Scatter my ashes here...

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

Saturday, March 16, 2019

From Bomb Cyclones to White Ribbons

As I was headed west on my way back from my run, I saw this in the sky. Perfectly captures my thoughts today.

What does a white ribbon symbolize? It can mean peace, or nonviolence.

I'm not a fan of symbolism and especially not those multicolored ribbons that are used to signify different types of cancer. The simple explanation is, I find that symbols are too superficial and those who worship those symbols often forget what they really mean, which leads to a lot of hypocrisy, such as we have been seeing around our own flag in this country especially after September 2001 and again since the election of 2016.

I resent the use of the flag to claim that it only belongs to Christians or to white people or people of certain descendants, or those who fit into certain narrowly defined "acceptable" categories- deemed acceptable by some self-designated rulemaker of unspoken, unwritten rules to which the rest of us are not privy.

Likewise, those cancer ribbons piss me off because they symbolize "awareness", and too many people are superficially "aware" of cancer, when what they really do is wear a ribbon or slap one on their car. They know it exists, but they don't go any deeper than that to learn more. Appearance is it, they never examine what it really means to have cancer or actually support someone by doing something about it. Which is what I wrote a whole book about in 2018.

The other things I was thinking about were:

(1) the massacre in New Zealand, which, if you can forgive my snark, looks like Trump's attempt to balance the trade deficit by exporting violence, perhaps? But I truly am so disgusted by the violence and hate and bigotry and our so-called leader's response to it. Disgusting. I cannot wait until the day he is marched out of the White House in a jumpsuit to match his face.

(2) the invisibility of women, especially older ones, including in sport. But I'll do a whole separate post on that because I found an interesting blog from someone in the U.K. who also writes about this.

(3) violence in healthcare against nurses and physicians- which has become a serious and frequent problem- and how we need to change things, and

(4) yesterday I was going through my social media accounts and stumbled across a recent photo at the ACHE conference of three healthcare executives from my former place of employment which ties into all of the above points. I had to really restrain myself from posting a comment with a very snarky hashtag.

This week you probably heard the weather drama and disaster predictions about the "bomb cyclone" which was supposed to hit Colorado with a vengeance. It did, in some places, and I hear it was worse east of here, in the plains and midwest. But Fort Collins was spared- we only had about 24 hours of snowfall and maybe 8 inches total accumulation. The wind was what made it so nasty. But it wasn't as cold as it has been lately and just yesterday I saw these flowers popping out from the melting snow.

The temperatures have gotten warmer and over the past two days the sky has been blue again. It's brought me out of my crabby mood. And the appearance of the white ribbon in the sky, symbolic as it was, made me feel just a little better.

I'll be back with a post about my original idea, womens' visibility, along with the white ribbon symbol, soon. Bomb cyclone, be gone!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

"The Outer I Go..."

This weekend was my annual urban adventure birthday run. This year I couldn't think of any good themes except that I was turning 55 and 55 miles was a perfect distance. I didn't want to do it all in one day, I prefer to spread it out so my friend Burke Painter in AZ gave me a great idea- he recently ran 72 miles in 72 hours on his birthday, so I borrowed the theme.

Fifty-five miles in fifty-five hours was not hard to do on its own but this time of year the weather can add a dimension of challenge, or misery. We've been having a really crappy time lately- it's been unusually cold, windy, snowy, and overcast for much of the past month or more. Usually by now we are alternating between bouts of winter weather and spring-like conditions, but we haven't seen much blue sky lately and it;s been getting to everyone I talk to.

Watching the weather this past week, I knew I'd have to be flexible and creative with my running plans. Originally I planned for doing something like 30-20-5. Then I decided it would be better for my upcoming 24 hour run if I just split it between two days and then took Sunday off, my actual birthday, and just drink margaritas.

I planned to start at 6 am and my friend Elise was going to meet me on the Power Trail. Instead of setting my alarm, I asked Dennis to wake me up at 5 since he's up for work at that hour. But he overslept by a half hour, so I texted Elise and planned to get out the door by 6:30 am, which I did. I planned to run out 15 miles or so, come back to the house and get Velcro and Gypsy and take them for a run at the end of my day.

I ran down the Power Trail, met Elise and her dog Maya, and we headed toward Loveland before she had to turn around and go to work. I continued on to Loveland, posting live videos every few hours as I thought of something to say. It wasn't too bad out- overcast, but not super cold. As the day went on the sky got darker and the wind picked up. I ran quite a bit but I was only trying to average four miles an hour, what I really need to do is work on my walking.

I took a short detour once I reached Eisenhower and went to a 7-11 at Eisenhower and Boise and bought some drinks and a banana and potato chips. I needed salt and calories, all I brought were bars and one PBJ. Then I went back to the bike path, and later, I was headed west along the Big Thompson River bike path in Loveland when I heard my GPS Map My Run app say I was at 18 miles. I had a Forrest Gump moment. I was totally out in space, didn't realize I had gone so far. So I turned around.

When I got back to Eisenhower I realized it was a good 10 mile stretch between there and any other stores or retail places where I could get food, so I stopped for lunch in a restaurant and got a grilled cheese sandwich on gluten-free bread. It was really good. After I scarfed that down, I headed back north along Boyd Lake and back to Fort Collins, the weather was looking a little sketchy but I had extra clothing in my pack.

I knew it would be a challenge to get home in time and beat the weather to take Gypsy and Velcro out since I was on track to be at 36 miles at home instead of 30. I knew they would be super pissed at me, too, for leaving them all day.

I kept recharging my phone with my portable charger and posting videos. I was also listening to music in Spanish, like Bad Bunny, and working on rolling my rs, which is my personal challenge right now. I've been brushing up on Spanish, which I haven't used much in years. I also found out that Bad Bunny and I share the same birthday. I'm 30 years older than him.

On one of my videos, my longtime running friend Lynn Newton posted a comment and told me he uses a proverb for his out and back runs- "The outer I go, the backer I have to come." I love that. I asked him if I could borrow it.

Along the way it became apparent that my GPS was not working right. Miles that I knew were full miles were being measured as 0.8, 0.6, and according to the app I was on track to be home around 31 miles, which didn't make sense since it said I was at 18 at the turnaround. I had done a few little extra sections on the way out, so I knew that would be slightly longer, but no more than a mile. I figured I could check it at home on the laptop.

As I headed into Fort Collins the sky was dark. Dennis texted me that he'd be coming home early, so I knew the Wranglas (Gypsy and Velcro) would be happy. Just as I turned onto my street the rain started. I went in the house and got attacked and yelled at by the Wranglas. They were mad at me! They are used to having mom at home with them all day.

As it turned out, my GPS was way off. On the phone it said 31.7 miles but on the laptop it said 36.8 miles. Not sure what happened but I was happy to have the miles in.

I decided to sleep in on Saturday and not get started until 9, and finish up all the miles. It was the first sunny, blue sky day we've had. It was super windy in the morning- 25 mph wind. Crisann came to my house and we started at 9, went to Rigden Reservoir, and Dennis took the Wranglas there. Then we got back to my house at around 1 and Jen met us, then Jen and I went out for the last 6 miles or so. By the end it was 50 degrees and not too windy anymore. Best day we've had in a long time!

Again the GPS was off. I ended up with 19.4+ miles, which gave me 56 miles and change for the two days, beyond my goal. So today I'm blogging and headed to the Rio for margaritas.

All in all, it was a mellow but perfect birthday run. I had great friends with me, great conversations, and plenty of time to myself, too. I got the miles in and felt really good- legs and feet held up nicely. Palmer Lake is just 5 weeks away, but I won't need to do any more long runs before it- I can just run like a normal person.

I am thankful for my health and ability to do these miles. You just never know what can happen, so I try to enjoy as much running as I can and I'll keep doing it as long as I can. And we all have to do the best with what we can and where we are in life. I'll keep going outer and outer and hope I have the strength to go backer and backer, wherever I find myself.

Friday, March 1, 2019

La Resistance...

used by permission copyright 2018

Here we are, March 1. I cannot believe we have come this far into the new year, and winter seems determined to hang on. This morning was spring-like, and I managed to get out the door with Velcro and Gypsy for a run before 9 am.

The forecast is predicting big change overnight though. March won't be in like a lamb for long, we're expecting snow and below zero temperatures over the weekend.

I've been struggling with a few things lately and last night decided that when I woke up in the morning, since it was March and a new month, that it was time to move forward.

So this morning was the perfect time to pull a card out of the Divine Downloads deck, and this is what I picked- Resistance. Could not have been more perfect.

A little about Divine Downloads- they are a card deck developed and written by my nurse entrepreneur colleague Lisbeth Overton, who lives in Minnesota. Lisbeth and I met each other online through a social media site for nurses, and we have become friends, not just social media "friends" but we talk and communicate often and support each other in our mutual endeavors to make this world a better place.

Note: The Divine Downloads Deck is available through Lisbeth Overton's website. Thanks to Lisbeth for allowing me to use the image.

Lisbeth is intuitive and a true healer, and when she introduced this card deck last year, I jumped on it right away. I use it often when I'm struggling with something, and it has turned out to be the ideal tool to get me unstuck. Just having something to focus on that pulls you out of the hole you're stuck in- by thinking about the problem in a different way, is a powerful force.

What does it have to do with running? For me, right now, everything. I have been in a motivation struggle with myself when it comes to running, for going on 5 years. Every time I think I've moved past it, somehow it comes back to me. Last Saturday I ran the 10 mile Bacon Strip run with some of my running friends, and I've been trying to increase the length of actual running I do on those tough hills. Last weekend I got up to 6 miles of solid running up and down the hills.

It was cold and windy, and I felt okay until I hit 6 miles, and then my butt started to hurt. I slowed down and did mostly walking the last 4 miles, not wanting to aggravate anything. But afterward my left hamstring was screaming at me. My quads and hips had been sore for a few days and I wasn't sure what was going on. I've been sitting a lot because I had to write up a report on my research project that I did over the past year.

Sunday I went to yoga and Monday I went to boxing and walked the girls, and I had improvement of the other sore parts, but the hamstring persisted. So, basically I sat on my ass all week until today. Got a lot of work done, but I was feeling sluggish by last night. Pulling the resistance card got me dressed and out the door with the girls, best thing I've done all week.

Couple of things happened this week- besides my running avoidance- I recently joined the National Nursing Network Organization (NNNO) Advocacy Team. Teri Mills, who leads this organization, contacted me last week to try to get nurses in Colorado to encourage some of our representatives in Congress to co-sponsor the National Nurse Act of 2019 so it has a chance of passing in the 116th Congress. I contacted as many people as I could to write letters and emails to ask our new Representative in our district, Joe Neguse, to co-sponsor it.

And guess what? He did! It really doesn't take that much effort for citizens to send an email, especially a form letter that only needs a small amount of personalization. I wish my fellow nurses understood that in a way that it would encourage them to take action! In nursing, it's the same thing as what's going on nationally. Those who want to keep nurses down are going to resist change. What you have to do is stand up against the bad behavior and call it out. Those who have had power for a long time are going to put up big resistance to change. But that doesn't mean it's not worth fighting for it.

The National Nurse Act of 2019 would raise the profile of nurses on a national level, by establishing the National Nurse for Public Health. Here's more information about it.

The other thing that happened this week was Wednesday, while I worked on a few other things, I watched the House Oversight Committee hearing where Michael Cohen testified. What I took away from that was the sheer heel-digging, head-in-the-sand, blindfolds on, resistance of the Republicans to not only what they were hearing from Michael Cohen- they tried to stop the hearing before it even started- but their unwillingness to open their minds or ears to the experience of other people who don't exist in their little bubble.

The things that struck me were first, Jim Jordan's crybaby tantrum at the beginning to try to delay the hearing- they were willfully unprepared- and my thought was they were afraid of Michael Cohen saying something that might implicate the party itself, because Cohen used to be deputy chairman of the RNC Finance Leadership Team. He resigned from that position in June of last year.

A couple of doofuses (doofi?), from Arizona and Texas, made fools of themselves with their ignorant statements, including the "liar liar pants on fire" bit. Really? You guys are Congressmen? You represent people in your district?

The childish, schoolyard bully attacks by the Republicans on the committee ought to have Americans ashamed and embarrassed for these elected clowns who are there only to cover their own asses and protect their own wealthy, privileged interests. They are in no way living up to their oath of office and do not have the Constitution, our Democracy, or the American people's best interest in mind.

But most striking to me was the drama around Mark Meadows, who brought a black woman who was an employee of Donald Trump to demonstrate that Donald Trump was not a racist, and that he, himself, was not a racist. And the ruckus that ensued, when Rashida Tlaib called him on it, and Meadows launched into a laughable defense as he tried to prove his non-racism by saying that he and Elijah Cummings are friends, and that he has members of his own family who are "people of color", and I thought Rep. Cummings handled it very well. He allowed Rep. Tlaib to explain her point of view and allowed Meadows to speak, without backing down to him.

We need our Congress to not mince words and stop handling outright bullshit with kid gloves. And that's why I love these new representatives in Congress. You gotta dig in and confront it head-on.

Yes, that woman was a prop, and yes, this amounted to a George Costanza stunt by Mark Meadows. I feel like I have to write this out even this feels like it should speak for itself, but having a member of your family or an employee or a friend who is categorically different than you does not automatically make you not harbor prejudice against that category. Anyone who makes it a point to claim not to be racist is being pretty transparent- they are afraid of being called that because they know they have a reason to be afraid.

I was so proud of AOC, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, women who are new to Congress and on that committee, being seen and heard and not pushed around. These good ol' boys, and yes, that is how they are acting- as boys- are used to having their way and being able to get away with protecting their interests, and no one ever called them on it the way they are being called on it- and publically- now. And to that I say, it's long past time and bring it on.

They've been allowed to get away with avoiding a confrontation about race, and especially institutional racism, for so long, that they just don't get it at all when they are forced to look in the mirror. They don't even understand what they are seeing, because they are resisting so hard. Yes, we are going to have a lot of pushback and temper tantrums, aggression and denial by these people in long-held positions of power.

But "America"- the United States, no longer looks like the current Republican party, and they have not accepted that. They are resisting it by kicking and screaming like a two year old. It is long past time we started changing our institutions, our laws and policies, and our government, to level the playing field for all citizens. It's time for a national come to Jesus.

We do need to confront institutional and entrenched racism and bias against historically non-dominant, less wealthy, and underprivileged groups. Yes, including poor white people, aka, Trump's base. We need to deconstruct the way we separate people into groups that enable this bias. This is the only way we are going to be able to move forward as a nation and I do think people will wake up if we have transparency around what's been going on to maintain that inequality- and our new Congress looks like a big step on the right direction.

Expect resistance. It's going to keep getting more intense and the 2020 election needs to be about that. I am so disappointed in the early primary field for the Democratic presidential candidates. Yes we need women in government, in the executive branch too, but more than that we need someone who gets it, who can truly see and understand the damage that has been done to so many Americans and run on a platform to undo it.

It's healthy for our country. It's healthcare in  the truest sense. Public health happens when the public is cared for. We need to stop neglecting our people. It affects everyone. It's long past time we stopped allowing the richest and most privileged to avoid taking responsibility for the well-being of the people of this country. You want to be a citizen, even if you're a gazillionaire, even if your ancestors came over on the Mayflower, contribute your fair share. No more welfare for rich people (or corporations).

Call it equality, call it socialism, call it reparations, or whatever you will, but we are a country of human beings with potential to benefit all of us by working together, without the constraints of those who seek only institutional protections for their greed. Our country needs to do this: honor ourselves by understanding the resistance and working through it, with the greater good in mind, for a healthy, permanent change.