Aches & pains

This whole aging thing is crap. You have no idea as a teen or in your 20s. Sure, you see your parents and other “old” people complaining about their various ailments but you think, “I’ll never be like that; I feel GREAT.” After all, you can stay up catching a buzz and generally be ok for work the next day, even on just 4 or 5 hours of sleep.

Oh, the sweet, naive flower that is youth. 

You don’t appreciate those days (and nights) as much as you will decades later. Youth is wasted on the young.

I’m presently battling a cold, hoping it’s not a sinus infection, gastro issues I’ll spare you details on, and considering options for knees that are in the worst shape ever. I’ve seen my mother and others go through knee replacement surgeries and recovery. It is not pretty. I don’t want to go that route until I’ve done everything I can do to mitigate the joint pain. That means getting serious about dropping weight and exercising. The latter I’ve been doing halfheartedly for months. The former, that’s hit and miss. I’m turning another year older this month. I think it’s time to act.

2005-2015 I made it!

It’s a strange time. This season is always a conflicted time of year for me.  There’s my love of autumn, born from a combination of fresh starts – new school years, some big moves and the beauty of the season’s hues. And there’s the memories of things I didn’t plan for – a marriage abruptly ending, leaving a job after 13 years, the collective surrealness of 9/11 & Katrina. The body remembers triggers abound – sights, sounds, and smells can speed up my heartbeat, form a pit in my stomach, make my breath shallow.

This year marks a decade since my marriage ended. I am not sorry it ended. We are both better off because it did and I am grateful to be where I am today.  My memories of 2005 are strong and vivid. It was a turning point in my life. I went to the depths of emotional hell and that left me with nowhere to go but up or death. I chose the former. Fortunately, time plus self care have lessened the painful emotions attached to those dark memories. I have taken the lessons with me and I continue to grow and learn. There’s no place for “what ifs” only what is.

Autumn holds birthday and my rebirth – a time to recharge and reflect on fresh starts and how far I’ve come. I can’t believe it’s been a decade. The gulf between 2005 and 2015 seems so much shorter than between 1995 and 2005. I was listening to a podcast this morning and one of the hosts said, in reference to 2003, “That was FOREVER ago!” She must be a Millennial.

Life is good. It’s not perfect but it’s so damn good. It is rare that a day goes by where I don’t actively feel gratitude. I live in an amazing city. I have cultivated hobbies I never anticipated. I have had amazing opportunities for work and play. I have good people in my life. I have learned appropriate boundaries – both how to set my own and how to respect others’. I have learned a lot about life – enough to know there’s a ridiculous amount I don’t know.

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is the boundaries one. A close second is recognizing the limits of faith, or rather that faith should have limits.  There were actions & inaction hurting me which I was told to accept/forgive over and over. I was told to “endure to the end” and the pain of this life would be worth the rewards in the next.  I had to evaluate seriously if I was willing to sacrifice further (for I had already endured a hella lot). I wrapped myself in prayer and pondered my situation. The staggering awareness eventually dawned on me that the only foundation of my faith was me. Any and all proof existed in the biology of belief and the reinforcement of my social circle. It was a difficult realization but ultimately helpful. I’m still undoing the indoctrination. I can now appreciate religion as a mythology that can comfort but it only makes sense in that context. Outside of that it is too often used to control people.

Glad to be where I am today. I look forward to the next decade. :)

A fair to remember

AHAHAH! See what I did there?
We have arrived.

The manpanion and I went to the fair after work on opening day. My reasons for going that day were two-fold. First, it was the coolest (70s) it is going to be the whole run. Second, less crowded on a weeknight. There ended up being more people than I expected but it was still manageable*.

*Unlike this record breaking day in 2011 of over 220k people. We were there maybe 45 minutes and left as my visiting friend from Nebraska was having an anxiety attack. It really is not fun with so many folks. Just trying to cross a street is mayhem. The masses

I skipped the fair the last two years. i think it was a wise move. In the interim they changed a few things including where the park & ride buses drop off. Definitely an improvement. Our goal on this visit was gluttonous indulging. Think Charlotte’s Web’s Templeton at the fair…

We had Pronto Pups, elephant ears, brownies, 1919 root beer, and shakes from the dairy barn. I had a strawberry rhubarb shake and I have to wonder why strawberry-rhubarb isn’t a sundae topping. It was delish. There was something else we had but I cannot recall what now. We didn’t have hot dish on a stick with cream of mushroom dipping sauce which is my favorite since my first MN state fair in ’06.

We took a ride up the space tower. This is a video of the view, starting with the Mpls skyline then traveling east to St Paul’s.
View from the tower at the state fair

The seed art, as usual, did not disappoint. I haven’t gotten my pics of that onto Flickr yet.

Wisconsin adventures

We went to eastern Wisconsin last weekend. It was a quick trip for a family anniversary. The fella came with me. He hadn’t met any of the WI family yet. It was a nice time except for a very soggy day we spent in Green Bay.

Places we visited:

Other than seeing family, the trip highlights were the nature finds: seeing sandhill cranes, a wood frog, and witch’s jelly fungus.

Sandhill cranes Wood frogOrange Jelly Fungus

dream travel

We have a vacation planned this fall in South Dakota. Last night I dreamed that I fell asleep while Eric was driving and awoke to him having diverged far off course and we were somewhere in New Mexico. What the what? Also, New Mexico looked like the Badlands.

I’m really looking forward to this vacation and a slightly less busy schedule than when we went to Colorado. Perhaps the fear of being exhausted is weighing on my psyche. I will make it a priority to hold the reigns on plans.

I first saw the Badlands 12 years ago. It was awe inducing and I’m grateful that this time, I’ll get to spend more time there. We’re spending a couple nights in a cabin in the national park. Looking forward to seeing the sun rise and set on that alien terrain.


I’m stoked about…

All this stuff is happening before this year wraps.

Concerts: MadonnaKraftwerk, Joe JacksonSqueezeSuzanne  Vega & Duncan Sheik

Vacations: Wisconsin, Nebraska, and South Dakota. It’ll be my first return to the Badlands since 2003.

I’m not stoked about: Paying for all this stuff. Oy. But memories are priceless. That said, I’ve put a freeze on buying anymore concert tix or coloring books.



The other day I was at Target and noticed a guy acting strangely. He was in the women’s socks area half heartedly trying to look as though he was perusing the wares but clearly wasn’t. I noticed him as I was headed in that direction. As I walked by, he had given up all pretense and was just flat out gawking. My eyes followed the direction he was looking and I saw a woman whose dress was pulled up in back, bunched up under her purse strap. The top hems of her thigh high stockings were showing. He had been following her. CREEPER. I turned and gave him a look that sent him scurrying in the other direction. I caught up with her and let her know her dress was pulled up and she smoothed it out. I considered letting her know about the guy but he was nowhere to be seen and I didn’t want to freak her out.

The incident reminded me of Josh Gad’s character in the movie Thanks for Sharing. His character is so over the top; you want to believe people like that don’t exist in real life. While I know there’s plenty of men objectifying women from afar and from behind lcd screens, there’s something particularly disturbing when it’s so blatant. It was more than a passing thought of appreciation for an attractive person – I think both men and women experience that during the course of any given day. Anyway, skeevy.

Another weekend wrap

It was a weekend of Midwest heat and humidity. Saturday I went to the NaUntitledtional Park Service’s Second Saturday event at Coldwater Spring. It was all about bees, bugs, and butterflies. I caught a couple which were observed then released and got some pics. In retrospect I wish I would have put my macro lens on my camera instead of the 300mm but then I wouldn’t have been able to get this tawny emperor butterfly.

The rest of Saturday was spent holed up indoors avoiding summer until I realized I needed about 30 more Munzee points to get my team to the next level. I capped those in Richfield and returned home.

Sunday, Eric and I saw the new Minions movie in 3D. It was just ok. It had funny moments but not as amusing as the Despicable Me flicks. The remainder of the day was spent napping and streaming shows. We watched all eps of The Spoils of Babylon which was ridiculous and reminded me of Amazon Women on the Moon in the best way.

There was a storm Sunday night which didn’t affect my neighborhood much. Just a lightning and some rain. Here’s a short video clip which Flickr isn’t providing html code for embedding. It kept me awake and chatting with folks on social media which was highly entertaining but I’m sure feeling it today.

On Sunday, also watched The Village which Eric hadn’t seen before. It had been so long since I’d seen it (at the theatre in 04) that I forgot parts of it although I recalled plot twist. A lot of food for thought re-watching it – like cogitating on the issues that motivated them. If you’ve never seen it, it’s streaming on Netflix.

The latest news

Where I’ve been:

Last Friday we went to MOA for a combo Munzee/Eventzee scavenger hunt event. I rarely go to Mall of America – or any mall for that matter. Total visits since I moved here likely number in single digits. Walking around there on a Friday night, it could have been any mall in any suburb. Being over 40, we were invisible. That’s kinda nice. We used the opportunity to grab some crepes at Magic Pan Crepe Stand. I had a strawberry and Nutella crepe. (Why yes, I do need to return to sugar free living.)

Serious smoggy haze over Mpls due to Canadian wildfiresSaturday we made a plan in the morning to go see St Paul’s fireworks at the new CHS Field in Lowertown. Saturday afternoon we went out for a drive to cap some Munzees in St Paul and nixed going to fireworks that night due to the hazy smog. There was absolutely no breeze and an air quality warning had been issued by afternoon. Due to Canadian wildfires, a haze has taken over Minnesota skies. I hear it goes quite far south. We may go see the Aquatennial fireworks in a few weeks.

Sunday we went to Ft Snelling State Park. We walked back a ways on a trail I hadn’t been on before. It was lined with many, many wildflowUntitleders. Dragonflies were abundant as well as some bees, butterflies, and other insects. We saw a yellow warbler, a heron,some raptors, and some other birds to be identified. This time of year, luck with birds is hit and miss. All the leaves have filled on trees in so while you can hear many, seeing is another story.

What I’m watching:

In between those things we binge watched Scandal on Netflix and I did some coloring. It’s been my relaxation hobby in recent years and apparently gaining ground amongst other adults. When we were at the mall on Friday, I saw a prominent coloring book display which included several I have.

What I’m listening to:

In Gabriel’s Garden – Wynton Marsalis. I love Baroque music. Renaissance and baroque are hands down my favorite types of classical music. I’m not a fan of modern classical with a handful of exceptions.

I also purchased a handful of different R&B songs that the tv show Scandal used in various eps… Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott, Dazz Band, and The Isley Brothers to name a few. I also bought “Into the Blue Again” by The Album Leaf (no really, that’s the name of the band) which is downtempo instrumental. The song “The Light” has been used in several episodes.


I had a minor accident last month. I pulled out of a parking space and a guy backed into my driver side door. After much frustration in getting – or rather not getting – insurance info from him, my insurance company ran the plate and the policy was lapsed. Surprise, surprise.

crunch, crumple
On the bright side, I have insurance, I’m employed, and I have credit to cover the deductible. I’m very fortunate. Eric is taking me to pick up my car today.

I’ve been commuting via bus this week and I think I’ll try to continue doing that at least part of the time.