ColumbiaBuildingLuke seems to have taken a back seat, making room for leg pain due to a pinched nerve in my back. I think the doctor called it Sciatica. I started a janitorial job but had to quit because of it.

But, I’m not going to let it stop me from an important upcoming event. My son has asked me to participate with him in The Big Climb where we will climb the stairs to the top of the tallest building in Seattle, Washington to raise money for the fight against leukemia.

I’m working out in the gym and climbing the stairs of a small building in my home city.

If the Sciatica springs up during the climb, I plan to continue with Guy’s help. I want to make the full climb despite any problems. Neither Luke or Sci are going to stop me.

I’ll be telling you more about The Big Climb in future posts. I’ll also let you know how you can donate.

Take care.

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ISIS vs. ISIL vs. IS … The terrorist group has changed their name so many times what the hell’s the difference?

It turns out there’s a big difference.

ISIS is an English acronym meaning Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. By definition this title limits the terrorist Sunni group to Iraq and Syria.

ISIL stands for the Islamic State of Syria and Levant, or if you prefer their Arabic name: Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham. The “al-Sham” refers to a broad territory known in English as “the Levant.” It is a large area including southern Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. By changing their name to ISIL they are revealing their goal to restore an Islamic State, or caliphate, to this entire region.

IS simply means the “Islamic State,” implying a more universal goal.

So which one should you use?

In my way of thinking, ISIS is the more limiting name. I prefer to not acknowledge any more power than they are currently attaining. So my choice is ISIS.

When we use the term ISIL we give too much credit to the terrorist’s lofty goals.

If we us only IS the implication is that all Islam thinks as the Sunni terrorists do. That is incorrect and misleading.

The only bitch I’ve heard against the term ISIS is the fact that it is also the name of an Egyptian goddess whom many modern women are named after.

Sorry, girls, but I’ve made my decision. As for me, I will use the term ISIS. Hopefully we will wipe the bastards off the face of the earth so your name can be redeemed.

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My son and I had a Father/Son cruise to Sucia and Patos Islands this weekend.

When we arrived at Sucia all the buoys were taken. I was going to hook up on the rope line (a thick rope with tie rings anchored in the bay). But Guy encouraged me to set anchor instead. Luckily I’d practiced anchoring last weekend, but this was the first time I’d be anchoring the boat and leaving it while we rowed ashore.

We easily got the anchor set hard and headed for the beach. It was dark by then and we walked to another bay on the island, sat on a log watching the boats and the stars. It was one of those quiet times I seldom get to share with Guy.

By the time we came back I was happy to see our boat hadn’t dragged anchor and drifted out to sea. I’m much more confident about anchoring now.

The next day we motored over to Patos only a few miles from Sucia. The small bay had only two buoys and those were taken. Other boats had already set their anchors there making it too crowded for us to drop anchor.

So, we sailed around the island finding a small beach to anchor by. We rowed in but, after a small trek in the woods, we couldn’t find a trail. So we climbed, skidded, slipped and splashed our way along the rocky sandstone shore until Guy spotted a trail.

It was a long hike along a well worn trail that finally reached the Patos Island Lighthouse on Alden Point. There is a long history behind the light house and you can read about it in The Light on the Island: Tales of a Lighthouse Keeper’s Family in the San Juan Islands [LIGHT ON THE ISLAND 50TH ANNIV] [Paperback] by Helene Glidden.

On the way back to the boat the trail ended. The tide was up by then so we had to force our way through dense brush, stumbling and often falling along the way.  I got stung twice as I passed a hidden hive. A bit painful but no big deal. Then, just a short distance from the beach I stepped in a hornets nest. Guy, who was walking about 20 feet ahead of me, might have inadvertently stirred them up and by the time I reached the hive the nasty buggers attacked from all sides.

The bees ignored Guy as they followed me all the way down to the beach where I dove into the water, wiping the bugs that still stuck to me with their stingers buried in my skin.

Back at the boat Guy counted the stings, at least a dozen on my back, face, and arms. We stayed the night back at Sucia attempting to sleep as rolling waves rocked the boat. We didn’t get much rest but by morning at least the itching pain was gone. We sailed back home joking about our misadventure.

Oh, by the way, during my mad dash through the woods to get away from the bees I lost my $200 prescription sun glasses and my hat. I’d gotten that hat at Disneyland. It was a baseball style cap with a small image of Mickey Mouse on it. I liked that hat.

Damn bees.

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This weekend my wife and I didn’t sail on any long trips. We anchored just a half mile out of home port in a bay called Drayton Harbor. We did this both days, Saturday and Sunday.

It gave me a chance to become comfortable with anchoring the boat and also spend time with my best friend.

We read and talked and relaxed like a couple of happy old sea dogs. It was a pleasant and healing experience from last weekend’s estrangement (see previous blog).

We both love the sea.

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It’s only two days since my hospital stay (see previous blog) and I’m heading off for a solo sail to the San Juans.

Stupid? Probably. In trouble with my wife? Definitely.

While driving me to the harbor, she’s getting more and more upset. I know it is actually fear because of the medical issue I had earlier this week. She’s afraid something will happen to me and thinks it’s crazy I’m going out so soon after my hospital stay.

The doctor gave me a clean report and it is unlikely that a bowel obstruction will happen again any time soon, but Willie has had to deal with so many of my health issues that the idea of me doing a solo sail scares her.

On the way to the docks, she finally lets out with several Icelandic expletives. Well, the words were in English, but the furry behind them was definitely Viking in origin.

Most of my life I have let the fears of others control my actions. This time I decided I wouldn’t let that happen. Though she got really upset, I went on the sail trip anyway. It is perhaps the first time I haven’t given in to someone’s demands. I’m very sorry I have upset her, but I needed this trip. She is busy this weekend with a church seminar so it is the perfect time to do this.

She said I was being selfish and she was right. It was insensitive of me to sail off by myself so soon after my bowel obstruction. I do regret worrying her.

But during the trip I came to a decision: I’d rather die living than live dying.

I’m not gong to let my leukemia or any other health issues stop me from living as full a life as possible.

This solo trip was the first step in reclaiming the real me. I am confirming my identity by the life I live, not by my health.

I will, however, from now on, try to accomplish that without hurting the one who loves and cares for me. Sorry honey.

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