On October 9 (one day before my birthday), I visited Stillwater, Minnesota, with my mom and our puggles. This was my first trip to Stillwater, and, boy, have I been missing out! It’s a beautiful, touristy city on the St. Croix River and Minnesota-Wisconsin border.
They were also having their Stillwater Harvest Fest at Lowell Park on the river, though I did not know about this until I got there. It was crowded and, I’m sure, relatively difficult to find parking (see where we parked in the last two photos).
Here are 19 photos I took today. All but the two from the restaurant, which were taken with my Google Pixel 4a, were taken with a Canon EOS R and kit lens.
I just got back from the longest walk of my life. And my first marathon. In the headline, I say it was my first “unofficial” marathon because I was just walking on my own and not as part of an official event. Still, I trust the data from my Withings Pulse HR activity tracker (if anything, it underreports steps, since, in the past, I have worn a Withings and Garmin tracker at the same time to test the devices).
I did not plan this feat; rather, I decided to go for a marathon shortly after going on a walk today. I reasoned I could walk a marathon — and I was determined to do so — because I hadn’t walked in a week due to smoke from the wildfires in Canada. The weather also helped.
As the first screenshot illustrates, I started walking at 7:06 a.m. and walked for a total of 9 hours and 7 minutes. I did, of course, walk a little more than a half mile extra.
My psychology teacher from high school was also the cross country coach. I remember he once told our class that marathon runners are known to have problems finishing races. For example, I believe he said they can have diarrhea mid-race, due to the stress they put on their bodies. I did not have any problems. But, then again, I was just walking.
The closest I’ve come to my marathon today was when I walked 23.55 miles on August 27, 2020. As I say on Facebook, “I would’ve walked 26.2 miles for a full marathon, but I had eBay orders to ship.” That was a bit disappointing.
I would like to walk an official marathon someday (assuming that is something people do); but, for now, I’m content with my unofficial marathon.
Those “26.2” stickers just look so cool on a car’s rear window. Does it really matter if you were only walking? Who would know?
Today and tomorrow are in “a run for hottest day of the year,” according to the National Weather Service’s forecast office in the Twin Cities/Chanhassen, MN (which is located right next to my neighborhood).
I seem to have run into some bad luck this holiday season. First, on December 1, I start showing symptoms of COVID-19; then, on Christmas Eve, I get pain in my gums that lasts several days; and, finally, on New Year’s Day, I get what I think are most likely hemorrhoids. What did I do to deserve all this bad fortune? I thought I had been a good person.
OK, maybe I’m to blame. I did lose 35 pounds in a little over four months. Maybe now my body is fighting back.
I had been looking forward to being slim not just for the last four months but for at least the last four years. Now I’m at my goal weight (I will write a post about my weight-loss journey soon), but it came at a price.
Still, I didn’t let these afflictions keep me from getting some nice winter photos today. After all, that is why you clicked the link, isn’t it? No, I shouldn’t have said that; my hemorrhoids are probably why you’re here. Well, I will be video conferencing with a doctor in an hour, so I will fill you in on all the salacious details. No, they won’t be examining my derrière over video. At least I don’t think that’s how it works. (Note: I will post the update after the photos.)
I’m starting to ramble. Here are the photos.
Update, 1/2/2021: I had my appointment with a physician assistant (not a medical doctor). We talked over the phone, rather than over video. Interestingly, I forgot to spend undue time making sure I had the right diagnosis, but I’m about 99 percent sure I have hemorrhoids. I’ve only had them one other time in my life — almost exactly 10 years ago — and the symptoms were the same as what I have now. I believe they went away within a week of using Preparation H, witch hazel, or a prescription (I don’t remember which).
The PA prescribed a medication, recommended fiber-rich foods, dispensed other home remedies and things to look out for, and generally answered my questions. I’m optimistic my pain will subside once I start implementing these treatments.
I’ll probably write at least one more update to this post once my body gets back to normal.
As I write this post at 5 p.m. on October 20, 2020, we are in a Winter Storm Warning in the Twin Cities. It has been snowing nonstop since this morning. We are on track to possibly beat the all-time daily record for October snowfall in the Twin Cities. We will for sure be the runner-up for the October snowfall record, with the 1991 Halloween blizzard possibly inching ahead. (As a side note, I’ve heard stories of the 1991 Halloween blizzard my entire life. I was three at the time.)
UPDATE, 6/30/2021: Disregard the title of this post. The snowfall was not a record-breaker.
I’ve walked by this location numerous times in the past two months while going on long walks, but I just noticed this ironic placement of a Porta-Potty today. I had to take a quick picture with my phone.
On a related note, the technical name for a Porta-Potty is actually chemical toilet, since they use chemicals to mask the odors.
This photo was taken at Rice Marsh Lake in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
Is this just childish humor? Possibly. But I must admit I was excited when I first noticed this connection.
Today, my mom, my puggles, and I decided to visit Charles A. Lindbergh State Park in Little Falls, Minnesota, because it was the closest state park at peak fall colors according to the DNR’s Fall Color Finder*. It was a fine state park situated near the Mississippi River. These are the photos I got. (* Update, 12/29/2020: Because of today’s political climate, I am compelled to add that I don’t agree with the political views of the historical figure for which this state park is named.)
A couple months ago, I read a gear review on Wired.com about hummingbird feeders. Since my mom is a huge hummingbird fan and has tons of hummingbird decorations, I told her to read the review. We bought a hummingbird feeder — and, later, a second one — and ever since we have been inundated with hummingbirds. If you like hummingbirds, it makes so much sense to have a hummingbird feeder (or two) so you can enjoy hummingbirds every day rather than waiting for perhaps one the entire summer.
Even though the high was around 60 degrees today, and I’m guessing the hummingbirds are beginning to migrate from Minnesota, it wasn’t long before I captured this hummingbird at one of our feeders this evening.
The hummingbird feeders we use cost $30 on Amazon. The ASIN for the feeders is B00P91VK4U, so you can just copy and paste that into the Amazon search box. We followed the instructions for the sugar water that were included with the feeders, and the hummingbirds seem to love it!
My mom had previously counted about 20 days in a row seeing hummingbirds.
And that is so much better than just one sighting for the entire summer.