So Dak

We went on vacation to South Dakota last week, and South Dakota came through. I had people ask me “What? South Dakota? What’s in South Dakota??” Well, there are lots of things in South Dakota.

We stayed at a lovely cabin we found on VRBO. It was in the country and very quiet and private. There were deer in the yard, and you could hear all sorts of wildlife in the evening and night. It was close to Hill City but far enough out to be just perfect.

Home Sweet Away from Home Home

But first, the ride. We had a fabulous drive to Hill City. Long, but nice. We stopped in Blue Earth to get a snack, but there were no snacks in that town. However, there was a Jolly Green Giant.

I had to send the picture to Laura because it’s not the first time I’ve been in the company of the giant.

That’s Laura, aka my blog muse, July 2014, on our Epic Journey cross country.

We pushed on to the So Dak and stopped at our first TeePee rest stop.

It really wasn’t that dark.

But this wasn’t the rest stop of our dreams. That one is in Chamberlain, on the shores of the Missouri River. Since our last visit they built a big statue. Big Statues were sort of a theme of our trip.

The trip was uneventful across the South Dakota plains.

We arrived at our destination only to find we couldn’t get in the door cause we didn’t have the right code. Dang it. So back to Hill City because there was NO cell service in the area. That was the only hang up cause we got the right code after calling the owners and we were good to go. We had several friends to greet us.

That’s Prancer and Dancer and Comet and Vixen. Rudolph is the big guy second from the left. He’s disguised as an elk.

Although we felt like they watched us when we were moving about the place, it was so nice there it didn’t really matter. So quiet and peaceful. Click on this gallery to see our surroundings.

Pano of our view

We hit the ground running on Sunday. First stop, Quilt Show. Hill City Quilt Show. Over 300 quilts and they were impressive. Click to see the gallery.

I must confess I bought a few things there. Then we did a pretty darn good hike to a place called Sunday Gulch in Custer State Park. It was beautiful and perfect weather. Although we weren’t quite prepared for the descent.

Rested up at the start

We had beautiful views but the best was yet to come.

We went up to Deadwood with Justin and Katie, who had arrived just after us on Saturday and we had a late lunch. We then decided to take a peek Mount Moriah cemetery, where Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are buried. It’s a fascinating place, especially since old cemeteries are sort of my jam. Oh, and Potato Creek Johnny is up there too.

The cemetery had different sections for different groups such as Jewish, Asian, children. There was a section where the people that died of smallpox were buried (I think it was small pox). Anyway, it was well worth the trip.

Blane and Melanie arrived late Sunday. We were waiting and waiting and they pulled in right when Dave and I were on the front porch looking for them.

Monday AM we hit the road for our bucket list hike–Black Elk, aka Harney Peak, trail. What a glorious day for a hike.

Ground Zero starting point

Our Groupers

And the views….

It was wild and windy up top but well worth the journey.

Where we were and where we went

After that we headed for a wild life loop but ended up taking a long drive to no where and instead wound up at Mount Rushmore, a place I’d never been but was also on the bucket list. Also, big ass statues, just how I like it.

After that long day we headed back to our Home away from Home, had dinner and got ready for Monday Night Football. Only we didn’t get that channel so we settled for American Ninja Hero. Which, in my opinion, was almost as good.

Justin and Katie left on Tuesday AM so Blane, Melanie, Dave and I headed down to Hot Springs to the Mammoth Site. If you’ve never seen an active dig before I highly recommend. It was a crazy the amount of fossils in this site. It was once a sink hole filled with water. The mammoths came to drink and fell in, where they sank and rested for thousands of years till a builder started to dig and found bones. Thankfully, he recognized the importance of the site and it was saved. And we saw it.

Yes, those are all fossils

All the DNA was leeched out because of the temperature of the water so they can’t match the bones to all the skeletons. Darn it.

The tour and the short film we saw were excellent.

We cruised back to Hill City and saw quite a few wild Buffalo on the way.

This guy was next to the road enjoying the hell out of a salt lick

We spent a quiet evening and the next day Blane and Melanie left early.

Dave and I went over to the George Mickelson Trail. We walked a mile and back of the 108 miles and saw lots of bikers. I am tempted to come back and bike a few on it cause it was beautiful. And quiet. Have I mentioned the quiet?

We got off the trail just in time for rain to start. We went to Hill City for our final trip and had a tasting at the Prairie Berry Winery. They had some fine berry wine and we added 5 bottles to the collection.

Image borrowed from only in your state dot com

We spent the rest of the day packing up and watching the rain storms. I was so sad when Thursday came and we had to come home.

It took some perseverance though, as I 90 was closed, twice, for flooding. Because, while we were having great weather, Mitchell and Sioux Falls were having torrential rain and tornadoes, in addition to flooding in Austin MN.

We took a 60 mile detour around Mitchell, but, because the detour was not well marked like they promised, I missed the cut off back to 90 and took the next main road which Dave assured me was the best route. It was also flooded. South Dakota needs to up the detour game for sure.

The BMW was up to the task although it was a nail biter and I feared being ‘that person’ who drove into flowing water over the road even though they’ve been warned over and over again. I figured if I could SEE the road under the water I was good to go.

Thank God we made it.

Blurry Minnesota. Please stay dry.

We hit the detour in Austin at the same time the cops did but thankfully it lead us to hi-way 14 which is a hop skip and short drive to home.

Lacey was soooo glad to see us. So glad.

Others were indifferent……

We have our own thing going on. Who needs ya?

We regrouped and Friday we had eye appointments. Yawn. But we had to use up Dave’s spending account before he retires so expensive glasses here we come. I worked half day Saturday to ease back into things. It wasn’t too strenuous.

Also on Saturday, Blane and Melanie came back down. Yep, they drove another 6 hours because we aren’t very good at planning and Melanie and I were going to Veg Fest in Minneapolis on Sunday. So, while those guys watched lots of football, Melanie and I had a blast in the cities.

We went up early so we could get in line and get our goodie bags–which we scored.

We got in and started perusing the vendors. I’m not kidding, I could have bought so much stuff. So much. The soaps alone were my kryptonite. And the food. Gawd. Hindsight says I needed to fast for a week to make room for all the stuff I wanted. I ended up with an egg roll and some lightly fried garlic tofu. In addition to samples and sharing a pineapple smoothie–in a pineapple.

It got pretty warm by early afternoon so we decided to head out. Plus, we spent all our money and got all our food. EXCEPT for the damn cheese curds. It was the one thing we wanted and there was a 45 minute wait–after the 20 minute line. They are supposed to be the best vegan cheese curds in town. Sigh. We were both disappointed, to say the least.

See ya next year Veg Fest. We are already in strategic planning mode for 2020

Today, which is Monday, Blane and Melanie left, and it’s my last day of vacay since a week ago Friday.

I am heading up to Grand Forks in two weeks to run a half with my friend Tiffini so I’ll likely see them again. I better get back in shape since I’ve run exactly once in 10 days (although much hiking has been done). I skipped out on the gym today and instead slept in on my last day of vacay.

I had the best vacation in a long time, that is for sure. And although it’s fall it’s hot and humid again. Like summertime. I guess that’s our Indian Summer. Next weekend a LOT of work has to be done in the yard to get it ready for fall since the flowers have died and need to be cut back. But not today.

Now that I’m done here, I think a bit of knitting is in order.

Sock Monkey is in my spot. But please don’t disturb-he’s comfy here.

Family, Fandom, Fair, and Relays (but not in that order)

Well, the big story here (ETA it is one of the big stories) is that we went to a preseason Seahawks game on 08/18 at US Bank Stadium, aka Viking Stadium. I’ve been there once before during the season for a Packer game. At that game we did NOT wear any Packer gear because Vikings fans are notoriously obnoxious and will verbally and maybe even physically assault you (yep, it happened at that game to someone else) if you are wearing Packer gear. Even the weird guest speaker/award winner who was some sort of Viking ex-player said in his speech “I just hate Packer fans”. Nothing like inciting a crowd.

Personally, I’ve been to home Seahawk games and a home Packer game and I’ve not heard that much vitriol but different teams thankfully have different mindsets.

Back to the game though (jeepers, rant over EXCEPT to say come on people, it’s only a game) this time we did deck ourselves out in Seahawk gear. Except for Dave, the lone hold out.

We’ve Arrived!

I only had a few nasty comments which were in passing cause heaven forbid one would bravely make chicken noises to my face.

We had the best seats I’ve ever had at a football game. 2nd row, 35 yard line. We were sitting with the team.

Blane and Melanie at our seats…..
And our lovely view

We also had our own club with no lines. It’s like they were just begging me to buy beer at 10 bucks a can.

Yes, I had s sparkly Vikings cozy. I had to for the sake of the beer. I gave it to Angie on Monday.

There was excellent play the first quarter/half when the starters were in. The Seahawks. intercepted and the score was close. Then they put in the second string and it was fairly flat. Which was ok cause we were on the sidelines with the rest of the team. (You can click the gallery pictures and they get bigger!)

We loved the game

I was laughing cause I was photo bombing

Really fun time. Seahawks lost but who cares. We can never go back to the cheap seats again.

BUT–let’s back up to before the game, shall we?

We travelled up to the game early to meet up with Cody and Maral, who flew into the cities that day, after a change of travel plans because originally they were coming on Monday. It worked out much better this way.

We met up at a delicious pizza place in the cities and we ate all the pizza

A few family photos-

Then we met up at Cody’s luxury hotel, which was close to the stadium, and visited for a bit longer.

What a happy day that was. (Please note Blane was happier IRL)

Cody and Maral made their way south later in the week. We had a lovely dinner and took some good bye pics the next day.

Dave took 10 total pictures of us and this was the best, even with half the dog in the foreground.

The following weekend Cathy and I ran the Scheels Half Marathon Relay. I’ve kept my promise of no more stinking 1/2’s in the summer and so I ran the first part of the half relay. Of course, for the first time in the history of running that race, and I’ve ran it several times, the weather was perfect for running–cool and dry. Jeesh. We finished in under 2 hours AND we were second in the female class. Cathy’s friend Brian and his sister in law Meri ran the relay too and were second in the mixed group and third overall.

Don’t I look fresh? The advantage of running leg #1

I also ran into a fellow Ragnar Sunset Sweat team mate–

Deb and I waiting for our partners to finish

And of course, we hit up the post race bloody, followed by the post race beer at the new Brewery on second…

Which led to an afternoon at Little Thistle, LTS, and a slow morning the next day. All in a day’s work.

We got our new furniture. We may never get out of the house again.

Last week was the last Thursday’s Downtown for 2019 and Winona Bread and Bagel was back. You know what that means—–

Cake in a Cup. It gets no better than this.

Last weekend, the final chapter, we went to the fair. The Minnesota State Fair. Have mercy. It was Saturday afternoon of the last weekend of the fair. Perfect weather, not too hot, a little cool. And the crush of humanity was overwhelming. 266, 410 of my closest friends and me and Dave all went that day. All of us. Together. At.the.fair.

Which is why I don’t go to the fair on a regular basis unless I go on the Monday AM after it opens. I will say that I got to the craft building and saw some beautiful knits and quilts and needlepoints and wood working, among other lovely things. We also saw the barns which are always entertaining. I had my fair corn dog and chocolate malt. I wanted to try some other stuff but seriously? No, I couldn’t fight the crowds.

The actual reason I went to the fair was to see Brandi Carlile, who sort of got her start here in MN. She has a large and loyal MN following as she got a lot of airplay here when she first started, and she actually played on the free stage many years ago.

It was a sold out show and it was fabulous. Mavis Staples did an hour set and that woman can belt out a tune. She’s EIGHTY.

Mavis–she’s still got the pipes
And Brandi. Her shows are not to be missed.

It’s been an active few weeks. As always. I also worked my job being a nurse and saving the world. Well, at least the over 60 years old world. One has to pay for the other fun stuff, right?

Have I mentioned my movie madness lately? It all started with The Art of Racing in the Rain (which I feel like I’ve mentioned?). I had read the book. The movie was pretty feel good, Dave liked it and he is very picky. Tears were shed.

Then I saw Where’d You Go Bernadette, another movie where I’d read the book. It was good but I think to get it you have to read the book because there’s a lot to Bernadette. But, it also has to fit into a time of a couple of hours so there is that. Dave liked that too so it hit the mark. They kept in the rant of everything that is annoying about Seattle, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Finally, I saw Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I wasn’t sure but after I saw it I liked it. I was sort of restless about the 2 hour 20 minute mark but not sure it could have been cut down and still had the same effect. Well, obviously it couldn’t be. I recommend all three for different reasons.

We are leaving next week for South Dakota. Got the house sitter all set and hoping that Lacey doesn’t FREAK out. I don’t think she will, especially since she’ll be in the neighborhood.

There is freak out potential in here

Till then, Jack tried a little chillaxin on the deck a week or so ago, when suddenly, well, see for yourself.

Puddy goes stealth

But, you’ll be happy to know, not a whole lot gets by our Jack.

What the what?

Happy Long Weekend and welcome to the beginning of fall.

Chicago, Fairs, and Fests

July was a busy time, as previously mentioned. I started running on July 4th and have been going strong ever since. The weather has worked hard to keep up and stayed hot and steamy for much of the month. I have stopped running the summer halves, next up will be in September. One is in Grand Forks where cooler weather should prevail. Hahahaha. A girl can dream, right?

Meanwhile-

Now I realize that those upper 70’s look pretty sweet. But don’t be fooled. See that dewpoint, it only dropped down to mid 60’s which was still uncomfortable. Up in the 70’s though, I think that’s labelled oppressive.

We braved the heat after the 4th and went to the Winona County Fair. It’s my favorite fair in the state. It’s small, managable, there are lots of cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens and rabbits. In addition to a large turtle and the odd non native animal displays. Of course, the most important reason I go is the fair food. I had my usual shake, and a corn dog brat, and I think that’s all. One year we had shakes, brats, potatoes, caramel apples, and cheese curds. We’ve lost our food edge.

Sunscreen was applied

I had a great time. I wanted to do some sight seeing-i.e. drive by the old place but Dave needed to get home. I won’t go into details.

On the 20th we drove down to Chicago so I could run the Rock n Roll 10K. I also drove into town cause Dave doesn’t like to drive in the cities. Personally, I don’t either but I always do. Someone has to be brave.

Talk about hot. The heat index was 105 and they cancelled the 5K that was supposed to run that day. People were really grumbling but I will honestly say, and don’t be offended anyone, but 5K’s are not usually elite runners. I mean, there are a few, but usually, in my 30+ years of racing, 5K’s are the weekend warriors who have trained so they could “do a 5K”. Couch to 5K type of deal. This is a great goal and I encourage more people to do it, HOWEVER, one who is not a lean mean running machine who has trained for all conditions is NOT going to do well in this:

That is at 8:29 AM. It only got hotter but at 8:29 it was already extremely unpleasant. Dew point of 74? Just plan on non stop sweat–while sitting in the shade. Running? Ha. That’s a recipe for the not so fit runners to have medical emergencies. In conclusion-that’s a long rant to say safety first people.

We managed to find the Expo venue and battled for parking.

Well, if I had the money and a lot of air conditioning it would be my kind of town too.

We found our hotel which, of course, was on one of those streets whose name on the left side was different from that on the right. So, I was supposed to turn left but I was looking at the street name on the right which was the WRONG name. I was cursing my maps for taking me to the wrong place. Which, of course, turned out to be the right place and I had to apologize to maps. (I hate it when Apple is right). Traffic was crazy and there is an expectation that you will drive like a maniac or get honked at or worse. I did manage to make a U turn illegally, going rogue in the middle of Miracle Mile.

Our hotel was very nice, a bit expensive but one pays for location, and parking was 114 dollars for two nights (not 48 hours, two nights). Like, it would have been cheaper to park and sleep in the car. Dang. I was a little surprised but suppose I should have expected it. I was looking for parking prices on the hotel website and couldn’t find any–well played Hilton, well played.

Dave immediately did some chillaxin’

Wherever we go it’s a man cave.

But not for long cause we went out and braved the heat. We wanted to find the race start, places we wanted to visit, and gauge how far and how long to walk, cause I was done driving.

Examples of what we saw that first hot as hell afternoon–

I’m hoping for some fountain spray. The sweat is real.

We made plans for the next day. We had delish lunch and picked up some sushi for later.

I regret I did not have the Famous Martini Milkshake

The next morning we were up early and I was ready to run the 10K. The weather had cooled off after a storm from the night before but the damp air factor was still high.

I was 4th in my age group which was ok with me. I was also passed by the male winner of the 1/2 marathon in the final stretches of the race. I do have to say that’s sort of a morale killer. But I was happy, and even happier that I chose to run the 10K and not the half. Cause I am really sweaty. I had to re-hydrate with a bad beer at 7:50 AM. In my experience, the post race breakfast beer is one of the top three best beers one can drink.

The rest of the day, after I showered and recovered a bit, we spent walking through Chicago and visiting museums and various landmarks

This fountain thing was the weirdest, best thing ever. It was different faces on the screen for 3 or so minutes…then the water….

A little later there were all sorts of people running around in the water. There were two sides to this artwork. And there were different faces each time on each upright. It was one of my favorite things.

The “Bean”

I must be reflected in there somewhere.

We headed over to the Field Museum (Natural History) and Holy Cow. That place was HUGE. And wonderful.

There was much more than dinosaurs there. But I didn’t take a lot of pictures for some reason. There were beautiful original Audubon prints, birds, wildlife, an exhibit on how vegetation evolved. Holy Cow.

We left in time for a big rain storm. Of course.

The view from the field Museum-That’s the Navy Pier in the distance. Right before a huge wind/rain/thunder storm.

We braved the storm and went to the Adler Planetarium. We saw a sky show that I enjoyed but Dave fell asleep and proceeded to start snoring. People were not fooled into thinking that was part of the show.

We had our picture taken in one of those photo booths. We didn’t realize that there’s a camera on the outside of the booth so everyone can see what you are doing trying to pose inside the booth. We were suitably embarrassed but after review didn’t think we were too out of the norm. But then again. normal can be a subjective judgement.

Wow–bad picture right? I love the star positioned over Dave’s droopy left eye. You can’t plan for that kind of randomness. I laughed a long time about this picture.

We went out for late lunch and picked up a little more sushi for later (cause really, I LOVE sushi)

Early the next morning we left. Before traffic. I bailed out the car and we promptly got lost in Chicago, again. I let Dave navigate so we missed our first turn, I turned the wrong way down a one way street, but we eventually hit the tollway and only got hung up in traffic around the airport for about 15 minutes. Did I mention the 50 minute slog the last 10 miles into the city? Have mercy traffic.

Thanks Minnesota

The last day of July I went to see a talk from the creator of Post Secret, Frank Warren. It was really good. Put on by the Rochester Public Library in partnership with an exhibit at the Rochester Art Center on mental health. I plan to go see that next week. I meant to last week but work was busy and blah blah. Highly recommend. And check out the website.

Lastly, but not leastly, Laura, my blog muse, and I went to the People’s Energy Coop’s Appreciation Day.

It was sort of like your average Minnesota Fest–only free and more fun.

We started on the bouncy slide–

I have a movie of us both going down but I can’t upload that directly on my site, dammit. It has to go through youtube. Which I don’t want to upload to. Just know we rocked the slide.

We moved on to the zip line. Laura zipped and I climbed half way up this wall–

I also have video on Laura but again, Youtube. Nuff said. I had a hard time on the wall because my tennis shoes kept slipping off the little holds and I couldn’t grip very well with my sweaty hands. I had to use a lot of arm strength which wore me out after a bit. I’ve been bitten by the climbing bug though. I want to try it when I have the right equipment.

Gearing Up-it’s not as easy as it looks on Ninja warriors.

We also went on a tractor ride tour of Camp Victory, the venue, we dressed up like firemen, we threw tomahawks, and went down a big slide through a culvert that ended up in pile of sand that came up in my face, clothes, shoes, pockets, and anywhere else sand could find a place to go. Jeepers. But it was a beautiful and fun day-oh and did I mention the free food? Win-win.

Our tractor ride

When I got home I had to get undressed in the bathtub due to the amount of sand I collected. Part of my stickiness is the fact I wear a LOT of sun screen which is the strongest sand magnet known to mankind. Note to self–close mouth and keep your feet up at the end.

I’d totally do it again.

Last weekend, the first weekend of August is the annual Minnesota Twins Stitch and Pitch. I LOVE that event. We sit in the hot sun and apply sunscreen every 10-17 minutes (do you sense a pattern here?). We drank a few expensive beers and I had a really really good salad for lunch. I know, right? Salad at the ball game? What kind of weirdo am I? In my defense, I ate several of Dave’s french fries.

A rookie mistake I made was not bringing a beer cozy. Cause it’s hot out there. I was working on a Mother Bear which, in an emergency such as this, became my beer cozy. I’m not sure the Mother Bear Project promotes this use of their bears though. However, knitters have to be inventive when drinking beer in the hot sun.

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do

The Twins won, I didn’t get burned, and I had a fab time.

Take me out to the ballgame baby

Next weekend we are going to see the Seahawks play the Vikings in preseason. That’ll be fun. Cody and Maral are coming for the week. After that I have a relay race to run–the yearly Healthy Human Half. But since my summer 1/2 marathon moratorium Cathy and I are doing the relay.

THEN–vacation to South Dakota. A whole week off of work. Sigh. I can’t wait to get there.

In the meantime, Jack enjoyed Amazon Prime Cat Channel again. He does live some Big TV.

Where do the birds go when they fly off the screen???

Happy August

When Running Tried to Kill Me

Well, I shouldn’t say it only happened in July because I think running has tried to kill me several times. But on July 4th it seemed like running was trying particularly hard to do me in. Not really sure why I keep doing it.

Anyway, I have smartened up to realize that running 1/2 marathons in the summer in Minnesota isn’t really on my list of to do’s any more. It’s just too hot. No matter how cool it is in the summer here it’s still going to be too hot.

On a side note, when I tell people I live in Minnesota they always say “Oh, you must love the cold”. And I always say “Well, I love the cold except when it’s boiling HOT in the summer”. Because for some reason people think it’s cold here all the time. I could only wish that summer would be pleasantly in the 60’s and dry and perfect. That’s not how it is here.

Back to the race. I signed up to do the 1/2 at the Red White and Boom on the 4th of July in Minneapolis. If you recall last year they cancelled this race because it was too hot and the EAS (Event Alert System) warning was black flag. Yep. So maybe I’d learn something from that and apply it to the following years but hope springs eternal and so I signed up.

It was hot. Really, too hot to run. The warning was only yellow flag but funny enough, was red flag about 1 hour and 30 minutes in. I should have known better.

I wasn’t into this race when I got up at 4ish to drive up. I just knew it was going to be hot and unpleasant and I couldn’t get that out of my head.

So, the start temp was mid 70’s–sounds nice, with a dew point of oppressive at 69. It’s just not pleasant but I lined up and off I went.

Ignorance is bliss at this point.

I carried water, something I never do in a race because usually they provide enough water but at every 2.5 miles I know it wouldn’t be enough. I don’t know why, when it’s that hot there isn’t water more frequently.

By mile 4ish I broke. I couldn’t breathe, I had to walk, it was quite miserable. That lasted for about 3 or so miles. I tried to run more but I could only manage a couple of blocks. Surprisingly I was pretty ok with finishing 1/2 hour or more off my pace. It was hot, the dewpoint was hovering at 70, the pollen count was high and air quality not that great. At mile 8 the ambulance was picking up someone at the side of the road. At least I was still running/walking. And it improved around mile 9–I was breathing well and was able to run a little longer. I managed to take a couple of pictures while I walked, mile 10.5 maybe? The good thing was until about mile 9 it was overcast cause when the sun came out it was REALLY hot.

I finally finished, slowest half ever but I wasn’t last. And I loved my slow people around me. We were a happy bunch all trying not to collapse.

At the end, soaking wet, but still standing

Next up is Chicago next weekend. And, because somewhere my common sense prevailed, it’s a Rock n Roll 10-K. So happy I didn’t do the 1/2 because it’s supposed to be 90ish degrees (ETA more like 100ish with the heat index which means dew point of nightmarish proportions. next weekend. I mean, we run by the lake but I don’t think the lake breeze will cool it off enough for it to not.be.hot. Then I have Western Days, 10K trail, then Scheels Relay-6.5 miles. See a pattern? I think my next half is September then I have a couple more. But I’ve learned my lesson. I don’t want to be that uncomfortable ever again.

I drove home but needed some map assist to get out of the city. I pull up my maps and my concerned phone told me I should be going to work. Come to think of it, my phone often tells me to go to work. Stay in your lane phone, I don’t live at work.

The next exciting thing we did was go and buy furniture. We went to Drury’s in Fountain. They have a LOT of nice furniture. It might not be the least expensive option but it’s home town and service is good. Our goal was new couch. We can’t take ours anymore. We tried out many different models and I have to say Dave genuinely got into the spirit of the thing.

At least he wasn’t snoring

We didn’t get that one, but we almost got this one–

But instead we bought these two-in a lighter color:

I didn’t particularly want the love seat with console cause I think drink holders look tacky, but it actually fits our space better because we don’t have a lot of side table space. Of course, it doesn’t hold a mug if you are drinking coffee/tea etc. But that’s ok. The couch doesn’t look that puffy in real life and the upholstery is somewhere between leather and fabric.

What I will say it is so comfy and it reclines AND it has a USB port on both sides. Dang it. We haven’t had a comfortable couch and enough seating downstairs since we moved in 5 years ago this month. Sigh. We are getting rid of both our couches and just have the chairs upstairs which looks much better. So there’s that.

Then, once we got started, we decided to go all out and got a new mattress too. Have mercy. Testing out the mattresses almost got us removed from the store. I think the staff got wise when Dave wanted to dim the lights and please turn down the music. We haven’t had a good mattress in nearly 10 years. When we bought our previous mattress the minute we got it home we knew it would be too hard (Thank you Dave since you wanted that one). We got a Serta firm foam mattress and I am telling you sleep has never been so good. I’m writing a lot about our new comfy furniture but we take our purchases very seriously here. The couch doesn’t come for another 8 weeks or so. Just in time for football.

And that’s all I know about. It’s another day. I have a pedicure later at the Rejuvenate Spa upstairs from the gym. I wouldn’t go ordinarily due to cost BUT I have a coupon. Yay me. AND today I am getting new running shoes. It’s been a year and mine are flat.

So it’s a whole big day planned–my goal in the next couple of weeks is to purge my craft area and clear out some space. I know I can do it. Pretty sure anyway.

In the meantime, Lacey and I went walking on the Douglas trail a couple of weeks ago, and we enjoyed it very much!

Welcome Back Humidity

It’s not been all that warm here. Lower than average really, but thankfully for us the humidity is back. Oh, lovely humidity. It’s my worst enemy.

But let’s back up a bit.

I had some fun catching up with my friend Tiffini. And in catching up we agreed to do the Grand Forks Half in September. I don’t know what I was thinking….although I can be talked into a destination run anytime, and this one is within driving distance, which is easy enough.

I haven’t done a whole lot else really. Besides trying to train for the runs I keep signing up for. Dave and I attended a quilt show last weekend, the 14th of June. There were beautiful quilts on display and lots of vendors. We bought a vibrating pillow and a new lint roller that is reusable. I didn’t buy any quilting supplies but I loved all the quilts. Don’t forget to click on the image to embiggen.

Not to mention the night before I had dinner with my friend Jill, who came down and bought a new long arm, which she’ll have a lot of fun with.

This last weekend was Ragnar Sunset. Because of my ignorance of updating my Ragnar profile, I was listed at 9 or so minute miles. Same with Cathy. And since we were the only two registered they gave us a super late start time thinking we were faster than we actually were. We had 4 hours to beat the sun and we almost made it! The sun set at 9:04 and we finished at about 9:13ish. Ashley, our closer, ran like the wind. I ran like the winded. I was first and started at 4:45. I finished around 5:50ish. 10 minute miles. Dang. (I have since updated my Ragnar profile to reflect my decrease in speed……). But I was aiming for an hour and I was pretty close so I was happy with that.

I didn’t get a picture of Ashley’s finish cause we ran in with her. Actually, we ran in behind her because we couldn’t keep up.

It was really a fun event and we all agreed we would do it again next year, if they do it again next year. Ragnar can sometimes be a little inconsistent on their venues.

Afterwards, we hit the pub, McGarry’s, It was fabulous food after the afternoon and evening runs. We got there at 9:55 which was 5 minutes to closing. We thought we’d have to move on but they made one last dinner for us and stayed open while we ate. 5 Star review on service and food. At least 5 stars.

Dark but you get the picture.

Last but not least Cody graduated from residency. Yes there was a party and no, I wasn’t invited AND learned about it on Instagram. Gawd. Cody said parents didn’t really go to this event and he didn’t think it was worth it for me to get out there for it. However, I would be the judge of that I think.

Either way, they got all dressed up and looked sharp, as required by the Navy.

And that’s all caught up. Next week is the Fourth of July. Already. Crazy. I am running a half marathon that day, which may or may not be very pleasant. When I sign up for this stuff it seems like such a good idea at the time…………

Have a happy holiday!!

Puddy says Half Marathon? No thanks.

Winning

I had some wins the last couple of weeks.

Literally, I won third place in my age division at Med City this year. Yep. Get in the older age groups, and I mean way older, and you end up winning!!

I accepted my award in style

That was a great feeling because this is not a race I ever place in, and I’ve been running it a long time. The course changed (for the better) and the temperature was perfect. I gotta say. Complete with post race bloody AND post race Rowdy Uncle. Nice.

The Memorial Day weekend really was the perfect weather. It’started out Friday with celebration on the deck-

It was kind of a day……
With a nice sunset.

Jack had a pretty good weekend too.

We enjoyed some sushi over the weekend too–I think Sushi is my favorite food ever. EVER. Of course rice and noodle bowls from Wabi Saba are pretty much the bomb also. It think because you can get vegetarian selections that are delicious.

So it was pretty good all round.

This past weekend I made the long drive to Vesseleyville to visit Blane and Melanie and dogs and cats. It was a beautiful weekend. I left Friday after work (actual departure time around 4:20). I got to Blane’s at 11:110ish. I stopped twice-bathroom stop at the rest stop and bathroom/gas stop in Fargo at my favorite gas stop. I don’t know why it seems so much longer to get there than to get back to Rochester but it does. It always seems that Fargo should be super close but it’s still a couple hours away. Dang it. I had some great podcasts to listen to, and still listening to Becoming by Michelle Obama. I can only listen to one CD every now and then because it goes pretty slowly. I’m like–hurry it up Michelle O. Because I admire her so much I will forgive her for narrating so slowly. And the book is quite well written. But it also makes me not able to listen to the CD’s back to back.

Anyway, I woke up early on Saturday, cause that’s how I roll, and we got to work. Well, I didn’t do that much work. I pulled some weeds and got the front ready to plant flowers.

Blane did some mowing…..

He also chased the dog with the mower, but I didn’t capture that. It was a pretty slo mo chase scene

Have I mentioned how fab the weather was???

Took a few snaps of cats.

Blane and Me!

I hated to leave but I had to. So I took off on Monday AM and got home in the afternoon. It was a more leisurely drive back, breaks were longer and I didn’t feel as driven to get there. I listened to almost a whole Agatha Raisin book which is my very favorite books to listen to, next to her Hamish McBeth books. Love them.

I notice today that my front garden is getting so colorful and my perennials are coming back nicely.

I’m hoping that eventually I won’t have to plant any new plants because all of them will be coming back perennial. I’m working on the back gardens too. My MN native plants have mostly returned. I got a new lilac which is getting eaten by rabbits so gotta do something about that.

Anyway, I had a great vacay to No Dak coming off my big win. Next up….Ragnar Sunset in only three weeks!! We will welcome the Solstice sort of.

Kitten lives on-she’s 14 this year……

Spring, You only had ONE job….

So, still waiting for spring. I mean leaves are out, I see bulbs blooming, but the temps? Not so much. Although, I think that this week we may bust into the 70’s. NPR just said our last 80 degree day was Sept 2018. It’s been a long winter.

But a long winter makes one really really REALLY appreciate spring….ok, summer by the time we get spring. I fear a repeat of last year when it was cold, then cool, then still cool, then so hot it was like living on the sun. Yep. That.

So, I missed Ragnar So Cal and last week I missed Unleash the She due to travel which was not a big deal, but makes me feel unprepared, a little, for the upcoming races. Which start next weekend with Women Run the Cities, 10 miles, and the following weekend Med City 1/2 Marathon. Last year it was so hot that for Med City they cancelled the marathon and everyone ran a half. Even the marathon relay was a half marathon relay. Same with Red White and Boom on July 4th. We ran 1/2 of a 1/2 cause of the heat. Oh well.

But looking back the end of April was busy because it was Yarnover and Yarnover means a visit from my sister Martha and a trip to the cities.

This year we met up in Mpls and stayed the night over at the Doubletree in St. Louis Park. I highly recommend for the hotel AND the shopping just down the street. I found a black dress for the following weekend memorial service (more about that later) and did some browsing which was just fine. We ate at The Local which was quite delish. We had the obligatory Prosecco to commence the knitting festivities.

Irish themed and the best mashed potatoes ever tasted.

We got up and hit Yarnover early. It’s always a nice market but I just wasn’t overwhelmed this year. We saw a few things we certainly loved–

But we didn’t buy too much there. We did do some networking and during one of our convos we learned of a yarn/fabric store I had never been too-Knit and Bolt. Highly recommend. They have a good selection of local yarns AND the cutest fabrics ever. I will be returning soon.

We also made our usual stop at 3 Kittens. It has expanded into the clothing boutique which was next door but has now moved across the way. It’s huge and now has separate rooms for needle point and knitting. It’s fab. I’d love to get into needlepoint but I just can’t do one.more.thing.

Sunday we headed to Northfield to my favorite yarn store, which has also expanded, Northfield Yarns. I always recommend a visit there AND I found a sweet present for my friend Julie, who’s March birthday always warrants a Yarnover weekend present. So I can’t say what cool things I saw until next time cause I am sending Julie her gift today and I don’t want to spoil if she happens across my blog.

But I do love that shop, and Northfield in general because it’s such a cute place with lots of little shops to browse in. We spend all afternoon there! As you can see, the water is still very high on the Cannon River.

Monday we stopped in Zumbrota at All in Stitches. It didn’t disappoint. There are also some cute boutiques and a high end shoe store. I’m not sure who shops there but they have a great selection of unique shoes.

We also stopped at Nordstrom to look around and ate in the Nord cafe before Martha had to head back to the airport. It was a busy but a fun weekend.

The following week I left of Friday and flew to AZ to stay with my sister Debbie and attend a memorial service for my nephew Matthew who passed away in March.

MSP-You are a fickle mistress
Thanks for letting me fly this day

I met up with Cody at the airport and we had a brief stop and the local Hacienda before getting to Debbie’s.

The dip was fantastic

Debbie’s house was lovely, the memorial service was very touching and also lovely at the botanical gardens. Except for a melancholy around the fact Debbie and Jay’s son passed away unexpectedly, and at a very young age, it was so nice seeing family and visiting with Cody and Katie and Alex.

Debbie’s house is out in the desert country. I went running on Saturday (I got there Friday and left on Sunday….quick turn around). The views were spectacular

The desert was in bloom–I didn’t know how Saguaro cacti bloomed but apparently they get all sorts of flower buds on the tips. Who knew?

Seriously, it was so beautiful, and Debbie’s house doesn’t disappoint either.

Melanie and Blane sent this lovely centerpiece. It smelled good too.

The memorial service and lunch were in the botanical gardens, and afterward we were able to wander around. It was most excellent.

Sadly, Sunday came really really fast. I took Cody to the airport at around 4ish and I spent the rest of the day lounging in the sun room after taking a short walk. Around 11:30ish I was off to the airport to fly back.

See ya someday Arizona

I got back and drove home. No weather issues, no delays. Just a flight on Delta. I watched Beautiful Boy to Arizona and Vice back to MN. Both movies were difficult to watch, but for different reasons. I’m planning another trip for Rock n Roll in January, and then a Rock n Roll in March to go see Cody’s new digs. I’m in.

Last weekend I ran 11.56 miles which I thought was 12 miles so in actuality I ran a LOT slower than I thought. But maybe that’s because I stopped to take pictures to prove that spring might actually be close at hand…

Maybe there’s hope. In the meantime, I’ll always have Arizona……………

My view from the back yard……
And my view from the top