Celebrating 16 years at the State Fair

Friday, August 23, 2019

We celebrated our 16th anniversary today at the Minnesota State Fair. We had a great day! We enjoyed baked chicken at the Hamline Dining Hall, pretzel curds at O'Garas, apple dumplings, strawberry shake from the Dairy Bar and a pork chop on the stick which was so good we didn't get a picture. 

Largest Boar
We came at feeding time so we actually got to see him upright. 
A little kid asked Eric what those big things are and if it was going to have a baby. 
Eric trying to describe them was priceless. :)

Rock Hall Half Marathon

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Expo was at the Hyatt Regency at the Arcade. It was a cool looking building. The expo was in the basement and was very small but that’s fine, we were out of there in less than 15 minutes.

We woke up to thunder, lightning and heavy rain. It was not looking to be a great start to this race. I’m not sure where the storm came from because the night before just looked to be hot. We got ready and went to the hotel lobby and realized that walking a mile in this crap was not an ideal thing. It is only a mile walk to the starting line, but I really didn’t want to show up drenched with wet shoes. I hate running in wet shoes. It was already going to be a miserable race. So Uber came to the rescue. Best $15 I spent on the trip, I got to the start line dry. By the time we got to the Rock Hall the heavy rain was done, just a little sprinkle but the lightning display was still going. They delayed the start 15 minutes. We ran into the Rock Hall to use the bathroom and stay dry from the lingering rain drops. 5 minutes before the start we wandered over to the starting line and another big crack of thunder and another lightning strike  and I thought for sure we were going to be delayed again but nope, we started. Thankfully the rain stopped and my shoes were mostly dry. :)

There were only about 900 people running the half, less than I thought. My training leading up to the race was not great. My longest run since Hatfield & McCoy was 8 miles. With all the traveling, I didn’t have much time for running. But that is ok, I got to see Dylan a lot in July and that was more important! I decided to start running 1 minute and walking 30 seconds. I was going to take it slow. I usually run out to fast and then crash and burn. Today I was going to take it slow. I did good for the first couple miles. I stayed on my 60:30 and had to 13:30 miles. During mile 3 I started running with Melody. I veered of the 60:30 and started doing more of 60:60. When I started running with Melody, I got trapped in my mind game that I need to run fast for the 60 seconds and then I couldn’t recover in the usually 30 seconds. I don’t really care because honestly my goal with this race was to finish before the cut off of 3:45.

Now my slowest half ever was 3:30 and that was when I was suffering from strep throat, bronchitis and stuffed up nose. Other than my lack of training, I was perfectly fine for this race. The only thing that could drag me down was heat and thankfully it wasn’t horrible for most of the race. The sun was tucked behind a cloud. When it would peek out it got hot fast but shortly after that it would go back behind the clouds. I’m surprised I did as well as I did for the first 5 miles. I was keeping a consistent pace and didn’t get over heated.  In addition to Melody, we also met Sparks from Philly. He was speed walking, I walked with him for a bit and man he was fast. We decided to stick around him for a while because he made the comment that he always has chest pains for the first 4 miles of every race!!!  What???? 

Miles 4 and 5 were through some “interesting” parts to town. We also ran through the Cleveland Clinic campus during mile 6. So if I need medical assistance, this would have been the best mile. Haha!

Mile 7, 8 and 9 were very beautiful. We ran down Martin Luther King Jr Dr. and the Cleveland Culture Gardens.  There was lots of shade and gorgeous gardens. They had gardens representing various countries. The Syrian was the best with the arches, it looked like the perfect place for a wedding.  This is the area we lost Sparks. He beat us by 5 minutes. Haha!

Beginning of mile 10 was along the lake. We didn’t get to see much of the lake because there was an airport in the way. And it wasn’t an exciting airport with big planes…that would have kept my interest. I had a funny thought on the road when I realized that several years ago, when Eric and I visited Cleveland, we were stuck on this road because we didn’t know there was an airshow going on…it took us forever to get through that traffic jam. I never would have thought then that one day I’d be running a half marathon on this road. And here I am! We could see the Browns stadium for the entire time and it never got any bigger so it never felt like I was getting closer to the finish. By this time, Melody and I were speed walking. I mentioned we could run again and we both cracked up laughing and said nope! When we got close to finish, Melody said we had to sprint so she yelled at me to run faster and we crossed the finish line at 3:17:43. It seems that is my “lack of training” time. Someday I will train and get back under 3. I did it last year at Grandma’s full marathon.

Overall this wasn’t a bad race. I did way better than I expected…I thought it would be another 3:30 time. There wasn’t much at the finish line. I got my huge medal and bottle of water. Eventually found a banana and Eric. We didn’t waste any time at the finish line…we got an Uber back to the hotel where we crashed.

Cleveland Rocks!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

This past weekend we traveled to Cleveland for the Rock & Roll Hall Half Marathon. This isn’t part of the Rock & Roll Series…and you better not confuse them!  You see the Rock & Roll Series used to run in Cleveland but two weeks before the event they cancelled it. Needless to say, that pissed off a lot of people.  Haha!  More on the run can be found on my next blog post.

Our flight arrived super late…almost midnight late. Thankfully I got some $10 promo codes from Lyft so we took that to our downtown Playhouse Square Cleveland hotel. Otherwise it would have been an over hour bus ride. Ick!

Saturday fun!
Saturday morning we started out with breakfast at Starbucks…if we would have known about the cheap diner next door we would have skipped Starbucks! After that we walked to the Expo to pick up our bibs. It was a small expo but that’s fine, we were out of there in less than 15 minutes. We walked back to the hotel to drop off our stuff and headed to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We got free tickets with our race packet. Honestly, I wouldn’t have paid to go see it. But since it was free, why not?

It was about a mile walk from the hotel. It was a great warm up to the walk for the race on Sunday…we started at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We checked out a couple along the way and got some nice pictures of the lake and Brown’s stadium.

We spent about an hour and a half at the museum before we headed back to the hotel. There was some interesting exhibits but overall I found it boring. The room that actually has the inductees was closed…how lame is that?!

We stopped at the Winking Lizard. Eric had ribs and I had a burger. It was good food and not to badly priced. While we were there it started pouring!  We hung out for a while until I lightened up. It was weird as we walked back to the hotel it was raining on us and it was sunny. Ha!

After 4:30 Mass at the Cathedral (to pray I survive this race), we had some pizza at Guy’s Pizza Co. It was so cheap. Two large pieces of pizza and two cans of pop was $6. Amazing!  We went back to the hotel and crashed. We had an early wake up call!

Sunday…Uber saved the day
I’ll go into specifics about the race in another post but to sum it up, Uber saved the day. It stormed to start and got hot when we finished…best $30 a even spent was Ubering to and from the  race.

After that we showered and napped we enjoyed the hot tub. It felt so good. I was starving by this point and I wanted steak. Well there were no steak places with in walking distance of our hotel so Uber, again, saved the day. Uber Eats picked up my steak and Eric ribs and delivered it to our hotel…Awesome!

We walked around park at Playhouse Square and just relaxed in the beautiful night sky after a hot steamy day. We are such party poopers. Haha!

 Monday…Lakeview Cemetery
Our flight left at 5:30 so we had plenty of time to do something in the morning. After stopping at the diner we found next door to the hotel for breakfast we hopped on the bus to the Lakeview Cemetery. Now you are probably thinking why are we going to a cemetery…well the answer is history. President Garfield has a monument there and I wanted to see it. We discovered some other interesting things in the park like the Wade Chapel. Wade Memorial Chapel, built in memory of Jeptha Wade, founder of The Western Union Telegraph Company and the first president of Lake View Cemetery, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of the few interiors left in the world that was totally designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his studios.

Dylan's Eulogy

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Dylan was born during Monday Night Football. No, the Packers were not playing, wouldn’t that have been fitting. But nope the old Houston Oilers beat Cincinnati Bengals 28-24. From the start He was destined to like all sports. Every year during the March madness he would snapchat his multiple TVs he had set up.

He was also a history buff and liked to mention that the Berlin Wall fell the week he was born too.

We all know Dylan loved his cats. This affection started at a very young. Before Sebastian and Louie he had an army of cats. When he was 2, my family lived on a dairy farm and Every time Dylan visited he had to go “play” with the barn cats. I’m sure when they saw him, and definitely when they heard him coming because he wasn’t the quietest boy, they scattered. He has a special way with cats. He could make them almost paralyzed by the way he carried them…upside down squeezing them just below the hind legs. There is a YouTube video that I suggest every one watch. It will be the best 3 minutes of your day...Just search Dylan’s last night milking cows. It has almost 1,200 views (and no they aren’t all from me and Nancy like he claimed).  I posted the video right after Dylan started at Marquette and made sure to share it on his Facebook page so all his new friends could see it.  

Early on in Melissa and Dylan’s relationship, he texted me to find out appropriate timing to share the video with a cat obsessed girl he really liked. He didn’t want to scare Melissa away. Thankfully for us she wasn’t easily scared and stuck with him.

It was fitting that they included their love for cats at their wedding. when Dylan and Melissa called to ask if I would do a reading at their wedding, I could think of several other more qualified people, but I said yes. Now I was expecting something along the lines of some bible verses or maybe a story. Then I got the reading.  And honestly at first I laughed and soon realized all those other worthy people I thought of could not pull this off. It was a poem about how Our Kitties taught us how to Love. I love cats just as much as they do. This was a perfect reading for them, and I was so honored they asked me to read it with my cat ears and all!

Dylan was very clever. When he was around 6 or 7, I picked up Dylan and Danielle in La Crosse and drove them to Independence for the weekend. Shortly after we left Dylan insisted he had to use the bathroom and couldn’t hold it. Well were already in Onalaska and I said that I could have turned around, but he said no, there is a Mc Donald’s up here on County Road OT. So being a na├»ve person, I stopped at Mc Donald’s. Of course it had a Play Place and obviously since we were already here we might as well play. I took me an hour to get them out of there and it required ice cream to coax them out. And you know what…I don’t think he every did use the bathroom

Dylan got embarrassed very easily. The time I had to take him underwear shopping at Target was probably high on his list of traumatic events. The kids were in Montana skiing with their dad, Tony. Some sort of miscommunication happened at the hotel and their suitcase was left in the parking lot. When Tony dropped them off we had to go shopping for a few clothes for the weekend. So we walked around target getting the usual items but when it came to underwear…we had a problem. See Dylan had no idea what size he needed, his mom always bought them. He complained about how embarrassing it was to shop for underwear with his aunt as people walked around us. Finally he said "I DON'T KNOW, JUST PICK ONE!!"

Dylan was also very smart. When I went back for my second degree I had to take a stupid 100 level Finite Math class. I love math (not as much Danielle) but for some reason I was struggling. I called up the kids because they were the best math teacher I knew and asked them for some help. Danielle, being the sweetheart she is, gave me the one piece of the puzzle I was missing. All the while, I could hear Dylan in the background laughing and saying mean things about me. Well I got even with him though. They were both in college at the time and I liked to send them care packages. Well I sent Danielle a nice care package and I told her to make sure Dylan knows she got one.  When he asked me why I didn’t send him one, I told him next don’t laugh at me!

Dylan at one time said the atlas was his favorite book. Dylan’s passion included maps/globes, traveling and National Parks. In Melissa, he found the perfect person to share his passion. I am so happy that they got to travel so much during their time together.

When he was younger, we went on several trips together to wonderful places like Washington DC, NYC, UP/Mackinac Island, MN North Shore and our biggest trip out West. We stopped at the Grand Canyon and most National Parks in southern Utah. My family NEVER likes to make decisions so when I decided what we were going to do he affectionately called me the trip dictator. We always compared our list of states, ball parks and national parks visited. Just  a couple weeks ago we were comparing our Alaskan cruises. 

My family is obsessive card players and Facebook reminded me the other day why I hated playing cards. I always lost...especially when I played the kids. Dylans comment on the post was domination and Danielle said that’s what I get for being partners with their mom. Dylan played cards to the very end and I’ve been told he won, he always won.

Dylan was a smart, funny and all around nice kid. He would call his grandma just to see how she was. I don’t know too many young men who do that. He also reached out to her to come visit. During his college spring breaks he would come to her house to play cards. Just last year he came up to his dads for the weekend. After He dropped tony and Nancy off at a concert, he went to visit his grandma. She was at a church festival with her friends so he joined them. There was Dylan surround by a bunch of old ladies listening to polka music. But He didn’t care. 

He was so kind, always concerned for others, even when he was sick. the last time he was visiting, he just simply grabbed his grandmas hand and held it while they sat at the table. That is the way he was and that is what I will miss most about him. 

Dylan Schank - 11/13/89 - 8/6/19

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

My nephew, Dylan, passed away this morning after a eight month battle with cancer. It is hard to believe 10 months ago I was honored to recite a cat poem for his wedding and now he is gone.

Dylan and I shared many interests but we both had a passion for cats, traveling and baseball.

If you want a good laugh watch this video showing the special way Dylan held cats when he was 2.5. Dylan's Last Night Milking Cows

When he started dating Melissa he asked when it would be appropriate to show her the video. Ha! Since Swirl was young he has had a heart murmur. Dylan always referred to him as the little heart patient.

We also shared a love of maps/globes, traveling and National Parks. Dylan at one time said the atlas was his favorite book. When he was younger, we went on several trips together to wonderful places like Washington DC, NYC, UP/Mackinac Island, MN North Shore and our biggest trip out West to San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas. We stopped at the Grand Canyon and most National Parks in southern Utah. It is so hard to believe we won't be able to talk about maps and globes, or trips we are taking. No more talk about cats or baseball.  I'm so heartbroken.

Minnesota Loons Game

Sunday, August 4, 2019

We capped off the fun filled week with a MNUFC (Minnesota United) soccer game. The game was kind of boring until the last 7 minutes. There was a hand ball in the box and after the ref looked at the VAR he awarded the Loons a penalty kick. That was deciding score. We won 1-0...Yay us!  We got to listen to Wonderwall to finish off a great afternoon at the pitch!
View from our seats.

It was a hot one! I'm in a tank!

Before the score, forgot to take a picture after the goal.

More Birthday Week Fun

Saturday, August 3, 2019

We had planned to run on Wednesday after work but it was a beautiful day for the Valleyfair water park. This will be hard to believe, but this was the first time we visited all year!!!!  It was almost August and we hadn't been to the water park. Crazy!

Thursday is "Buck Night" at Canterbury Park so we watched some horses run around a track while eating our $2 hot dog, $1 pop and $1 popcorn. Some of the items have doubled in price this year like the nachos are now $2! We couldn't figure out where they were so we didn't get them. After the fact, I found them at the cantina. We lost terribly. I guess that is what we get for picking our horses based on names (like "Philo" and "Wanamingo") and not by ability  The last one was a complete failure. There were 12 horses in the race and when the gates opened there were 11 horses up front and my horse just trotting along 50 yards behind them. It eventually decided to run and finished 6th. Not bad but another $2 bet down the drain. Hahaha!

Friday night was our latest Twins game. It was fireworks night!  The game was quite exciting with many ties and lead changes. We finally won the game but not before the pre-fireworks in the 8th inning when the Twins's newest pitcher, Dyson, nearly blew it. He is just like the vacuum with his namesake...he sucks. We got him in a trade from the Giants. His first game he gave up 3 runs without getting an out! His second outing last night was nearly as bad with two runs before finally getting two outs. He allowed a few more on base before they pulled him for the other new pitcher, Romo. He is awesome and got a 4 out save. Phew!

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Target Field has this in the hallway. 

After the game we got stuck in some traffic. When the Willie Nelson Concert, Fiddler on the Roof and the Twins all get done at the same time, it causes a major traffic jam. It took us 50 minutes to get out the parking garage. We knew it was going be a while so we watched the scene down below on the street and boy were we not disappointed. Some girls were walking down the street yelling at a girl in the car. Well the girl in the car jumped out (leaving her driver door open) and came running out to her. There was hair pulling, scream and some blows...quite entertaining. They finally separated and the "car" girl starting walking back to her car when the "walking" girls must have said something because she came sprinting towards her and more hits, hair pulling, and screaming. All the while this girl's car was blocking an already jam packed street. Lots of fun!

To celebrate Eric's birthday, and to get an extra hour of sleep, we booked the Holiday Inn in downtown St. Paul for the night which is right by the start of our 8K race. After all the chaos getting out of downtown Minneapolis, we didn't get to the hotel until after midnight. Yawn!

This morning was the Race for the Kids 8K. It was a disaster. The first mile was ok the rest was crap. It was so hot and humid...I'm totally screwed for the Cleveland half in two weeks. 

This race also has a skating half marathon. I saw a nasty crash. There was a guy pushing an Angels cart (so disabled people can participate) and he was passing a runner when the runner stepped right in front of him. There was nothing he could. He crashed and the scariest part was the angel's cart flipped completely over and the poor disable person was being crushed. Stupid runner. I'm sure he had headphones in and didn't hear the skater. ARGH!  They got the cart back upright and thankfully the rider had a helmet. He seemed shaken up but otherwise was ok. They eventually passed me. 

The sad part about this race is Officer Benny is gone. He was a great St. Paul Police officer that worked all the Shepard Road races. He was the only bright spot on a horrible race course. He was so energetic, high five-ing everybody and so supportive. He passed away unexpectedly a couple months ago. He was so popular that the news covered his sudden death.