Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Mud season has arrived in all its glory. I finally got out for a 20 miler this morning, just in time to beat the brief hailstorm that passed overhead just as I was getting out of the car to go in the house after my run.

Our weather continues to be unusually wet and cool. Every day we've had at least a little rain, many days it's been dumping. The Poudre River is high and if we get any warm weather soon it might overflow its banks onto the bike path. Longs Peak is solid white with snow from all the moisture we've had.

I've been struggling with the consistency but it seems like every time I go out for something long, it doesn't tire me out. Today I ran for about two hours and forty minutes of my 20 miles, walking the rest of the distance. I got a good 2600 feet each of climb and descent on the Horsetooth hills. I did two Maniacs all the way to the bottom and three As. By the end of the run I still didn't feel like it was a legitimate workout, it felt too easy. Maybe just too short.

I was hoping for some heat, but I woke up at 3:30 am and couldn't go back to sleep, so I did some work for a while then got up to the reservoir by 7 am to start running. That turned out perfect because the rain didn't wait a minute past 11 am to start.

The trails in the foothills have been closed due to the mud, and as I sit here typing it is sunny but tiny hailstones are pounding on the roof of the woman cave. I hope it doesn't destroy my tomatoes, spinach, kale and lettuce that are all doing so well. Today the wet weather lasts about 30 seconds and then it gets sunny and dries up again. Saves on watering.

My running plans are still the same, planning on crewing Bob on his return trip at Badwater in early August, and no racing for me. I am not even tempted by anything right now. I would like to get out and do a long run of 50 miles or so in the month of June. Just to do it, and remind my legs again.

I was hoping to do a long run, maybe even the donut run, last weekend, but then we had this freak shooting in Windsor. They haven't caught the person who shot a guy on his bike twice and killed him! There's also someone shooting at cars on I-25 between here and Windsor. I don't know if they are related, but until they solve it, I am not running between here and Windsor, or anywhere around Windsor or I-25. Forget the donuts.

Maybe I will do a donut to brewery run instead. That should keep me safely inside Fort Collins. Call it the Drunken Dunkin Donut Dash or something? Gotta make it entertaining.

Not much news around here. The post office still has not fixed the mailbox and I've been told anywhere from a month to three months before the mailbox is replaced. Great. I just love being a regular at the post office.

And speaking of slinging mud, I wrote an opinion piece in the local paper, on Nurses' Week, and then some dude responded by slinging mud at me. Claiming to be a nurse, but he's an administrator with a nursing degree. A dinosaur. And he showed exactly why I wrote the opinion piece in the first place, and why I started the website Fighting Dinosaurs too. A perfect example of how nurses eat their young. So my friend Melissa in Florida wrote a response to HIM. I did write my own response to him here, but I doubt if he'll ever read it.

He really wasn't worth the time but I felt like mansplaining it back to him, more for the benefit of people who don't quite understand the BS that nurses deal with all the time. This was a textbook example of horizontal violence. Actually I prefer to call it vertical violence because it rains down on nurses' heads from above. (Sort of like the old, crude but accurate saying, "they're pissing on my head and telling me it's raining")

It stopped hailing and raining. Now it's sunny. Iris is watching the garden grow. It's time for a nap.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Gone Postal!

Lately it's been getting to be too long between posts here. Sorry.

I've been busy. Suddenly got an uptick in interest in my business, and I've been trying to become more of a social media butterfly, which doesn't come naturally to my introverted self. I have been scrambling to get a lot of work done while I still had my student around. She graduated this weekend.

Life's been pretty boring from a running point of view, but I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day when it comes to work and getting my workouts in. I did manage to get over 70 miles on my feet this week, but only about half of that was running.

I spend a lot of time walking these days, doing my brain crunching exercises. Most of the work I'm doing now requires a lot of thinking and creative ideas, and I do that best while walking.

I am considering doing a long run next weekend, it could be some creative adventure but I haven't had time to think about it. So it will probably be unannounced until I post about it.

Nurses' Week
I've had some fun too. It was Nurses' Week and I wrote an opinion piece in the local paper. So nice to be able to speak freely. I got a lot of positive feedback via email and private messages after that one. Just another indication of how fearful nurses are.

Going Postal
I've been entertained, sadly. I hope none of my readers are postal employees who are genuinely good people and hard workers. Unfortunately there are a bunch who give y'all a bad name.

Maybe I shouldn't laugh at this, but we have a community mailbox in our front yard. About a week and a half ago someone left a note on the outgoing mail slot saying that mail was not being collected. "Mailbox broken" written in sharpie on a post office slip.

After we didn't get any mail for three days, and none of the neighbors were getting theirs either, I called the post office. It took four different numbers before I actually spoke to a human being. Then the human being gave me another number to call, which lead me to a dead end.

It was a voice mailbox, but the greeting said no one is checking this mailbox. Hell of a lot of good that does! So I called the human being again, who reluctantly gave me the mail carrier phone number at our post office.

I called the carrier line and they told me that the lock on the back of the box was broken and our mail was being held at the post office until the box is replaced. I asked how long it would be. "Could be a week, could be a month. They have to come up from Denver to fix it."

Helpful. I asked why no one had informed us that this was the situation and she didn't have an answer. All we got was a notice that the outgoing mailbox was "broken" but no one left a note about the incoming mail.

A week ago Saturday early in the morning I decided to brave the line at the Post Office. It felt like I wandered into the Zombie Apocalypse. They have blank looks on their faces, and only speak to give expressionless greetings. All that's missing are blood and brains. There are four people working behind the counter, a line out the door, but only two are serving customers. The other two don't even look up from their gaze at the desk or whatever they're doing back there. One of them was sitting there working on passport applications.

Don't they have the sense to go in the back to work on that so people don't feel like they are being ignored? I guess customer service is a concept that is completely unheard of.

When they walk back to fetch somebody's mail, they move at a snail's pace. Someone needs to give these people a racewalking lesson. They obviously do get paid by the hour, in a very protected job, and it shows.

Just when I got to the front of the line, the customer in front of me had paid for something with a check. He filled out the check and put the amount in the little box, signed it, but didn't write the amount out on the line. The doofus postal worker looked up in my direction with a blank stare on his face, and said, "That guy didn't fill out his check." He looked around, as if asking for divine intervention. I said, "Did he sign it?"

He looked down at the check. "He signed it, and he put the amount in the box but didn't write out the amount on the line. I need to go ask my supervisor." He turned around and high-snailed it, like he had lead orthotics in his shoes, to the unknown territory of the giant back room.


Requirements for postal worker counter employment:
1. No independent or critical thinking skills, or initiative
2. Emotional intelligence= ZERO
3. Slower than dog snot
4. Personality of a piece of discarded gum on the sidewalk

And they love to wait on the customer in front of you, get finished, then walk away without making eye contact or saying anything. So you have no idea if they are coming back, or if it's down to one worker serving a long line of people waiting.

Finally the guy came back and called out an emotionless "Next." I felt like I was in the line for the Soup Nazi.
By the time I walked out of there, I felt like this.

I think I'll just pick up my mail once a week until this is over. It's too creepy and unpleasant in there.

I called one more time to the carrier line to find out if they had an ETA on the new mailbox. The following Wednesday, this sign appeared on the front of the box, with the dead end voice mail number (I checked again). Oh so helpful.

So we're in mail limbo, until who knows when.

Iris's 14th Birthday
Last Wednesday was Iris's birthday. She was so happy to be the queen for a day. Not that she ever is anything less than a princess. I baked pupcakes and we had a little party for her with the student I've been working with. She and Iris have become quite fond of each other over the past semester.

Iris got a new orange Frisbee. She has the energy of a dog half her age. I'm so lucky to have these two around after 14 years and still doing so well. Every day is a celebration with them, from butt rubs first thing in the morning to cuddling at night in the bed with us, and all the walks, singing, dancing, playing, talking, chasing, spying, and begging in between.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Base: A Curse And A Blessing

Last Friday I had the brilliant idea of going up to do three Rock Repeats. Two weeks ago I had run two, so three seems like a reasonable progression.

I got to the trailhead on a cool foggy day and started up the first time. Feeling good, I ran the bottom switchback up the road before I settled into a powerwalk as the pitch got steeper. I ran the flatter stretches on the way up the Southridge Trail, and as I neared the top, approaching Audra Culver trail, I turned and saw this guy in a light blue top running up behind me. I’d seen him at one point closer to the bottom. He appeared to be going just slightly faster than me.

Deciding not to push myself, I decided to ignore his pace rather than challenge myself to stay ahead. I don't have to take every opportunity to chick somebody. Save it, I thought. He passed me near the junction of the Horsetooth Rock trail and Southridge, and he took off on the trail as I continued up the steep, loose, rocky pitch before the last saddle at my turnaround below the Rock.

I reached the top of my route, despite only 8 minutes of running, in 35 minutes, not my fastest, but not too bad of a bad time for me. I turned around and headed down, reaching my car in well under an hour. Without stopping, I turned around and headed back up for repeat number two. On my way down repeat number two, which was over 40 minutes up, I already could feel my quads from the fast descent on number one.

I wavered between calling it quits at the bottom and doing a third, knowing I would pay for it. I decided it’s now or never, I want to be ready for the Grand Canyon in October, and I’ve slacked off in every possible way I can get away with. Now I have to at least inoculate my quads with a good bashing.

I stopped at the car and refilled my bottle, grabbed a jacket in case it rained, and headed back up for number three. I completed that one faster than number two, with a less painful descent. I don’t know why it hurt so much coming down the second time and not the third, but I did it and felt good, my best workout in a few weeks.

Saturday I was reasonably sore but not too bad. I only walked the girls, I didn’t go out for a workout of my own. Sunday I walked nearly 10 miles and by the end my hips were screaming, and I could feel every step down and descent on the mostly flat bike path. By Sunday night I was in quite a bit of discomfort, and by Monday it wasn’t feeling much better. I jumped in the hot tub and soaked for a while, and by Tuesday morning the soreness was mostly gone except for a few little pings occasionally.

It’s weird how you can run three times up and down Horsetooth Rock after being pretty much of a slacker for seven months, because of your base, but then it comes back to bite you in the butt. You do pay for the privilege of having a base. Your body thinks it can do anything, and it can. You do pay, but if you stick to it, the pain passes and you get strong again, quickly. In the long run, literally, it pays huge dividends.

My woman cave office and living room in the house have turned into a video production studio. The student I’ve been working with is graduating and we’ve been trying to get a lot of video footage shot before she finishes next week. I spend every spare moment on producing the materials for my services I plan to launch later this year.

I’ve made some good contacts lately on social media and I’m enthusiastic about the prospects for getting the word out once I launch things. And tomorrow is the start of Nurses’ Week.

Ha! You probably think I’m going to launch into a rant, but I already ranted on Fighting Dinosaurs. You can check that out if you like.

I went out to a party last weekend for one of my former coworkers who became a nurse practitioner and is leaving our old workplace. It was great to see my old coworkers. One of my other former coworkers is retiring in June so I will get to see them again soon when we celebrate that event.

I do miss a lot of the other nurses I worked with at the hospital. But I keep going forward, keep running, keep moving in the direction I’m going. I talk myself down from the occasional panic moments and anxiety about the unknown. I keep meeting interesting people and learning so much, it’s amazing how much there is to be learned that nurses don’t know about the patients they care for in the hospital setting. I’ve learned so much more from the real people going through all of these experiences with cancer than I could ever learn from reading journals and taking classes and working in traditional healthcare.

There is much work to be done, and I feel so fortunate to have an opportunity to be doing it.

So this Nurses’ Week, far from the misery of my last “job”, I am truly celebrating what it means to be an #empowerednurse, hashtag and all.

Funny how it all parallels with my running.

I have a strong base, that nursing knowledge along with my past experiences and education, and I paid for it with the rigors of a healthcare job, pushing through the discomfort of short-sighted people who are running the show but don't know how to put one foot in front of the other, but I passed them, and now it’s paying off in ways I never dreamed. Relentless forward motion.

Happy Nurses' Week!