I don’t consider myself a very empathic person.
That very sentence proves my point; I use words like “consider” and “thought”. I suppose if my speech patterns (blog patterns?) were analyzed there would be much fewer phrases like “I feel” and “I can just tell” than there would be “I think” or “I know”.

Tangent: To get any useful numbers an astute statistician would throw out my entire early childhood until about age 15 or so because it would completely skew the “I know” statistics. I said that so much my parents made me a shirt bearing the slogan so I could save my breath. Heck, I even named this blog along similar lines but only slightly tempered by 25 yrs of humility and fact checking.

The two older mermaids in my life have just started to show me what it means to be empathic, so consider this something like my entrance essay.

This morning I am up early, really early: 4AM
I only get up that early for two things: something fun and something loud.

Today it is fun for me; I am riding 100+ miles in a LiveStrong Challenge event in honor of Johnny Carbaugh who has stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma and is having one hell of a time. He is in the prime of his life and he wakes up at 4AM for the 10th or 15th time in a row not because he is going fishing and not because his wife heard a door slam but because his body is hurting him; it is screaming loud in his brain and in every other part of his body where the battle is being waged.

Getting up this early to ride my bike doesn’t feel like it’s hard anymore.

I have really only barely begun to feel what it means to be affected by cancer. It turns out that my empathy-weakness has helped to shelter my thinking self from even realizing the number of people very close to me and very close to people I am close to that have been affected by cancer.

Anne Marie Kilburg
Ward Zimmerman
Donagene Bell
Evelyn Pyles
Ruth Brandal
Pete Lenhart

I am sure there are more; I have only just scratched the surface. Feel free to enlighten me.

What I have seen, heard, and felt since I decided to do this ride is really only the tippy top of a very big iceberg. I thought, at the time, that I was doing this ride out of self interest and with a cause but I feel now like it is a need that has been knocking. It has been knocking so many times and only now that my learning in empathy has really begun in earnest am I able to understand what can be done, said, or felt.

So thanks to my beautiful wife and my empathic 6 yr old daughter for helping. As I see it, me and The Wee One have a lot to learn from you two.

Thanks to many donors I raised $830 that has been donated to LiveStrong so that people with cancer may live a better and less hurtful life in the future.

Now I will keep up my end of the bargain.

one in the hand

We all know that one bird in the hand is worth two in the bush but did you ever wonder how they got around? Or which came first…the bird or the egg?
This post will answer both of these questions in the way only a 3 year old can muster.

Today, trying to see the bird on her dress, upside down and backwards, Emma said;

I can’t see it Mommy?!
It’s right there. There are his eyes, his legs, his head, and his beak…do you see it now?
Yep…but where are his flaps?

With that, let’s move on to the question of origins and the relationship between predator and prey.

I think this evening we proved that the egg definitely came first and that the bird should be quite happy that 3 year old mermaids weren’t around on Easter when the egg was first laid because otherwise the bird wouldn’t have made it.

As proof, Emma and Abby had an Easter-Egg-dying-fest that was more like a feeding frenzy. Did I say mermaid before? Let us update this image to suit the circumstance, shall we?.
Get in your mind some cute little round fluffy…sharks! just moseying along, giggling and chewing on some licorice. There are perfect little blond twisps of hair flying about…and then some fool chums the water with this

“Easter Eggs!”

Now watch their behavior change, they make ever-tightening circles, they briefly dash madly about bumping off of things nearby to get their bearings and then, once they have zeroed in on the pungent smell of egg dye — they sense their prey is near; it is afraid — they pounce, without mercy.

After that; a confusing flurry, a bloodbath, all in the brightest blood you will ever see.
It is not for the faint of heart.

Sharks usually win.
But what a cute wittow shark.
Don't be fooled by their cuteness.

Three dozen eggs; colored, cracked, dyed, and stacked, in 15 minutes and 20 seconds…flat.
I know because my camera (time stamp range) tells me so.
For you non-math types out there (I include myself) that comes to a rate of 2.35 eggs per minute.

Don’t be fooled, these sharks are craft; this is the last thing you see before you dye.
They are fearless, egg-thirsty beasts.

This is the last thing you see...before you dye.