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a little late

a little late

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

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

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

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

itasca: revisted

itasca: revisted

i think i need to amend my top ten state parks list and make itasca 1 AND 2. i just spent five days there with my family and want to rave about this park even more.

i think it says a lot that the time i spent at the headwaters was minimal and didn’t make much of an impression on me. what made an impression? the trees, the bike paths, the hiking path, the big trees.

oh, and the BEAR i saw.

my sibs and i were biking to the swimming beach, when some bikers whooshed past us telling us there was a bear with cubs ahead. well, jane wanted to turn around, but dang if i wasn’t going to at least see a bear, amirite? so we slowly biked until we saw the bear, then turned around.

we also took the wilderness drive and saw the state’s largest white pine and state’s former largest red pine (it was the victim of a wind storm. the largest is now in the lost forty).

the tree was so big that my mom held onto her head with amazement. that same day we also checked out preacher’s grove where a bunch of old-growth red pines are, along with a bunch of pines that had blown over in some sort of wind storm that twisted them.

(my mom and aunt rae discussing weather patterns that may have caused the twisting.)

i tried out supping, but forgot my fin so it was no fun. then i went for a hike along the brower trail, which is GREAT. this was the sort of trail i was looking for in the black hills but couldn’t find.

some yellow ladyslippers just bloomed while i was out on the trail.

and other flora!

the bike trail was also great for running if you want to do hillwork (i did need to work on that, i guess. i prefer flat, but i couldn’t resist running in itasca). i went out for a 6-mile run on sunday night.

we stayed at bearpaw cabins/campground, which was between the headwaters and the lodge, so it was a nice, bikeable distance to both. we ate supper at the lodge a couple times, had breakfast there once, and had ice cream a couple times at the headwaters cafe.

i could’ve stayed another couple days at itasca and hiked some of the spurs and trails that were on the wilderness drive, biked some more, looked for more bears, put the fin on my SUP and really done some good paddling, gone for another hilly run.

still enamored by itasca!

a haiku – wait nope. wait yes.

a haiku – wait nope. wait yes.

i was going to write you a springtime haiku to go along with a photo i took today, but wordpress isn’t letting me upload the photo.

instead, i’ll tell you about my brilliantly productive memorial day weekend so far.

saturday:

  1. pulled all the minitrees and weeds out of my flower bed. this took 3-4 hours.
  2. sprayed the weeds around my house.
  3. cleaned up around the edging near my entry way.
  4. cut down the dying shrubbery trees out of my flower bed
  5. supervised as nate yanked the stumps out with the truck
  6. clapped in delight when it worked
  7. spread 20 bags of mulch in the flowerbed
  8. took brush, trees, and stumps to the avon compost site
  9. went to walmart and bought 2 hydrangeas to replace the gross (now dead) shrubs
  10. planted them
  11. admired my work. i was out there from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. with a lunch and supper break!
  12. watched john wick

sunday:

  1. went for a 3 mile run at 10 a.m. (i know; surprisingly early!)
  2. picked up a geranium on the way to pick up mom from st. johns
  3. met rae at the cemetery and visited grandma and grandpa
  4. went to red lobster for lunch
  5. went to target with mom
  6. dropped off mom at st. john’s
  7. took a nap
  8. mowed the lawn
  9. went SUPping
  10. stalked a loon
  11. went for a 2nd 3-mile run (training for ragnar sunset)
  12. drank a margarita while i tried to get a fire going. it didn’t go.
  13. now it’s too late to watch john wick II. maybe tomorrow

tomorrow i clean the house (it’s supposed to rain) and make some millionaire shortbread.

well, whaddya know! my image uploaded. took this on my run this evening.

light reflected back

no crops yet; but frogs and birds

ruts hold the story

40’s looming!

40’s looming!

in a surprising turn of anticipated events, i’m feeling good about 40. much better than i was about 30! i don’t know if i’m entering the “i don’t give a hoot” stage of life and not caring is more of the norm than previously thought, but who cares! this might be ok.

the birthday week (NEXT WEEK) is already shaping up to be a nice one! jenee is coming to visit me for lunch on tuesday and bringing a surprise guest (OMG i can hardly wait for this visit! WHO IS THE SURPRISE GUEST and JENEE IS ONE OF MY FAVE PEEPS!). on wednesday and thursday i’ll be at a system office conference for work, but that should be ok (and informative!). when i get back on thursday (THE BIG DAY), nate and i are going out someplace fancy for supper. after that? not sure what’s going to happen!

then on the weekend, i’ll see my family for a trip to itasca, where i’ll get to spend time among the big trees and lakes and listen to springtime birds and frogs. i’ll bring chocolate cake and have birthday tea on my paddleboard out on the water.

all in all, i’d say i’m pretty happy with how things have turned out thus far. sure, life throws curveballs now and then, and you can’t be happy all the time. in fact, i’d argue that maybe we aren’t happy a lot of the time. but if you’re satisfied and okay a lot of the time, well, you’ve got a pretty decent life. happy, joyful moments make it just that much better.

LET’S DO IT, 40.

all hail the book nerd

all hail the book nerd

i did a cool thing today! the local libraries exchange was on campus to record 5-minute book reviews for their podcast, and i did TWO books! (unfortunately, i was the only one who signed up, so i guess it was a good thing i brought a second book!)

i had listened to a few of their podcasts before i headed into this foray, and i was worried about being able to spend enough time talking about my books. well, after i rambled on and on about the first book (“the dreamers”), the interviewer said that it was almost exactly 5 minutes. i was worried i wouldn’t be able to talk about it enough!

then i talked about “a walk in the woods” which one of the interviewers had also read (and loved the author), so we almost tag-teamed on the interview, and that one was really fun. hey, if you haven’t read that one and you enjoy memoirs and humor, this is the book for you.

THEN they invited me to come to their space over the summer sometime when they’re recording podcasts about specific genres of books! OMG. i asked if harry potter was considered a genre, and then we got excited about a podcast talking about HP.

book nerds are great.

stranger danger

stranger danger

when i run, i tend to stick to well populated places for the most part. it takes me two miles of running from my house to get to any sort of solitude. even then, on the lake wobegon trail, there are other runners and bikers, dog walkers, couples out for their evening stroll.

there is no regular vehicle traffic, which is nice.

when i go for trail runs, i drive to st john’s then take off on the dirt logging roads that wind through the woods. i rarely run across people, and when i do, it’s normally in the fall and in the first half mile or so of the trail. the back 40 of the trail is mine alone for many runs. (this is sometimes disconcerting because i wonder what would happen if i fell or hurt myself. i do have the security number in my phone, so don’t worry, mom.)

i enjoy the solitude while i’m running; the introvert’s life longs toward not meeting anyone on the trail. but i’m often warned or reminded through the media about what could happen. kidnappings, assaults, attacks of women who are out on a run. i do have pepper spray. i don’t bring it with me. is this foolish? i’m not sure. the chance of being murdered out on a run? 1 in 35,000. i have a better chance of dying in a car crash. and in rural mn? i feel like the chances are even slimmer. (harassment while out on a run is a different matter.)

let me tell you about two incidences.

one was last fall when i was training for ragnar trail out in the woods. i had to try at least one night run out in the woods so i was prepared for constant vigilance on the trail. i don’t generally run in the dark because it freaks me out, but i needed to do one. i was out for a 4-mile run at about 8:30 p.m., and i saw a light up in the distance, like it was another runner  or someone with a flashlight. i listened closely for anything that might be weird or out of place, but didn’t. eventually, it went away. then i saw another one. (know what this tells me? i wasn’t watching my feet very closely.)

after a few more instances of this, i realized my headlamp was reflecting animals’ eyes. i probably freaked out more than one deer or raccoon that evening.

more recently:

i was running a long run on the lake wobegon trail. it was a dreary day, mid 40s. i did not want to be out there, but i needed to be if i was going to be ready for my half marathon. i was huffing along at my relatively slow, mediocre pace, when i saw someone come toward me, maybe 1/4-1/3 mile down the trail. then i turned around and headed the same way i was heading, at just about the same pace i was going.

he was a little bit slower because i gradually, sort of caught up to him. finally, he slowed down and started running backwards, telling me that he thought i would have overtaken him by now. i laughed and said slow and steady runs the race.

he was an older gentleman, a retired newspaper columnist from new york who was also a vietnam vet. he told me about his life while we ran the next four miles together. it never once crossed my mind that he might be an attacker.

the weekend following this, i went to visit relatives, where my aunt asked if i ran alone and what would happen if i were attacked and i had to be careful. i relayed this story. she seemed to have an “i told you so what would have happened if he’d been bad” moment. but i think it’s the opposite – you have to hope for the best in people, and this is a perfect example of camaraderie among runners. if i’d turned around, that would’ve been giving in to fear; you can’t be afraid of everything – we can’t live lives of complete fear*.

* i do have a more heightened sense of what’s around me while i’m running trails (paved and dirt) than when i’m running on the road. (well, a different sense of what’s around me. i need to know what’s going on with the cars.) please don’t worry about me 🙂  also, read this article about running while female.

grey is women, black is men.

some info on the green new deal and a video for you

some info on the green new deal and a video for you

if you, like me, are somewhat concerned about the climate and how humans are shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to that, you may have heard some rumblings about the green new deal. and you, like me, may want to know more but haven’t really dug deep into it.

well, this post is for you! i’m going to read about it and summarize what we know.

the green new deal isn’t new. it’s been thrown around since 2006 to move the US toward 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030 (solar, wind, geothermal, etc). how to do this? carbon taxes, jobs guarantees, free college, single-payer healthcare, and utilizing public programs.

(before you get all in a huff about the social programs part of this, please for a moment think about how social security is socialism. it’s even in the name *shocker* [yes, you pay into it. so does everyone else. and it gets distributed. that’s how socialism works. roads, police, schools, libraries, firefighters. all socialism. embrace it.])

it’s recently gotten a resurgence from the current congress, after AOC assembled a committee to nail this down. the committee was tasked with providing a “’detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan’ capable of making the U.S. economy ‘carbon neutral’ while promoting ‘economic and environmental justice and equality.'”

what does this mean? well, after working on a resolution, here’s what will happen over a 10-year national mobilization:

  1. guaranteeing jobs with sustainable wages, vacation, retirement security, medical leave
  2. providing all peeps with health care, adequate housing, access to clean water, clean air, food, nature
  3. providing post-secondary training (whether college, trade school, etc) to all people
  4. 100% of power demand is through clean, renewable, zero-emission energy
  5. repair and upgrade to the US infrastructure (eliminating pollution and emissions from these )
  6. building upgraded, efficient power grids
  7. new building would be energy efficient
  8. invest in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing, clean and accessible public transportation
  9. spurring growth in clean manufacturing
  10. working with farmers and ranchers to eliminate pollution as much as feasible

why is health care and wage info in there? well, i guess it would gain more support if those are included, but i think separating them out would help this gain more traction. i do think the social aspects of this are important, but i don’t think they should be a part of a green initiative. it needs to be able to stand on its own.

so in march, republicans in the senate called for an early vote on the GND without discussion or expert testimony. so that was great. it failed 100% (dems voted no in a protest i guess).

will this go anywhere? i’m not sure. i think we are at a crossroads. on the one hand, people would love it if coal came back, because it means jobs. but those jobs are dwindling even with a return of coal. instead of wallowing in self pity about a loss of an industry, how about celebrating and learning how to have a career in the new industries of renewable energy? we have a robotics/energy program at my college where students graduate directly into a $35/hr job. learning is cool.

more and more energy companies are using renewable energy options. i actually get 100% wind energy through excel, and i’m working on being a part of a solar farm.

new homes ARE more energy efficient. windows are triple paned or have insulating gas in between the panes. more homes use geothermal energy. people don’t want to spend a lot of money on their utilities.

and that’s the rub: if the public starts to DEMAND the items on this list, it will happen. if we start to notice that the coral reefs are dying, that our weather in MN is probably at the forefront of climate change in this country (i wish i could find this article), the extreme weather we have is a result, the drought in the west, the hurricanes in the south. pay attention to something, and the public outcry usually results in a change in business practices.

[case in point: check out the current organic/gluten free/healthy foods front compared to even 10 years ago. people demand things and companies respond.]

the thing is, we’re so short sighted. if americans don’t see something in front of our face, it’s out of sight out of mind. i’m not sure if this is due to our constant, inexplicable need for 100% autonomy on everything, or that our history only goes back 225 years (compared to europe, africa, asia, that’s not long), or that we’re just stupid. but if it’s not a problem now, then it’s not a problem.

i think that this needs to become a more pressing global issue with leaders and people earthwide becoming involved and loud about how we’re just plotting our own demise if we do nothing.

so, i leave you with this video about a very scary graph and the hope that some semblance of a green new deal, even just environment related, is pushed forward.

 

sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_New_Deal

a tidy home

a tidy home

take a moment, today, and step outside. really pause and notice: the greening grass underneath your feet, the trees overhead, the pit-pat of rain falling on your outstretched hand; the smell of dampness on a chilly spring day, the increasing chirp of birds that have made their way north after the calm silence of winter; how the wind whips around you and the dead leaves and seed pods in the trees rattle against the cold in their hopeful knowledge that spring is right around the corner.

welcome home. this is it, earth-dweller. this pale blue dot is ours to call ours. it is our only.

somewhere along the way, a smart person decided to declare that earth day would happen on an annual basis. that we would learn about the three Rs in gradeschool. that we would encourage our parents to recycle and not focus too much on the reuse and reduce (arguably more productive than the recycle R). that we would plant trees on one day. that we would paint pictures and draw with our colored pencils and create art of the earth, our home, on this one day. somewhere along the way, the earth was reduced to one day.

you don’t think about home just one day a year. home is year round. home is always. home is where you are. earth day is every day.

and then it has become pressing. the science is resounding. the knowledge is there. and ignored, because why would you fix something that’s worked for the last couple centuries? why should you be inconvenienced? why would you need to change what you’ve been doing when you can’t see that anything’s wrong? why should the disposable lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to be taken away? you’re burnt out; why make things harder?

but: you don’t need to see the fire in order to know what to do when the fire alarm goes off.

and here’s what we need to know: the earth will prevail. the precipice we stand upon is not one of “will the earth survive;” it’s one of “will humans survive.” water shortages hurt people. flooding forces relocation. dying coral reduces species, which flows right up the food chain. after we’ve annihilated ourselves and several animal species, the climate will eventually equalize and the earth will be happy again.

our home is ours. we are not its responsibility. it is our responsibility.

this edge we are standing at is what future generations will notice and look back at. it will be the turning point of either something good or something bad. and whether or not you believe climate change is caused by humans, one thing i think we can all agree on: we don’t want to mess up our home. if cleaning the rivers and lakes, making sure the air is clear enough to breath, watching the crops we plant so we build sustainable agriculture and profitable agriculture, seeing that clearcutting trees is not just poor stewardship of the earth they grow from but also aesthetically displeasing, preserving natural areas not just for preservation’s sake but for our sake, is not going to combat climate change, then at least we can agree that keeping a tidy, clean home is good for the human spirit.

what is wrong with making the earth a better place to live in, even if human-caused climate change is a hoax?

i like my house. i like cooking in my kitchen, sleeping in my bed, hot showers, sitting in my faux-cabin living room; i enjoy the amenities that life in this era has given me. but where i truly feel at home and at peace and alive? in the woods. at the lake. under the milky way. standing in just-tilled dirt. pushing fingers through sand on a beach. listening to the frogs croak in the evenings. watching the gloaming fade into dark. feeling the sun on a warm-ish february day. hearing thunder in the distance. kicking through autumn leaves. standing in falling snow on a moonlit december night in a silence so complete.

this is the home i love. i would bet it’s the one you love too. let’s do what we can to make ourselves hospitable earth-dwellers.

monday musings

monday musings

  1. i am most aware of how quickly time is passing by how seasons ebb and flow, ebb and flow. our everyday routines tend to lull us into a sense of complacency about time: how it passes and how much is left.
  2. speaking of seasons, i think spring is sort of here. the light lasts past 8 p.m. now, and the birds sing a cacophony every morning. there’s still snow on the ground from last week’s snowstorm, but i have a feeling it’s going to be gone tomorrow with 60º weather.
  3. …which is good news. liz and i have the earth day half marathon on saturday, and i have been feverishly watching the long-term forecast. not even 4 days ago, i was expecting to start that run off in 30º, which is pretty awful. now it’s up to starting in mid-40s and ending in mid-50s with minimal wind and no clouds. fantastic. here’s hoping the weather holds and my feet hold up.
  4. earth day is almost here. i remember earth being a big deal in gradeschool. maybe it was of the era where the gas shortages of the 70s were still fresh in people’s minds and they needed to make sure to catch impressionable young minds. or maybe the catholic gradeschool i went to was progressive on that front. either way, it was a big deal. i’m hoping the green new deal catches fire and spreads, putting out the naysayers and fools who think we can do nothing to prevent climate change. and so what if we can’t prevent it even after changes are made? we made a better, cleaner world. no one likes garbage in the street, dirty air, and gross water. what’s wrong with making them better just for the sake of making them better?

    i have got to be better at using less wasteful items. it’s doubtful that i would ever go 100% waste free, but it’s a nice goal to aspire toward: more trips to the food coop and getting better at bringing my own containers. the amount of garbage we create is pretty awful, and it’s almost all plastic. i knew that the reckoning was upon us when i saw totino’s party pizzas in plastic packaging. i’m not sure why companies can’t use recycled paper (which apparently recycling centers can’t give away) to use for packaging. that’s a future fight.

  5. i was out on my run yesterday and i ran past lower spunk lake, which has probably half its ice gone. there were two loons hanging out. there’s hope!

 

give me some blogging topics 🙂 i’ve been really slacking lately. in good news, i have been doing really well at my yoga resolution of yoga-ing every day. at least there’s that!

in which i travel!

in which i travel!

oh hello! so i went to san antonio for a work conference, and i was pleasantly surprised with the area.

  1. the place we stayed at was a resort, and a pretty nice one at that. good job, conference organizers
  2. the weather. the weather! there was humidity. there was 80º+. there was perfect sitting by the pool weather. i got a slight sunburn. huzzah!
  3. the allergens were a little intense. at this point, i’m waiting to see if it was actually allergens that affected me or if i have the beginning of a cold. i’m hoping NOT the cold, as my half marathon is 3.5 weeks out and i really slacked on the running while i was in TX.
  4. we visited the missions. first, conquistadors in the guise of missionaries was pretty disgusting. but, the architecture of the missionaries is pretty awesome, and it’s held up over 300 years. it’s pretty awesome to think that san antonio was settled before some of my ancestors even thought to immigrate. (i say some because i think some of my mom’s peeps were here at that time.)
  5. and the riverwalk alone was worth the trip! that was an especially pleasant surprise. a lot of food, a lot of people watching, a lot of chances to trip into the drink. but really, it was nice to walk outside in warm weather and enjoy the greenery. it makes me that much more excited to be home at the beginning of spring trying to burst forth!