Thursday, November 22, 2012

Kline Online's Annual Thanksgiving Post 2012

Ah yes, time for my annual Thanksgiving post. For me, Thanksgiving is a holiday, and November a time of year, steeped in meaning. I was born on Thanksgiving, married my wonderful wife in November of 2007, all meaningful hunting for me begins in November, and it is also when I enjoy the first fires in my woodstove. It is an altogether wholesome time of year, spent with family and friends in goose pits, duck blinds, and around the dinner table.  

In 2012 there is much to be thankful for. Over the holiday season, a bad case of persistent bronchitis had Kim coughing so violently that she cracked a rib; the Emergency Room's attempt to administer powerful painkillers intravenously worked to dull the pain of the cracked rib, but a few days later the pain in Kim's arm proved symptomatic of a much bigger problem, a blood clot had formed in her arm, just upstream from where the IV had been placed. For the next month, Kim was thought by some of her doctors to be in a fair amount of danger; there was obvious concern that something tragic might occur if the clot were to break off. Kim was placed on Coumadin, a blood thinning drug that requires frequent blood tests. She had to giver herself nightly injections for a few weeks. There were more visits to the emergency room, and several ultrasounds, things were touch and go for longer than anyone hoped. Until finally a trip to a hematologist in Annapolis indicated that Kim's clot occurred in a redundant vein, that this type of thing wasn't particularly rare, and was nothing to be terribly worried about. He advised her to come off the Coumadin immediately, and "get back to your normal life." I remember at that appointment, we were so shocked by the good news that we kept rephrasing the same question in different ways, something along the lines of: "are you sure this isn't dangerous?"

The doctor replied, "you can keep asking me the same question, and I am going to keep giving you the same answer. I see two of these a month. Go home." 

Also in 2012, I had the good fortune to meet a few new hunting buddies, Tim Kizer, who hosted me on his farm in Arkansas for a memorable January duck hunt, and fellow blogger and co-conspirator on Chesapeake conservation issues Kirk Mantay, who I look forward to hunting and fishing with much more in the not-too-distant future. Good friends sharing a blind or a shoreline are hard to beat; glad I found these two.

Kim also found a great new job in 2012, at the Mid Atlantic Cat Hospital. Everyone who knows Kim knows how much she loves cats, and this new opportunity to work with Dr. R. and the team over at MACH has been great for Kim. I can see just how much more happy she is when she gets home from work each evening. A miserable job situation has a way of rubbing off on everyone, really coloring the home life and much else, besides, so I am thrilled for Kim that she was able to go to work at the Cat Hospital, it is a fantastic fit.

Here at Kline Online, it has been a great year, as well. Another record year for visits, and the blog now has sustained visitation coming from a variety of sources. People are searching for the blog more than ever before, and I hope that as long as I can think of something to say, people will continue to come back and check it out from time to time. I also made some time in 2012 for writing outside of what I do here for the blog, and wrote somewhat regularly for the Queen Anne's County Spy, and was published in several other places as well. It is my hope in 2013 that I can perhaps sell my first story to a major publishing outlet. 

Father's Day was great for me and my family in 2012, as well. My sister Jennifer and I bought my dad a John Deere tractor for his home in the mountains, and I think we surprised him and filled him with happiness. He loves his tractor. I also won Filson's Father's Day Writing Contest, with my story Made of Steel, which you can read again here.

Late last year Kim and I decided to bring home a long-haired orange tabby cat from Talbot Humane Society. We have cats at home, and Kim often fosters kittens, but this would be the first of our cats that we got together, a kitten that would be hanging around for awhile. I named him George, after all kinds of great Georges in American history, George Washington, George Meade, George Bird Grinnell, George Marshall. It's just a regal sounding name for a regal looking cat. He is a handsome handful, and the only of our cats that will actually kill mice and crickets.

For the first time since I was able to vote, I decided to sit out an election as an activist and a volunteer, although I wrote extensively about two Queen Anne's County ballot questions here at Kline Online. I supported Jon Huntsman in the early going of the presidential race, but he was out by the time Maryland voted, and never had more than a lame dark horse's chance of getting to the top. My vote on Election Day was cast, more or less at every level, for candidates who I felt no passion for; an epidemic that I fear has spread to the American electorate writ large. Throughout the campaign season, whenever I saw a car with an Obama or Romney sticker, I would always think to myself, how could you be that excited to vote for either of these guys?

Two weeks ago, this country was full of vitriol, and I fear that it has not waned. Fifty percent of the country thought, and likely still thinks, that their beliefs are the only ones worth believing, and that the other fifty percent is abjectly stupid. I wonder how we can move forward together when we are so divided.

But two big wins here in Queen Anne's County gave me enough to be thankful for on election night, and sufficient inspiration to continue to work on the most pressing issues in the place I call home.

Today I will start the day, as I do every year, hunting with my dad. I am thankful for every year we can still hunt and fish together. When we are done, I will come home to a house that is full of family: Kim, her grandparents, and of course my dad and step-mom. The woodstove will be cranking, music will be playing, and conversation will most assuredly be wide-ranging. I do all of the cooking on Thanksgiving, a stressful chore for some, but a task I enjoy immensely. Something about putting a wholesome meal on the table for the people you care about most is very satisfying to me, and I gather it is what the holiday is supposed to be all about.


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