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Author: kate

i kneed

i kneed

welp, if it’s not one thing it’s another, right? my feet have been pretty decent lately on the run front, but of course my knees have decided to crap out. exciting times in the ramp up to ragnar trail, of course!

i started gathering my gear for ragnar.  i packed my headlamp, then decided to go for a run in the dark tonight. which doesn’t take much these days; thanks, axial tilt. but here’s some new gear for this year!

  1. i bought a propane tank heater. lows are going to be in the 40s, which doesn’t sound bad for running, but it sure sounds bad if you’re camping. so i got a nice heater and it works great. no freezing for me.
  2. a nice wool blanket to wrap up in while i’m sitting around and also in my sleeping bag. like i said, no freezing for me.
  3. pedialyte galore.
  4. a crapton of food. no free supper at ragnar this year, and i have trouble eating enough anyway, so i’m going to just bring a bunch of food and hope i eat enough.

training has been pretty good up until the knee issue, so i’m not worried about finishing. kind of worried about finishing with reasonable knees. hopefully it’s just runner’s knee and it’ll just sort itself out. otherwise, i have an appointment in october with my GP and if they’re still annoying then, maybe i can get into PT or something for them.

ragnar update to come afterward!

GOAT. got it?

GOAT. got it?

yesterday i called melissa to say hi and chat and all that good stuff. we were talking about something infuriating to both of us, and she said “and you know what really gets my goat?”

and i had to interrupt her well-formed rant because i was just like, where on earth did that saying come from?

so here’s your etymology saturday lesson!

the first time it was in print, it was in reference to a burst water pipe in 1909, about transferring water back and forth from the tub to a bowl and back again all night. that certainly would have been goat getting.

this is a relatively new phrase, as you can see from 1909, and one story is that it came from when goats were placed next to racehorses to keep them call. when people wanted to rig the race, some ill-mannered people would steal the horse’s goat, causing the horse to race poorly. but while that’s a nice story, it’s not widely accepted as the true source.

another idea is that the word goat was used as slang for anger around the early 1900s, which makes a little more sense.

yet another option is from the french phrase prendre le chevre, meaning take the goat, angering the owner. (i don’t like this one.)

i actually thought of this one while looking at various sources: a mispronunciation of goad. get your goad – like goading someone on.

or maybe we’re all just goat owners and we’d all be angry if someone tried to take away our goats!

we may never know the real origin, but i do like the slang idea. it was the idea that we all have an inner goat just waiting to get out there and be angry. so when something irks you, you get your goat out.


(hrrrmmmm i was going to link to a post i KNOW i did about the term scapegoat, but i think it was lost in the great blog migration. ugh! well, that’s another post, i guess!)

dry girl summer to almost girl fall

dry girl summer to almost girl fall

this post is totally inspired by my long-time blogging friend over at, who blogged today with the following sentence: “I am already getting the tickley sensation in my belly thinking about upcoming FALL stuff.”

because i could sure relate to that! the other day i was like, oh! i should start my spooky movie watchlist! only to realize that spooky movie month is still a month away.

in my old age, i have come more and more to really appreciate spring and summer. spring is my favorite season at this point, barely barely edging out fall. but spring doesn’t bring the tickley tinglies (probably hope – the thing with wings in your chest, so emily d. says). there are only two things that bring this for me: the far-off thought of fall and the far-off thought of christmas, when the seasons are  j u s t  about to start and they haven’t completely gone off the rails, commercewise.

i hate that it’s dark now at 8:15 p.m. i miss the gloaming at 10 p.m. i hate that my garden is overgrown with weeds and dying plants. i miss the songbirds and chattering rodents. i hate that the frogs are long gone and now the drone of crickets and high-pitched cicadas overrule all other outdoor sounds. i hate that once again, summer’s on the way out.


i sure do love october. it’s still a month away, but october one-eth cometh. here’s what’s in store!

  1. i’ve already started the pumpkin coffee thing because i have made it WELL KNOWN that caribou can’t seem to keep pumpkin in their stores past the end of september for some reason. it doesn’t even get stocked in october!!! they should offer pumpkin flavor through thanksgiving. what a bunch of losers.
  2. in about two weeks, i’ll be telling stan that his month is coming. he’s spooky looking. he’s spooked all the time.  october is the perfect month for a scaredy cat like him. i’ll try to wrangle the halloween jingly cat collar on him for at least one pic.
  3. the end of september is RAGNAR TRAIL. you’ll hear more about that later, but i do enjoy a run through the woods with the leaves changing.
  4. scary movie month. through october, i like to watch all the halloween classics, mostly campy scary movies like evil dead and scream because i can’t handle real scary movies. of course i’ll watch hocus pocus and maybe try to find some old disney halloween classics. can’t go wrong with some scary movies during october!
  5. the first two weeks of october in MN are the best. the leaves are peak color (usually – we’ll see what happens with this year being so dry) and it’s a great time to get out and take pics. hopefully the colors cooperate and there aren’t gale force winds that blown them all off the trees by october 3.
  6. sometime in the first half of october, i finally get around to putting up fall decor and lighting my “autumn leaves” candles, etc. no need to rush this. the first half of september is still summer, and my fall decor stays up through november, so i wait until at least october 1 to put up any semblance of a red leafed decor item in the house.
  7. i’ll roast my pie pumpkins i grew this year and then make some pumpkin bread and save some for some pumpkin pie at thanksgiving, but i’ll head down to a pumpkin farm that’s about 3 miles from my house to load up on carving and decorating pumpkins. they have a few heirloom varieties and usually some squash (i do like me some good eatin’ squash).
  8. and i’ll be on the lookout for basic white girl fall thoughts while i’m out and about. last year i heard this gem: “i really like fall, but i sure do hate that it’s cold.” honey, what do you think fall is?? axial tilt does that to a planet.

anyway, welcome to september, the fake fall. it’s still summer, so let’s not get too excited yet. just enough to get the winged tickly tingles.

oh to find a running shoe

oh to find a running shoe

oh hi there! i come to you with shoe review 42.

(i don’t know if i’ve reviewed shoes that many times or if it just seems like that many times.)

in a quest for a comfy, cushy, low-drop shoe that has a nice room toebox, i think i’ve purchased and returned 5 pairs of shoes over the past 2 months.

when i found out that asics had a lower drop shoes than the last time i’d worn them, i decided to give them another go. a low-drop shoe means the distance between the heel and the front as far as how far off the ground. a zero-drop shoe is like going barefoot. high heel would have a ginormous heel drop. my asics i wore for years had a 12mm drop. when i started having super weird foot problems a couple years ago, a lower-drop shoe helped out a ton. the hokas i’d been running in for the past year or so have a 5mm drop, but the toe box is just a bit too narrow for my tastes. the wide is super loose in the heel.

so the asics novablast had an 8mm drop, which i tried and actually ran one run in, and it just was too much of a drop. then i tried out the magic speeds, which have a steel plate (!) in them at a reasonable(ish) cost. the drop was excellent. the space for my toes was good. but they had NO arch support at all. so back to the asics factory those two pairs of shoes went.

after reading for years about altras, which are a zero drop shoe, i thought that now was the time to try them out. they look like no other running shoe out there – probably because they actually look like your foot shape.

the first pair i got had medium cushion and high support, which is excellent for trail running. i love these in the woods. i got a second pair with high cushion and high support, but the 11 was a half size too small, and this company doesn’t make an 11.5???? what legit running shoe company doesn’t do that!! so have a pair of the men’s shoe on their way here, and they should be here tomorrow. i’m hopeful that they should work well, even if they aren’t the more fun colors of the women’s shoe.

ok, so the grey/lime isn’t so bad.

i hope i run like the wind! because ragnar training has begun and i’m going to run 2 runs this saturday in the 70º weather*!!!

*ugh i really want to write about our stupid hot weather and climate change but i feel like i will get so severely depressed.

end of july musings

end of july musings

oh hello from a new laptop! not just a new-to-me laptop; a NEW SPANKIN NEW laptop. the last time i had a brand new laptop was the white 14″er in 2004. since then, i got a refurb 2009 lappy and then charlie’s old powerbook from 2011. so, over the course of 17 years, i’ve used 3 mac laptops? and they all would probably still work today just fine. but i had some extra cash and it was time to invest. this laptop will do internet work and photoshop just fine.

it’s olympics time, which means it’s time for me to complain about lack of infrastructure for people in the boonies. the olypmics are on network TV and supposed to be “free” to watch, but those of us out in the boondocks can’t get a signal unless we have a 150′ antenna. and getting cable for 2 weeks? dumb. i was super excited for about 5 seconds when NBC was touting their peacock app to watch the olympics, but turns out it’s nothing live: just weird specials and minor highlights after the fact. good grief. i’d PAY for them to offer live olympics somewhere that’s not cable or i have to pay $60 to get (looking at you, youtube TV). throw it on youtube live with ads. i’ll pay $15 to watch on the peacock app. let me just pay you $5 for access on your website. HOW HARD IS IT. this would be FREE if i had a large antenna and i’m offering to throw a nominal amount of money at you instead.


summer is waning. maybe it’s full summer, though i feel like it hits the full summer right around july 4. bet, we’re about to enter july, which means it’s time to make some pickles! despite about 2″ rain in the past 3 months, i’ve been watering my garden on the daily and my veggies are doing ok. i did not keep up with the tomatoes, so they are just exploding into giant bushes. my pumpkins are doing awesome. the pea plants only got to about about 2″ high before they quit (but i did get some peas out of them). bunnies keep trying to eat my beans. my apple tree only has about 10 apples on it though. i guess it’s good i forgot entirely about the FULL DRAWER of apple butter until about a month ago. i’ll be set for the next year at least.

it’s positively apocalyptic looking outside. between no rain, wildfire smoke pouring in, and the fields of corn already turning brown and shriveling up, it makes me wonder what’s going to happen next. water wars? will MN’s trees start dying off as we move into another biome? ah, climate change. too bad no one saw this coming. here’s a good video from hank green about why we should care about climate change and try to effect change even when it seems hopeless.

BH2021: day 6 (last day boo)

BH2021: day 6 (last day boo)

boo, vacay is over!

but, stopping for a night in chamberlain on the way home versus booking it 10 hours in one day is a much easier way to end a vacation. you can meander a bit. you can take your time and get lost in buffalo gap grassland. you can stop at some places you wouldn’t have stopped otherwise. or you could visit wall drug a second time or stop at al’s oasis a second time. (we did not.)

the final morning, we got outta dodge early after a late night of pizza and ice cream the day before. it’s pretty weird how suddenly the landscape goes from grassland dakota to cornfield dakota once you cross the missouri.

one note about SD: NO RECYCLE BINS??? come on! none at the rest stops, none at the national parks. what’s going on there. i’m writing a letter. at the first rest stop in MN, i unloaded 5 days’ worth of recyclables into the bins.

we met up in luvurne for lunch at a fancy pant place, then said our goodbyes. i then headed to the brandenburg art gallery in town (which is shared with the world war museum – a stark contrast).

jim brandenburg is a luvurne native and national geographic photographer. i remember desperately wanting to be a NG photographer but it never really was something even slightly attainable in my head. but brandenburg’s works are wonderful.

check out his photos!

he’s taken a lot of photos of MN – both of the southwest and of the north. you can tell he enjoys the prairie and wolves.

the gallery is free and you’re able to purchase prints while you’re there. i recommend that if you’re ever in the SW part of the state, check it out!

then i was inspired, so i headed to the touch the sky national wildlife refuge, which i learned was founded in the early 00s by the brandenburg foundation! huh! learn something new every day. anyway, i took some pics.

after that, i headed northeast, making a stop at the upper sioux agency state park, which i had skipped on my way down. the last time i was there, it was raining and i hadn’t really taken time to learn about the park or take a close look.

this park is the location of the buildings that housed the white people who were there to assimilate the native people before the dakota uprising. thoughts on this park: it’s right by a reservation. the information building was closed, and it’s definitely run down. there were no people there while i was there (it was a thursday afternoon but still). it makes me wonder if the state will return the land to the native americans who surround the park. in fact, i would very much support that. there is a grave of a well-known leader on the park grounds, and there is only one historical building (the first duplex built in the state, which is no real treat). that’s my two cents.

then booked it northeast. i’m glad the speed limit on 23 is 60, which means everyone drives at least 60. most drive 68 or so. several signs were posted along the 2-lane portion of the road: “4-lane for you!” we’ll see how long that takes.

and past willmar, the trees started to pop up and it was like a sigh of relief. i never realize how much i miss the trees until i’m back in them. how glorious to come up north of richmond, right outside of avon, with the hills covered in trees in deep summer green.

BH2021: day 5

BH2021: day 5

apparently i did not take the advice of “CONSTANT VIGILANCE” as well as i should have. because it applies to driving as well as running ragnar!

we broke camp this morning pretty quickly; we were packed up and on the road out by 10 a.m. liz and fam were on their way to go ziplining, and mom and i were going to check out the badlands. instead of hauling it on I90, i wanted to check out an alternative route. so first we headed up to check out pactola dam, then went into rapid city via hwy 44, which we were supposed to just stay on the entire time.

except i didn’t! i don’t know what happened, but somehow i ended up on 79 instead of 44, and we ended up going 20 miles (!) south before realizing it. i blame bad signage in rapid city. we were even checking out landmarks on the map to make sure we were going the right way! i’m sure i missed a sign or something.

so, by the time i realized i was going the wrong way, we sure weren’t going to turn around. instead we traveled maybe 30 miles on gravel roads to get up to the road we were supposed to be on to come into the badlands from the south.

the good news is that i saw the buffalo gap national grasslands and parts of the badlands that i’d never seen before. bad news? it probably ate up an extra hour or so of the day. oh well. at least i didn’t have to call in for a 2 p.m. meeting!

once we got into the main loop, the badlands were badlands-y like always! the highlight for me was seeing the vault toilet that was available right away after we entered the park. we’d planned on being able to stop at one the towns on the route we were supposed to take.

but the badlands were looking good!

we hit up the dining area and gift shop on the way out. i’d forgotten how great that gift shop was! and the food wasn’t bad (nate and i had not tried out the food the last time we were out).

it was SO HOT. it was close to 100º while we were driving across the prairie. after the badlands, i kicked it up to 85 and we made it to chamberlain after losing an hour crossing from mountain back into good ol’ central time. i don’t know that i’ve ever stopped at chamberlain on the way back – i’ve always just booked it across SD and MN in 10 hours to get back home. it’s not bad to meander sometimes.

BH2021: day 4

BH2021: day 4

If I never drive the wildlife loop again, I may be ok! We headed out earlyish to catch breakfast at the hill city café before a day of driving several miles at slow speeds through the scenic black hills. The hill city café has moved to a buffet only style eatery! I’m not sure if this is due to covid, due to short-staffed-ness, or due to it’s just easier. Either way, it gives the people in front of me in line the opportunity to load up their plate with the remaining bacon. Nate is right on when it comes to buffets: people suck.

We headed out on needles highway, which is always a treat. Mom and I drove separately so I could find wi-fi for a work meeting I had to attend, so of course I was wasting brain power on keeping track of the time and where I could find at least a bar of service but better yet wifi so I can call in for this meeting at 2 p.m. with my dirty hair and sweaty clothes.

But until then, we checked out a couple of the custer state park lodges, which are just great. (we wanted to camp in custer but they were booked.) the air was cooler the higher we went (of course), and it was a nice reprieve from the hot we’d been experiencing. We stopped at a couple of overlooks, and I gotta say, wildlife bingo was pretty much a bust this year! I was about to give up because all we’d seen were a couple deer and a turkey, which I can see any old day wandering across my back yard. But, vindication when we drove past the prairie dog field! At least we say some p-dawgs. Then I managed to see some burros from afar, and then the coup de grace! A bison herd! That was pretty great despite the idiot drivers who couldn’t figure out how to move off the road to get their pics. And those who got out of the car! Good grief.

(as an aside, there were also bicyclists on the road, like riding in a race or something. So you had people driving 10 mph across a straight road with nothing happening on the wildlife front, bicyclists, people driving jeeps who didn’t know that a cattle grate wouldn’t hurt their giant tires, and in the middle of it all, mom and I just kept complaining about it to each other hahahahahahha.)

So, no more wildlife loop. At the end of the loop, I had to find wifi, and luckily, we stopped at the visitors center, and down the road was the game lodge, where I set up camp for an hour, eating dessert and zooming in to this meeting using their wifi. I left a $14 tip on a $22 bill.

We finished up the drive through iron mountain road, with the pigtail bridges and the tunnels that looked out on mount rushmore. The road back to camp took us through hill city, so we stopped for a bit to check out the shopping there, which was pretty mediocre for me, but mom found a couple things she was looking for.

Then I decided, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, and after seeing a bunch of junky trump paraphernalia, I broke down and bought a Sturgis hat. At least it looks pretty! And if nate had a bike, I’d probably go to Sturgis too. At least once.

Got back to camp and I decided that just 2 days in the hills is just not enough. You need at least one more day to just putz around. We smashed a lot of stuff into two days! We wrapped up the day by burning four bundles of firewood because why not. Then of course there were winds that night, and the fire we’d put out had popped back up. Luckily, my mom was up and around and saw it. (by up and around I mean we’re in a tent and if you have to use the bathroom in the night, well, it’s off to the vault toilet with you.)

BH2021: day 3

BH2021: day 3

Woof I don’t know why it’s either feast or famine when I’m sleeping in a tent, but last night was not a good sleeping night. But today had a lot of stuff happening and I managed to get roll out of the cot at 7 a.m. to have coffee. Lots of coffee.

We had reservations for the 1880 train at 10:15, so we headed to keystone to catch the train! That was fun. It was warm out, so we weren’t worried about freezing or getting rained on. It was an hour to hill city and an hour back. I haven’t been on the train since I was 9, so that was pretty fun!

We decided to forgo keystone because it was just a giant mass of people, so we headed back to camp for lunch and a nap, then to mount rushmore! You know, I think I could be done with seeing mount rushmore. We did get ice cream cones, so that was probably the highlight of the trip.

After that, we headed back to camp, again, where I made campfire pizza. Way too much campfire pizza, I might add. But it was pretty decent!

So now I sit in front of the campfire waiting for bedtime and hoping that I sleep like a log tonight. Tomorrow’s a nice driving tour and then I have to call in to a meeting at 2 p.m. eye roll.

BH2021: day 2

BH2021: day 2

This morning we headed out after a reasonable continental breakfast and checked out the lewis and clark rest area and dignity statue before heading west across the prairie to tourist city (aka wall drug).

My mileage tanked on I90. I was doing 85 and had the AC on. I think I got 24 mpg on that stretch! After a stop for caribou coffee and then a pit stop at a rest area, we rolled into wall and it was like a wall of mouth breathing delta variant. And of course with a nice trump trailer to greet us. I mean, I knew to expect this but still!

Wall’s ambiance is pretty good, but man the food is just not that great. Not that I was expecting haute cuisine, but the past few times I’ve eaten there have been meh at best. (however, I am kind of salt deprived out here because it’s so dry, so I am wolfing everything down due to the salt content.) the thing about going to these touristy places is that I simultaneously want nothing and everything, which is really interesting. But this time, I spent some real money on black hills gold and got a nice ring. Then their tshirt game was on point this summer, and I got a cosmic jackalope tank top.










Then we headed out to the hills! Usually I prefer a nice campsite at custer state park, but reserving spots is a nightmare this year, and we had to change dates due to my cousin’s ill planning for our family reunion, so we are at a primitive campground at Sheridan lake, where everyone with an RV has decided to show up and run their generators all night. *eye roll* get a tent losers.

Before rolling into Sheridan, mom and I stopped in hill city to get an ice cream sundae, which was good because we needed sustenance to set up camp. A front rolled through a little while later with some big winds and a piddling amount of rain, but it passed pretty quickly. Now I’m hanging by the fire listening to my mom rustle around in the tent and the hum of generators in the distance. Ah, the great outdoors.

Also, there are some nasty gross bugs out here that are like a cross between a giant beetle and a junebug and so far two have divebombed me and omg omg omg.

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