Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday in pictures

As promised, some pictures from our Christmas! Christmas Eve was spent doing lots of baking...well, that's what I did! Cy had to work from 9 a.m. till 8 p.m.! It's horrid working retail during the holidays!


But Ana and her boyfriend, Travis, took advantage of the new snow and made some great snowmen!


After a late dinner, it was time to open gifts!


Ana was super excited about the CHI hair straightener she got!


Even though he don't look it here, Cy was thrilled with his dress clothes from Express...later, he put on a little show for mom!




Joel was pleased that there was a little baseball this Christmas...


I bought us a 20-game season ticket package for the new stadium! We are sitting very, very high!


No pictures of me on Christmas Eve (I was taking the pics!)...but I was thrilled with my new DVDs...Thirtysomething, Season 1, Julie & Julia, and the fantastic movie Up. I also got some wonderful things to help me relax--a massage chair pad (it works great!) and Ana got me one of those things you put around your neck (and you can heat it up in the microwave...smells like lavender!)

A few days later, we had Christmas with Joel's kids--


Hope you all enjoyed a wondrous holiday season!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Feeling bummed...

So a week ago, just before Christmas, I had a doctor's appointment with my regular physician. It was a "routine" diabetic visit, one that should be scheduled every 3-4 months.  It had actually been more like 6 months. 

I hate these visits. I never leave feeling good about myself or my body. I feel like I'm aging before my time. Genetics is not on my side. Turning 49 earlier this month did not help my attitude about this whole aging thing. I'm having hot flashes right and left and I can't seem to get a start on losing those 25 pounds I need to take off (again).

But I know eventually I need to go in, so I decided it was time to bite the bullet. And the news was not good. My blood sugar numbers were up. I can't say I was really surprised. My stress has been pretty high this fall. I have not been exercising like I should. My meds don't seem to be working. 

So my doctor informed me that I needed to start taking insulin once a day. I sat in her office fighting tears as she explained how much better insulin is now, how easy it is to use...It may be easier, but it still does not feel good. At best, I feel like I'm failing and at worst, I feel like I'm cursed. Like I said, genetics is not really on my side.

I have been a Type II diabetic for over 10 years. My mother has been a diabetic for years and I think my father was possibly a Type II diabetic as well.  Up to now, I've been managing my diabetes with oral medications, but I have never had stellar numbers. Over time this plays havoc with your body. I run a much higher risk for kidney and heart disease. Given my family history of heart disease that is something that needs to be taken seriously. 

Today I had my little "education" appointment with the nurse...I was walked through how to give myself the injections. I'm not really worried about it...I had to give myself injections when I had the blood clots years ago. I'm not saying that I'm excited about it, but I'm not a needle phobe.

I guess the part that I don't like about it is that it's just another sign that this disease is getting the upper is becoming more intrusive. And it's not getting better.

I'm writing about this because writing helps me to work through things...and I'm warning you that I'm having a bit of a pity party, but I assure you I'll get past this. But just for a moment can I say how much it sucks dealing with this every day. I'm not the healthiest of eaters, but certainly not the worst...and sometimes it just annoys the crap out of me that people around me can eat so much worse and not pay the consequences. Sure, maybe they are just living in their own little land of denial, but sometimes I really just don't want to think about what I'm eating. And honestly, I don't like exercising. I'd rather be painting in the studio. I need some motivator to get out there and start moving. Frankly, I would like a dog that would insist on being taken out, but I don't think that's in the cards right now.

So I'm trying to wrap my head around all this.  I'll probably be writing about this a bit more. I need a place to vent, deal with disappointments, and hopefully celebrate some successes. 

Like a lot of folks, the beginning of a new year seems a good time to re-dedicate myself to living healthier. I will lose those 25 pounds (again). I will get better control of my blood sugars. I will look and feel healthier and younger. 

Besides  a year from now, I turn the BIG 5-0!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 1 at the Fair

This was my favorite photo of the day--four barely adolescent boys sitting on a bench, holding these bananas they had won at the fair. They were willing to let me take their pic...I didn't tell them I was posting it for the world to see! Lots of bananas walking around the fair...

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the grandstand. I was less than thrilled to see a huge Wal-mart sign posted on the side of the grandstand...yuk...obviously they gave money for something.

Gotta check out the Seed Art...always displayed in the Ag bldg in the middle of the fairgrounds.

One of my favorite fair treats...warm scones with fruit and cream cheese topping from French Meadow Bakery. It was the first food I looked for this year and initially I was disappointed to see them gone from their usual spot in the Food Bldg...then I spied them outside in their very own (and very lovely) building. They serve all kinds of coffee drinks too!

The Skyride

Joel & I outside the Fine Arts bldg. There is always a wonderful exhibit of art by MN artists in the Fine Arts building...always one of my first stops.

Hey, I didn't find these...who was handing them out? I want one! Mauer on a stick!

It was early in the day and these two were tuckered out! They had a great place for a nap though!

Other Fair tips/tidbits:

  • Metro transit has apparrently lost the contract for providing the service for all the free/low-cost bus shuttles to the fair. The good part of this is the service is now being provided by more comfy coach buses. On the bad side: there are fewer buses, fewer seats and these buses were not built for standing passengers!
  • The Fair coupon book for $5 is a good deal. It can be purchased at the State Fair gift shop or several kiosks across the fairgrounds. (Next year buy it before the fair for a discount! I did!)
  • The best deal on pop at the fair is to buy a reusable State Fair cup, available at several vendors, for $5. Refills are then $1-1.25. And you can bring the cup back on subsequent visits to the fair (or even the next year like we did!)
  • What Not to Wear would have a field day at the Fair...but I say wear comfortable clothes and shoes. And definitely pants with pockets for your cell phone!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's time---

for the Great Minnesota Get-Together! Here are some of my favorite pics from previous years. I'm off to take in Day 1 of 2009 and take more great photos!

See you at the Fair!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Blueberry Buckle

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup shortening

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 egg

Mix sugar, butter, shortening and egg with spoon. Add milk and vanilla. Stir. Add remaining dry ingredients. Spread in ungreased 8 inch pan. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries Mix until crumbly: 1/2 cup sugar 1/3 cup flour 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened 1/2 tsp cinnamon Sprinkle over blueberries. Bake 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.

This is one of my favorite things to bake in the summer...or any time really. I was going to make it this morning, but didn't have any baking powder! But that has now been remedied, so Sunday morning we'll be enjoying some Blueberry Buckle (it's a coffeecake).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Time for a change

Playing around with the background some. What do you think? Ready for a change? I might try a few others in the upcoming few days, so feel free to give a shout out if there's one you like!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Half Over? Or just begun?

A shot of our new building, the Tilsner, shot from across the street

Ana during intermission at Kooza

For more about Kooza, check here

Picture I took after a long walk with Ana...check out that full moon

Ana with Grandma on the 4th of July

From the Elvis Costello concert at Taste. Awesome.

Ana at Costello concert

Farmer's nice to have in your backyard...who needs a garden?

June trip to the gardens near Lake Harriet

Anniversary trip to Red Wing

During our trip thru the countryside to enjoy Pizza on the Farm, I made Joel pull over so I could take this shot of a country church...beautiful

One of our regular stops now along the way to Red Wing is's Joel enjoying the popcorn stand...small towns--I still love them

I thought I'd share a few summer photos...the more recent shots starting at the top.

How did we reach the mid-point of summer? It's mid-point in my book when the Fourth is past and my daughter has celebrated another birthday. And, the baseball season is half over!

It is going way to fast....and while I am enjoying the warm weather, longer days, and time off here and there...I would like these months to pass a little slower!

Our summer really started with our move into the Tilsner Artist Coop. We are loving our new place, still settling in and decorating. I think it will take the whole summer to feel truly settled.

We took a break from the moving to celebrate our second anniversary. We enjoyed another trip to Red Wing and this time included a trip to Pizza on the Farm just outside Stockholm, WI. Try's the best pizza!

We went straight from moving ourselves to moving my son, Cyrus. I'm done with moving!

Weekends I've been enjoying trips to the Farmer's Market, gardening in the spot outside our building and lots of time in the studio. This summer Cirque du Soleil set up their tents atop the parking lot directly across the street from our building. It was quite incredible watching the tents go up (watch time-lapse video of it here). Even more incredible was the actual show. Ana and I went to a performace as part of her 25th birthday celebration. (Yup, Ana is 25!)

And there's so much more I want to do this summer ... definitely more ballgames. We've gone to less than 10 Twins games and one Saints game...we'll be fixing that in the next few months. Maybe a road trip or two. The State Fair!!! This year for the first time I think I will be able to be on vacation during the whole fair! Wowza!

We still have a busy half to enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wonderful Night

I love Craig Ferguson and thought you might enjoy a chuckle as well.

It's a wonderful night indeed!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cycling Race in Lowertown

Living in Lowertown St. Paul offers entertainment right outside our door some days, especially during the summer. Every day we can watch the barges move down the river. Soon Cirque du Soleil will be setting up in the parking lot across the street. During the week we enjoy music in the park (next weekend is a jazz fest in Mears Park). And then there is always the Farmer's Market just down the street.

The first stage of the Minnesota Bicycle Festival took place this past Wednesday night in Lowertown St. Paul...the cyclists raced around Mears Park and right in front of Lowertown Commons (our old apartment building). It's the third year that I've caught this race...even if you're not a cycling fanatic it's hard not to get caught up in it when it's happening just outside your door. There was actually 2 races--a women's event as well as a men's event. Both races lasted about an hour. Weather was great this year. I managed to shoot a little video on my camera. This is from the last 10 minutes of the men's race (the video is only about 30 seconds) Note the gap between the 4 leaders and the rest of the pack.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A short retreat

It has been a long month. May was all about moving to our new place. We painted, we packed, we hauled stuff over. We are now in our new space, but still working on getting settled. (If you haven't already checked it out, you can see pics of the new place here)

Joel and I took a much needed little break from the whole moving routine to celebrate our 2nd anniversary. We enjoyed what has become our favorite escape to Red Wing. It's a short road trip...long enough to feel like we're getting away and short enough that we're not spending tons of time in the car.

We travelled through Northfield on the way there. I love the feel of that town...small, with a beautiful Main Street, and lots of fun shopping (with even an art gallery and art stores). It was a beautiful day too...temps in the 70s, sunny, no bugs...perfect.

In Red Wing, we again stayed at our favorite B & B...the Moondance Inn
. We slept in the lovely Garden Suite, but basically had the place to ourselves (we were the only guests that night). We have stayed at Moondance 7-8 times now and it sort of feels like our vacation home!

We took advantage of the lovely weather and enjoyed Pizza on the Farm! We've been waiting to enjoy this for 2 years and it was worth the wait. Basically there is this farm outside of Stockholm, Wisconsin (about a half hour from Red Wing) that every Tuesday during the warm weather months bakes pizza in their outdoor brick ovens. The pizza crust is made from flour they ground themselves. Most of the toppings are grown/produced on the farm as well. It is incredibly fresh and incredibly good. Hundreds of people typically come on a Tuesday night and it's quite a sight to see. You bring your own blanket/table/chairs and set up on the lawn. It was a wonderful picnic and a great way to celebrate our anniversary.

We're back to our regular routine now...back to trying to unpack and organize things.