Sunday, March 1, 2015

June 2014 - Rochester

The weekend after the MS150, I met my sister's family in Rochester for a baseball tournament weekend for my nephew Keith.  The day we got there was his 11th birthday, on Friday the 13th.  M went on a motorcycle trip to Wisconsin instead.

I had never been to Rochester before.  I don't know if I was necessarily missing anything but it was kinda fun to explore the city a bit.  

We went to my nephew's game on Friday night, his birthday and the weather was beautiful and perfect.  After the game, I went to my ex-something's house.  He's lived there for more than a handful of years.  I had seen him at my dad's benefit in September 2012 but before that, I hadn't seen him since hmmm....I'm not sure but I think summer of 2006. We hung out at his house, talking for hours. 


He has a good eye.

He catches.

He scores runs.

He pitches and strikes out batters.  The pitcher on his team was giving up runs like crazy and they threw Keith in there to try and get them out of the inning.  He struck out 3 batters in a row.  

Saturday's weather was a little different.  Breezy, cloudy and chilly.  I didn't really bring the clothes for that.  Keith pitched again and did well.  We had a break in between morning and afternoon games and went to lunch.  Saturday's afternoon game was postponed until Sunday due to weather, mostly scary lightning and rain.

The most perfect bunt. 

He pitches like a pro.

Keith's team congratulating his pitching performance

The birthday card I made Keith.  It had Twins tickets in it for him and I to go to a game later in the month.


The family went swimming in the afternoon after lunch.  We went out to dinner to Newt's in the evening and went back to the hotel to play games.  I retired to my room around 10 pm and left in the morning before Keith's game.  On my way home, a bald eagle flew parallel with my car right when I got on Hwy 52.  

Saturday, February 28, 2015

June 2014 - MS 150 Trip

Like we do every June, we went to Duluth and beyond, experiencing the North Shore and everything it has to offer.  Oh yeah, M may have rode his bike 150 miles during this time too.  This would be my first of five trips up north from June to October.

Canal Park:

We stopped at the area along Split Rock River.  There was a bald eagle that was flying around us and came within 20 feet of our heads. 

 This is the area of where all the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies were.  There was probably 100 of them and they were circling us.  


We drove all the way up to Lichen Lake and the beautiful area around it in the National and State Forests.  It was the first time we were up there in this area in the summer.  We couldn't go to exactly where we spread my dad's ashes because there were campers there.  There were super cute little periwinkle colored butterflies here too.  I've tried identifying them and the best I can come up with a Spring Azure, which I think is correct.   

Saturday, June 7th started out miserable for M and his bike but Sunday would be much better all around.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

May 2014 - Random

I bought a super cute Coach purse.

I got a bulge in my tire.  The tire that was only 10 months old that had to be replaced.  Stupid pot holes.

I love this man because he loves to have fun and will climb into a sculpture just so I can take the picture.

The salmon and cream cheese wrapped in English cucumbers just looked pretty.  This is my fancy version of pickles wrapped in ham or pastrami and cream cheese. 

Pretty cemetery picture from my dad's headstone.  I love cemeteries and have always been fascinated by them.  I call them gardens of stone.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

May 2014 - Birds

I love my cats but if there's other animals I love and care for it's my birds.  Ok, they're not mine but I attract them to our yard.  

I wanted to attract the beautiful Baltimore Oriole to our yard.  I bought an oriole feeder and put it up on a Sunday.  This was within the last days of May.  Typically that's too late in the season already. You should have your oriole feeder up in April when they come back from migrating.  If you can't attract them early in the season, you may not see them at all or even if you don't see them, keep trying for a couple of years and you might get them to come to your yard.

It was within 2 days that I saw an oriole.  I couldn't believe it.  I had never seen one before in real life and didn't even think we had them in Minnesota.  They are such a gorgeous bird but are very shy so they are somewhat elusive.

I started out the bird season very successfully.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

May 2014 - Special Heart's Ride

Our friends Sean and Beth lost their 18 year old son to a heart defect in January 2014.  On Saturday, May 31st, they hosted a ride in honor of him called the Joe Gillis Special Heart's Ride benefiting Camp Odayin, a camp for kids with heart disease. Joe went to the camp each year for many years and was looking forward to becoming a camp counselor in the year he passed but didn't get the chance.

The ride started at Bennett's in St. Paul which included a breakfast buffet.  M was one of the road captains for the day, which Sean graciously does for us each year on the Cherry Ride and we headed south through Hastings, getting a scheduled police escort through the city and reaching our first destination Dan's Bar and Grill in Hampton, where M one of one the raffles. We then rode to Steel Horse Saloon in Ellsworth, WI where I ended up winning the big pot of money in one of the raffles. We finished at Tavern on the Avenue where the fundraising continued with silent auctions, raffles and a band.  

The ride/benefit raised $7,500 for the Joe Gillis Memorial Fund at Camp Odayin and was an incredibly successful inaugural year.  Thank you Sean and Beth for including us for this special event.    

Monday, February 23, 2015

May 2014 - Fresh Perspective

I went to an event at a hotel by the Mall of America with several friends in May 2014   I was already in the middle of reading a book called Oola- Find Balance in an Unbalanced World when I attended but hearing the stories of the Oola authors in person and having them talking about the book, their stories and life hit me.

Oola = a state of awesomeness

I quickly finished the book, which is already an easy read and I have been trying to live an Oola life since.  The book itself is broken down into categories about having or not having balance in your life in seven different key areas as well as what accelerators and blockers cause that to happen. It's not rocket science but it may come from a different perspective of how you're used to thinking or a more manageable way to get balance in life.  There are stories from the perspective of both the OolaGuru and the OolaSeeker.

The Seven F's to obtaining an Oola life in no particular order:


I've become successful in certain areas but there are areas I still need help on. I've always said that we are always a work in progress. We can always "get better".

This book started a journey for me in some aspects of my life that I will always credit this book and the two guys shown below.  Thank you.

Oola authors Troy Amdahl (OolaGuru) and David Braun (OolaSeeker)

My Oola hat that I wear at some point almost every weekend

Sunday, February 22, 2015

May 2014 - Mother's Day

I don't even remember what we did for Mother's Day, if anything but I went to my sister's, where my mom also moved to in April 2014 and we hung out for a little bit.

I made this for my mom.  It's a picture of Lichen Lake transferred onto a piece of wood and then I painted it gray to match my mom's room.  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

May 2014 - Walk for Animals

As I've done every year since 2004, I participated in the Animal Humane Society's Walk for Animals on May 3, 2014.  It was AHS's 40th annual walk!  I can't remember how much I raised but I know it was over $500 since I was able to check in in the special area but I know I did not break my 2013 record of $865.  I wish AHS allowed you to keep a personal history of what each year's donations raised were.

They changed the walk this year where instead of 5 miles, it was half the distance.  They wanted to encourage people to take their time and focus on the interaction with people and animals and other events rather than the actual walking time.  I walked with Michael, Tanya, Chris, Asher and their dog Cosmo as I've done for multiple years and the walk was completed very fast this year, obviously.  I'm not sure if we really interacted more than we normally do so I'm unsure if the reduction of the distance of the walk was successful.  I hear they're mixing things up again for 2015 so we'll see how that turns out.

Thank you all that donated to the cause in 2014.  I appreciated your support each year.

I think I really want a bunny.  M always tells me that I do not.  I think I do.

Monday, February 16, 2015

April 2014 - Health

When I looked at my photos for April 2014, I only had 12 pictures I took for the entire month.  Not surprising considering that I found April to be the worst month of 2014.

I was only one week into April before my neck "snapped" in the middle of night while I was sleeping. It was two days later before it snapped again in the middle of the night, the exact same time.  I had lots of pain and working was extremely difficult considering it was the busiest month of the year for me.  I worked lots of overtime (I'm salaried), worked 13 or 14 days in a row (I can't remember which anymore) and spent my entire Easter day at work.  It was miserable.  All the while having this neck issue.

After it not getting better on it's own, I ended up going to the chiropractor for help and it wasn't helping much.  It was until after an MRI did it reveal that I had two bulging discs in my neck.  It's been a long recovery, including regular adjustments, a chiropractic ultrasound, acupuncture and ultimately, traction.  The traction has helped a lot and I just received my home traction kit last week so I don't have to go to the chiropractor as often.

In addition to my neck issues, it was just days before then that I had to go overnight to a sleep clinic for a sleep study.  You see, I have severe sleep apnea.  After the results of the sleep study, I found out I stopped breathing on average, 62 times an hour.  AN HOUR. More than once a minute.  I haven't told anyone besides immediate family and super close friends until now because it's embarrassing for me.  The back of my throat is narrow so airflow is compromised.  Being overweight only contributes to the problem.  It's something I've dealt with for years and I finally decided to do something about it as my (and M's) long-time suspicions were confirmed.  I now use a CPAP machine at night, very sexy, I know. But, if I don't, I can die in my sleep, even though I truly hate putting it on every night. The machine is probably not what you think it would look like.  It's relatively small (11" x 7 ") and makes no sound during the night.  The best part is, I only apnea on average, less than 2 times per hour now. Anything under 5 times per hour is considered normal.    

Here's what a suicide bomber sleep study patient looks like.  The glue from all the sensors was loads of fun trying to get out of my hair as they were all over my head as well. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

March 2014 - Random

My mom's debut at The Nook.  Soooooo good.  
Powder and his proper pose

Please, go ahead and make yourself comfortable

M and his decision to join the St. Patrick's Day Parade.  You can do whatever you want when you're unemployed.

Stuck in rush hour traffic while black smoke billows across the freeway