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Deep breath

The Sugar Factory in Scottsbluff on the evening of January 11, 2024.

A few days ago, I woke up to find my computer had rebooted. When I went to recover my open files, LibreOffice went through the process, but, then, nothing. Untitled1, Untitled2, Untitled3, and so on were empty. I sat and stared at my screen. There was no anger, only sadness. I’d lost the all the posts I had been working on for the blog except one. That one is titled Book List 2024. I lost the last bit of the file, but it’s easily replaced.

Just a few cool photos

I wanted to share one of my recent favorites again for this post because I find myself looking at it often and smiling.

Throughout 2023, I’ve been taking steps to spend more time outside and slowly get back into the world. I took a break from the world for a while for two reasons.

The first was that I worked the night shift and worked three 1-hour shifts on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. This doesn’t leave a lot of time to do anything else, especially when you stick to that time all week.

The second I haven’t really spoken much about until lately. I don’t know how much I’ll share, but therapy had become a detriment for me and I couldn’t really see it. It’s not that I didn’t want to go out and do things, I literally couldn’t. It wasn’t depression. It was the extreme fatigue that comes with constant flashbacks.

I think that’s all I will say for now as I wanted to share some neat photos I took. There isn’t really a long story for each one, just something cool I wanted to share and put out there.

Photo Essay: An adventure in an adventure

One of my favorite places to hike is the Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. If you sit quietly anywhere, you can hear the birds and the crickets. If you’re there on the right day, you might hear elk or see bighorn sheep.

Today, I went for a hike with my friend, Jen, who is relatively new to the Scottsbluff area. We hiked a little over five miles in total.

This is our adventure, or mis-adventure if you’ve ever hiked with me.

Returning to what I love

A robin rests on a fence post at the Scotts Bluff County Fairgrounds.

On October 28, 2013, Steve Frederick gave me the opportunity to prove I could write. As the editor of the Scottsbluff Star-Herald, he told me on my first day, “I can’t teach you how to write, you already know how to do that, but I can teach you to be a reporter.”

For nearly six years, that’s what I did. I learned about my adopted home of Scottsbluff and all of western Nebraska. I found cool stories to tell and suffered through countless boring meetings, so I could go out and tell more cool stories.

It never really goes away

My mom had just taken me to get my hair cut. She had to run a few errands before we went back home. I was sitting in the front passenger seat. We were stopped at the red light by the police department when a friend of hers started talking to her from the next lane over. After a few minutes, her friend asked her who the boy was with her in the car.

“That’s not a boy, that’s Irene,” Mom said. She said it matter-of-factly like her friend was an idiot for not recognizing me. I was six years old.

My thoughts on the local paper

On May 17, I sat down in the middle of the night to record my thoughts on the state of the local paper, the Scottsbluff Star-Herald, and share a little bit what it was like to work there.

I lost my rights again today

When the Supreme Court of the United States leak of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case occurred a year ago, it was devastating for me. I held out a glimmer of hope that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey wouldn’t be overturned, but I knew the final decision likely wasn’t going to change. It was still a debilitating gut punch when the decision became official. A right I had my entire life, a right I had exercised, was taken away from me. In that moment, half the American population were told they could not be trusted to make medical decisions for themselves.

Since that time, I’ve written many comments online. I’ve been called a murderer more times than I can remember. I’ve had kind internet strangers step in and tell forced birthers to kindly fuck off. I’ve said so myself. However, it is one thing to be called a murderer by internet strangers. It’s another when it comes from someone sitting in your living room.

Out with the old

One of the lessons my grandmother taught me was to “put your money where your mouth is.” It’s something I’ve hesitated a few times or couldn’t afford to do at the time. Over the years, I’ve provided financial assistance, protested, wrote letters, and made phone calls for issues that were important to me.

So, I’m a podcaster now

For the past few years, I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a podcast about history, particularly, the history of western Nebraska. The biggest factor holding me back was whether I should do it alone and whether my mental health issues would allow for such a committment. From 2020 to 2021, I really wasn’t in a place where I could do much of anything. I was functioning on the most basic of levels and could barely do anything except go to work and sleep.

Throughout the course of 2022, this all changed. I haven’t spoken much about what I did in 2022 for my mental health and how I worked on my PTSD, but I made significant changes and progress in that area, which I will, eventually, write about.

Today, however, I am pleased to announce the launch of a new podcast, Storytelling on the Plains. My friend, Conner, and I have been working for several months on our plan, creating a story list, researching, writing, and recording. Our first podcast went live yesterday.

Nebraska’s LB626 would be devastating for women

I recently sent the letter pasted below to my state representative, Brian Hardin. The bill, LB626 passed through the committee, on which he sits, and will now go to the floor for debate.

If anyone wants to use what I wrote, please feel free. As readers of this blog know, this is an important subject matter for me, one in which I never thought I’d have to be fighting. It is 2,285 words long. Regardless of whether or not Hardin listens to me, or even reads my letter, I said my peace. I truly hope the bill fails.

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