Out and About

Carver County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Posse

I went to the grocery store Lunds & Byerlys in Chanhassen, Minnesota, at about 11 a.m. today. As I parked my car, I saw two people riding horses in the parking lot. Not wanting to miss a photo opportunity, I ran up to the equestrians. I presumed they were with the Carver County Sheriff’s Office and practicing for the Fourth of July (though I never bothered to ask what they were doing). I did, however, ask if they were police officers, and they said, “No,” but they did say they were volunteers for the Carver County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Posse. They then told me to send a photo to the Carver County Sheriff’s Office so they can post it, which I will do after I post this article.

On a related note, today is the 15th anniversary of the iPhone. See this article from the Associated Press to find out what some of their photographers from all over the world think of the iPhone. Note: It might not be what you expect! (They’ll stick with their professional cameras, but the smartphone still has its uses, such as for this photo I took of horses in a parking lot when I didn’t have my professional camera.)

Carver County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Posse at Lunds & Byerlys in Chanhassen, Minnesota
Pug Life

It’s Meteorological Summer!

June 1 is the first day of meteorological summer, which is based on the temperature cycle. But some contend the first day of summer is actually June 20–22, the solstice, which is based on the position of Earth in relation to the Sun. In any case, today’s blue sky and fluffy clouds look like summer. I took these photos with my phone.

Song of the day: The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds.

Headshot of Missy
Side profile of Pugsley
Out and About

Late Spring at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Today, my mom and I checked out the 40,000 blooming tulips and completed the Three-Mile Walk at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, Minnesota.

Red, orange, and yellow tulips
Pink tulips
Red and white tulips
Idyllic path near the beginning of the Three-Mile Walk
Athyrium filix-femina, the lady fern
Fallen Quercus rubra, the red oak
My mom sitting on a bench
Scenic view
Male red-winged blackbird on cattails by a pond
Mushy path in a bubbling bog
Signpost along the Three-Mile Walk
Out and About

Excelsior at the Golden Hour

For my first photos of 2022 (taken with my professional camera), I visited Excelsior, Minnesota, at the golden hour—the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. I was there today for the sunset. These photos depict some of my favorite places as a child.

The Glow Lounge (I’m not sure what it is)
Excelsior Coin & Collectibles, a shop I used to visit as a child to add to my coin collection
Licks Unlimited, where my favorite ice cream flavor was Superman
Excelsior Dock Cinema, where they are showing the 2022 adaptation of Stephen King’s 1980 novel, Firestarter. I didn’t see that many movies here as a child, but I do remember seeing Twister.
Leipold’s, a store selling antiques and odds and ends. There was an article about this unique store in the Star Tribune, which one can read here.
An abandoned gas station in the heart of Excelsior. I wonder what they’re planning on doing with this building.
Trinity Episcopal Church, the church my family attended when I was a child was parked near Lake Minnetonka
Lady of the Lake, a three-deck charter boat on Lake Minnetonka
A tree in the foreground and the moon in the way, way background
Commons Ballpark
Bark on three similar trees near Lake Minnetonka
Lake Minnetonka two minutes before sunset
Pug Life

Carver Park Reserve Off-Leash Dog Park in Autumn

Today, my mom, puggles, and I made it to Carver Park Reserve Off-Leash Dog Park in Victoria, Minnesota. This dog park is actually the only dog park we knew about after getting Pugsley, and it wasn’t for quite some time that we found out about all the other dog parks in the area.

According to the Minnesota DNR’s Fall Color Finder, now is the perfect time for fall colors in Victoria. However, fall colors this year are not as spectacular as other years because of the drought we had this summer. Nevertheless, it was a nice day to visit a dog park and get some photos.

Missy and Pugsley by a fence
Pugsley and I looking at each other
Pugsley by a fence and entrance to the area for small dogs. Ours were the biggest dogs there.
Missy and Pugsley take a break off the path to enjoy the smell of grass
Pugsley smelling more grass with my mom and Missy walking toward Lake Zumbra in the background
A nice portrait of Pugsley in the grass
Missy walking over some fallen leaves on the path
Out and About Pug Life

My First Visit to Stillwater, Minnesota

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 it’s clear I’ve 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.

My mom and our dogs after arriving at Lowell Park
Pumpkin sculpture
Line for amusement park attractions
My mom and our dogs by the St. Croix River with the famous Stillwater Lift Bridge in the background
Boat on the St. Croix River
Black Letter Books
Pugsley and Missy drinking water outside a store
Festive display next to outdoor dining
Chestnut Street and the Stillwater Lift Bridge
Patio for Domaćin Restaurant & Wine Bar
Roasted vegetables. Delicious!
Where we found parking on hilly 2nd Street
View from 2nd Street
Personal Life

I Walked My First (Unofficial) Marathon

I walked 26.86 miles at a pace of 20:21 min./mile (data courtesy of Withings)

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.

Hourly weather forecast for Chanhassen, Minnesota, on August 4, 2021 (image courtesy of the National Weather Service)

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?

Out and About

Two Late July Days in ‘a Run for Hottest Day of the Year’

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 took this photo at 7:23 a.m.

The morning sky on one of the hottest days of the year

Out and About Personal Life

It Was a Frosty, Foggy Morning, and I Think I Have Hemorrhoids

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.

Sign for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in the Twin Cities/Chanhassen, Minnesota
Trees with frost
Prairie with frost
The National Weather Service Forecast Office in the Twin Cities/Chanhassen, Minnesota

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.


Record-Breaking October Snow

Today might beat the all-time daily record for October snowfall in the Twin Cities

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.