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Month: September 2019

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.