Get Mad About It

Just get mad.

That’s what I tell myself when I feel like I can’t go on. Can’t take the next vertical step, can’t row another single stroke to move my kayak, can’t push one more pedal to keep my bicycle upright. And it works. I’m not proud of the amount of cussing that went into the last 1/2 mile of my first backpacking trip. It was solo, so nobody got injured from my verbal tirade except maybe my immortal soul.

When my hubby or kids make me mad, my house is cleaned in a snap.

Mad for me, is a motivator.

And yes, I use the term “mad” loosely. It can mean angry, crazy, tightly wound, or deeply passionate in my world. It’s a multi-use word. Like y’all.

And my blog. That’s why it’s called Diary of a Mad Baby Boomer. Not a happy, sleepy, bashful, dopey, or terrified Baby Boomer (Terrified was the 8th dwarf I think).

Mad means no mercy for myself.

I have mercy for all other things, in fact if you could have witnessed me catching a salamander in our shower just now, you would be laughing madly (see how I used mad  there instead of hysterically, and it works right?). I don’t know why, but lizards are particularly nerve-wracking for me.  Maybe I think it rather unfair of God to put feet on a snake. But…I did battle with that little bastard to get in a cup, and he did not go quietly (why so many times underneath the cup?).

Now he is happily residing in the garden. Mercy.

Besides, how many times could that poor thing take a shower with my hubby and have it not be cruel and unusual punishment?

But this is not a lizard post.

My greatest endeavors have been birthed after getting deeply mad about something. Like my trip up the west coast solo. It was born in madness, but ended in bliss.

About 7 months ago I got very mad. So I booked a solo action adventure in New Zealand. Right up there at the top of my bucket list. I was really, really mad.

Since then every hike, every kayak endeavor, every bicycle ride, every single circuit training exercise has been leading up to this trip. Don’t be too impressed about the aforementioned, they’re like little old lady versions of the real thing I’m sure.

Nevertheless, I have worked HARD! In fact, in recent weeks I broke through to almost double the weights in my circuit training.

And now, this trip is only a couple of weeks away. So what would I have to be mad about you say?

My body has been working against me every step of the way. It doesn’t mean to, it just gets confused on what it’s supposed to be attacking, so it attacks itself. Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (with autonomic involvement) is a little bitch. The Lupus link.

But this is not new you say. You’ve been on chemo meds for 10 years. Why get mad now?

Because I have Pneumonia! Arghhhhh. Some little snotty nosed, sneezing, coughing kid kept running an orbit around me at the grocery store and I knew instantaneously that this was not going to end well.

Not his fault. He’s just a kid. I just have a compromised immune system. And it’s just that time of year. A toxic recipe for an immune system that is already working double time to repair nightly from that circuit weight increase.

I’m slowly getting better, but my body is not my friend. And as much as I would like to jump right back into where I was, I run the risk of becoming truly debilitated as a result.

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I know this from experience. It takes me 6 months or more to recover from Bursitis when I decide to push my joints farther than they are willing to go.

So here I lay, 10 days in bed and counting. Losing muscle mass at a faster rate than I made it, and in terrible, inexplicable pain (ah, the joys of auto-immune disease).

So it has left me no choice. I am just going to have to get mad. Real mad.

 

And I will make it to my destination, both mentally and physically as a result of much prayer and even more madness.

Until next time dearest.

 

 

 

 

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People are Funny, Rattlesnakes are not.

Dear Diary,

I decided to start my training this week for The Next Big Thing with a hike up a familiar trail. I was around 5 years old when my intrepid Mother introduced me to Mount Baldy. I’ve hiked it countless times in the last 50 years, although I must admit it’s been about 15 years since the last one.

I guilted my daughter into going with me. Guilted is not only a word in my family, it’s a way of life.

Don’t feel sorry for her, I dish out only a fraction of the steady diet my Grandma and Mother fed me…and I gave THEM grandkids.

From the garage I dug out an old faded purple fanny pack (circa 1992, which I still think is only 10 years ago) but pass on the hiking boots from about the same year. I make a couple of sandwiches, grab a couple of waters and off we go. I really don’t care about how that fanny pack must look, who will see us anyway?

My first indication that things had drastically changed was when we pulled in the parking lot at the trailhead, it was early morning and already full with what seemed like a thousand cars.

What the heck? Who blabbed about my mountain?

We park about a mile away from the parking lot on the narrow mountain road and proceed to the trailhead where we merrily (I was merry anyway) began our hike.

This trail gains 5,000 ft. in 5 miles. I didn’t really think about if I was ready for that at the time, just buoyed by the memory of how easy it was for me in the past. I will pay dearly for that later (as it turns out, hip bursitis is the gift that keeps on giving).

I begin to notice all of the fancy shmancy equipment everyone is carrying. They all have a tethered hiking pole in each hand (I later ascertain are called trekking poles), pretty cute hiking boots (unlike the sneakers I had on), and day packs (my daughter informs me they are hydration packs) on their backs.

And I with my yoga capris and fanny pack complete with a water bottle tucked in either side of the waistband.

Just call me old school.

An OG day hiker.

Utah hikeI don’t take selfies, so here is the same outfit earlier in the year sans fanny pack and waistline stowed water bottles.

You’re going to have to visualize that hot mess.

About 2 miles into the hike, the female half of a couple coming down a narrow part of the trail screams at the same time she is jumping both up and back at the same time. I think to myself “kind of an over-reaction to a little bee or whatever it is that startled her huh?”

Until she set me straight by shouting “Rattlesnake!”

Terribly clever of her to troubleshoot for us like that.

We were only about 10 ft away from her at the time, so we stopped and slowly crept up to within 5 ft. to where she was pointing.

RattlesnakeThis guy was huge, and black (I’d never heard of a black rattlesnake before) which made it perfectly camouflaged in the shade of this bush, and mad about being stepped on.

Her chivalrous husband was worried about all of us having to pass a mad snake on this narrow trail (this part of the mountainside is steep shale, no way to go around it), so he picked up a large rock and threw it at the rattlesnake, presumably to scare it away.

I don’t know about rattlesnakes in general, but this one was not intimidated by being under attack. The rock just served to make it a higher level of furious. I had no idea a rattle could be shook that fast.

He had been coiled before, but now he meant business. He head was low in the coil (right next to the rattle in the photo above) and was ready to strike at anything that moved.

I picked up a pine bough that didn’t seem long enough but would have to do, and distracted him with it while each of us took turns passing by. He rattled and darted his forked tongue in and out with mad skills all the while.

Us two sets of humans parted ways but agreed to spread the word to unsuspecting hikers. Since we were ascending and they were descending, we could be sure to saturate the hiker population on the trail that day.

My daughter put a colorful flyer she had been handed (ironically about Jesus Saving) in the middle of the trail, under a rock about four feet away from where our very angry reptile friend lay. She’s kinda brilliant that way.

Our hike was now value added for sure.

I warned everyone descending as we ascended about the rattler.

One guy asked me what kind of rattlesnake it was. I wanted to reply “does this 1992 fanny pack scream Bear Grylls to you? How should I know? IT’S A SNAKE WITH A RATTLE KIND OF RATTLESNAKE”, but what came out of my mouth was “I don’t know.”

I do now. I googled it when I got home. It was an Arizona Black Rattlesnake. Doesn’t California have enough rattlers of its own?

I’m not mad about it though.

Reptiles probably don’t honor state lines like they should.

I assume a few other folks could read my lips since they never took their earbuds out or even slowed down to hear what I was trying to tell them. I suspected that my bag-lady hiker ensemble probably lent credibility to me appearing as though I’m talking to myself in their case.

If any of the earbud peeps got bit I would have to say that’s a strong argument for unplugging while out in the wilderness, but in reality there is probably no saving them from themselves.

Another guy said “I’m sorry I don’t have more time because I could use a new belt.”

Well alright Wyatt Earp. It’s the snake’s lucky day you’re pressed for time, otherwise you’d wrangle it would ya? Would you take off your fancy equipment first if you had more time?

People are funny.

Until next time dear diary.