Scatter my ashes here...

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

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Rules- Nothing New

The Rules of Supremacy

1. We make the rules. 

2. We can change the rules to suit us whenever we want to.

3. We are the only ones who are allowed to be angry about the rules (or angry about anything).

4. We will not tell you the rules. 

5. We expect you to play by the rules. 

6. Everyone has to play by the rules except us. 

7. If you don't play by the rules, you will be punished (ridiculed, bullied, ostracized, attacked, beaten, banished, murdered, fired, or soup du jour), but if we don't want to play by the rules, we will fix them so we can be comfortable.

8. No matter how loud or forceful you are in complaining about the rules or trying to change them, we don't see or hear you. It's not that we don't have vision, it's that we don't see you.  It's not that we can't hear noise, it's that we can't hear you. We can't hear or see below or behind us, either. We don't have to, because those are the rules. 

9. No matter how strong, well-researched, logical or practical your arguments are, we can't change things. Things have always been that way and that's how it should always be. And if you push back even a little bit, we will pull out all the stops to fight you to the death to keep things the same. 

10. Yada yada

What triggered me to write this today? Some big bonehead older white man in the grocery store, completely oblivious to the impact he was having on all the shoppers in a tight, crowded space. He wouldn't pick a damn lane. I was back there squashed in like sardines with a couple of other women my age and we all observed this man's behavior. A younger man who was directly behind him in line tactfully approached him to ask him to move. No luck. From his body language with the younger man, I can only imagine if one of us had suggested it to him. He certainly knew the rules. 

People appear to have forgotten social distancing and mask wearing, from what I can tell. There is still a pandemic going on, and the local hospital is full with ICU patients doubled up, and a shortage of nurses and other staff.  But it makes it everything worse when some belligerent, arrogant asshole makes the rules. 

And there are so many more rules but I'm too tired of doing lifelong workarounds to list them all...feel free to add more in the comments. 

Back to my cave...

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Nancy's Summer Blogging Challenge

fireweedNancy Stordahl is a blogging sister I met through the cancer community. She holds a yearly Blog Hop- a blogging challenge for other bloggers to share their work. I haven't blogged in months and her prompt to do this always motivates me. I see that I somehow missed last year's blogging challenge, but then last year was a blur. 

Nancy posted the following questions for this year's challenge, so here it goes. I'm a little rusty so forgive me. 

1. Who are you? What is your genre, how long have you been at it, who or what inspires you or whatever you want us to know.

I am Alene, a 57 year old Australian Shepherd mom to Velcro and Gypsy, partner through marriage to Dennis, oncology nurse now working in cancer research/data/technology, ultradistance runner, currently occasional writer/author/blogger/artist, and now recovering overachiever. I live in Fort Collins, Colorado.

I've been blogging since early 2008 at Journey to Badwater. I started the blog to record and share my ultrarunning adventures and somehow it morphed into a catch-all politicalish commentary on the state of nursing and healthcare.

I am inspired by people who speak their minds unapologetically and act in the interest of the common good. 

My life has been transformed in many ways related to cancer. I have been fortunate to not have had cancer myself as of this point in my life, but our family seems to attract leukemia like a magnet.

My dad, who was being treated for a type of chronic leukemia, and no sooner did he get in remission than he promptly was diagnosed with Parkinson's, died of Parkinson's on October 14, 2020. 

As if that wasn't enough, my stepbrother just went home a few weeks ago after having a stem cell (bone marrow) transplant for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), after being in the hospital and healthcare facility for 107 days after his transplant. So far doing well, fingers crossed. 

So as you can see, I have been dealing with a few things on top of COVID and the political unrest in this country. It's been quite difficult and traumatic in our family. I'm just now starting to have days where I feel slightly familiar with myself again.

2. What's been your biggest blogging roadblock this year and did you come up with a way to get around it?

This was the question that really got me going, thanks to Nancy. I haven't blogged in a long time. For the past few years, maybe since 2018, I've struggled with self-expression through my usual media. I haven't written, painted, spoken, or really interacted that much with people. 

Of course all this has been exacerbated by COVID and social distancing, but it really started after I finished writing my book. Maybe it was a little burnout, too. 

It seemed like even the thought of writing or expressing myself in any way led to an exacerbation of the grief  and traumas of the past year or so, and triggered past traumas, and I couldn't face it anymore than what was already coming my way on a daily basis. 

In a nutshell, I dealt with it by avoidance. I did have a major meltdown in April (the last time I posted on my blog). Since we were still in pandemic mode, I did a few online counseling and griefwork sessions, and tried journaling to stare all the pain in the face, and it did help a lot. It's amazing how quickly I felt better.

I'm not saying I'm done with the grieving or healing and there are still layers of pain under the surface that will have to be dealt with, but I'm not worrying about it now. I'm just following what I need on any given day. I have taken active steps to make my life simpler, and it's a process, having been a lifelong overachiever. 

3. What's something you accomplished with your blog this year that you're proud of?

This is going to sound really weird, but staying away from it until I was ready to say something meaningful and not angry, has been a success. Now I'm trying to figure a way to revive it and turn it into something different. I'd like to keep it going. 

4. What are a couple of your best blogging tips?

Don't worry about what people think of your writing. Just say what you mean, even if it comes out intense, angry, or as written therapy. You set the theme and purpose of your blog. And if it changes, so be it. If people enjoy your writing, they will stay. 

Add pictures and links. Just make sure they open in a new window so people don't lose the original point you were making. 

5. How do you handle negative feedback or comments?

Well, that depends on what they say. I don't have to be right and I don't claim to know it all. As long as someone makes a coherent and halfway intelligent argument, I'll respond. If they are just plain insulting or out in left field, I dismiss it with the delete button. The spam comments are really the worst. I still can't figure out why anyone thinks penis enlargement is a viable enterprise. 

6. Share a link to a favorite post you've written RECENTLY (since last year's challenge perhaps) that you want more people to read. 

I don't have any posts that I wrote recently, but here is a fun post I wrote a long time ago that gives the essence of what makes me tick. It might make you want to read more of my blog. And if it doesn't, that's okay too. 

Thanks, Nancy for keeping the Blog Hop and blogging challenge going! 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Climbing Out of Grief: My Post-Vax Reality

I'll get right to it-I realized the other day that I've stopped doing so much of what I used to do to express myself, and I need to get back to it. Writing and running.  

Running- my own sort of therapy to buffer against everyday life's injuries-is not something I find myself NOT doing. I am in a very deep hole. I'm having a difficult time organizing my thoughts, focusing and concentrating on things.  

I'm not sure exactly what triggered it. Last month we had the big snowstorm that made the weather and conditions difficult for running. And then there was the Atlanta shooting, followed by the Boulder shooting, which was about the beginning of it for me. And I never bounced back. 

Since March, I've been unable to function normally. My brain has been a mess of fog. I feel numb. It's been all but impossible to work full days. The work I do is very detail-oriented and requires accuracy and focus, with a lot of switching between tasks and keeping track of where you are. I'm good for about 3 hours in the morning and then it all goes to hell. I was going along, doing my thing, things were fairly smooth, and then BOOM! I was down. 

Talking with my stepmom, she said it sounds like grief. I'm sure she's right. 

We lost my dad six months ago, actually this coming week will be the six month anniversary of his death. I never have processed my feelings around the loss. At the time, I was trying to help my family and was worried about my stepmom, plus worried about my stepbrother who is facing a life-threatening illness, and I had recently started a new job and was busy learning how to do it. Not to mention a pandemic and everything that went with that. 

Thankfully I have a supportive workplace. I'm able to take the time I need when I need it. I have taken a few first steps to get help and I'm looking for a grief support group. 

There is so much to unpack here. I need some support to get my ass outside, moving forward, climbing upward, and on the trails again. I need non-judgment, someone who can move along in silence when needed and listen without inserting their own world into my angst. A therapist, basically. And no one wants to do that. I wouldn't want them to do that. I wouldn't want to do it. There is so much need for mental health services these days that I bet someone could make a good living at being a running therapist. 

I've been stress eating, drinking more alcohol than I should, unable to get myself out on a regular basis to put a decent workout in, feeling my clothes get tighter by the week, spending a lot of time tuning out and obsessing about what's happening in the world, and not sleeping all that well.

I have all these plans, I'm going to Mexico in November to climb the big volcanoes. I have a whole list of 14ers and hikes I want to do this spring and summer. But right now I can't even get my ass out the door to walk sometimes on a gorgeous 70 degree spring day. 

I do need someone to adventure with. That would help. It's hard to reach out or make plans when your brain is grief-addled. 

One thing about my choices of outdoor recreation is that it's hard to find matches to my ability and interests. Nothing new. 

When I started running ultras, there were very few women so I had to run with the guys. That worked well back then because I was faster than the average woman and it wasn't hard to keep up, the men  often had to keep up with me. 

But now I'm 57, I'm a little over a month past my last hard workout, a good 20 pounds overweight, and feeling like I'm doing the chasing, except there's nobody in front of me or behind me. I'm at the back of the pack- and no one is waiting to let me catch up-it seems. This might just be grief talking, but this is how I feel. I'm an aging extreme athlete.

Everyone who does the things I do is much younger, fitter, faster, and unwilling to slow their pace for this straggler, but most people my age and pace aren't interested in 14 hour summit days and carrying heavy packs full of contingency equipment for any conditions. And it's hard to find people who can go out on the weekdays like I prefer, to avoid the crowds. Colorado's backcountry is not the same as it used to be. And I'm more hesitant, maybe smarter, at my age, to go to some of these more risky and remote places by myself. 

But I'm in Colorado. There must be other people like me out there. I just don't know how to wrap my head around finding them because of my sluggish brain. 

So... that's where I am. I'm working on it. I really hope I can dig myself out of this hole soon and start climbing mountains. Because right now, instead of being on the summit, I feel like I'm at the bottom of the crater and about to be expelled in a giant belch of ash.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Beyond Words


I can't write anymore. Not these days. I want to, but the simple act of writing is too hard because it brings up so much trauma. I don't have the energy for processing that these days. I am still angry with what has happened to this country, even though I do feel a certain sense of calm that wasn't there before January 20th. 

 I am infuriated at the sociopathy that seems to have spread like COVID across the country. It's so hard to understand why people think this is okay, that it's okay for elected officials to lie and disrespect the laws and Constitution and allow a deranged psychopath to get away with literal murder, and just "move on". 

I hope that all of these outspoken Senate hypocrites: Cruz, Rubio, Johnson, Hawley, and Graham, and all the other 38 or so silent ones get voted out of office over the next two or three election cycles. Six years is the most we'll have to deal with Graham, who just got re-elected, and is being investigated for election interference now. 

I don't expect a conviction at the impeachment trial. There's no way a third of the GOP Senate will change their votes, they are all too afraid of the rioters from their home districts, and for good reason- they are murderous nutjobs. 

There's a serious personality disorder in this country that is contagious, and there's no vaccine other than the truth, but these people are anti-vaxxers when it comes to that truth serum. 

The thought of my Representative, Joe Neguse, hiding out on the floor of the House with all the other members of Congress, in fear for their lives, wondering if he'd ever see his baby daughter and wife again, being a target of these crazed hateful shit smearing supremacists, gives me chills. 

I am in utter disbelief that anyone in this country thinks what happened on January 6th, or anything that was done to lead up to it, is okay. All the lies, excuses, squirming, and weak fingerpointing are also made up of words. The false equivalence of words is another symptom of that sociopathic contagion. 

I so want to write about fun things, good things, but I can't do it right now. I'm sorry. I hope you'll stick with me, because I do have adventures on the horizon. Right now, though, it's all just too much for me to bear. I have no more words.

Be well, get your vaccines as soon as you can, and don't take anybody's bullshit.