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Author: kate

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!



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.