olé losers!

olé losers!

so i went to mexico! usually i bring a laptop with me when i travel and i blog every night, but i didn’t want to bring one with me this time, so i am blogging post haste at home before i forget what we did.


lori picked me up and we headed to jane’s house around 4 p.m. from my house because we had to leave for our flight at 6 a.m. the next morning. the most exciting thing we did was go with jane to get her some flipflops.


the next day was almost entirely travel. we left MSP and had a layover in mexico city, where we changed money and had lunch, and then we caught another plane to puerto vallarta.

we left at 6 a.m. and got to puerto vallarta around 8 p.m. in the rain (no time change!). no one told us it was the rainy season! the good news is that it rains mostly in the evening and night, so our mornings and days were pretty nice. hot and humid, but nice. that night when we got in, we took a brief tour and then headed to one of the restaurants for buffet supper (food wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad).


our first full day in mexico! first, i have to say that i was impressed with how much spanish i understood and how much came back to me. i was able to converse somewhat coherently. we woke up bright and early on friday because we had an excursion planned. we partook in the breakfast buffet, which was the best part of the all-inclusiveness of our resort. the bread in mexico is awesome.

then we got in a cab to go to our jump-off point for the one tour we had planned. we took a hosted ride up to san pancho and then sayulita. it was nice because we learned a lot about the area from our guide and got to drive through the rainforest and mountains to each little town. on the way, we stopped at a roadside stand to try some local fruits (jackfruit, pineapple, tamarind, coconut, etc.) and i got some vanilla extract – 3 liters for $20!

san pancho was quiet and small, and we visited a chocolate shop, a community center, and the beach. i have to say i am totally impressed with mexico’s recycling program. not only do they have a good one in place, but the people actually recycle. score one, mexico.

then we headed to sayulita, which was a little more intense.

we stopped at a tequila shop so liz could buy something for doug, and then we went on the beach where we stopped and had a piña colada and tried to ignore the vendors strolling about.

after that, we headed to a quieter location where our tour group fed us some pretty awesome tacos and i had a spicy mango margarita. (also: no fresh mangoes down there! i was a disappoint.)

we got back midafternoon and then it was beachtime!

the ocean was warm. the sun was hot. my sunscreen held.

that night we decided to try out the “steakhouse” at the resort, and it was mediocre at best. my “medium” ribeye was well done. the good food on our plates was the fried bar food – onion rings, fries, etc. but the view was nice and we saw some baby turtles hatch and make their way down to the water!


this was a lazy day! we started off at the beach after breakfast at the buffet (the breakfast was, once again, the best thing about the food). i also need to point out that all of us were usually drinking each morning by 10 a.m. i guess one good thing about all inclusive is you can find a bartender at any time.

there was a pool with a swimup bar, so we took advantage of that! then we’d head out to the beach and listen to the waves. after lunch on saturday (another mediocre buffet except i managed to just eat a plate of vegetables [good job self] and i had this amazeballs butterscotch cream puff), i requested we walk down the beach because i thought i’d seen a massage hut, and lo! we found it! i got an hour massage for $30USD including tip. i pay $70 for an hour massage here without tip and that’s relatively cheap. jane and i both pretty much flashed everyone at the beach because it was an open air massage, but you gotta take that if you’re gonna get a massage next to the crashing ocean.

that night we decided to go somewhere else for supper. i found a little restaurant right on the beach that had 4.5 stars on google, so we got in a taxi and braved all los topes (speed bumps) into buceria to mar y sol. we started off on the beach with our feet in the sand and ended up moving indoors when it started to rain.

we ordered some chips and guac and then some giant drinks. liz and jane each ordered basically two entrees, which neither finished. i got a plate of fresh seafood in a garlicky sauce.

i mean, yum.

after liz and jane stuffed themselves and we left a huge tip, we put our food in doggie bags and our server said he’d hang onto it for us and to come back so he can get us a taxi (finding a good taxi is necessary). we took a walk down and couple blocks and back to check out buceria. THEN i found the best thing ever: a churro stand. huzzah! i got fresh churros stuffed with nutella. we also stopped at an art gallery where jane got a couple pieces.

we were about a half a block away and our server was waving us over telling us he’d already gotten us a taxi and that we should have a seat, pulling out a couple chairs. (that’s how i knew we left a huge tip.)

once we got back, i ate one of the churros, and it was probably the best thing i ate on the trip. it was still hot and crispy, covered in sugar and cinnamon and stuffed with nutella. even the next day when it was cold and slightly soggy, it was still delicious.

then it was saturday night! we played some bad  rounds of quiddler and then headed down to the resort’s dance party. we found some awesome mexican tías (or, they found us), and we danced with them. the best was when achey breaky heart came on and EVERYONE LINE DANCED. wat.

after the dance party ended, the discoteca opened up, and we went in there and danced for a while. jane left early, then liz made a creepy friend on the dance floor. after lori and i thought liz had been kidnapped by the drug cartel, we all made it back to the hotel room. whew!


our last day! sad face. once again a buffet breakfast, then to the beach and pool. the waves at the beach were giant – i decided i did not want to get in there. then liz got slapped in the face with a fish and the fun was over. we spent some quality time at the pool; we got there early enough to sit at the swimup bar and order some drinks early on. we did some water aerobics with a group of people who were no younger than 50, but it was super fun. the instructor was jazzed and i was tipsy enough that it was a blast.

another veggie-licious buffet lunch for me, then we all took a nap to recover from saturday night a bit more before heading out to puerto vallarta’s malecon, a streetwalk of sculptures and art along the beach, which then crosses over into the gay district.

at this point, it was getting pretty steamy and we had been walking a while; jane was ready to call it quits. we decided to sit on the top floor of a restaurant and get some snacks to see how we felt after that. the breeze was nice, the guac delicious, and the fish tacos even better. but the best part was the view.

after that we walked another couple blocks and then caught a cab back to our hotel, just in time for a fantastic sunset on the beach.

then it was time to pack 🙁

you’ll be happy to know that, unlike california, all my junk fit quite nicely in my trunk. including the 3 liters of vanilla!

we hit the hay early because we needed to be out the door by 6:30 the next morning.


travel day. we had two layovers: one in mexico city and another in atlanta. i got the middle seat with two strangers during the flight from mexico city to atlanta, so that was fun.

but the plane back to MSP was ginormous and not full, so lori and i shared 3 seats and liz and jane shared 3.

we headed out the doors of MSP into 40º weather and whispers of october snow that fell while we were gone. when we opened the car door at jane’s house, it smelled like fall. and so now i sit at home again with routine lulling me into my false sense of time to be had. time to travel more.

and even though you’ve heard it many times when returning from travels, i leave you with my favorite quote by michael perry:

“…to this day my two favorite things in the world are solitude and motion. I’ve found them in the next county, in a semi crossing the Nevada state line, on a Hungarian train, and on a bus approaching the Guatamalan border. In times of trouble, motion is my morphine. But as much as I love to run, I love even more to come home. At every latitude, my compass swivels to point back here, to little old New Auburn. This place is my true north. A stray dog running, as it turns out, is just circling the rug.”

whole foods – no joke

whole foods – no joke

i’m doing a transformer dietbet, which is 6 months long, and they have regular prize drawings (i guess to keep us motivated). anyway, i won a $100 giftcard to whole foods!

i’d never been to a whole foods in my life. i’ve been to trader joe’s (like it), my local food co-ops (love them), the byerly’s in town when i need something weird and i know they have it (it’s ok but i don’t go regularly). but i’d avoided whole foods because of the whole “apples cost $20 for 3 of them” chatter that the internet proliferates.

but now i had $100 to spend that wasn’t my money, and i guess it was time to set foot in a whole foods. the closest one is in maple grove, so nate and i hauled down there** to go to duluth trading company for a return and nate’s purchase of underwear (guys, i guess the bullpen boxer briefs are where it’s at – be prepared to spend $30/pair though) and then go to whole foods to use the gift card.

well, i guess that the costly apple analogy isn’t entirely wrong…we spent $99.13 (after amazon prime discount) and here’s what we got:

  • 2 frozen skillet meals
  • 2 oatmilk yogurt cups (don’t buy this. it’s bland. and meh.)
  • tofurkey smoked lunch meat (like, 5 slices)
  • smallish bag of terra chips
  • some other smallish bag of chips
  • impossible burger patties (2)
  • box of roobios tea (YAY i’m actually really happy with this purchase)
  • sweet potato fries
  • hamburger buns
  • rice crispy bar (1)
  • prepared burrito (like a lunchbox meal)
  • 3 macarons
  • biodegradable sunscreen for my trip to mexico* so i don’t kill the coral reefs
  • gouda cheese
  • pretzel baguette
  • a peanut butter bar for my drive home
  • a container of cut mango
  • bag of stir fry veggies kit

when i got to the checkout, i realized i needed the whole foods app in order to take advantage of the amazon prime sale/discounts, so i quickly got that on my phone, and that saved $13. good grief.

you know what i could buy at aldi for $100? 3x this amount of food. and overall, aldi isn’t bad about the whole organic, cleanish food thing.

whole foods reminded me a lot of byerly’s, except fewer old people. but the prices, the food, the pretentiousness – yes. the prices weren’t THAT far off from a trader joe’s, but i feel like TJ’s is a lot more “fun” if that makes sense.

if i hadn’t had that gift card, i probably would never have set foot in a whole foods ever. i guess i can now, and i’ve got some food that i wouldn’t have gotten otherwise!

*omg i haven’t blogged about this at all! did you know i’m headed to mexico in 5 days? i’ve gotta pack!

**megan – we need to reschedule our visit! i would’ve invited you to come with me on this, but nate and i had this planned before i even planned our visit 🙁  stupid work. i’ll figure out a day and send you a calendar invite.

if the tweets don’t fit you must acquit

if the tweets don’t fit you must acquit

oh lord, what have i gotten myself into. at least i can safely say that all my regular readers/followers can agree that DT is an idiot. (at least i hope my father thinks he’s an idiot.)

but, since impeachment is being investigated and the white house is vehemently pushing against it even though every day DT seems to start a new dumpster fire to extinguish the one he started yesterday (which happens to be still going; the world is just one big trumpster fire at this point).

so i thought i’d compare what DT been doing in comparison to other presidents who’ve been impeached, convicted, and/or resigned due to impending impeachment processes.

and really, i don’t know how much i want to dig in to what he’s been doing. i will do some digging, but i feel like it’s a LOT and

so i think i’ll take a look at presidents who have faced impeachment and see what he’s done relative to them. this may be 10 pages long*.

*(oh you know i like research papers.**)

**really i do. i’m not lying.

ok, but first, what is the process for impeachment? a president can be impeached but still remain in office, as was the case with bill clinton. in order for a president to be removed from office, s/he needs to be impeached by the house of representatives and then convicted by the senate after a trial.

  1. impeachment by the house after  investigation
  2. trial and conviction by senate – and 2/3 of the senate members must uphold the conviction.
  3. the SCOTUS chief justice presides over the trial. so the other two executive branches are present when an attempt at a removal of a president happens.

as it happens, it’s actually called out in the constitution that the president has no power to pardon him/herself in the case of impeachment. (good news. and unfortunate that it needs to be spelled out.)

not only that, but it’s called out in article II, section 4, that:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

other high crimes, in this case, is kind of vague. the meaning of them is not defined in the constitution, which is probably why nancy pelosi has been hesitant to pull the impeachment gun until now.

at this point, congress generally has defined three categories for grounds for impeachment:

  1. improperly exceeding/abusing the powers of office
  2. behavior incompatible with the function and purpose of the office
  3. misusing the office for improper purpose or personal gain


(excessive period intentional.)

now here’s an interesting quote by gerald ford: “An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the house of representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.”

so there’s that, which is great.

ok, so there have been 17 impeachments voted on by the house. here are the presidents:

  1. james buchanan for corruption. he was NOT impeached but it was voted on.
  2. andrew johnson for violating the tenure of office act (a 20-year law that restricted the POTUS from removing senate-approved officeholders without approval from the senate). he was impeached and the senate was one vote short of conviction. the SCOTUS then repealed the law saying it was unconstitutional.
  3. richard nixon for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, contempt of congress. the house was amidst impeachment proceedings when nixon resigned. we’ll go into more what he did later on.
  4. bill clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice. the republican house voted to impeach but clinton was acquitted in the democratic controlled senate and remained in office.

other presidents who had unsuccessful impeachment attempts include john tyler, george W. bush, and barack obama.

ok, so i want to go over what nixon did and what clinton did because they are the most aligned with what DT possibly has done.

first, clinton because it seems a little easier.

clinton lied under oath and obstructed justice. paula jones filed a sexual harrassment lawsuit against clinton from when he was governor of arkansas, and after ken starr put his report together for the house judiciary committee, impeachment proceedings began. the jones attorneys wanted to prove a pattern of behavior of clinton with women, and linda tripp secretly started recording convos with monica lewinsky. after it was shared, lewinsky was put on the witness list, and clinton started to try to bribe her to cover up their relationship.

clinton gave a sworn deposition where he denied having a sexual relationship with lewinsky and that he was ever alone with her. he also publicly stated the now infamous “i did not have sexual relations with that woman.***”

ultimately, the judge threw out the jones case because they failed to show damages, and clinton settled after jones appealed.

BUT that was not the end of this.

ken starr was gathering info on the whitewater issue (another day) when he found out from linda tripp that lewinsky was planning on lying to the courts about her relationship. starr looked a little more into this and found emails between clinton and lewinksy that showed they did have a relationship. clinton tried to assert that his “there’s nothing going on between us” statement meant nothing going on right at the moment of his deposition. the house of representatives took the starr report as its investigation, and after newt gingrich passed his speaker seat on and during a repub lame duck session, the house impeached clinton on perjury with a 228-206 vote and obstruction of justice with a 221-212 vote.

***i was a first year at st. ben’s while this was going down. in college, you don’t watch the news, and you’re so concealed from EVERYTHING outside of the college experience. i went home in january one weekend and was like, “who’s monica lewinsky?”

how clinton’s impeachment relates to DT

so, JUST TODAY (10-1), we find out that DT may have lied to the mueller investigation about his knowledge of the contact his campaign had with wikileaks during the 2016 campaign. (this seems a lot more serious than lying about a BJ in the oval office. just sayin.)

apparently (saying this because this is all just suggestion at this point), the house of rep. legal team cited a passage about paul manafort (DT’s campaign manager) testimony that he recalled DT kept asking to be kept updated about wikileaks’ email dump.

there is some redacted text surrounding this that may be key. if the president did know about wikileaks and then lied on the written response to the special counsel, that could be likened to perjury and/or obstruction of justice.

but what did DT ultimately give to mueller? DT’s lawyers did everything they could to keep him from having to give a face-to-face testimony. in the end, his legal team said he submitted answers to mueller’s written questions. is this akin to a deposition? probably not, but who knows what the redacted text in the mueller report shows!

now, this is not to say that DT doesn’t lie. the dude lies ALL.THE.TIME. it’s just that he hasn’t lied under oath. probably.

onward and upward.

what did richard nixon do, anyway? what the heck was watergate?

five burglars broke into the democratic national committee headquarters at the watergate office complex (hence watergate) in 1972. the fbi did their thing and found a connection between cash found on the burglars and a slush fund for the nixon election campaign (this is why you launder money, folks. or use paypal).

former staffmembers came forward to testify in an investigation, and it was found that nixon had recording systems in his offices and had recorded many convos. SCOTUS finally rulled that nixon needed to release the tapes, and on those tapes, well. it was found that he attempted to cover up activities that happened after the breakin and used federal officials to try to deflect the investigation.

some more details: during the burglary, they photographed DNC campaign docs and installed wiretaps on the phones. then they “burglared” again to fix a faulty wiretap. it was during this attempt that a security guard noticed some weird stuff going on and called the police, who then arrested 5 guys. at this point, nixon and the white house started to cover up the crime and the president’s connection. the burglars were tried and either pled guilty and /or convicted.

now comes the fun part.

the fbi found a couple names in two of the burglars’ address books who were white house peeps whose job it was to stop security leaks and investigate super secret activity. but i guess what really got the ball rolling was the money trail. $25K was found to be deposited in one of the burglars’ bank accounts. the check was made out to the president’s reelection fund – it was a campaign donation. a bunch of people making private donations for reelection were actually donating to the wiretapping. they found that all five burglars were directly or indirectly tied to the reelection campaign, which prompted a judge to suspect conspiracy with higher-ups (ya think).

what’s interesting is this news came out a month before the presidential election, and nixon won in a landslide. i’m going to try avoid covering the media involvement in this because this is about nixon. but you should all watch “all the president’s men” if you want to know more about that.

one of the burglars wrote a letter to the judge saying that the defendants had been pressured to remain silent. then there is a whole bunch of white house turmoil, with nixon asking for a bunch of resignations (that sounds familiar). a bunch of former aides were indicted by a grand jury for conspiring to hinder the watergate investigation. and, here’s something noteable: nixion was named an unindicted co-conspirator because a president can only be indicted after he leaves office.

at this point, the white house release the tapes that were recorded in nixon’s offices, and at first it had a positive reaction for releasing them, but after listening, more and more people called for impeachment.

“He is humorless to the point of being inhumane. He is devious. He is vacillating. He is profane. He is willing to be led. He displays dismaying gaps in knowledge. He is suspicious of his staff. His loyalty is minimal.” – chicago tribune. several newspaper op-eds said things to the same effect, and it was agreed that there may not have been an indictable offense, but nixon was contemptuous of the US, its institutions, and its people. the difference between today and then is that the republican party members believed he should step down.

but, here’s the gist of what was on the tapes:

  1. the watergate case  and the subsequent coverup details
  2. it was called out that the money paid and the aides involved was an obstruction of justice
  3. there was blackmailing going on and nixon wanted to pay the money, saying he wanted to “keep the cap on the bottle that much”
  4. nixon said the burglars had to be paid. “that’s all there is to that. they have to be paid.”

and, parts of the tape had been erased on purpose (not just redacted).

it was looking gloomy and doomy for nixon, and the house decided to recommend an obstruction of justice impeachment and then abuse of power, then contempt of congress.

THEN. here’s the nail in the coffin.

on august 5, a tape recorded a few days after the break-in was released. a couple aides brought up the breakin and explained a cover-up plan. nixon approved the plan, and after more info on how the reelection campaign was invovled in the break-in and how the CIA was going to obstruct the FBI (i mean, really, what), he said  “You call them in. Good. Good deal. Play it tough. That’s the way they play it and that’s the way we are going to play it.”

BEFORE this tape, nixon denied any involvement in watergate. but this was what did it.

the ten loyalists who voted again the articles of impeachment announced they would now support it when it came up to vote. there were enough votes in the senate to convict – only 15 were willing to acquit (50 peeps in the senate).

nixon resigned on aug. 8. he claimed innocence until he died in 1994.

peace out dude.

how this relates to DT

so there is a LOT of stuff with the mueller report that i’m not going to go into, but the most recent is the ukraine debacle. a whistleblower complaint was filed in july by a member of the intelligence committee. the director of national intelligence refused to send it to congress, as directed by LAW (come on), saying the white house had told him not to. the whistleblower complaint was regarding a phone call to ukraine.

rudy giuliani and DT had been trying to get ukraine to launch an investigation into joe biden and his son hunter. in late july, the topic came up on a phone call with the president of ukraine. at that point, DT blocked distribution of military aid to ukraine. DT asked the ukrainian president for a “favor” – to investigate biden.

so then the white house released the transcripts from the phone call.

” The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

i don’t know. that sounds like, oh, any one of these impeachable offenses:

  1. improperly exceeding/abusing the powers of office
  2. behavior incompatible with the function and purpose of the office
  3. misusing the office for improper purpose or personal gain* (dingdingding this one is most likely)

and that’s what finally broke nancy pelosi’s anti-impeach stance. one thing i’d like to know is if a whistleblower complaint against a president automatically instigates an impeachment investigation.

SO. that’s what we’ve got. at this point, it’s not a matter of if DT is guilty (cuz if you think he’s innocent, you’re drinking the MAGA koolaid); it’s a matter of if republicans in the senate can see past their own party loyalty and to their loyalty to their country, the constitution, and the american people.








in which i make some money

in which i make some money

i do not advertise my photography skills to peeps. i probably could if i felt like it would be viable and i was past the whole “yeah this is ok but i’m not great at this” mindset.

that said, i will take photos of people i know who request my services. before this month, i’d done less than 5 weddings, several family photos. but like i said, i don’t generally agree to do photos for peeps because:

  1. it’s stressful. knowing that i can MISS THE SHOT. it’s not fun to run from one side of a place to another in record seconds to get another viewpoint. (sure a second shooter would fix this, but i feel like i’m at a second shooter skill level. who’d second shooter me? lol.)
  2. it’s so draining. i have to basically spend an entire day with a bunch of people i don’t know telling them what to do. after a wedding i’m exhausted and ready to pass out.
  3. while i enjoy the processing part, it does take a lot of time. i’d rather process than take the pics. but what’s the stressful part of that is when i upload the photos to my computer and start to go through them – did i GET THE SHOT??? oh lord i hope so. it’s sort of like watching a scary movie through your parted fingers in hopes that it all works out in the end.

so, when i got a referral from a former coworker for a wedding this month and then talked to another coworker who was getting married also this month, i ended up with two weekends in a row of wedding photos.

i haven’t taken wedding photos for compensation in seven years!!! (i took reception pics for my cousin molly in 2014 but that was really low key.)

so my one qualification for me to do your wedding pics? NO BRIDEZILLA. this must be STRESS FREE.

and so i ended up with two weddings this month.

the first was at a yacht club, and the second was at the albany pioneer days grounds. i knew more people at the yacht club one and i had fun, but man the pioneer one with strangers was a blast.

so, a couple pics from the first wedding that i’m glad turned out.

next weekend i’ll work on the second wedding!

to ragnar or not to ragnar

to ragnar or not to ragnar

(note to self: always ragnar.)

(down the road from our out-of-the-way campsite)

this year i had the chance to take some photos on the saturday of ragnar, and i didn’t want to give up the opportunity to make some cash. but i also wanted to ragnar. so, i did both.

  1. thursday i drove up to 9-mile forest early afternoon and got to drop-off only minutes after liz and abby did, which was handy! we got setup and parked, all that jazz. jane arrived shortly after, and we got situated with checkin, tshirts, and some wood-fired pizza (could go for some of that right now). that night i slept horribly, which was unfortunate, but it was what it was. i have to figure out how to turn off my anxiety for sleeping during ragnar. i even took a melatonin in hopes that that would knock me out. no such luck. oh well.
  2. friday we started early at 9:45 a.m. with quinn taking the first loop. abby took the second, which meant that it was only 11:15ish before i headed out on the first red loop of the team. i have to say, i really enjoy the red loop. sure, it’s long, and sure, you walk a lot of it (there are SO MANY roots and rocks and stuff), BUT you’re in the forest for about 4-5 miles, and then it opens up at the end into this wide roadway and you feel like you can just fly to the end.
    one unfortunate thing about my red loop, and i’ll take it because it didn’t involve any sort of permanent injury: my calves and feet started cramping up about a mile from the finish line. i should have worn my calf sleeves, but i thought i’d be ok. at the end, my toes were curling under in my shoes and i couldn’t straighten them out. (this cramping thing is a relatively new occurrence, and i have a doc appt tomorrow where i’m going to ask her about it.) unfortunate, because my legs were willing to kick in a little bit more and make it a fast finish. booooo calves…
  3. THEN I WAS DONE. WHAT???? i was so anxious about the run, that when i was finished, i was anxious for another hour or so afterward. but i just chilled at the tent and took off my sweaty clothes and cooled off. note to self: get a better water bottle system. my water belt just congregated sweat, it ran down my stomach legs, and then my shorts were just soaked with sweat. tmi? well, you’re the one reading about my ragnar experience…
  4. i still had my volunteer shirt to do, so i hung out for a little bit, then as soon as the supper line opened, i headed down to eat and then go to the HQ tent to get out to the water station. i ate SO MUCH food.
  5. my volunteer shift was actually kind of fun.

    i staffed two water stations on the red loop – one at mile 2.6 and one at 5.6. everyone was happy to see the 5.6 because it meant about 2 miles left and the enchanted forest was almost over.

    (entrance to enchanted forest from the water station crossing. this actually isn’t a bad section of it. there’s a lot worse.)
    AND, there was a guy out there running ragnar on a prosthetic leg. i am done complaining about everything ragnar, because if that dude can run on a prosthetic leg? then i can run on my injured foot.
  6. my volunteer shift was cut short due to a volunteer miscommunication, and i was done an hour early! that was good because i needed to leave and get to hudson, WI that night, about 2.5 hours west to take pics at a wedding saturday in stillwater.
  7. so ended my ragnar 2019 experience. if i am offered to do something on a ragnar saturday again, i think i’ll pass because i missed being there through the night and the next day 🙁

addendum: my one red loop i ran was great. i shaved 20 minutes off from last year. is that due to my better running times lately, or is it because i ran it on fresh legs and it was the only loop? (normally i run it last.) next year may be an indicator…

because you’ve been waiting for one!

because you’ve been waiting for one!

holy toledo, i haven’t given you an update on RAGNAR!

ragnar is in ONE WEEK. but here’s the deal: i’m taking wedding pics on day two of ragnar, so i have to skip out friday night. that means i’ll run the red loop (almost 8 miles in the woods) and then do the volunteer shift. so it’s not quite as overwhelming as doing all three loops, and i’m actually looking forward to it a bit more.

that said, i haven’t been training as much as i would have in years past, which is OKAY. i’ve run out at st. john’s a handful of times, and last weekend i did 8 miles out in the woods. but while the past couple years i’ve been out there 2-3 times a week, this year i was lucky if i got out there once.

see what happens when you only have to run one loop?

this afternoon (like, right after i finish this blog post) i’m heading out for a 9 or 10 mile road run. we’ll see what my time is like; i have been averaging a faster minute this summer, and whether that’s due to me no hauling around as much weight or just trying a little hard, i don’t know (probably both).

so, in one week we’ll see how i do on the red loop. the past couple years it’s been my last loop when i am so tired and muscles are out of juice. two years ago i did it on a sprained ankle. at that point, it’s lucky i was able to finish, let alone run a little bit of it (seriously, i bet i walked 3/4 of it each year).

next week goals: no injuries. run more of the red loop. dare i say finish in under 2 hours? that would mean shaving off 15 minutes from the past couple years. hmmmmm. we’ll see what it brings!


in a pickle

in a pickle

this year was not a great year for my garden. tomatoes were so so, the peppers never really did anything, my dill was non-existent, and my cucumbers, which i was relying on, didn’t put out as much as i’d hoped.

i assumed i’d have to buy dill to make my pickles, and i knew i’d be buying some farmers market garlic, but the cukes? the cukes? come on!

i got some cucumbers. it’s not like i wasn’t able to make no pickles this year, but compared to last year, it was not a good year. by this time last year, i’d had 4 batches of canned pickles (maybe 8-10 jars each) and 3 quarts of refrigerator pickles. this year, even though i planted more plants, i ended up buying cucumbers from the farmers market as well.

i don’t know if it was the weird late spring, the weirdish weather, or the fact that i quit weeding (well, the quitting weeding happens every year). they just don’t want to do anything. now, i did plant them 2 weeks later than normal, but by this time, i should be finished for a couple weeks.

so, i do have some pickles this year, but not as many as i’d hoped.

the good news is i’ll have at least two squashes (had NONE last year), and my pumpkins are going crazy. so far my potatoes have been pretty good as well.

and maybe my cucumbers are still trying to do something. we’ll see what happens as long as a frost holds off.

ugh, frost. barf.

international, even!

international, even!

after last year’s star photos up the north shore, i wanted to have another go at them, so i consulted my weather calendar early this year and found a weekend that would work for moonrise/moonset and made a reservation. labor day weekend was that weekend!

jane and i met at jay cooke state park on friday night for an overnight before heading up the shore.

there’s a reason this park is my #3 park! it may have been promoted to #2! (don’t worry blue mounds – i’ll visit you again before making that decision.)

i have to say my new tent is pretty awesome. it’s not as spacious as my old tent, but dang it stays dark! you almost need a flashlight to see what’s going on in there during the daytime.

anyway, we checked out the bridge and the falls at jay cooke before the sun went down at too-early o’clock in the evening. then we bundled up for bed because it was cold that night! i wore a wool shirt, a sweatshirt, and my down vest to bed, along with a winter hat and a blanket inside my sleeping bag. i was toasty.

the next morning we packed up and were on the road before 9 a.m. to head up the north shore. we stopped at the rustic inn just north of two harbors for breakfast pie, then headed up to check out grand marais.

i’ll tell you one thing: i forget how big this lake is. and the part you see from MN is not the big part of the lake. holy shamoly. grand marais was cute with its touristy shops and the marina. i wouldn’t mind spending a couple overnights in grand marais sometime.

then it was time for #moosewatch2019 as we headed up the gunflint trail into the BWCA. there was actually a moose outlook/observation deck along the way, so we hiked the half a mile or so to see if we could see some moose. my minimal moose investigation tells me that they like to hang out in swamps in the early morning, so the chances of seeing a moose at 1 p.m. were slim, but i wanted to at least try. once again, #moosewatch was a fail.

(then today i’m browsing twitter and i see a post about how a stray moose was just lollygagging across the football field at UND. seriously? good grief.)

but we drove up to gunflint lake, which is a border lake and along a nice little drive. then we headed back down to get to our campsite before dark.

the next two nights we spend at judge magney state park, where lori and i stayed last year. there is a nice little beach not even a mile down the road that’s great for star viewing, and the park itself is really small and non-electric, so there are no big campers and 5th wheelers. it’s nice to be in a quieter park, even if your neighbor doesn’t know how to use her inside voice after quiet hours have begun and the other neighbors brought two dogs who bark at anything that moves. -_-

we managed a decent fire and were hoping for clear skies, but ALAS it clouded over, so no star and no northern lights, which i guess were pretty awesome this past weekend. come on, weather. that part was disappointing.

let me digress here a moment and talk about camping coffee. there’s something about cooking coffee over a campstove and then sitting outside in the cold morning to drink it. it was invigorating! i have a percolator pot that kind of sucks, so i bought a stainless steel french press to make the coffee in. i use the pot to boil the water. it works out great.

ok, back to what was going on. after the star disappointment, the next morning we made some tasty scrambled eggs, then headed up to see devil’s kettle falls, which is what the park is known for. the hike up is only a mile, but man it’s a heck of a mile. hills, rocks, roots, 150+ stairs. but it was worth it!

so weird! one half of the water just dumps into a big hole in the ground.

i think the more picturesque scene was the river just before the falls.

it was a nice morning – still a little crisp, the sun wasn’t overbearing, and the crowds weren’t bad yet. we walked maybe another quarter mile up the lake superior trail, then headed back (and walked up the 150+ stairs. ooofda).

then we decided to make it international!

but first we stopped at grand portage national monument and learned about the fur trade, which i want to read more about. i guess the canadian version of lewis and clark is a lot more rugged and daring and made his way through more miles. that part of the state is still the best part of the state, i think. it’s mountainish, trees abundant, giant lake. <3

and i saw the closest thing to moosewatch i was going to get this trip.


then it was time to go to canada!

the drive up to thunder bay was amazeballs. it reminded me of a more woodsy colorado. it was great! pines and aspen all over the place, then these butte-esque mountainish hills. there’d be a field of wildflowers or grains that were yellow against the grey/blue sky then a butte would pop up as a backdrop covered in trees. ahhh, it was great! i’d definitely go back.

the bay at thunder bay was super interesting, with those butte-esque hills popping up as islands out of the lake.

then we headed back to the US, where the customs guy was not as fun as the canadian customs guy. he didn’t care if we brought live bait or ammunition back into the country. i wonder if he would’ve cared if we’d stopped at marijuana palace. (yes, that was a place we saw in thunder bay.)

on the way back to the park, we stopped at the casino in hopes of a big win, but it wasn’t to be. instead, i lost my firewood money and we had to stop at the gas station to pick some up, which was also a big loss. it was wet! i even bought two bundles, but it didn’t catch.

what a bust! and the clouds were even worse that night, so once again no stars. i’ll have to go back for some more astrophotography (oh no how sad).

and that was that. the next morning, we packed up and were on the road before 9 a.m. we stopped at betty’s pies on the way back and decided to visit the rustic inn from now on because the line at betty’s was stupid long and also the pie i had there was better.

i could go for some pie right now.

dropped jane off at her car at black bear casino (we did NOT go in), then headed down a busy I-35 and not-as-busy-as-i’d-expected hwy23*. and now it’s back to the grind!

i might make this a yearly thing!

*so i ended up driving to jay cooke on hwy23 the whole way, and now i have driven on every foot of hwy 23. i don’t know if that’s an accomplishment or not, but i thought it was interesting.

state fair day one: a food review

state fair day one: a food review

today i went to the fair with nate for a few hours in the morning before the crowds got too miserable and the weather stormy. the park and ride lot was full at 8:30 a.m., but we parked on a side street and waited for the second shuttle to come around before getting on.

first stop at the fair? the blue barn!

the line was reasonable and they had some new stuff i wanted to check out. so i picked them up!

blue cheese corn fritters: i think this is the only thing i’ll get from the BB from now on. i mean, you can’t go wrong, and they’re delicious. the chimichurri sauce that comes with it is just the right touch, too.

the breakfast potato skin: this was the new thing i wanted to try out, and i wasn’t that impressed. the potato could’ve had a little more seasoning, the eggs were kind of blah, the bournaise sauce was ok. i mean, if i had nothing else for breakfast i’d eat it, but i’m not paying for it again.

frozen slushie hard seltzer thing: mmmm. mmmmm. mmmmmmm. dangerous.

handshake ale drink thing: nate liked this one. i did not. it tasted like a lip balm i owned.

then we were off to check out the fair. we strolled through the grandstand vendors, ran into a bunch of people who stopped in the middle of the road, found the kare11 booth where i picked up a 2020(!) weather calendar, then tried to stroll through the ag building where everyone was standing in line to get a free sample of an apple.

people sure do like their free stuff.

the interesting thing about the fair is that everyone likes to brag that we live here. i mean, i GET IT. MN is an awesome state! even myself, i was wearing my duck duck grey duck shirt and itasca sweatshirt. yep, we love MN. but let me tell you, i didn’t see a lot of 1)outstate wear or 2)non-northshore wear. i was an anomaly with my itasca sweatshirt. i saw a ton of shirts advertising metro and duluth companies, north shore towns and state parks. people. i get it. the north shore is a nice little part of the state. but there’s a lot more out there. take it from me: go see it.

but i digress.

ah! that’s better!

tom thumb donuts: why bother with ANY OTHER donut? like the bag advertises, they’re “light as a feather”. it’s true. all other donuts are greasy inferior globs in comparison. do yourself a favor and just find the tom thumb stands. #worthit

got down to the other end of the park and checked out the ecobuilding, which, TEN YEARS AGO, was pretty much empty when i visited. it was packed today. has being eco-conscious suddenly become trendy? i was half irritated by this development and half hopeful in that people might just glom onto a trend that’s useful. like, maybe it’ll evolve past a trend and into a lifestyle.

took a moment in the education building where i picked up a new minnstate viewbook for work and several pins to hand out to people. that was the 5 seconds i thought about work. then i tried to find a st ben’s booth and didn’t! boo. i don’t know if i just didn’t look hard enough or what.

then we were over in the giggles grill area, so we stopped there.

duck drummies: these were ok. they were nothing fabulous, and quite frankly, i’d’ve preferred chicken. they needed to marinade the duck or something to make it a little more zingy.

duck bacon wonton: now this was good. not exactly a wonton; more like a small pasty filled with cheese bacony ducky goodness. the dipping sauce was good, too!

then nate had to get a pronto pup: i’m not gaga over pronto pups. i think a basic corndog is better, or even just a footlong! (what’s the difference? a corndog is made with cornmeal. pronto pup is made with pancake-like batter.) but nate wanted a pronto pup with mustard so he picked one up. it was ok. as expected. move along.

the leinie lodge: whoo boy! well, already had that slushie, so why not one more? i tried a half and half: a northwoods summer, which is a mix of summer shandy and northwoods lager, and mmmm mmm! i’d get that again.

then i attempted the worst of the worst: the food building. normally i stay out of there, but sarah’s tipsy pies were in there right on the edge, and with no line, so it was time to check it out. and i had a coupon!

onion and gouda pie: this was good if you wanted lunch! it actually reminds me of the squash galette i make in the fall. and the crust was delish!

but i was here for the blueberry lemon boozy pie: OMG i’d wade through 14 food buildings to find this again. talk about wonderful. it wasn’t so boozy, but i didn’t even care. i shoved that thing in my mouth and made room in my stomach even though there wasn’t much room at all. yum.

and that was it! that’s actually a lot of food for 3 hours of fair and 5 miles of walking, and i’m still full, but it was worth it.

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!