Category Archives: life

More Adventures in 5K Land – Healing Center, Laura’s Smile Mile, Purple Stride

This morning I had two 5Ks on my radar: one for the Healing Center in Bay View, and another one called Laura’s Smile Mile. I debated between the two, but the Bay View one seemed a bit smaller and friendlier, and the other one’s website seemed slightly unwieldy and didn’t have online registration and didn’t say anything about a t-shirt. So I decided to do the smaller, friendlier one.

I drove down to Bay View, but was driving in a bit of a thoughtful reverie and missed my turn and ended up too far south. By the time I made it back to the event, I had missed the start time by 6 minutes. I asked the gal if I could “buy” a t-shirt anyway, and she said of course, and that if I was going to pay the registration fee ($24), that I should join the 5K anyway and catch up to the group. She was very sweet. So she registered me, I put the t-shirt on, and went off to find the pack of walkers.

But the day was so beautiful I had to stop and take pictures.

And I couldn’t find the walkers, and the path was uphill, and I knew that the other 5K started in an hour, and more importantly I had seen that there was a plant sale in the park … so I decided to check out the plant sale and then do the other 5K instead. So I circled back around to the park, bought some mint and lavender and a savory crepe :), and then got in my car and headed to the other 5K. Along the way, I looked down from an overpass into a park and saw a large group of people dressed in purple t-shirts walking paths together. Another 5K! Which one was it, and why hadn’t I heard about it?

I headed on to my original destination, which I discovered from signs was only a two mile walk, not a 5K. But I had to park so far away, and I didn’t even know where the registration tent was, and it turns out that the (loooong) route I took to the registration tent was actually the walk route, and so I felt I had already done half the walk before I even started. I wish I had done this sooner, but it occurred to me after I was quite a ways away from my car that I should pull out my phone and activate the GPS on my “Map My Walk” application, and see just how far I did walk to get to the starting point.

And when I finally found the registration tent, I had about a minute to register before the walk started. But they had no adult size t-shirts left, and … well, something inside me just didn’t want to participate in that walk, so I didn’t register, since I was pretty late anyway. I did wander around and look at their tents, and bought a string backpack for $5, which made me happy. I use those all the time.

So then I fell into line at the end of the pack, strolled with them along the water until we nearly reached the road, and then split off from them and headed toward the purple shirt group I had seen from the overpass. I really wanted to find out who they were and what their cause was.

One more note about that particular Smile Mile 5K: They had the runners returning along the same path that the walkers were heading out on. That must have been annoying to the runners, as they had to find a place to cut in between the walkers (some with wagons and strollers), and try to find a bit of asphalt to pass them as the walkers were mobbing most of the walkway. I myself veered off onto the gravel right next to the water rather than have to walk behind the mob, which had to slow down and even stop (think “rush hour traffic”) as each runner found a place to cut through. If I could sit down with those organizers and have a little chat with them, I would have quite a few suggestions to make that might make their event run a bit more smoothly. I am confident they will receive the same feedback from other participants.

Anyway, I walked along the water on this most beautiful of days, past the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World, until I came to the purple group, who had already finished their walk. Their event was called Purple Stride, it was for Pancratic Cancer Research, and they were some incredibly friendly folk. I bought a t-shirt from them ($5!!) and a keychain, chatted a bit with some super cool people, and then headed back off to my car.

I think I walked a 5K (3.2 miles), don’t you? Keep in mind that the blue dot is where my car was parked, where I started (and ended). The green pin is where I was when I started my GPS app.

I find it interesting that this app even kind of shows that I moved off to the left when the runners came by. See the little tiny “jog” by the water at the bottom of the green patch. I get a total kick out of seeing the circles and jaggies that show where I wandered about.

I had put on my Melanoma long sleeve tech shirt this morning because it was a little bit chilly. At the Bay View Healing Center walk I put on their t-shirt, then at the Pancratic Cancer Walk I threw their shirt over the other two.

I’m wearing a lot of shirts here. 🙂

When I got back to my car, I found this tucked under my windshield. Should I do one of them?

And then I went to Alterra for a coffee afterward. It was busy.

And now I’m off to do a bit of gardening…

… and fill up my bike’s tires, as tomorrow is the UPAF Miller Light Ride for the Arts! (ps. My friend Nancy took all the photos featured in their trailer!)


Adventures in 5K Land – WFB, Melanoma Run

I like walking 5Ks. I feel like I’m doing good for others while doing good for myself as well. And I get a t-shirt, Bonus! So ever since I walked my first 5k in 2006, I’ve put at least one on my schedule every year, usually in autumn. Some years I’ve done more and started in the middle of summer. Last year I think I maybe walked one.

This year, since spring came early, I started thinking about 5Ks much sooner. I went through a rough emotional period between January and March and kind of quit exercise of any kind, so by April I was feeling sluggish and lousy and decided I needed to get moving again. There was a 5K in my village that I saw lots of advertising for, so I decided a few days ahead of time to sign up for the Saturday walk. A friend of mine also invited me to do a Melanoma Run/Walk the following Sunday, and then join her for margaritas afterward.

Anyway. I walked the first one two weeks ago on a Saturday. I assumed it would be a piece of cake, as I’ve had no problem finishing any 5K in the past (except for that one year when I did two in one day, the second with a group of fun-loving, unmotivated friends, who decided about 1/5 of the way into the disorganized event that it would be much more fun to go to the art museum instead, which I was kind of grateful for because honestly, two in one day is a bit much. And I didn’t really know those people before the walk, but by the time the day was done I considered them pretty special friends. What a memorable day).

Anyway, I digress. So I woke up that Saturday morning full of cocky confidence and went to the village high school to start the 5K … and to my surprise it was incredibly difficult. It was hot, they provided no water — I hadn’t thought I’d need water because I’ve never brought any in the past, but that’s probably because it’s always been provided. When I walked my very first 5K six years ago, I had gotten there just a bit late and started at the very back of the pack, and by the end of the walk I had worked my way to the front. This walk I started near the front, and by the end I was pretty much at the very end of the pack, with maybe six people finishing after me. It was extremely disconcerting to my self-confidence to have done so badly, until I saw my final time (fortunately all participants were timed, which was awesome for me), and I had finished in 18:00, which is exactly what my pace always is. So I guess the people in my village are just fast walkers. Even the ones pushing strollers. Even the very overweight woman who puffed past me. I really felt off my game.

I went home discouraged, but the next morning I tried again. The Melanoma walk was only 3K and it was at the zoo AND my friends were there. I almost didn’t go when I found out that my friends, who are runners, started an hour before my walk did. They’d have been finished 40 minutes before I even started, and I didn’t want to make them wait around for me. But I wanted the t-shirt, so I got myself out the door. 🙂 It was rather disorganized and very, very crowded at the zoo — (it was a ZOO at the zoo! ha ha!) — and there was at least one other unrelated 5K going on at the same time … but I went. I got my shirt, I did my walk, I met my friends, and I had a good time. And surprisingly, that whole weekend, despite being a little bit tired physically, I was incredibly productive.

I figured with getting such a good start to the year doing two walking events in a row, maybe I would see if I could do at least one every weekend through the summer. So I picked up a Badgerland Striders Event Catalog, which is in my opinion about the most comprehensive listing of running events I know. I sat down with the paper and mapped out a bunch of 5Ks that took me through July 12. (I still need to sit down and map out the rest of the summer. It’s just kind of a lot to do all at once, there are so many to investigate!)

Last weekend I could only find one 5K, and it was in Madison. I debated whether to drive that far for a 3-mile walk, but it was held in conjunction with Brat Fest and it sounded like a fun day, so I decided to go. Unfortunately, the morning of the event, half the state was under a big green blob of thunderstorms and rain, and I figured I might drive all the way to Madison only to find it had been cancelled. So at 6am I put the kabosh on my plans and rolled over and went back to sleep. 🙂

I felt lousy that whole weekend. I said so on facebook, and a friend who works at the Racine Art Museum told me that if I walked 5K in my neighborhood, she would bring me a t-shirt and a bag of goodies. So I did. I made my own 3.2 mile route through the neighborhood and walked it on Sunday evening, accompanied by the muted sounds of neighborhood activity and distant thunder.

And it felt good.

how I made the art

— January 31 —

So this is the last day of my month-of-blogging challenge. While it’s true I technically “wrote” every day, I don’t think I did a very good job of fulfilling the challenge. I may have even driven some regular readers away with my blog about nothing.

I shall try again in February. No guarantees it will get better, but even still I want to continue the “every day” challenge.

SO. This one is for Nancy, in particular, who wanted to know how I created yesterday’s “eyeball” picture. Nancy, it’s all in the apps. I won’t (can’t) tell you the specific choices in the app, because there were MANY, but I can say it was mostly done with the PhotoStudio app. I may have put a final, subtle vignette on at the end through CameraBag, but I can’t say for sure whether I did or not.

Here is the original photo. It is a picture of my finger covering half the shutter.

Then, I posterized it, highlighting only the brightest areas.

I liked that, but still wanted more detail, so I added a bump map texture.

The black area was just too black. While I liked the balance of space, I still thought for my purposes of demonstrating a picture of “art” I needed more. So I added a “grunge” feature.

While that did add detail to the black area, it also took away the color and made it sepia. I missed the color so tried to add some back.

It was still pretty boring, so I went into a “styles” menu and picked something fairly weird, that posterized the shapes into basic areas and added its own bulbous shapes to the edges.

Now we’re cookin’! I liked that. But I still felt it needed more texture, so I went in and added some water texture.

Nice! Looked primal, like lightning and energy. BUT, being an artist, I can’t leave well enough alone. I wondered what it would look like if I threw it through the Symmetry filter.

Awesome! But wait! There are still more filters I haven’t yet tried! How about a white vignette?

How about throwing it through another odd Styles filter?

Aaaaaand I like it. It’s time to stop playing and go to bed. I proclaim it done.

…. wait, no. Let’s try a few more variations.

Through a linocut filter. Interesting.

Same image, different color scheme.

I call this "AMERICA"

these are getting shorter and more trivial@

— January 28 —

No blog post today. I’ve got a splitting headache.

Except … well, this is a blog post saying there is no blog post. So, I guess there is a blog post.

Onward. Here is a picture of coffee with chocolate whipped cream.

The whipped cream looks a bit like ice cream because I left it whip about a minute too long, but it’s still absolutely wonderful and I leap out of bed each morning awaiting my morning cup. (If, of course, “leaping” means slowly rolling out of bed and walking hunched and closed-eyed to get your robe and slippers and then shuffle down the steps to the kitchen.)

And here is a picture of the dog, waiting with enforced patience for another treat. I’ve run out of homemade dehydrated treats for him and he’s very sad.

That is all. There will probably be more whipped cream tomorrow. And maybe some almond filling as well.

don’t cry over spilt … butter

— January 27 —

A bunch’a pictures today. Was driving past the lake and decided to stop and shoot a bit with my iPhone, just to see what I got. Mostly used Instagram on these, which really gives surprise results because you can’t really compose a picture with it, you mostly just point in the general direction of your desired subject and shoot. Results made even more surprising when you shake the camera and get a “random” configuration of lens and film.

I also have a story. I was trying to use up the leftover ground almonds that is left after I make almond milk. It seems a waste to throw it away, especially since I make it so often. Almonds are almost $10 a bag, it would be nice to find a use for the whole product. I found this recipe for Almond Filling and it looked like the perfect way to use up the almonds. So I started by making another ingredient first. And then I did something without thinking. What a giant idiot I am!

Okay, so I made my own unsalted butter with some leftover heavy cream, and made just enough for this recipe. I left it in the mixing bowl next to the sink. Then I pulled the blender out of the dishwasher halfway through the cycle (it wasn’t really dirty, just had almond milk in it earlier) and when I saw the “hole” in the dishwasher I was like, “hey, I could put the mixing bowl in there right now!” So I grabbed the handle and turned it upside down in the sink to rinse it off, and of course the butter (still inside!) slithered out and down the garbage disposal.


(ad)venture awaits!

— January 26 —

Yikes! Typing that date makes me realize I think I’m supposed to have a chair painted by tomorrow, for a “Chair-ity” event. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think I can turn it in later, though, it just won’t be featured in the advertising. What’s holding me up is my choice of paint. Not sure it’s the right choice. I need to decide that by tomorrow, though, and either get started or decline completely.

I spent the day today either emailing or thinking about email. Working out a new little (ad)venture of my own … details to come, once they’re finalized.

Otherwise, I basically just went to the store for cat food (and came home with mochi too, mmmmm), then to the bookstore to take a look at a couple of books, then home again home again lickety-split. I boiled up a piece of dried ginger, or should I say boiled down a piece of dried ginger, with the intention of making a ginger syrup to make soda with tomorrow. It’s all just a grand experiment, I used no recipe nor did I even investigate how other people do it. I just enjoyed the doing. Who cares if it works.

When it was nearly done boiling, I took it off the heat and held it to my nose to smell it, to see if the dried ginger was doing the job. I neglected to factor in the steam. I wonder if it’s possible to burn the inside of your nose by sniffing?

But the ginger smelled good and strong. It is now a deep rich golden color, made more golden by the addition of some blue agave syrup at the end stage. For sweetener.

I’ll let you know the outcome tomorrow.

Peace out.


Since I somehow neglected to schedule this post last night, and so it didn’t publish this morning, I can go ahead and let you know how the soda turned out right now.

Pretty good! Although it could be stronger x2. Not quite sure how to accomplish that … let it boil down even less? Or use two pieces of ginger? I’ll have to experiment.

So while the liquid itself is very very light in color, it tastes pretty good. Definitely ginger.

miscellany … I’m grasping at straws, here.

— January 24 —

Nobbut* apps pictures again today. If I’ve done anything exciting lately, I sure haven’t taken any pictures of it. Took these this during kitty time last night. She’s getting rather annoyed with the camera, methinks.

*Nothing but – [British Cockney]

Party cat

"Blue Period"

I don’t think I have any stories today because frankly, I don’t really remember this afternoon. It was utterly unremarkable and apparently quite forgettable.

I do remember trying to use up the last of the gluten-free bread in the fridge. I toasted it, then put the last of my homemade butter and the last bits of a jar of peanut butter on a slice and ate it. It was a tremendously unenjoyable experience. A bit like eating wallpaper paste covered in peanut butter and sweetened with honey. Granted, I’ve not eaten wallpaper paste, but I would imagine it would be dry and dense and would refuse to dissolve in your mouth. Later tonight I gave the heel of the bread one last chance: I slathered it in butter, then sprinkled garlic salt on top, then generously sprinkled grated cheese over that and then another layer just to be sure, and topped with a bit of parmesan, microwaved it and sliced it with a knife into small squares.

Ugh. Still wallpaper paste, only with salt instead of sweet this time. Maybe the only solution would be to turn it into toast points under beef and gravy, but I suspect even then the bread would refuse to yield to the moisture.

*sigh* I miss gluten.

More taekwondo tonight. I don’t generally go two nights in a row, but I’m going to miss tomorrow night (due to subbing in a dart league – stay tuned for whatever story comes out of that), and quite possibly I’ll miss on Thursday as well due to something niggling at my brain that I think I was supposed to do but I can’t remember what. I hope to remember by Thursday. If I don’t, I apologize in advance to you if it was your event I forgot to go to.

And it was, again, a great class. I had been getting bored by the end of last year but the changes they made this year have injected new life into class. I love using the new gear. I’m getting a better workout too. My abs still hurt from last Thursday’s crunches, I got a GREAT cardio workout yesterday sparring with my gear on, and then after tonight’s punching drill with gloves on I think I’m going to develop a massive left bicep.

Made it home in time for the State of the Union Address. I am so happy that I have never yet found reason to be upset with or disillusioned with our President. Maybe he hasn’t done everything every person had hoped he’d do, maybe he’s compromised in ways not everyone is happy with. But overall, I never ever get the feeling he is dishonest or underhanded or blatantly lying to our faces. I’m a good judge of character too, and while I always wish for the best in people, I am not naïve. I can almost always “feel” bad vibes from liars. I have a sixth sense and I know how to use it.

Anyway, I respect the office of President and I am proud of the man who occupies it today.

No comments, please. My left arm is tired, I don’t want to use it again on you. 🙂

Seriously, this blog is not a place for political debate. I get enough of that elsewhere. This blog is MY soapbox. Speaking of which, have you ever been to Hyde Park in London? Apparently Sundays were the day that people could come to the park with their soapbox and stand up on it and make their own proclamations. I may have my facts a bit wrong about that, maybe they could do it every day, I can’t remember. I’m too tired to go look it up. But I like the visual. I wonder if it was kinda like facebook, only louder?

mocats and my two cents worth

— January 23 —

No story today. Just pictures. Kind of a progression of how I play with apps, lol.

money to burn

Okay fine, I can find a story to tell.  I went to taekwondo class tonight. I thought it had been moved back a half hour, to accommodate the class ahead of mine being increased to an hour and a half. Turns out that low belt is still only an hour, so I was a half hour late. By the time I did my own warmup and stretches, I missed out on drills, and we went straight into sparring.

My first time, ever.

The whole night was a bit surreal, I felt like I was physically present and engaged, but emotionally detached. I wasn’t afraid of sparring like I had been in the past. The black belt who was “ringmaster” of our square (I forgot the proper term for it) gave me critique as if I’d been sparring awhile. I told him after class that it was my first time and he was surprised. Apparently I did well. I think it helps that I wasn’t already tired from drills.

I did hit my broken toe ever so softly the wrong way and it hurt inordinately much. I may get a pair of sparring boots just for a bit of added protection. I enjoyed the workout and appreciated that my partner didn’t overwhelm me, though she could have. All in all it was a positive experience.

Oh yeah, and I also watched Hoarders. What a scary show. I think I will throw away everything I own tomorrow. ~shudder~

A penny for your … effort

— January 22 —


I was at Target one evening, about a half hour before closing. Once I got inside I realized my lips were dry, so I reached into my pocket for my lip gloss, and in the process I knocked a coin out of my pocket. It sounded like a penny and so I almost kept on walking without looking at it. But curiosity got the best of me so I stopped and looked back. Sure enough, it was.

Now, I never bother to pick up a penny off the ground when I see one. I’ll always leave it for a little kid to get excited over. Sometimes I even drop or throw a few spare pennies I find in my pocket or purse onto the sidewalk, hoping it will make some little kid’s day.

But this one dropped out of my pocket while I was inside a store. I considered just leaving it there, just walking on by, but something felt wrong about that. You don’t just drop things on the floor and leave them there when you’re shopping, even if it’s money. That feels like littering.

So I went to pick it up, but before I could, a young boy of about ten or twelve, who was walking behind me with his family, jumped forward and picked it up and held it out for me.

I felt I could do nothing other than accept it from him and say thank you. After all, the boy was too old to get excited over a penny, right? But to take it from him made me feel like a stingy old miser.

So I accepted it with a thank you, and then after a moment I asked, “ya want it?” The boy hesitated only slightly and then said “Yeah!” I handed it to him and we both giggled. I walked away feeling generously silly, and he and his family chattered and laughed about it in Spanish so I don’t really know how he felt about the penny itself. But I assume he felt good about it and it sort of made his day, like it did mine. Not for the value of the penny, but for the humanity of the exchange.

But in any case, it was one of those little human to human encounters that added a little bit of sparkle to the rest of the evening.

i didn’t do what i set out to do.

— January 21 —

The story behind these pictures is one of indecision, lack of focus, disappointment and altered plans. And a decent night out anyway.

The afternoon started out with an impromptu committee meeting at a Starbucks across town.  Since I was already on that side of town, I went to the Party Store nearby to pick something up. Since I was already at the party store, I asked if they had a 60s costume. Since they offered me a significant discount on the costume, I bought it.

See, I was invited to a “Psychedelic Soiree” tonight, which was an art show/party at an artist’s studio. A guaranteed good time.

Since I was at the Party Store, I decided to go to a New Orleans themed restaurant nearby called Crawdaddy’s, because I don’t get to that side of town very often, or when I do, it’s after 2 and before 4 and they’re not open for for either lunch or dinner. Today, it was 6pm and they were sure to be open. I wasn’t going to eat much, I was just going to sit at the bar and nibble on red beans and rice.

It was terribly difficult to find a parking spot. I parked far away and walked through the snow to the restaurant, only to find when I got to the door that they were packed with parties waiting for tables, and even the bar was double-thick with people. So I left, disappointed.

The Thai place across the street wasn’t crowded. It’s always been my fall-back restaurant whenever I can’t get into Crawdaddy’s, which is always. But tonight, when I imagined what I might order, I remembered that I didn’t like their fresh spring roll sauce as much as some other spring-roll-serving places. I suddenly wanted really good fresh spring rolls very badly. So I headed to the one place I could think of whose spring rolls were consistently good — RuYi, inside the Potawatomi Bingo and Casino.

Talk about busy! Note to self: don’t go to a casino at 6pm on a Saturday night. But the spring rolls were great and I left happy. A bit hungry still, but happy.

I didn’t want to fight the traffic to the freeway so I drove east, toward the neighborhood where I’ve discovered a new favorite bar. It’s called the Bomb Shelter, and they recently made the list of top beer bars in the nation in DRAFT Magazine. They’re always tapping new beers, and since I recently read an article that asked whether beer really bothered gluten-intolerant people, I decided to test the theory and start drinking beer.

I had the Tallgrass Belgian Trippel, I forgot the actual name of it though. The tapper topper was a rooster.

I amused myself with my camera phone apps while I sipped my beer.

And then it was 7:30 and time for the Soiree to start, but I wasn’t dressed up for it even though I was already in the neighborhood of the studio. I consulted with the bartender what she would do if she were me: go to the party dressed as I was, or go home and change. She unanimously agreed 🙂 that I should just go as I was. I said I didn’t know if I’d see any friends there. She said in that case I should have another beer and then go.

I didn’t want to pay for another beer, so I just left for the party. When I got there, I found it difficult to find a parking spot, again. I parked far away, again, and walked through the snow, again, to the door. On my way to the door, I passed several cute young things all dressed up for the Psychedelic Soiree, and by the time I got to the door, and saw the sign that said, “Dress accordingly!”, I chickened out and decided to go home and change first.

Except by this time I really had to go to the bathroom. I figured I’d quick jump on the highway and zip home and be to a toilet in ten minutes.

Except because I was thinking about how badly I had to use the bathroom, I accidentally got on the wrong on-ramp and went SOUTH.

So then I was in a bit of a bind, so I decided to get off at the next exit, in Bay View, and hit up a friendly establishment right off the road for el baño. I passed the Palomino and Club Garibaldi because I’d already settled my mind on a place called At Random, a great little old fashioned cocktail lounge where you can get huge ice cream drinks and imagine Frank Sinatra strolling past your table on his way to meet his Pack.

But it was difficult to find a parking spot nearby. So I finally found a parking spot far away, again, and walked through the snow again and got to the door and went in.

And there was a wait to get a table there, too!!

With no hostess in sight, all the bartenders busy, and a clump of people ready to jump me if I skipped ahead of them, I glanced around for the nearest facilities but only saw the one marked MEN. This was getting urgent.

So I left At Random, left my car parked down the street, walked through the snow another block east, and slipped into a place called the Cactus Club. I’d always seen in my friend Chelsea’s foursquare checkins that it was one of her favorite hangouts, so I figured I’d check it out. Since it was so close, and all. See what the ladies’ room looked like, at least.


The place was definitely much younger and grungier than I am, but the bartender was nice enough. I ordered a small cocktail in exchange for his not saying anything about me bolting in and making a beeline for the bathroom. I listened to a thirty-old-something guy try to pick up a twenty-young-something girl while I sipped my drink, and played with my apps some more.

I think this is such a cool image. It was an experimental mistake. I love it.

And then I left.

And went home to change.

And just stayed home.

I now own an unworn 60s Flower Power costume, deeply discounted.