal. []
  3. excluding needle sharing []
  4. I don’t want to attract the bots so I’m not spelling it out. lolol []

Beautiful

The outrage over the recent Coke commercial during the Super Bowl is quite the laugh. Didn’t hear it? It was a multi-language mash up America the Beautiful. It also featured a quick view of a gay-couple. While you might have issues with said company right now over it’s support of Sochi,1  you cannot deny they have been a long time staunch supporter of gay rights. Anyway, the song sparked outrage from the far right and many of our less ‘edumucated’ folks spawning their nastiness on the web via social media.

The outrage was specifically over the song being in different languages, which had my laughing in fits. Seriously, the irony is overwhelming. For those of you who don’t know, the song was originally a poem written by a Lesbian. But wait, it gets better. It was set to music from a foreign song. Many have been pointing it out but the best quote so far has been,

Katharine Lee Bates, author of the poem “America the Beautiful” studied Greek in college and spent four years in foreign travel and study. Her life partner was Katharine Coman, a social activist and strong advocate for European-influenced Social Insurance and policies.

Her poem “America the Beautiful” was put to the tune of “Materna” by Samuel Ward, which was originally intended to be the accompaniment for “O Mother, Dear Jerusalem” written by David Dickson.

In short, a homosexual woman who studied Greek (and whose life partner advocated European Socialism) wrote a poem which was put to the tune of a song with a Spanish title, composed to accompany text written by a Scottish Minister about a Middle Eastern country

Folks, it doesn’t get much funnier than that.

Our country was founded by immigrants and the ideal of welcoming people from all walks of life to this land.2  Blind ignorance and patriotism makes you a puppet. The Repugs are depending on the ‘dumbing down’ of America so they can use petty squabbles and base emotions to control the masses. Meanwhile, they keep screwing us over and over and over again.

/rant




  1. Greed will do that []
  2. Not forgetting that we stole this land from it’s rightful owners, mind you. []

Awesome

I get a lot of questions about how The Pup and I are doing. In a word, we are doing ‘awesome.’  I’ve alluded to things being well in various posts as of late but yeah, we’re good. We’re better than good actually.

It is hard to put into words how great it has been. Having a best friend in a partner is certainly a new experience for me. I say that because I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time with a partner before. It is odd in some ways because I am usually very self-contained and tend to like my ‘me’ time. It was a character trait that took me an unexplainable amount of time to figure out but once I did, I learned to appreciate it. I’ve yet to feel the loss of any me-too so far. The Pup and I spend a lot of our free time together, almost all of it. If anything, the day is just a distraction until I can get home to him.1  I’m sure that will wane a bit over time but I’m not complaining one bit.

I guess having never felt like previous partners were my best friend too it makes sense.  In the past, I usually planned my schedules and routines building in time just for me. In retrospect, I wonder if I built too much me time. I’m actually changing schedules at work soon so he and I can spend more time together vs apart. Don’t think that change was lost on me either. I wanted to and that is the important part. I didn’t feel like I had to or like it was some sort of obligation. The time we spend together is mutually agreeable to both of us. And, I know if either of us ever need some time alone, the other is perfectly OK with it. And I wonder if even knowing the latter makes it more bearable. I mean wanting something you can’t have sometimes makes it more desirable. Would the reverse not also be true? The more I think on it the more I believe that is at the heart of how different I am this time around. I know he won’t be upset, hurt, or feel left out if I needed time to myself. And I honestly believe he knows the same with me. So knowing it is readily available makes it less of a need.

I tell him everything and he is the first person I think of when I want to do anything. I honestly can’t think of a better way to be in a relationship.




  1. yeah, I got it bad. []