here we go again!

here we go again!

today i posted a comment on liz’s blog that it’s been a year since she posted anything. “dead blog”. i’m one to talk, huh? i don’t blog as much as i used to, and i wonder if it’s because i’m blogged out, or if anything current i’d want to talk about is out of the news cycle so quickly and replaced by another, more insane item of note, that i get distracted and can’t even think anymore. (by the way – i don’t know about you, but i’d consider move to greenland if it became a state. *eyeroll*)

i’ve been listening to a fascinated podcast lately about a current SCOTUS case involving oklahoma and american indian reservations – how if they are still recognized, half the state would be, in fact, indian country. it’s called “this land” if you want to give it a try. i haven’t finished it yet, but i’m hoping to get around to listening to the rest in the next week.

i miss visiting state parks. last year after the derry reunion, i traveled up to lake of the woods and then over to the northwest corner, down to bemidji, itasca, and over to moorhead to catch some parks that way. i put on 1000+ miles that loop. then my cousin lori sent me a text message a couple weeks ago with a pic from a year ago up the north shore.

early august i was down in mankato taking family pictures for a friend, and on my way back i drove past one of the parks that was one of the last two i visited last year. on a complete whim (as in, i saw the sign and put on my blinker), i drove in and took a meander through. last year when i was there, it was early october and the leaves were brown (fall was not good last year). this year the fishing pier that i strolled out onto to take a couple pics was in the midst of vibrant green cattails and a shimmering lake, and the part of the park that was close to the lake was soggy due to the rain and probably spring flooding.

i spent more time at the park than i did last year just going on a little walk on a trail and taking pics of random things. then i drove out to the park entrance, stopped at the ranger station, and picked up another passport book. 🙂

i’m not planning on being as aggressive as last year on it. i told the ranger what i did last summer and she said “WHAT??” so not everyone is as driven (persistent, as jan derry would say) as i am on these things. so i’ll take this one a little slower! maybe try to get them all in three years instead! or 5. or just see what happens. any excuse to get out and see a little more of the state than most people do.

speaking of that, jane and i are heading up to the north shore over labor day weekend. we’re even going to make it international and head up into canada. it’ll be nice to get back up there, and i planned it so i can get some more astrophotography in. i’m hoping for some clear skies!



this evening i headed out to st john’s to get some pics of the lavender in bloom. if i’d been paying attention, i’d’ve watched the wind and taken my paddleboard out there, but by the time i noticed, i would have only gotten about 25 minutes of paddleboarding in.

i did get the lavender though.

the students are starting to filter in. i drove past a family hugging goodbye on the road out to lake sag. students were biking and jogging out on the trails. a hammock was set up between two trees on the grassy area next to the lake with two or three people swinging it back and forth.

i took the long way back – the scenic route. the road winds around the lake, then jogs along a short road abutting a farm in the hills.

august light slants in a lovely way.

ode to the killer perkins

ode to the killer perkins

today i saw in my twitter feed that the st. cloud downtown perkins was closing.

it’s the end of an era.

the killer perkins was a late-night hangout for a few years; every time branden rolled through st cloud, which was almost every sunday night, he and lisa and i would meet at the killer p for some apps and convo. and definitely a show.

one time there was a fight out in the parking lot. a guy had a gun in the back of his pickup (think hunting fun). the cops were called, then a small fire broke out in the cab of his truck. branden rushed out to yell at him “dude your cab’s on fire!” then rushed back to watch through the window with everyone else. the cops didn’t believe there was a gun until we told them exactly where it was.

saw a fight break out in the middle of the smoking section (OMG remember smoking sections?!?), and a girl had her shirt ripped off and her piercing yanked out in a delicate area (ouch!).

for my final paper in my journalism II class, i wrote 10 pages on the regulars at killer perkins – what they were like, the conversations, etc. i remember the note on the paper saying that the prof didn’t think this would work but was fascinated and gave me an A. here’s the paper for those who want to read it! finalfeature

there were times when i was invited to go to killer perkins but had to scrape together change to just get a side salad. i wrote them more than a few checks with money that wouldn’t be in my account for a couple days (remember checkblanks??)

i met so many people there – it was a landmark. if i needed to meet someone in st. cloud, all i’d need to say is “you know where downtown perkins is?” and boom. plan made.

and not only was it a college kid afterhours hangout; it was a place for many of st cloud’s homeless to sit overnight in a warm space. the 24-hour restaurant is no longer and i hope those people have a place to be on chilly nights.

so farewell, killer perkins. i leave you with a haiku:

wow killer perkins
hey dude with the gun! fire! cops!
dinner and a show



whenever i come back from my derry side reunion, i feel like summer’s about over. i start to notice the sun a little more southerly in the sky and setting a bit sooner. the leaves on the trees are stiffer and make a little more noise when the wind blows through them. sad face.

but, my garden is exploding! after the slow start this spring, i was worried that nothing would happen (in some cases, yes, nothing is happening).

i tried to plant my cukes a week later than everything else in hopes that dill would be ready at the same time, but my dill is not doing anything. yesterday i stopped at the farmers’ market and got 25 heads of dill and 12 heads of garlic for my pickles (that garlic will be FANTASTIC in the pickles). so now i wait for the cukes since they’re a little behind.

the tomatoes are on and green, but they’ll get there. my pumpkins and squash are going crazy due to all the rain we had early on. and potatoes are just about ready. and the best part: i have green beans this year because i was crazy diligent with my critter spray. stupid bunnies always eat the green bean leaves down to the nubs.

my cilantro has bolted. i planted radishes twice, so that’s bolted. i had volunteer lettuce that bolted. i wish the bunnies would bolt.

so far, the best thing that’s come out of my garden has been the asparagus. i had never eaten asparagus directly from the garden to my mouth within 10 minutes. it’s amazing and i can hardly wait til next spring. i’m also impressed with my raspberries, which are coming in as i type. maybe in the next couple years i’ll have enough to make some jam for myself.

and this spring i almost cut down my one apple tree because it’s just having a tough time. last year it didn’t produce ANY apples. i pruned it and ended up cutting down one-third of the main trunks. and now there are some apples on it! we’ll see if they come to full fruition (ha!) or if they stop ripening or if the deer eat them (i also wish they would bolt).

and of course the weeds are doing great.

book review – invisible women: data bias in a world designed for men

book review – invisible women: data bias in a world designed for men

unpaid work.



does it seem like i’m going to start a feminist rant? no. i’m going to talk about what we women have known forever.

i just finished up “invisible women: data bias in a world designed for men” and boy howdy am i annoyed. despite being the majority of people who inhabit the earth, we get the short stick when it comes to, well, just about everything.

caroline criado perez does a nice job of making statistics and data points palatable in her book, which tend to make me set aside a book if it becomes too boring. instead, she weaves in stories and examples with her data, using recent, actual events to back up what she’s talking about. (and if you’re worried about “citation needed”, about 30% of the book is footnotes and annotations.)

she talks about three major parts of women’s lives that are ignored in our world: sex, gender, and unpaid work. each of them is infuriating in themselves to think about discrepancies, but the most irritating for me was the medical section (dealing with the sex portion of this). think about all those medical studies and drug studies and all those medications you’re taking. now think about how the majority of test subjects and even mice are male. now think about how different the female body is with hormones and different muscle mass and metabolism, even. and the data they do get after these studies? they don’t disaggregate them by sex! so there could be a great drug out there for women that didn’t do squat out there for men, but do we know? no. science grants have generally dismissed research into childbirth and menstruation due to them being “not pressing” even though one happens every 28 days for most women and the other happens 360,000 times a day! if that’s not pressing, i’m not sure what is. and then let’s not talk about how doctors dismiss women’s pain as “all in their head”. did you know that a lot women are given antidepressants instead of painkillers? and the men in the same situation are given painkillers?


now, let’s touch briefly on the fact that when you include any vehicular crash tests that include dummies that are the size and stature of women (but not anatomically, so the chestal area is flat [think about where a seat belt goes]), the safety ratings PLUMMET. and they don’t even do crash tests with these smaller dummies in the drivers seats, because, you know, women don’t drive ever, amirite?

and let’s not even get started on phone size and the pocketriarchy. yes, she talked about both those things. i wish she had used the term pocketriarchy though. i’d probably’ve written her a love letter.


and that’s just one. unpaid work is another huge portion. one of the scandinavian countries decided to do their snow removal backwards (start with the sidewalks and side roads and move outward) and the number of injuries massively reduced. why? because all the women who travel to various places for different errands and to take care of people are more likely to walk and use side roads. the men who don’t do all this unpaid work just use a main road to get to their jobs and go home. women are also more likely to combine various trips into one: i go to work, but on the way home, i stop at target, i stop at the grocery store, i stop to pick something else up. husbands generally don’t do this because their wives do.

throw in childcare, eldercare, taking care of infirm relatives, housework, etc.: what do you think it would add to the GDP? she posits that it would more than double what the GDP is worth in its paid work. considering the average woman’s leisure time versus a man’s, this wouldn’t surprise me one bit. consider emotional labor.

ok, phew. i’m getting all riled up here.

for the last one, gender, which is inculcated in us from day one, i think what’s most telling is how the workworld is designed for men and women are told “hey, just be more bold. be more insistent. be more” when talking about the pay gap. didn’t get a raise? well, you obviously didn’t sell yourself as well as jeeves did over in the corner office. so we’re going to have a workshop on how to teach women to show their worth in the workworld. instead of this, can’t we just acknowledge that women aren’t as aggressive as men in the workworld and are just as, if not more, worthy? can that just be… the NORM? instead of telling women they need to be more aggressive in the workplace? and when they are, well then they’re just shrill. they’re too much. they’re HILLARY CLINTON. (such an odd insult.)


bottom line in ALL of these is that when standards are set or buildings are designed or drug tests are commenced, maybe a few women at the table would help. heck: if the table were half women, that would be at least egalitarian. because chances are that they will think of something that men don’t think about because they don’t experience it. that’s why it’s good to have diverse backgrounds at the table as well.

so. read this book. women, prepare to want to scratch your eyeballs out in frustration (only because you know it happens all around you all the time). men, prepare to have your eyeballs opened a bit. at least i hope that’s what happens and i hope you think about it next time you’re making decisions for the whole in a room full of men.

kudos, caroline. keep fighting the good fight.

Takeaway Tuesday

Takeaway Tuesday

i’m reading a book called “invisible women: data bias in a world designed for men” and it makes me mad. there are so many things i could rant about, but the section on the medical world made me want to storm into hospitals and clinics everywhere. i haven’t finished it yet, but i highly recommend it.

i finished up the third season of stranger things, and can i just say that steve is my favorite character*? if you compare him to the person he was at the beginning of season one, he’s a completely different character. the way he reacted to robin (you know if you know) made me smile so hard. good guy steve! *dustin’s a close second.

it’s hot out and somehow i drag myself out onto the asphalt every night for a run, where i sweat rivulets down my front and back and sweat drips off my elbows and flies off my fingertips. somehow i manage to get at least two miles in but mostly 3 and 4. and somehow i average a less-than 12-minute mile. riddle me that. i don’t know how i’m doing it.

I DID A HARRY POTTER PODCAST. it was fantastic. i spent an hour and a half with like-minded nerds and we all just talked shop and knew what we were talking about. i felt a little out of place, as the other three people podding were regulars, but it turned out just fine. there is a teaser coming on july 31 (harry’s bday) with the full episode released on sept. 19 (hermione’s bday). i’ll post it here when it’s released!

speaking of HP, i think i’m going to get the HP book chapter stars tattooed on my wrist.

this weekend is my derry family reunion, which is always a boatload (heh) of fun! i’m hoping to get up to the lost 40 again as a day trip and then also force liz to do a long run on an actual trail in the area. also, much lake time. MUCH LAKE TIME. (and booze.) (and fun.) (and seeing peeps!) (and the a-pine!)

ok, i’m out.

let’s go west!

let’s go west!

i just got back from a visit over to ND to see melissa.

stopped on my way out to take a pic of a storm to the north and sun to the west.

when i left this morning, i wanted to keep on heading west. the sky was summertime blue with not a cloud in the sky and the temp was 70ish. great traveling weather (well, i would be traveling, but toward home, not toward the west).

something about the big wide open skies and the endless horizon makes me want to go to the mountains.

but instead i headed southeast and now i’m at home withe my lakes and kitties and nate!

in defense of car camping

in defense of car camping

it recently came to my attention that my childhood camping expeditions were not instigated by my dad, as i assumed, but by my mom. (the long days in the van, on the other hand, were definitely instigated by my dad.)

that aside, let’s talk about the benefits of car camping. first, spending a week in your RV or pull-behind is not camping. that is glamping. you may be in a “campground” but there is nothing about the RV that says roughing it.

so you’ve got to have a tent and a sleeping bag at the very least. i don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some sort of sleeping pad. and there are some tenters who would argue that the only way to tent is by hiking it in. but i would disagree!

here’s what’s great about car camping.

  1. you can throw everything in one vehicle, head out without something on a hitch, and not worry about hauling stuff around on your back. (if you’re specifically planning a hike or canoe trip, that’s a different matter.)
  2. you’ve got your car with you – you can set up camp and then drive to various places to explore.
  3. in case of emergency or severe weather in the night, you can wait it out and see what happens.
  4. you don’t have to super duper rough it. just moderately rough it. because you’re hauling in your car, you can sleep on an air mattress or cot and not have to worry about weight you have to carry around.
  5. you can go either way: set up in a campground right next to the loud, obnoxious RVs or do a cart in site or carry-in site (generally all tents there, and your car is right down the lane in a parking spot).
  6. it’s a pretty inexpensive way to travel if you want it to be. getting a middle of the road tent is just fine (no keltys for me – i’m fine with coleman hahaha), and it’ll last you a while. sure, there’s some up front cost with the gear – cot, sleeping bag, stove, etc., but it’s a much less expensive up-front cost than an RV or staying in a hotel for 6 nights.
  7. people are impressed when you tell them that camping is tenting for you. and you don’t know why, because you think everyone should be tenting when they go camping. (like i said, RVs are glamping, not camping.)
  8. it’s probably much better for the environment. (gotta do the research.)
  9. it builds character. nothing builds character like having to pop a squat behind your tent because the bathrooms are half a mile away. also, brushing your teeth outdoors is liberating.
  10. it’s fun. just do it!
let it gooo

let it gooo

i have an eyetwitch. i think i’ve had it for about a month or so, maybe two. last time i had an eyetwitch was during the website move back in 2017, and that was a legit reason to have an eyetwitch. now? i’m not sure. but here’s the rub: i seem to get it mostly around my officemate.

so i am trying to unpack what is going on that is causing my eye to twitch. he thought it was because he was negative there for a while, but i don’t think that’s it, because i’m negative a lot of the time too. then i wondered if it was because he does bring up the same thing quite a bit (emails for prospective students hahaha) and he’s just preaching to the choir, which might be a little bit of it. then it’s bad news that he points out – he thought that was it today and thought just keeping me out of the loop was a good idea, but no! i want to know!

then i thought about this bad news (or rather, frustrating news is more like it). i don’t think it was the fact that it was frustrating, or the news itself, or what it pertained to. i think it was because i read the same exact email a couple days ago and didn’t even register it. his level of paying attention to minutiae on the everyday things we deal with is overwhelming sometimes, and it makes me feel idiotic that i didn’t notice (which is ridiculous because i have a million other things to think about at work). he just pays attention to different things than i do, and i have to realize that hey, that’s ok.

(seriously, my eye is twitching right now just writing this down.)

generally speaking, i’m not the big ideas person at work. i’m not the person who has amazing thoughts about a subject or comes up with the funnest thing ever (i have had two moments, but other than that, nada). i am the details person. this is happening, how are we getting it done? my followthrough is stupid fast and sometimes too fast because the thing just isn’t going to happen (i’ve gotten ahead of myself).

so when officemate finds these things that are big things that i’ve glossed over, yeah. i feel kinda dumb for missing them. or dismissing them. (or sometimes i just don’t care about them. yeah, i said it!) plus he’s a whiz at a bunch of digital stuff that i a) don’t want to really learn about cuz it’s not on my plate and b) sometimes also don’t care about, even though i should. (there’s the kicker.) so when he talks to me about these, my eye twitches. because, well, i’ve got stuff to do and i want to get on with it.


also, there’s a small sense of the stuff i care about isn’t that important in the long run, but what he cares about affects the college in a bigger way.

so maybe a feeling of what i care about is inadequate compared to what he cares about (not that it’s bad to deal with different things; it’s just annoying to myself that i don’t see the problems and frustrating that i should care about them more than i do).

i think i need to come to terms that we see our work through completely different lenses and that’s ultimately a good thing because we notice more as a department (yes, we are a department of 2). i don’t have to do everything! my type A really can be annoying a lot of the time. rrrrr.

i don’t have any solutions right now, just ramblings and a pretty twitchy eye. maybe yoga over my lunch break will help.

a little late

a little late

i was going to write a long blog post the day before my birthday about the decades flying by, but i was too busy… (how ironic).

so 40 came and went a couple weeks ago. it was a good week: jenee and john came to visit me and have lunch and brought presents, i got a masterclass subscription from my sisters, went to itasca directly after the birthday, and overall had a decent time. much better than turning 30, though i couldn’t tell you why i wasn’t feeling turning 30. overall, i’d have to give my 30s a high five for the effort that i went though!

  1. i started running at 32. i was tired of being uncomfortable, and i felt a bit of a challenge with the running. i’m actually really impressed with myself for doing it continuously for 8 years! sure, there were a couple times when i was out for 2 weeks due to injury, but overall i have been a running maniac.
  2. oh man, i owned 3 houses in my 30s!! what a time to be alive.
  3. decided to a chance on a job in rochester and moved down there for that.
  4. decided the job was good, but the heart wants what the heart wants, and apparently it wants lakes. so back to central mn!
  5. said goodbye to chasey cat 🙁 but acquired 3 others in the past decade!
  6. i have so many tattoos now.
  7. somewhere along the line, i became a traveling fool. i’ve been on a plane more in the past 5 years than i had in all the years previous to then. hope that continues!
  8. somewhere along the line, i think i became more comfortable with myself and what life is. i’ve become more certain about things and able to see something in myself and just let it be. now, granted, most days i still feel like i’m 8 years old and i wonder why on earth people think i know what i’m doing. but i’m getting better at that.
  9. i still use a ps3 for watching everything. i think that’s slightly weird. my technology has stayed the same for the past 11 years. (i’m like, half luddite at this point. my phone is small, my laptops are old, i refuse to get an ereader, my TV is a plasma. hmmm.)
  10. let’s round this out with 10 to make it equal a decade. i’ve become a more active practitioner of yoga in the past 10 years (i dabbled in it before then), and maybe that’s contributing to #8. but it’s helped me relax and become less anxious about things. that a definite plus.

OK 40 LET’S DO THIS! it can only go uphill from here, right??? plans for 40: travel more. run more. yoga more. just be.