Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tough Mudder Training

i did it.  or rather i will do it and am getting ready to do it.  i signed up for tough mudder mn 2013. holy.  how did i let amanda talk me into this?  oh yeah, because i have a deep yearning to accomplish some major physical milestones this year and be back at my fighting weight by the end of it.

last year, exactly a year to the day, i woke up out of my december-gluten-haze. (if you recall, i really hit gluten-free, corn-free, soy-free, everything-i'm-not-supposed-to-eat-free very hard and finally got into my stride with it.  then december came and i decided to be kind to myself instead of feeling guilt ridden for the month - and just gave myself a bye to eat anything-anything-everything for the entire month.  i didn't make it the entire month because i had retained so much water and was miserable.)  well, i'm back on that day a year later, having survived the holiday crush much better than last year.  i only retained 6 pounds of water this december and am still 25 pounds lighter than last year.  i'm calling that a win.

as i run in the wintry outdoors, i thought i might like to look back at my running information in my own space in coordination with the run-double that i use.  partly, because days like today when i let my phone go dead and forgot to put it on the charger, i can't use run-double... and because there is so much more to this gig than the stats on my phone.

feeling: great. a little scared that i signed up for a 10K and forgot about it. whoa. feeling a little scared that i might not be able to finish, even though i know my slow days never go over 1.5 hours. gah, that's so slow...what if. what if. get over it. running it today so i don't talk myself out of going.
time: noon - or it will be by the time i get ready

temp: 14 degrees F
goal: 6 miles - running 3 walking .4 running 3
wearing: 'cause, girl, that's half the fun
  • thick performance socks (i have multiple blisters and am wearing my roomier shoes today so no fun light weight running socks)
  • CRx sports bra
  • camo champion like-under-armor leggings
  • chartreuse champion like-under-armor shirt (reg length sleeves)
  • gray speckled champion light middle layer ploy-nylon-spandex long sleeves with thumb holes 
  • galaxy athletic pants 100% poly (cheap from shopko sale) but they are soft and have a very thin fuzzy inside 
  • columbia outer layer poly-nylon hooded jacket with mesh liner.  this baby blocks the wind, is light, has neat pockets, has a weather-strip like zipper seal. this completely keeps my body heat inside the jacket with me.  i don't think i would even need the middle layer, but i'm not that brave yet, and the middle does provide some wicking factor that is useful.
  • reebok trainers
outcome: unknown, i will update this when i get back in

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cats and Kettlebells

maybe you noticed that i have been doing a little kettlebell-ing.  apparently you're not the only one that noticed.  this arrived in the mail this week.  besides the fact that this is simply amazing - it came from a very dear friend.

felted wool toy
the card is lovely and created by the
talented daughter of another friend of ours. 

i think it is one of our saving graces that God gives us friends. how would we make it through otherwise?  thank you, i feel so honored when anyone takes the time to make something for me.  this season is especially hard for me and busy for everyone, and i feel extra special honor having received this at this time of year.

i was sooo surprised when i opened the package.  i thought i would find some raw fiber that i'm so interested in for my studio.  instead, i found this lovely note (illustrated by the daughter of a mutual friend) and the cat-sized wool "kittlebell."  it came in a ziplock pouch with a packet of organic catnip to infuse the toy but keep it machine washable.

someone LOVES catnip...

this little item is so fantastic! now my cats can train while i train!  look, lavendar brown is already getting her kettlebell get-up on!

You go, girl!  You'll feel that in the morning!
check out her site - - your cats could be kettlebelling in no time!

[edited 12/21/12 2 pm to correct gift description]

Cats, Gingerbread Men, and Hot Wheels

it's christmas time again.  something about this time of year sets off my anxiety with its three out of four birthdays this month, work seems to come piling in, christmas holidays with family get me all nervous, acquiring and wrapping presents, kids activities.  i think i want everything to be martha stewart perfect.

this year, i'm saying 'bah-humbug' to that junk.  it's not like i will sit on my ..laurels.. but there are some funny things going on here these days.

Big Mama kitty wants in the house to
play in the tree with the other kitties

firstly, the tree. oh my.  this could be the ugliest tree ever.  i never did think that Charlie Brown's tree was sad; i liked that it was about the meaning of the season.  our tree is definitely about the season and not the matchy-matchy-commercial-perfection.  so, this could be the ugliest tree ever, but instead, it is growing on me.

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me,
a siamese in a pine tree....

it started out with the artificial tree up in the living room.  i like to leave it up a day or two to let it air and look less crumpled.  i also have this thing where i refuse to decorate the christmas tree before my birthday.  decorating with a cat theme is not what i had in mind.  thing one, here, and thing two were chasing each other around to take turns climbing the tree.

i had an interesting conversation with my mom about trees.  suffice it to say that water resistant, exterior lights were used so there was a thick, protective coating on the electrical wires (which conveniently allows me to use a squirt bottle to spray a cat found in the tree).  

add a few hot wheels cars an it starts to sparkle. sure, it's not going to win a home interiors contest, but the boys had a great time decorating it.  and there aren't any worries about spraying the hot wheels cars with water either.  festive and colorful, sparkly in the glow of the lights, inexpensive, low stress, and cat proof.

happy holidays to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The 34-days of Kettlebells

the 34 days of kettlebells update: missed three days.  have no particular idea about which day i'm on. who cares, just pick a number and keep doing it.

i stopped posting my daily 34 days of kettlebells updates on facebook because:

  1. skipped a couple days when i was sick last week.  i was sick but embarrassed about it.
  2. not very good at counting.  i have lost track of which actual day i am on, since i mixed up 8, 9, and 10 and then accidentally did a day twice.  whatever, i don't care which day i'm on as long as i am doing something.
  3. i really like it and am doing it.  saying 'i did kettlebells today' every day...well, i started feeling like a bragger.  Nobody likes a bragger.

reasons i am going back to posting about it:

  1. don't give a rip?  then keep on scrolling...
  2. a friend sent me the neatest thing (wait and see!) 
  3. not a beach body nor a fitness guru.  i'm just a girl that showed up for a class about something i had never seen before.  maybe other people think they can't try something new.  you can.  if you're worried about looking like a dork, stand by me, i will out nerd you any day of the week.
  4. feeling good about myself.  it feels good to do it and fan-freakin-tastic to check that off my list first thing in the morning.
  5. keeping me on track by doing the mini-at-home-kettlebells though my crazy-crazy-December schedule ensures that i won't need to start over when I go back to class at the start of January.
  6. amanda is amaze-balls!  if you're in this area, you should stop over to arlington for a class.  (Info on FB and

Monday, November 26, 2012

it takes a villiage

sometimes it takes a village to move you.

ok, well, sometimes it takes a village to move me.  i've been cleared to run since last january 2012.  i was so excited to get back into it, but started with the couch to 5k program way back then.  well, i think i started just walking, jogging for 5 minutes/1 minute alternating until i didn't feel like dying.

then in late spring, i started running outside with my son.  the 5 footer has lost some interest in running.  such a shame since he has impossibly long legs and a longer stride... maybe he'll come back to it someday.  any who, we just 'ran telephone poles' - the out-and-back route by our house has telephone poles the whole distance.  we started with run one, walk three.  then made it up to the reverse of that and run the first mile walk three and run the rest.  that's about where he lost interest.

somewhere between telephone poles and running a mile, i got sick of timing my intervals when i was out of town working and downloaded run double's free app to my android phone.  (  i really like the running plans, and i like better that the computer voice interrupts my music to boss me to run or walk. i need that.

since i am able to run the whole distance now, the little voice is quiet.  so running the last couple of 5k fun runs with friends has been supremely helpful.  i love running in the group and - though i have yet to touch my former 6 miles in under 45 minute time - i am hopeful that i'll at least get back to an 8 minute mile pace.  time and training will tell.

so i have a couple more winter runs coming up:
New Ulm - Dec 1st. - Jingle Bell Jam
Burnsville - Dec 9th. - Slay Cancer 5k
Minneapolis - Jan 1st. - Polar Dash

if you're at any of those events, give a shout out, FB, or tweet me.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Barb Reierson Benefit

Maybe you heard about the art show this weekend - 50% of sales from OneGirlPainting Art Studio will go to Barb Reierson in her fight against cancer.

Lots of people know Barb. She's a friend of mine - first through scrapbooking and then through Arlington Green Isle Women of Today. Barb is our AGI President this year.

Here's a bit about her situation in my words, but check out her caring bridge site and say hello.

Barb Reierson is a young 30-something wife and mother of two.  She had been feeling tired and run down for quite some time.  When a lump appeared on her neck that wouldn't go away, she reluctantly went to the doctor.  Initially, it seemed she had the symptoms of Mono.  However, testing revealed that she had leukemia and was immediately transferred to Abbott Northwestern.

After undergoing a battery of tests, they found that she had a form of AML with rare chromosomal defects - a form of acute leukemia that sends out blasts of millions of cancer cells into her blood stream.  At the time of diagnosis, up to 70% of the blood in her body was cancerous.  As soon as the exact sub type/s of AML were determined, she began a week of 24/7 chemo treatment.  Without this, doctors estimated that she didn't have long to live.

Due to the nature of this AML and the drastic treatment it requires, her bone marrow is destroyed.  Chemotherapy kills cancer and offers an opportunity of time but doesn't rebuild marrow.  A person cannot live without bone marrow, so staff at the U of M began searching for a match.  (If you want to help someone in need of bone marrow check out Be The Match).  The U of M are using a match for Barb from the Blood Cord Bank. She was home for a couple of weeks to be with her kids and family.  Currently she's undergoing another week of 24/7 chemo this week and then have a bone marrow transplant. This week of chemo is 30 times stronger than the first round. Yikes!

During this process her family has gathered around to support her.  Her husband drove from Arlington to Abbott each day after work to be with her when she was in the hospital for a month.  The current hospital stay for chemo and then transplant could be as long as 160 days.  Arlington is an hour from Abbott - that is a lot of gas money.  Brent has to keep things going with the business - and heal his broken hand. Read Barb's story on caring bridge.

Some friends of Barb got together last night and planned a benefit for her. More information will be coming with a Facebook page and media outlets soon, but save the date:

Barb Reierson Benefit 
January 19th, 2013
Arlington Community Center, Arlington, MN
includes an all-day scrap, bake sale, silent auction/raffle, meal, and vendor fair.

Contact information, donation information, and the 4-1-1 on how you can help will be coming yet this week.

art show this weekend

35 of my hand-painted silk scarves along with 6 limited edition, signed & numbered giclee prints will be on display this Friday (3pm-8pm) and Saturday (7am-4pm) at Gert & Erma's Coffee Shop in Glencoe, MN.  My dad (Ernie's Stone Studio) will be joining me in this little art exhibition.  He'll be presenting stone carving.

It's a free event and the public is welcome.

Items from Ernie's Stone Studio are available for purchase.

Since this is the first showing of these original works of art from OneGirlPainting Art Studio, the items will remain on-site until the show is complete.  Items can be reserved by prepaying at the event before items are listed for sale in my Etsy storefront.  Any reserved items will be delivered or shipped (your preference) on Monday immediately after the show.

With one exception, the art giveaway.  All Facebook Fans of OneGirlPainting Art Studio are entered into a drawing for their choice of an item from this exhibit.  The winner has 48 hours to claim their prize.  If the chosen item is on reserve, full refund will be made immediately after the drawing at 1 pm on Saturday.

**50% of all OneGirlPainting Art Studio sales during this event will be donated to Barb Reierson in her fight against cancer.**

Her excellent outlook and hope for the future are keeping things positive.  There is a long road ahead yet, your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.

Read about her journey at

Thursday, October 04, 2012

crushing the bell and other silly stories

you know, one good thing about rushing from work to home, to car, back into the house to get my phone i set down while in the bedroom changing into workout gear, back to the car, back into the bedroom to get the yoga mat i left on the other side of the bed, back to the car, to town, and into the gym, into the kettlebell storage, to my mat - just in the nick of time as class was starting.... and pushing hard through all those mountain climbers and alternating squats that make me want to that i'm not hungry when i get home.

on tuesday, i was using just the 18 pound kettlebell and my swings were way to too high. so tonight, as i'm rushing to get bells and get to my mat, there were a limited selection of weights.  i spot one in the corner that has a number 20 on it and think to myself: 'perfect. this will slow it down a bit' and that one.  as i suitcase lift that and the normal 18 pound, i notice that there is quite a bit of difference between the two.  wow.  i must be a complete wuss that two pounds is such a big difference.

i'm out there doing my swings and i can only do single swings with that bad boy.  awesome amanda is all 'you're stepping it up!' and i'm all 'yeah, that 18 pounder was a little light, so i just bumped 'er up a couple pounds, but wow, big difference.' she's all: 'here, i think you should go back to this one.' and hands me the 18. i'm thinking 'what? i am that bad at this?' then she's all 'yeah, way to go, but this is 20 kilos, so more like from 18 pounds to 44. way to be.'  sa-weet! my proud and total spaaz nerd moment of the day.

feeling it tonight. not just wobbly legs.  i'm pretty much shaking all over and can hardly type.  plus i'm trying to hammer this little post out and eat my bowl of greek yogurt before kyle gets home with sam.  the only downside to this evening is that i didn't make it out of class early enough to go along to Henderson, MN to retrieve the 5-footer from his early return from the boundary waters canoe area trip.

the trip was cut short by the blustery wind and high percentage of snow likely.  better to err on the side of safety and get the kids and canoes off the lake and back to the base camp before they get stuck on 6 inches of snow.  i'm so, so, very excited to hug my boy and hear all the details of his stupendous journey! (That one's for you - take a shot for Barb!)

hey! lovey, darling, sweet, and incredible Greta the wonder dog loves greek yogurt. we're awesome together like that.

Monday, October 01, 2012

watching paint dry and other fun

did i ever tell you that it takes oil paintings up to a year to dry?

no? well, it does - especially in the humid Minnesota summer.  well, this is especially concerning with an exhibit scheduled in 11 days.

i don't know what i was thinking (obviously not thinking) when i planned this show and imagined that i could hang partly dry oils up for viewing.  hello!  "holy dang" is what i'm thinking now.

so, tonight i am on a mission to determine if i can run giclee prints in time for next friday.

loving this fall light

on a personal front, i've been feeling a bit yucky (code for big-time sick), and consequently not eating very well - which just leads to more feeling gross tail-spin. between the gluten, soy, corn sensitivities and the IC/gastritis awesomeness... i meal planned and grocery shopped  yesterday, so today i am back on week 1 day 1 allergy elimination diet to kick myself in the pants (more accurately in the chest) back into feeling good.  protein, i love thee.  already my nose and some of my breathing have cleared up.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

On Walkabout

taking a couple of  days off to just wander around the downtown area of Rochester, MN has been so relaxing.  it's day three; my last day here.  it will feel good to get back to the studio on sunday with so many new inspirations.


test driving the new camera has been exciting - can't believe i went so long with only the point-and-shoot and the old hard-body Pentax 35mm.  i really am a digital girl...  that's the sorta song that i could get behind.

i have some favorites from yesterday and some great visual images that will make their way into paintings over the next few months too.  i only took about 350 pictures between 2:30 and 9:30 last night.  of course, a major portion of them didn't make the cut - but that's one of the beauties of going digital.

river reflections

top 6 reasons that i love my Nikon Coolpix P510:

  1. very intuitive design and controls
    i have been able to take manual pictures with it since i picked it up in the store.  (this may sound a little crazy, but it's important.  most of the cameras i picked up - like some of the cannons that i was eyeing up based on some reviews i'd heard - i wasn't able to even get it to focus and take a picture on the manual setting.  call me old fashioned, but if you understand, f-stop, ISO, and shutter speed, then you should be able to pick up a camera and take a decent picture without watching a 1 hour camera operational instruction video or taking an 8 week class.)
  2. great weight
    it just feels good in my hands. it is balanced and light weight enough to hold in one hand
  3. meta data
    yeah, that's right, i love that i don't have to take a photo notebook and record the photo number and camera settings i am using. it attaches all of that information including GPS on to the photo.
  4. it's not film
    there's no film to mess with.  i enjoy the immediate gratification of knowing if i got the shot i wanted.
  5. the 4 inch display screen
    this isn't just a display screen, it is positionable so that (short people like me) can pull the display screen down and hold the camera up over my head to get shots that i wouldn't normally be able to accomplish on my feet.  a bonus, for low shots, i can lift it up and hold the camera down low without having to lay on the ground - that's very handy for busy sidewalks...
  6. 42x optical zoom
    more is better - without having to cart multiple lens with me.  this just makes it so much more portable.
bipolar chateau

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Finally got 15 minutes to sit down with a coffee and my Silkworm magazine today. Fascinating article about a technique using silk and wool to create amazing felted wearable items. I need to try this.

Just so happens that an old friend has a sheep farm and sells fiber for felting.

I have a couple of sketches of simple patterns to try. It would be cool to have some of these done to view at the art show in October.

Nuno is a fun technique involving bubble wrap, soapy water, silk, and loose wool fibers. Wool and silk are layered, saturated, and then rolled and worked. Massaging and rolling are used to create the meshing of wool fibers into the silk. Then the roll is pounded or beat to lock the fibers together. Final rinsing and squeezing in hot water further lock or felt the fibers together.

This sounds so fun! And i like that this seems an interesting combination of silk painting, paper making techniques, and wool felting.

I'm off to the studio to paint some silk according to my nuno experiment sketches and await the arrival of wool fiber.

Friday, July 06, 2012

the corn is tall. the sunsets are orange.

i miss my dear friend tremendously today.  the corn is so tall already and the sunsets are deep orange.

days like this (hot, oppressive humidity, hope in the air for better days) remind me of you.  you were always a big fan of hope.  i am too.  maybe that is why i miss you so much. 

it was so great to have that common thread to draw strength from.  somehow, just knowing that we shared a deeply personal belief that things are meant to be and no matter how bad it is, this too shall pass, made the difficult times easier to shoulder.

i cannot reach out into the abyss and hold your hand, but I offer up a smile to the universe for you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

'Make the Cut' is no longer cutting it.

for several years, i've recommended Make The Cut to my scrapbook friends with the ProvoCraft Cricut machine to enable them more flexibility to cut true type fonts.  (some of you may know i'm a software developer by day.)  when the Cricut first came out, i recognized the usb port built into the machine and made a half-hearted attempt to hack the Cricut cartridges and send SVG graphics to the cutter.  Then ProvoCraft's Design Studio came out, and i figured i could use my time making art or scrapbooking.  *shrug*

ProvoCraft's Design Studio is soooo slow to load those image libraries.  it annoys me.  so, i started demoing a couple of different applications like Sure-Cuts-Alot (the misspelling of a lot bugs me, btw.  i'm sure my lack of capitalization bugs some people *ah-hem. nancy.*) and the SVG Factory for making some nifty vector graphics.  However, Make The Cut was a star player for me.  easy-peasy to load true-type fonts onto your machine.  non-geeky-people-often-found-at-scrapbook-retreats are able to google for fonts and follow instructions to load them.  Make The Cut has great features that function in standard Windows manner like multi-select and right click with group welding and the excellent Shadow feature.

today at school everyone is getting ready for the Elder's Wisdom program and looking for font options.  the idea was floated to print outline letters on the printer and hand cut them.  pah-shaw. as if!  i was excited as ever to again recommend Make The Cut.  Then i went to download the application and get a license for the school, when i see "Works with all Cricut machines - We no longer are compatible with Cricut."  Bummer.

there is a glimmer of hope for those of use with older versions.  On the Make The Cut Downloads page, they offer a phone number regarding upgrading.  i haven't called yet.  i don't think i'm upgrading since what i have now works great for how i use it. secondly, i do like linking my Cricut cartridges to my Gypsy so that i can still use that investment and leave them at home when i travel to retreats.

if you own another cutting machine; this software is compatible with many.  but if you're a Cricut user, you won't have this option with initial purchase with version 4.1.0 released in Jan 2012.

*PS: while filling in the resource links for this post, i just noticed the Cricut Craft Room.  i haven't played with this, but it looks promising.  read on - it's free (Thank you ProvoCraft; you're finally getting the good-will movement), download-able, and comes with Craft Room Basics set of fonts... i'm downloading as i type this.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cat on a Mission

Apparently, it is all about hydraulics.

Friday the White Wonder has started to move - actually hustle - after getting fluid injections for a couple of days at the vet to be re-hydrated.  The shots continue at home for a couple of weeks.  He is much improved.  Terminal kidney disease. At least I can keep him comfortable by making sure he is kept hydrated properly.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fine Art Show on Saturday

This Saturday I'm hosting my first local art show of my silk paintings that make up my new wearable art collection. If you follow my art studio (OneGirlPainting Art Studio) on Facebook, you already know about this event and the art work give-away coming up. If you don't follow the FB goings on, then you might be interested to know about this event. The details are below and in the attached flyer.

I would love to see people that I know show up. Also, the only advertising that I've done on this has been word of mouth. I didn't want to have extra pressure since this is the first one in the area. Please consider stopping by. There will be drawings every 30 minutes for free specialty coffee served at Gert & Erma's. And the give-away drawing at 11:30 am to the lucky Facebook fan who will win their choice of any silk painting from the Spring and Summer 2012 Collection.

Did you know that my dad is an artist too? He carves incredible stuff from precious stone. He will have a lot of his work on display too.

Fine Art 
When:      Sat. March 31   9am-2:30pm

Where:  Gert & Erma’s Coffee Shop
               1100 Hennepin Ave N, Glencoe

Free & Open to the Public
Join in the launch event
for the Spring & Summer 2012 collection of
OneGirlPainting Art Studio’s new line of wearable art

23 original silk paintings will be on display.  Each is hand painted, one-of-a-kind, original work art.  Be the first to see these stunning silks before they are listed for sale.  The artist, Nicole Roepke, will demonstrate this rare art form throughout the day.  

Ernie’s Stone Studio will be on-site displaying exclusive, hand carved accessories and objects of art created from precious and semi-precious stone.  Ernie Vietor shows passion for amplifying the beauty of each stone.  Carvings are coaxed from each single, solid stone.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday, Cat Wonder

Did you know that I found Friday The Cat on a frozen, snowy, January night (a Friday-the-13th, no less!) nineteen years ago? It was on a highway in the middle of nowhere in upper Northern Minnesota.  In a place where population is marked at night by counting the distant yard lights that farm and homesteads have near their homes or barns. 

Nineteen years ago. Negative 32 degrees.  About 9 pm.  Pitch black darkness.  Driving east on a highway with clods of icy snow littering the shoulders of the road.  A snowball turned its head and two shining green eyes looked in my direction.  Of course, I pulled over.

Poor baby appeared to be a white cat with gray spots.  He meowed and ran to me when I got out of the jeep to check on him.  He was shaking. When I picked him up, he buried his face in the crook of my elbow.  I carried him back to the vehicle and looked for possible homes nearby that he could be from.  There weren’t any.  The surrounding area was black.  No yard lights.  Desolation.

I am a cat owner.  I held him.  After awhile, his foot started to bleed. He was missing a toe.  I was headed to mom & dad’s house, so I continued there.  Many names were considered.  Friday the 13th… Lucky, Felix, Snowball, ah… Friday. 

My parents didn’t have indoor animals at that time.  They didn’t have cat food.  Mom had made pancakes for dinner that night and had left overs.  Friday acted like pancakes in buttermilk was nectar of the gods. 

He still likes pancakes.