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LOL 2020: a year in review

LOL 2020: a year in review

so it’s time for my year in review, which is actually really fun to do most years, but this year is doubly fun because WOW 2020.

first, let’s take a peek at what i wanted to see happen in 2020:

  1. so first on my list for years and years is take more photos. maybe instead of that as a goal, the goal should be to do something with the pics i take. like last year, an unexpected thing that happened was taking some wedding pics, but i don’t want to do that every year, yeesh. hmm. might have to think about this one.
  2. sit on my new couch. i’m sitting on it now. it’s glorious. this one will be easy.
  3. continue yoga every day. of all the things that i did in 2019, i think yoga every day was the best thing. i’ve got arm muscles, i look forward to spending at least 10 minutes on the mat, and it’s a great way to slow down, if even for 10 minutes. i highly recommend fightmaster yoga. lucky for you, she does a 30-day program at the first of the year every year, and this one is hatha yoga. check it out.
  4. travel! this has gotten easier, whether due to just more expendable cash or me just saying “olé losers” and going. luckily, my boss is super good about pushing professional development, so there’s a trip to florida in march for work. it might also be a black hills year, and i do want to go up the north shore again. it might also be a bwca year with my aunt rae and uncle greg!
  5. running goals? hmmm. earth day half is already registered for. i have a feeling we’re going to do ragnar again. and liz and i are already planning a DESTINATION RACE. destination races intrigue me to no end, so i finally sat down and looked at what destinations i would want to race at (no ultras or mountains for me, thanks). we settled on big sur in monterrey california (well, i settled on that – liz seemed to agree). the 2020 race was sold out by the time we checked it out, but we’re going to watch for registration for the 2021 11-miler, which should open in october. also, a sub-11-minute-mile 5k would be nice to hit this summer.
  6. do something interesting with nate! i actually like this one because something interesting with nate could be just a quick trip to the cities or it could be an excursion to who knows where. any time i get him out of the house means an interesting time with nate hahaha
  7. help out the earth. or rather, help out us humans who are seemingly hell bent on destructing our time on earth. like i’ve said before, is it wrong to want a clean earth, even if it DOESN’T stop climate change? seriously. so my goal this year is to really, diligently try to reduce my plastic use. that includes plastic bottles that are recyclable (plastic is a degradable recyclable, meaning it recycles into a lesser form of plastic, unlike glass or aluminum). (unfortunately, nate buys tons of drinks in plastic bottles; i don’t know if i should even try to get him to reduce his usage.) if i fail at reducing plastic, i will also try to reduce the amount of new items i buy (try to fix or buy used).
  8. perhaps in conjunction with #7, i will add on “write more” in #8. one of the things that helped me really get on the devils syrup bandwagon was to do research on it. if i research stuff about plastic use and a bunch of other keep a clean earth stuff, it would probably push me to do something about it. and while the whole “blog every day” resolution is nice, it just never works out like that. so i think just write is a better thing.
  9. be happy! i felt good about 40, and life is doing ok. let’s continue that trend!

well, it’s hard to realize your goals when there’s a global pandemic, a civil rights and justice resurgence, and a contentious, anxiety-inducing election. but rather than dive into those items, let’s review:

  1. take more photos and do something with them. well….. this sort of happened? i definitely did not take more photos than the year i hit all the state parks. i did rent a macro lens, which was glorious, and i took an awesome few pics up in the dark skies of northern mn and got the full milky way. i sold a few canvasses of said milky way pics. i didn’t do any wedding pics because there weren’t supposed to be any big gatherings this year, but that’s ok. so we’ll give this one a point. why not.
  2. i did, indeed, sit on my new couch. i am sitting on it now. point. on a related note, i am actually getting a replacement couch due to the fact that the fabric has a weird line going through it on the back. but, i am sitting on it. i like it.
  3. yoga every day. i didn’t do yoga every day, but i did do yoga quite a bit. i would say 9/10 days, i did yoga. i even bought myself a nice, cushy, expensive yoga mat. there was some sad news on my yoga mat though. my yoga teacher, lesley fightmaster, died unexpectedly about a month ago. i never met her in person, but i did see her almost every day, and it’s still a shock. her yoga teachings live on, though.
  4. travel? ha! LOL. 2020, wow. so the week before i was supposed to go to florida for my conference, the pandemic basically hit the US. i had plane tickets, hotel reservations, tickets for universal studios purchased, jane was set to come with, etc. etc. and then covid. #thankscovid #thankskim so there was no florida, no black hills. i did go to the boundary waters in august, which was super fun! went to the fake derry reunion at leech lake, and then camped at the state park in southeastern MN. other than that, there was no traveling to be had, other than visiting my parents a couple times. i haven’t even been out of state this year. #thanks2020
  5. running goals were SQUASHED. SQUASHED. #thanks2020. i was signed up for the earth day half, and it was canceled. signed up for ragnar trail, and it was canceled. planned on signing up for big sur 2021 with liz, and that was already canceled back in may. i ran NO organized races this year, which is a bummer. sure, i RAN. that was no problem. but a race is something different; the energy of other people around just makes it an exciting run. so no point on this one. not for lack of trying.
  6. the most interesting thing i did with nate this year was make him come to charlie’s 5-yr cheatin’ the reaper celebration. we stayed overnight in rochester and then headed to my parents’ house the next day. it wasn’t a fantastic adventure, but it was something different! i’ll take the point for this one.
  7. if there was one good thing that came from a lockdown from the pandemic, it was to show people how the earth recovers from people. that was good news for the environment. on a personal front, because pandemic, i did not focus on my plastic use more than usual, which is something i still need to do. however, i drove less, contributing less CO2 to the air. instead of disposable masks, i use cloth ones. i baked a crapton of bread, reducing the plastic breadbags that i purchased (flour comes in recylable/compostable paper bags). so many weird byproducts of a pandemic.
  8. i did not write more. i did not read more. you’d think with staying home and loafing around, i’d’ve found the time for that, but nope. i did do some research into environmental stuffs, but it was pretty minimal. i didn’t even manage to finish kablpomo, which was the first time i’d ever not finished it. sad. no point for me on this.
  9. this was a tough year to be happy. there was a pandemic. there was a contentious election and elected officials who don’t want to do their jobs (mcconnell…). there were fires in australia and the US and there were protests against unnecessary killings and protests against wearing masks for the public good and protests against protests, and people who you thought you knew saying hateful things against groups of people who deserve no such hate, and hypocrisy of “just comply” except when it’s inconvenient for you and the bar you like to frequent, and people who lost their jobs, and people whose jobs didn’t pay enough for their essentialness, and people juggling a job and teaching their kids, and people losing their homes, and WWIII almost happening – twice, and people making insane amounts of money while others were making none, and through all this a virus spreading and people dying in hospitals alone and people on ventilators and people with long-lasting odd symptoms of a virus, and video chats/meetings cannot replace face-to-face interaction because we are a social species, and a year that just wouldn’t quit.happiness was hard to find in 2020.but there were some good things: dolly parton donated $1million to find a covid vaccine. clinics have finally embraced the video appointment. people spent a lot of time outdoors in the trees. we baked a boatload of sourdough bread. i got an awesome tattoo. we decided to not glorify parts of history that oppressed swathes of the populace (and instead put it in a museum, as is appropriate). as noted above, the earth showed what could happen if we pulled back on pollutant output. we found ways to celebrate. cities closed streets for people to dine outdoors. india planted 250 million trees. the internet didn’t crash on us when we needed it the most. a lot of us realized that we have a lot of work to do yet on racism. i painted my kitchen cabinets with help from liz. as a country, we managed to not run out of toilet paper. and i quit facebook.

there it is, year in review 2020. it has been, simultaneously, the longest and shortest year ever. not the worst year personally, but probably the worst collectively during my rememberable lifetime. the apocalypse came, and people couldn’t even be bothered to wear a mask. 2021 resolutions to come.

2019: the big 4-0

2019: the big 4-0

let’s go year in review! it’s always fun to go over what i wanted to do in the prior year, not only to see what i accomplished but also to see what i thought was important to accomplish (and what didn’t happen). so, 2019, how did we fare? let’s take a look at the good ol’ to-do list:

  1. well, what would a new year’s to-do list be without “take more photos” as number 1? i mean, it’s almost expected at this point. so, take more photos.
  2. visit the state parks i want to visit. after last year’s whirlwind visits, now i know which parks i want to go back to. i’ve got an itasca trip already planned. i’d like to head up to grand portage and actually spend time there. i also wouldn’t mind camping at blue mounds.
  3. is this the summer i perhaps run TWO half marathons? maybe! we’ll see what happens. i’m already signed up for the earth day half, and training starts in 3 weeks for that. seeing training on the horizon gives me hope that winter will come to an end.
  4. put in new floors in my house. i’ve got flooring for the entryway, which is my test subject. if that goes well, we’ll give the kitchen a go and see what happens from there. this also means i’ve got to paint my cabinets.
  5. i signed up for a yoga program through fightmaster yoga and i hope it makes me more diligent in my yoga-ing. i do yoga pretty often, but it would be great to make it a daily thing.
  6. speaking of a daily thing, remember when i blogged EVERY DAY for a year? i don’t know if i should try that again or if i should just think about it and dismiss it.
  7. do something interesting with nate – i like that on my list because it makes me think about something interesting to do with him. 2018 was a good year for doing stuff; let’s make 2019 a good year too!
  8. I GUESS I’M TURNING 40. i hope something happens for it.

this wasn’t a bad list! here’s what happened:

  1. i don’t think i took more pics. i DID take photos at two weddings and for a large family this year, though. i guess that’s something! i take wedding pics about once every 4 years, and every time i remember why i don’t do it that often! the wedding pics were two weekends in a row, too, which was pretty insane. well, it happened, i did it, and now it’ll be another 4 years til another wedding.
  2. i did visit a few state parks this year! we went to itasca in early june and it was really fun to spend some time there. jane and i went up the north shore over labor day and camped at jay cooke and judge cr magney; we also checked out grand portage and drove up to canada while we were at it. on the way back or to somewhere, guess what i did? i picked up another state park passport. so i’m not a less-intense mission to visit them all once again.
  3. i did NOT run two half marathons. and that’s ok!
  4. i also did NOT put new floors in the kitchen. and that’s ok!
  5. i DID do yoga almost EVERY DAY this year. i bet there were maybe 20-30 days of non-yoga-ing due to vacations and other weird things, but overall i did a TON of yoga this year. you know what has benefited from this? MY ARMS. my arm muscles are glorious.

    (please ignore the goo on the mirror)
  6. i did NOT blog every day. i had trouble doing kablpomo this year. i blogged twice – TWICE – in february. i don’t know if there’s just not enough interesting things I can think of that deserve a whole blog post or what, but i feel like it’s hard to sit down and put 400 words to posterity. i don’t know.
  7. did i do something interesting with nate? we went up to duluth over new year’s 2019. he took a week off over thanksgiving and we drove to the cities and did some staycation stuff. we went to whole foods together (first and probably last time for both of us). we went to the state fair. is that interesting enough?
    1. on a side note, i did some traveling this year! while it wasn’t with nate, i feel like it should still be noted because looking back, i should have put it on my list. i went to san antonio for a conference in march, and in october, i went to mexico!
      1. on a side-side note, i GOT MY PASSPORT. i haven’t ever had a passport, and the last time i’d been out of the country had been in 1997. this past year i went to both canada and mexico, and now i can go to more countries! woo!
  8. yep, turned 40. it happened!
top ten of the ’10s

top ten of the ’10s

before i dive into my year in review, i thought it would be interesting to do a DECADE in review. that’s right; we’re throwing caution to the wind and counting the 0 year as part of a new decade (sorry, dad).

so i thought about the best times i had in the 2010s. some days were really easy to count as a top ten day, but toward the end of my top ten, i was having trouble figuring out which deserved a spot and which didn’t. there are, of course, a lot of trips that i could have counted, but ultimately, the day had to be something really outstanding, and there was really only one trip i went on that was really outstanding. i also counted days/moments of clarity that, while pretty boring to an outsider, changed my life going forward.

and i’m still not sure on what my #10 of the ’10s is quite yet. i’m going to write up the rest and see where it lands when i get there.

  1. best black friday evah: i don’t have a blog post about this one because of the great blog migration failure of 2011, but BF 2010 was THE BEST black friday evah. i had scoped out a $500 fridge at sears and decided it was time to replace my top-freezer fridge. this was back in the old days (haha) of when black friday was actually on friday, so jane and i woke up at 3:30 a.m. to get to sears by 4 a.m., sat in the parking lot watching a movie on netflix until about 4:20, walked in, dodging the fanny-pack wearing, cruising old ladies, straight back to appliances, where i placed my order. we were out of there in 10 minutes and back in bed by 5 a.m. later that day, jane used an expired macy’s coupon (25% off!), and we won on scratch-off lottery tickets. i know there’s something else i’m missing about this day (i think jane had another expired coupon she used), but we STILL aspire for all black fridays to be like this one.
  2. Cali: everything about visiting california was AWESOME. it was WARM. sunny. the ocean. a couple days were standouts on this trip: the day jane and i went to HP world was just the coolest thing ever. you were IN hogwarts, just drinking butterbeer and trying on your house robes. of course, it’s all fun and games until you decide to go on a ride without your dramamine, but even the hour it took me to get over my motion sickness (while sitting in the three broomsticks) was still better than being at home. we also drove up the PCH to santa barbara (in our CONVERTIBLE) and ended that day at the santa monica pier, looking out across the pacific as the sun set. then the drive home, jane had a real-life video game moment when she realized she was driving the road from one of her racing games! the worst part of the day was that jane missed the turn to our hotel. but if that’s the worst part of the day, i’ll take it. #thankskim
  3. TED stalking: one day in 2013, jane and i decided to go to crypticon because ted raimi was going to be there. (my top three days all involve jane. liz, you gotta up your doing stuff with us game.) we knew it would be a little fun, but we didn’t realize it was going to be THAT fun. but first things first: that morning, we ran the big gay race in the cities, which was the start of the fun. after we got to crypticon, we found ted and had a picture taken with him, and he autographed my joxer picture. this was after we told him we sang the joxer song the night before in preparation (to which he looked a little scared and wondered if we were going to break into song right then). we went to a couple sessions, checked out the merch, watched a cosplay pageant, got a TWEETED REPLY FROM WIL WHEATON,
    tweettook a break and went to a halloween store at the moa, then came back to the bar where we got two glasses of free beer from the bartender. then we went to the halloween prom and watched as ted came in and danced with some chicas! then we decided to stalk him a lil bit (but not too much because we didn’t want to get kicked out). after the prom, we did a circuit of hotel room parties and drank way too much (well i did) and i ended the day barfing from all the drinking. excellent. also, jane knows that the doubletree is not physically by the hilton now.
  4. starting running: in 2011, i got on a scale and decided i was too close to 300 lbs for comfort. i also was uncomfortable in clothes, chairs, and other things. so i decided to start running. other than a brief stint in the summer of 1998, you wouldn’t find me running anywhere at any time. when they made you run the mile in high school, i was sure i could walk a mile faster than run it. but, one day in november of 2011, i made a conscious decision to just start doing it. i paid for a monthly fieldhouse membership at st. ben’s and printed out a couch to 5k schedule. and i stuck to it. the first  day i ran a whole mile nonstop? i felt so accomplished! one day i was scheduled to do a mostly run, little walk for 3 miles, but i decided to just run the whole 3 miles. somewhere along the way, i became someone who runs. i’m still not fast, but 8 years later, i still run regularly, and i run long. i’ve taken three or four breaks due to foot injuries, but other than that, i have run at LEAST once a week for 8 years. since then, i’ve run four half marathons, a bunch of 5ks and 10ks, 3-ish trail ragnars, and countless hours on my treadmill, pavement, trails, and in the woods. it’s never a wonderful experience. what’s wonderful is knowing i can do it and then doing it.
  5. first half marathon: in 2016, either liz or i (oh look! a liz moment!) decided to convince the other that a half marathon was a good idea. at this point, i’d been running regularly for 5 years, so why not? i trained, but not as much as i should have. the half marathon was ok, but at that point, anything more than 8 miles was just such a drag (i had lost some weight at this point, but i was still only about -50 at that point (-90 now – holy cow!)). so the end was really tough for me, but what the training and the half marathon did was tell me “hey, you can do this too! see if you can keep doing this.” since then, liz and i have done a half marathon every spring. my training has gotten tons better, and our time has gotten better each year too. i’m hoping for a sub-12 minute mile this spring.
  6. accepting the roch job: after working at merrill for 5 years during the recession, i was ready to do something that was a little more attuned to what i actually wanted to do (although working at merrill made me an extremely adept adobe-shortcut wizard). i found a relevant job in rochester and decided to apply for it. lo and behold, i actually got it and was ready to put in my two weeks’ notice. the day i put in my notice, i drove home in the gathering dusk (because i worked til stupid 10 p.m. but at least it was may) and felt so good about life in that moment. remember in jerry maguire when he’s in his pontiac trying to find a song to sing to and lands on “free fallin” and you can relate because we’ve all have similar moments? that was me, except it was nicki minaj’s “starships” and in a nissan altima.
  7. SC Tech interview day: my interview for my current job was the easiest interview of my life. i don’t know if it was because i finally felt like i knew what i was doing, or if it was because i knew i wanted that job because i wanted to get back to central mn so dang it, it was going to be great. but the thing that was good about this day, in addition to the interview, was that nate drove up with me and we stayed overnight in st. cloud. if he hadn’t come up that day with me to my interview, i don’t know if we would necessarily be back here. it was a very familiar, very grounded day for both of us, and i’m glad it worked out like it did.
  8. charlie’s alive: when charlie had his accident, they put him in a medically induced coma. we had no idea what he would be like afterward – they’d just taken out a racquetball-sized piece of brain and who knows if some of his motor skills or memories or brain functions would be lost. so when he came out of his coma, and he looked at aunt rae and looked confused, who then pointed and told him his mom was on his other side, and he turned to see her, then responded to questions by squeezing their hands, omg. aunt rae called us (liz, jane, and me – we were on our way to the hospital) and told us what happened, and we jumped up and down in a huddle in jane’s driveway. that was probably one of the best days of my life so far!
  9. corn syrup: in early 2010, i watched a doc that finally changed a life trajectory: king corn. it basically talked about the food industry and how corn is in a ton of our processed foods we eat, and then it dove into big ag subsidies and a how high fructose corn syrup is just, well, the devil. so i decided to try to not eat any corn syrup (not just hfcs) for a month. and i did it. and after a month, i realized that food made with real sugar was better tasting, and actually a little better for you than corn syrup (i did a lot of research while i was abstaining from corn-derived sugar). so, i continued to try to not eat corn syrup (or devil’s syrup as i like to refer to it now). since that 2010 experience, i’ve relaxed a wee bit (mostly in social situations), but the food industry has really turned around, too. items that i avoided in 2010 because of devil’s syrup now list sugar as the sweetener (and NOT corn sugar – that’s just a obfuscating term for DS). the organic/simple ingredients trend has really become more mainstream, and it’s easier to find food that’s fewer ingredients these days. i knew that my crusade had come full circle just in the past couple months when i went to buy ice cream (have to get the expensive stuff because DS is cheaper to make ice cream out of) and kemp’s – KEMP’S – had scrounds of “simply crafted” ice cream in the freezer made with sugar.
  10. where i get hung up: what is #10? there are a couple items i feel could fill out the top ten of the ’10s. it could be visiting all the mn state parks in 2018, but that was more than a moment. that was an ordeal (altho a very satisfying one!). it could be a couple of the trips nate and i took: when we did a southwest loop in 2018 or headed to utah in 2010 (my favorite part of that trip was the 2 overnights we spent in the black hills on the way back). memorable for sure, but outstanding? not sure. it could be wizardworld, but that was for sure not as fun as crypticon. it could also be getting up at the buttcrack of dawn to take photos of sunrise over the SE minnesota valley towns. it could be the day i submitted my passport paperwork: that’s a moment with future.

    but what i think i’m going to choose is something a little mundane. nate and i were living in st. joe and i had just gotten back from an evening run – so this is narrowed down to 2012 summertime. i came in the house, poured myself a glass of iced tea, and headed out onto the deck where nate was standing with the cats for their supervised outside time. i plopped down on the deck and stretched out, chatting with nate about what was going on as the sun set on the other side of the house, casting a pinky purply bluey haze in the east across the short backyard, pond, small field, and copse of trees – trees forever in central mn. i don’t know why i still remember that evening. maybe it was because of the timing of nate on the deck when i came back from a run. maybe because it was just before i started commuting to roch/austin. maybe because of the time of year (sprrummer is the bomb, y’all). or a culmination of all put into one memorable moment that i just won’t forget.

YEAR IN REVIEW: 2018, the year i did stuff.

YEAR IN REVIEW: 2018, the year i did stuff.

the year i did stuff, indeed. somehow i actually completed quite a few of my 2018 resolutions. let’s review the resolution list, shall we?

1. oh what the heck, we’re throwing take more pics on the list again. i know i’ll be taking SOME photos, so we’ll see if i can up my game a little bit.

check and check. i DID ONE BETTER on this resolution. i not only took a lot of great pics this year, but i bought a NEW CAMERA. a camera that does great in low light and has a lot more bells and whistles than i know what to do with – a canon mark III. but i am really happy with it and it was a fantastic purchase. and i didn’t die at the hands of the craigslist killer when i picked it up.

as for the pics i took, i did more astrophotography, took vacation pics, and had some fun taking pics of the cats.

2. my officemate convinced me to bring over the “do something interesting with nate” item from last year since it really wasn’t accomplished. in 2018? i KNOW i’m going to do something interesting with nate. we’re going to arizona in february for my cousin’s wedding, then we’re taking a trip up to the grand canyon and over to mesa verde. 

CHECK AGAIN. something interesting with nate! i absolutely did a few interesting things with nate! not only did we go to AZ, but we went the black hills in october and we went to a few other places as well. overall, i think nate and i did a lot of interesting things this year together.

3. this could also be a good way to check off a trip item on the list. in fact, there will be a few items on this list in 2018. i feel like this isn’t much of a list if i can’t work on them because they’re already planned. so i’m going to add something that is REALLY difficult…

GIANT CHECK. not only did i go on one trip, but i went on a LOT this year. this year was the year of travel for me. AZ, UT, CO, NM, then vegas for work, then the black hills and into wyoming this fall. and that’s just out of state. cuz i spent the majority of my traveling this year on minnesota…

4. …and possibly unattainable in 2018: visit all the MN state parks. in fact, i’m going to say right now that i’m probably going to need to push this out to 2019. but at least i’m thinking about it!




i visited 72 minnesota state parks and recreation areas. SEVENTY TWO. i camped at five parks, visited 18 parks over 3 days with lori, found some awesome parks to visit again, and already have a 5-day trip to itasca planned for 2019. this may have seemed unattainable when i first thought about it, but when i sat down and sketched out how it would work, visiting that many parks was definitely doable if you put your mind to it.

the best part? i saw so many parts of minnesota that even few minnesotans visit. this is a great state. get out and see it!

5. start thinking about either a BWCA trip or superior trail hike with liz. i think this will depend on her schedule. at this point i’ve got a pretty flexible schedule compared to her.

i guess i thought about this? a lot of this depends on liz at this point.

6. consider bees and chickens again. do i want that responsibility? i mean, i can’t even correctly grow brussels sprouts, and the only reason the cats get fed is because they meow in my ear.

i considered. i’m not sure if this is something that i want to do quite yet, although the bees make sense. i’ve got that field behind my house that they would quite like.


well, that happened.

8. running? hmmm. ragnar is another possibility in 2018. possibly the granddad half relay with liz. one thing i wouldn’t mind doing that i’ve never done is volunteering at a race – being the water person or cheerer or something.

so! running! i did another half marathon this year and indeed ran the granddad half relay with liz (it sucked on my end). i have yet to volunteer at a race. i asked to volunteer at the lake wobegon marathon, but i guess they couldn’t use me. i did a lot of trail running out at st. john’s, starting as soon as i could in may. ragnar happened again, and while it wasn’t 90º with sweat pouring down my face, it was still miserable with trying to warm up in 40º. good grief! maybe next time it won’t be a weather extreme.

9. strive toward a more healthy lifestyle. ugh. this is so cliche with a new year. but i want to do more yoga, and i want to maybe up my speed with running. i’m not going to say “i’m going to lose 30 lbs and increase my run time by 1 minute/mile” but if i can accomplish something, that will work.

i don’t know if i did more yoga, but i do know that i ran my fastest-ever 5k this year. i think my speed sort of increased on the running front. i ended up doing two dietbets and lost 10 lbs or so total. right now i’m not feeling so healthy because i’ve been eating like a crazy person over the holidays, but i’m hoping to get back into some more reasonable eating patterns soon. AND, half marathon training starts at the end of january!

10. in conjunction with the healthy lifestyle thing is mindfulness. my anxiety levels have actually been pretty ok (i think due to work being less stressful). yoga is super good for mindfulness, and i got a great workbook from my mom that incorporates writing with mindfulness. i might also start using the headspace app again, which is a meditation app. there’s something about clearing your mind and focusing on the present. 

i did not do so well at this. while yoga is always good for mindfulness, i didn’t do so well when i wasn’t doing yoga. i’m not sure if this is something where i need to deliberately set down devices and do something else. i feel like my screen time is overwhelming.

11.continue being happy. even if the rest of this list isn’t touched, if my life is relatively happy, then i’ve accomplished all i need to accomplish for 2018. i’ll continue SUPping on lake sag, working on my garden, reading, writing occasionally, petting cats, and hanging out with nate and my fam. there’s not too much else a person can ask for out of life other than being happy. 

aw, nice job 2017 kate. i guess i can mark this as a check on my list!

2017. just ok.

2017. just ok.

  1. longstanding resolution: TAKE MORE PICS. i’m excited for my august photoshoot i’m a part of! it should be fantastic and fun!
  2. another longstanding resolution: get a garden in! i’m torn on where to put it, and i think keeping the riffraff out (aka the deer and bunnies) will be a challenge, but it should be super duper fun.
  3. get a compost pile going! like, a real one.
  4. consider a chicken
  5. consider bees
  6. since my trip resolution worked out so well last year, i’d kind of like to put another trip resolution in her in case it makes it
  7. i’m not sure what to do on the running front. maybe i can just say, resolve to run as much as i comfortably can and do a couple races. there’s a relay half marathon in la crosse in early may that might be a possibility liz and i decided to run the earth day half marathon here in st. cloud. bring it on (i guess).
  8. do something interesting with nate. i don’t know if this is in conjunction with resolution 6, but i’d like to do an out-of-the-house activity with nate
  9. i like last year’s be happy resolution. i think this year, i want to scale back on connectivity ALL. THE. TIME. i was just listening to npr this afternoon, and they were talking about “ambient news” – you know what’s happening all the time because you’re checking your social media all the time, and you’re getting blasted with everything, ALL.THE.TIME. it’s agitating, kind of nerve-wracking, and constant. i’ll be informed! i just won’t be immediately informed. and possibly fake informed. this would require some adjustments; i’d have to get a dumb phone. i’d keep my iphone, but i’d use it for running tracking mostly. and mobile bank deposits. i’d keep my extra sim card in it so i wouldn’t be tempted. so no more emojis and no more camera on me all the time. it’d be weird, but i think, ultimately, it’d be really good for mental health. now i just have to find a dumb phone. if anyone has one that works with at&t or tmobile, let me know.


  1. Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 2.10.38 PMFAIL EPIC FAIL. the photoshoot fell through. although… i did SEE the perfect shot. i didn’t have my camera, or even ability to get my dumb phone out to take the pic. i was mowing the lawn one late summer evening, and the sun was just setting over the field behind my house that’s in CRP. dust motes floating in the air, purple and yellow wildflowers abounding, the sun rays just reaching across the native grasses, …and a DEER stood in the middle of this, looking at me. and i’m chasing a lawn mower across the yard with sweaty fingers and a sweaty phone that i can’t get out of my pocket. 
  2. epic win! i have a 36’x18′ plot in my yard, and i planted so much stuff. my pickle game this year was ON POINT. 
  3. compost pile has been piled. not sure if it’s going to yield any good compost, but it’s there and i put food waste in it all last summer.
  4.  considered it
  5. considered it
  6. trip? well yes, i did go on a trip! it was for work, but it was still some place that needed a plane ride to get to and it was a place i’d never been! i went to washington dc for a conference and checked out the sights while i was there. 
  7. for someone who didn’t know what she was going to do on the running front, 2017 sure did provide some…interesting…running opportunities. liz and i completed the earth day half marathon, even though her training sucked majorly. i was able to train on the lake woebegone trail in march and april, which is possibly my favorite running trail. it’s so smooth and flat! one day i ran from avon to albany and back. (that was a 13-mile day.) our time during the half was kind of lacking compared the half we did in 2016, but we finished eventually. 
    THEN. liz convinced me to do ragnar trail. i have such conflicting feelings about it. i trained really diligently for it, running on the trails in the st. john’s woods. in the dark. through mud. in the rain. in the cold. i bought trail shoes. i got a headlamp and hand lamps. I WAS READY. but nothing could prepare me for the HEAT. and the overall treacherousness that was that trail! omg. the heat beat me down on the four mile, which should’ve been my jam. then on the 8 mile, i fell within the first 5 minutes and ran the rest of the trail on a bum ankle, which put me out of running for two weeks after ragnar.  so, i guess i definitely ran in 2017.
  8. i think the most interesting thing i did with nate in 2017 was eat at the new mexican restaurant in sartell. *eyeroll*
  9. at the beginning of 2017, i got a motorola razr off ebay and used it for three months. i turned off the iphone so i didn’t have news at my fingertips. but i ended up using my laptop a lot more, and no one ever called or texted me, so i was like, what’s the point of the razr? then, after using the razr for a while, i lost service in my house. no bars. so that was the end of that. but i crafted my social feeds to not be constant news, and i think that after a while, a person just becomes immune to the insanity that is the government now. so i’m back to being just as connected, but i’m less angry now. i don’t know if that’s good or bad. 
    speaking to the happy part of this, know what made me happy? my paddleboard. i bought an inflatable SUP, and about once a week throughout the summer, i was out at st. john’s floating around the lake. how utterly wonderful. 

a few things of note happened in 2017. my sisters and i started saving to buy a cabin in probably wisconsin northwoods. we figured it was about time we just set our minds to this and did it. we think in maybe three years, after liz is done paying for childcare, we should have enough for a decent downpayment.
my family also decided to not do christmas presents this year and are going to try a trip instead. we decided to go to wisconsin dells in late may or early june. 
oh! and i went with charlie to my first musical concert in close to 10 years! we went to see everclear, fastball, and vertical horizon while they were at treasure island. AND I SHOOK ART’S HAND. note: always wear the old-school band t-shirt, and don’t be afraid to be “that guy.” 
on sad news, nate and i had to put chasey down. she was not doing well: not eating, having trouble walking, etc. my poor chasey cat, who’d been with me for 15 years. 
but with sad news comes some happy cat news: a fluffy black blob showed up in my garage one day, and now we are back to three kitties. stan’s a pest, but his fluffy tail is worth keeping around. 
(note: i did not touch on much politically in this post, because i feel like it shouldn’t affect my personal life as much as it does, and it requires a block of text on its own. there was just SO MUCH, that at this point, nothing surprises me. although i do have my sign at the ready in case i need to protest again.)
2018 resolutions to come!

much wow, 2015.

much wow, 2015.

i’ve had some great years (hi, 2007!) and not-so-great years (howdy, 2009!). but never have i had such a bi-polar year as 2015. whew.
home improvements

  • january/february: i painted my bedroom and made it nice and homey! my bedroom in st joe was so blah, so when nate and i were ready to buy a new mattress, i said screw it, let’s make our bedroom look halfway decent. 
  • july: i made an entryway bench from scratch! go me!
  • october: nate and charlie and i painted the garage white and put up shelving along the sides. for some reason, we still have a bunch of crap on the floor. 
  • november: i also installed a ceiling fan! 


  • may: i did event tweeting at commencement and it was a great time and successful! 
  • october: i had an (unsuccessful) job interview at st. ben’s, but i got back up to central mn and hung out with lake sag for a bit and saw grandma. worth it.


  • spring/summer: i did a community garden through st. charles, and i had a LOT of garden space. it was amazing. a lot of work, but it was really fun. it was also a great year for gardening: it was wet when it needed to be and dry when it needed to be. i will be doing the garden space again and am already planning next year’s. 
  • august: as such, i canned a ton of pickles!! awesome! also green beans and tomato sauce. 
  • spring: i bought two trees for the yard and three lilac bushes for the side of the house. landscaping, here i come!

fangirl time

  • may: wizardworld!!! it was super fun. karl urban, kevin sorbo, and brent spiner were all there. i would be stoked if next year bruce campbell showed up. or lucy lawless. even without the special guests, it’s a lot of fun. liz and i dressed up xena-esque, jane bought a pirate hat, and canada dave came down for the fun of it. 
  • june: i got a random text from caitlin about a friend who needed a photographer…for a cosplay calendar!! i got to work with models and take photos and then design a calendar. SUPER SUPER fun. <3 it turned out great.
  • october: jane and i went to nerdcon: stories and got really excited about writing and telling stories. it was over two days, and it was a great time. we are officially in love with pat rothfuss and want to stalk him. next year’s con will also be in the cities, so that’ll be nice and handy once again.


  • june: nate and i went to the BLACK HILLS on vacay. it was the first real vacay he and i have been on, just him and me. besides the fact that we both got sick, it was a fun time. nate’s talking about doing it again already, and he’s planning on taking emergenC three weeks in advance. i love the black hills. 
  • july: LAKE TIME. liz and i went to tasha’s bachelorette party in spicer and spent some time in lake george, which was awesome because…
  • july II: our derry reunion was really windy and annoying and we didn’t get to go swimming because of the wind. stupid wind. but still, we had a reunion this year, which is more to be said than last year! and i got to sit by a lake and look it it, which is more to be said than living in SE minnesota. -_-


  • june: i got a tomato tattoo in honor of my uncle squire. it’s pretty. i love it. every time i see it i smile.

we were doing so well. and then 2015 took the nose-diviest nose dive ever. 
october 31, charlie was hit by a drunk driver and had brain damage. he was in a coma for a week, the rock-bottom bottom of the year. it was a week of waiting, hoping for his brain to come back to us, for him to come back to us. 
and he did. november was the longest month of my life, and even now at the end of the year, i wonder where exactly the month went. charlie’s back to us and has his skull placement schedule for mid-january, at which point he will ditch the helmet. after wondering if he would even live, charlie’s up and walking and being his same old self (with tongue issues and synapses not quite synapsing at the same speed yet). 2015 came back. 
my sister said she was having a huge NYE party to kick 2015 to the curb. i don’t know. 
2015 was pretty good up until october 31, and the week that we held our breath was just that – a week – though it felt like a lifetime. 
and the progress since that week has been phenomenal. i can’t discredit 2015.



it’s that time of year again! time to review how i did in my last year’s resolutions. i know you’re all waiting with bated breath.

1. the oldie but goodie: take more pictures!!!

2. write in my blog EVERY DAY. this is the 10-year anniversary of me starting to blog, and as such i am going to attempt to be a daily blogger.

3. put in a garden in my back yard. put gutters on the house. those are my two house goals.

4. attempt another chip-timed 10k – one that’s not so crappy.

5. go somewhere. travel to somewhere. hop in my car and drive to somewhere. get out of my bubble. explore more. (maybe take on a second job so i can afford the gas…)

6. finish my devils syrup book. i can do it!

7. promote my photog stuff more. i’ll need to prep the basement as a sort of studio, but i’d like to do more official photography fir people.

1. i ACTUALLY DID THIS. every year i complain how i didn’t take enough pictures, but THIS year, i actually went out and took photos of things i’d been wanting to do for a while and just…haven’t. i went to lanesboro at dawn and took pics, took some nighttime pics. i have to continue to do this!

2. i DID THIS TOO. ok, not EVERY day. i think i missed three days out of the whole year, but i consider that pretty darn good. 362/365 is not a failure by any means!

3. I DID THIS!!! garden was put in and gutters put on!

4. I DID THIS! ok, it wasn’t chip-timed, but it WAS timed. i finished in an hour and 15 minutes. i start to hate life after five miles. 

5. i did not do this. i did go to grand rapids and st cloud during the year thought. next spring nate and i are going somewhere for vacay. i think if nate hadn’t quit his job in march, it’s possible that this might have happened, but this year was not my year for that.

6. this is so close. i mean, it’s done – the end had been written. but it needs some editing and additions. it’s not very long. 

7. caitlin has used me for a couple photog sessions, but i haven’t been promoting myself enough. boo on me. 

between my blogging almost every day and the photo stuff i did, i consider this past year a success in my resolutions. 

how did 2014 treat me otherwise?

hmmm….2014 was ok

– nate quit walmart in march. he’d had enough. 

– garden went in, but unfortunately the harvest was really horrible. turns out the black walnut trees above it were poison to most vegetables. gotta move them this spring. boooooo.

– went to st. cloud over veterans’ day and it was GLORIOUS. i miss that area 🙁

– no derry reunion this year, which really bummed me out. 

– but two weddings on that side, my cousin molly and cousin jason got married. traveled to the cities for the first in august and then up to grand rapids for the second in september. both were fun. love weddings!

– i finally went to the doctor for my heel issues, and i found out i have a level 3 heel spur (that’s the highest it goes). i got custom orthotics for my shoes, and apparently they’re supposed to be working. we’ll see. 

– i started doing yoga somewhat regularly. i had to stop running for a couple weeks, so i picked up yoga. in the past, i’d gotten bored with it because i did the same practice each time. this time, i’m watching lesley fightmaster’s yoga channel on youtube, so it’s different each time i do it. i don’t notice that it’s doing anything for me, but that’s ok.

– i spectated/cheered at a 5k, which was AWESOME. highly recommend! 

– i FINALLY finished the dark tower series. after the second book, it just seemed to fly by. 

– made a couple things for the first time – rendered lard and made soap

– got my semicolon tattoo! also spruced up my book tattoo on my foot



2013 year in review!

2013 year in review!

it’s that time of year when i look back at what has happened over the past 12 months, and i say yay! or yuck.
let’s recap my “resolutions”:

1. take more pics. i say this every year. every year i can take more pics. i don’t think anyone can take too many pics.

2. run a real 10k. as in a chipped race. i’ve run 10k (and it wasn’t fun). but let’s get up to legitimate 10k. then we’ll talk half marathons. first i have to get running again. it’s been a month! icky!

3. make a housing plan. i’m already tired of renting. so are the cats

4. pay off some debt so the housing plan can get together! one plus of renting: cheap.

5. write in my blog every other day at least! that’s asking a lot of myself, i know. i can do every day in november, but to commit year-round is heavy. but i can only try.

ETA: 6. REDDIT LESS. good god, reddit less. ack.

1. fail.
2. check!
3. check!
4. sorta check?
6. FAILWHALE. boooo…
so what happened in 2013?
1. i got a raise, which apparently is a big deal when you’re working for the state. woo!
2. i ran a couple 5ks this year, as well as a crappy 10k. it would have been an awesome 10k if not for the cruddy two ginormous hills at the end of the race. who does that? anyway, i ran a diva dash, color run, and the big gay race this past summer along with crappy 10k. i ran the farthest i’d run ever in july – 7 miles. i haven’t gotten that far again yet.
3. i wrote in my dang blog at least 15 days a month for the whole year, except for november, which was every day, and december, which i knew would be a slacker month (although it should be 13 days, which is pretty close).
4. after nate and i moved down to this corner of the state last year, my parents moved down here this year, as well as liz, doug, and hannah. jane moved to the cities, too. glad to have started the great migration. sad to say goodbye to central and west-central MN.
5. i have a niece! liz pushed out a kid, and nate is smitten.
6. nate and i bought a house. uhhhh, you have no idea how nice it is to be back in a house! after a whirlwind of looking, dealing with the government shutdown, and finally closing, we bought a house in st. charles.
7. after being mostly corn syrup free for three years, i decided to start writing a book about it. and stalled. hopefully the stall ends soon.
8. i reached sub-200 lbs, which i haven’t seen in, oh, 15 years? alas, november and december took their tolls on me and i am back up 5-6 lbs. once i get back into a decent eating routine, should be back under soon.
9. i wish i could say i went on some big adventure or trip, but the farthest i went was indiana to see liz & co. in the hospital. i wish i could say i looked at nate and said, “take off the next week – we’re going to the grand canyon/disneyland/duluth!” alas it did not happen. i wished this year and watched it fly past.
resolutions to come.
edit: HOW could i forget wil wheaton tweeting at me!!!!!

year in review

year in review

well! despite a lackluster apocalypse on dec. 21, 2012 rounded out to be a pretty good year. let’s recap.
1. year started off pretty cruddy. i can’t remember exactly when, but i was informed that i would be changing my work hours from noon-8 p.m. to 3-11 p.m. SUCK. that was pretty much the last straw. there had been little things at work that had bugged me, but i put up with them because my hours were decent and i liked a lot of the people (note: i did not say ALL).
2. so, i started a job search. job searches suck, especially when you’re being picky.
3. nate and i saw even less of each other (if that is possible).
4. in the meantime, i lost a total of about 50 lbs. because of running, and so….
5. i ran a few 5ks! woo! time sucks, but that’s ok! i finished and that’s all that matters.
6. and i had a phone interview with mayo, which turned out to be nothing, then an interview with RCTC, which turned out to be awesome.
7. started at RCTC in june.
8. subsequently, i lived in 3 places for about 5 months. that SUCKED.
9. ralph got a liver infection 🙁 but he was cured with some antibiotics
10. our house finally sold and we made about $4,00 off it! woohoo! paid back grandma and paid off the credit card i’d been buying gas with over the summer
11. nate and i had to live in austin for 3 weeks (BLEAH) with our stuff in storage
12. but now nate and i are in rochester, and he tolerates his job better than st. cloud and i enjoy my job. the cats are cramped, but they will survive, and i will try to survive with a smaller kitchen and no garage (le sigh)
all in all, not a bad year! despite the massive amounts of driving and trekking around the state, i’d say the positives outweigh the negatives at this point.

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