I’ve spent a large part of the summer up in St. Cloud. One of my most favorite things to do is fish with papa Paul out on Kramer Lake. It’s a private lake in St. Joseph. One has to be a member of a Rod & Gun Club to use boat landing.

It’s been a good summer for panfish (sunfish, crappies). It hasn’t been great for northern–we’ve only had 2. I caught a 3-inch baby bass, and an 8-inch baby walleye that were both returned to the deep. We have enough fish for the annual family fish fry thanks to my friend Sören, who over the weekend of the 4th of July, helped us snag 19 crappies and 20 sunfish for a grand total of 39.

I have also learned to clean fish independently. As daddy says, “True fisherman help clean the fish.” I can now officially bring a fish from the lake to the plate without help.

Sören, his wife Jen, papa Paul and I are all heading back out to Kramer Lake late tomorrow morning for another go. Here’s to pulling-in another 39 keepers.


I haven’t written in forever. So here’s an update.

I trained, and trained, and trained for the half marathon. The longest I ran before race day was 8.5 miles. I got sick with two separate week-long illnesses (one cold and one flu) during training. I hoped that the excitement and flow of race day would get me though. And it did! That and having Emily and Matt my cousins, and my bff Suzi at my side. Emily and I ran the entire thing together. I would have finished by myself, but I wouldn’t have done it before they officially closed the course. At the 7 or 8 mile mark, Suzi sped-the-heck up and went for gold. Matt stayed with one of our group-mates, Ayla, while she slowed down. Emily and I toughed it out together, walking the hills and running the straights with our identical buzz cuts.

I could tell tell Emily started to struggle at mile 10. The only thing that hurt for me was my arms, where the insides were chafing against my sports bra. No side ache, no knee or foot pain, so I couldn’t really complain. I did my best to coach Emily to mile 12 with my brand of running ‘coping methods.’ I had us run to certain signs, count our strides, and provided ample words of encouragement. We walked approximately 1-2 total miles between miles 9 and 12. I really wanted to run the last mile. I didn’t know if I could get Emily there myself, so I asked Matt to talk us through the last 1.1 miles. He did a great job. He extremely encouraging without pushing us to the limit.

Matt, Emily, and I crossed the finish line together. It was a great feeling. My time was 2:47. Here are all of my other stats. Also proof that I finished. It made me a little sad to see that out of 1154 runners, I finished 1121. That’s ahead of a whole 33 runners. It doesn’t count the people that didn’t finish at all (which I estimate at 30-50 people), or the people who finished after the 3:00 hour mark (which was maybe another 10-25). But it’s still a little embarrassing.

Here is the progression of half-marathon goals from January to race day:
1. Finish it by any means possible.
2. Run more than half of it.
3. Finish in under 3 hours and 30 minutes.
4. Finish in under 3 hours (when I found out that the official course was closed at the 3 hour mark).

I achieved goal #4 which means I achieved all of the other goals. This was all after waking up on Friday morning with a sore throat. I consumed my body weight in Emergen-C (which didn’t do anything at all) and hopped myself up on DayQuil, pseudoephedrine, and Vitamin I (a.k.a. ibuprofen) on the morning of race day. I felt fine/normal during the race, but rapidly declined in health afterwards.

I was extremely sore and felt a general sense of malaise for the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday. On Monday I knew something was wrong when, in the evening, I got a major case of the chills. My temperature topped out at 103 degrees on Monday night. I had the flu. I’m glad it didn’t keep me from running the race, but it was the 4th time I’ve been sick this school year (which is how anyone who works at schools counts the number of times they get sick).

I can’t say I ever want to run a half marathon again, but if the cousins would be down, I’d do the same race again next year. We had a Grade A group of cheer-er-on-ers. Mama Linda, Papa Paul, auntie Laura, uncle Frank (also race day photographer) sister Beth, cousins Maggie and NIck, friend Jenny, and wiener dogs Pippa and Nico cheered us on at 4 (or 5?) different points on the course. It was awesome.

I’ve had no knee or back pain, which is common among the runners in my family, but am experiencing some plantar fasciitis type symptoms in my right outer-heel. I feel a bruise-like pain toward the outside of my inner heel in the mornings. It goes away after 5-10 minutes of walking around, but is back the next morning like clockwork. I am also experiencing some bruise-like pain on the top of that same foot, which probably has something to do with the tendons. I’m resting it–hard. I haven’t run or engaged in any strenuous activity since the race on April 17th. I’m going to give it 6 full weeks before I think about taking up running again.

Diabetes wise–here is low down.
I woke up on race day at 179, which was good. I ate greek yogurt with berries and granola. I only bolused for the carbs–not to correct the 179. I completely suspended my insulin for the entire duration of the race (3 hours). 10 minutes after finishing, my blood sugar was 116.

I resumed my regular basal program about 30 minutes after the race’s end, thinking my sugar would continue to drop. I went home and took a 2 hour nap. When I woke up I was at about 389. I corrected, ate lunch and bolused for the carbs. I went back to sleep, and when I woke up the second time, I was at 410. I gave an actual injection of insulin and started consuming lots of water. It eventually came down into the 250s, and by the time I went to bed was back down in the 100s. I think the stress hormones and all the other chemicals in my body had something to do with the major rebound afterward. Next time (if there is one), I will be watching far more closely after the race. I had more fear that I would go low, but I knew there was a good chance I’d end up high.

I’m still alive and kicking, and looking forward to achieving the next goal I set for myself.
Whatever that may be.


We have booked an apartment in Paris for our trip to Europe next summer. My mom, sister, and brother in law will be hopping around France, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden next July.

The plan as of right now is to fly into Paris. We will spend a week there before moving on to Cologne to reunite with our Colombian sister, Catalina, and her fiancé, Tony. After a long weekend in Cologne, we’ll head to Copenhagen to see Kis and Ole, and depending on how much time we have left, will round out our trip in Malmö to explore our Swedish roots and so I can put my study of Swedish to good use.

I have been brushing up on my French by reading news articles and watching French films. I have officially watched every Swedish language film available instantly on Netflix, and will have to start tapping my library for more. My Swedish pen pal has disappeared, and I am missing the conversation and practice. He was a good pen pal.

In addition to spending two weeks in Europe, I’ll also be traveling to Colombia for Cata and Tony’s wedding in September. They will be getting married on an island off of Cartagena. Looking forward to these great adventures!


Forest Cinema

Our family relocated our annual reunion to a resort called Bug Bee Hive. One family is staying in a cabin at the very top top of a gently rolling hill. It is called Tranquil-a-bee. To get to the cabin, one must ascend a relatively graded hill (for Minnesota). At the apex of this hill, there are four blue, cinema-style chairs perched among fallen saplings and the scent of damp leaves, laying in wait for fall.

Someone coined it the ‘forest cinema.’ A theatre of sorts, perpetually showing only the devastation of summer thunderstorms and the accumulation of heavy, wet snow. Four seats, nested in undergrowth, the blue plastic deteriorating slowly from the indirect sunlight.

This place is a checkpoint. Somewhere between the last drink and the next cover song. A monument to junk and repurpose. It’s undone and an ultimately quiet place to consider the lengthy afternoon and the ebbs of highway 55.

I walked the path today by myself . I stopped briefly at the forest cinema, but no description summed it as well as my cousin Angie did.

“Andrea, I’m not letting you go there alone.”

Fishing Too Deep

Today I woke up at the crack of dawn and went fishing with dad. We have a routine of drinking coffee and readying the boat. We drive out to Grand Lake, stopping to buy bait at a tiny gas station. Dad always makes note of how many trailers are parked in the public launch lot. I hop out and stand on the dock while he backs the boat into the water.

Dad knows a couple of the best places to fish in the lake. We mostly pull out sunnies that hide in the shade of cabbage weed. Sometimes we’ll get perch or small mouth bass. We throw a lot of what we get back to grow to keeper size. The bites were abundant today, but for the first ten minutes, my dad was the only one pulling anything in.

“Let me see your line,” he said, “I think you’re fishing too deep.”

So I reeled in my line, and as soon as I could almost see the pink lure down in the green, it disappeared, my line tightened and I knew I had one.

I’m almost always fishing too deep. I frequently analyze my every move, pick apart situations, play and replay things I’ve said and done in attempts to pinpoint the reasons that things happen or don’t happen. There’s not always going a reasonable, acceptable, or comfortable answer. I don’t always need to know the answers. So here’s to pulling in my line a little. Maybe I’ll catch something I can hold on to.


My parents, my sister and my brother in law went to Seattle this last week. My dad had a convention there, so I was in charge of watching Miss Pippa, their black and tan, longhaired dachshund.

It was a great week. Both dogs were well behaved…until today. I am supposed to pick the family up at the airport in about an hour, and it’s like the dogs know somethings up. They both had like 12 accidents in the house, Nico has stowed away in his kennel, and Pippa is barking up a storm. I had to give Nico a bath because he got rather dirty walking in the rain the other day, and he growled at me for the first time ever. I’m hoping the both of them snap out of their funk when they see the rest of the family.


I’m 99.5% done with my Christmas shopping. Everything is sitting in its respective box in the guest bedroom, waiting to be wrapped. I’m hoping mom, Beth, and Pippa come down next weekend to help me make treats for my cookie exchange party. They can also bring all the yoga pants I accidentally left at home on the drying rack this weekend.

How will I survive without those yoga pants?

I will also request that they bring wrapping paper. I should have brought a few rolls back with me, but I have a fine time remembering to pack all of my own things after staying with my parents for the weekend. It’s a bit of a running joke. There’s always something at my parent’s house that belongs at my house, and vise versa.

Now that Thanksgiving break is over, I’ll have to start a countdown to winter break for my students who think that school breaks occur one week after another.


I moved up my OmniPod training to tomorrow (October 1st). I will be trained by a nurse educator from the Insulet Corporation. I am going to meet with her in a conference room at my regular nurse educator’s office.

Mama and papa are coming down this evening and staying over so that they can meet me at the appointment tomorrow. I figure it will be easier for them to come and see how everything works than for me to have to explain it all to them. I’m sure I’ll still have to explain things, but they’ll have fun coming down with Pippa for a little overnight. Plus, we’ll probably go to Thai food tomorrow night. And they’ll pay. Can’t beat that!

I have always had to estimate how many carbs are in my favorite Thai dish: Pad Thai Curry. It’s a traditional Pad Thai recipe with red curry added. It’s phenomenal, and I’d eat it every three days if my checkbook allowed it. I will take the time now, in celebration of the pump, to look up how many carbs are in a serving of rice noodles. And then I will have to multiply it by 192310. Because that is how many servings are in a typical restaurant plate. It looks like there is 42g in 1 cup. They definitely give you about three cups. So 42 x 3 = 126. After I have the pump… that’s all the math I have to do! But, since I don’t have it quite yet, let’s continue with how much math I usually have to do when I eat.

I’ll probably have dinner at about 7pm tomorrow night. This means that my ratio will be 1 unit of insulin to every 5 grams of carbohydrate. So we take 126/5. This equals 25.2. I round down to the nearest unit because insulin pens can’t do partial units, and because I wouldn’t want to end up passing out two hours later. I’d dose 25 units…IF my blood sugar at the time of eating was perfect (between 80-120). If not, then I add my correction dose. Let’s say I’m at 200. My correction dose would be 2 units. 25 + 2 = 27 units total. Theoretically, two hours later when I test, I should be pretty close to 120.

I explained this process rather explicitly because I have a quite a few readers who are friends and family, and who despite very honest efforts to understand the inner workings of diabetes, have no idea how much goes into figuring out how much insulin to give myself. I also explain it to illustrate how human error can effect a dose. If I figure a dose using the wrong time frame (my ratio is different for different times of the day), then I end up with a bad blood sugar. If I don’t calculate the right number of carbs in what I eat, I end up with a bad blood sugar. If I don’t correct accurately, I end up with a bad blood sugar. If I’m stressed or worried and my body produces cortisol, I end up with a bad blood sugar no matter how accurately I dose. And I have generalized anxiety disorder.

In sum, it hasn’t been a very fun last five years. When I was first diagnosed, my endocrinologist wasn’t very understanding of the anxiety piece. He seemed incredulous that I could be at a perfect 100 before an anxiety attack, and 350 afterwards. It happened. It still happens sometimes after a tough call with a parent of one of my students, after a challenging therapy session, and when I think about how much I have to pay in student loans. I’m kidding about the last one (sort of).

Dr. H Was also not very understanding of the learning curve for understanding dosing. He gave me a lot of information in piecemeal bits, expecting that I’d inherently know the intricacies of the disease simply because I have it. For instance, a big rule is not to “stack insulin.” This means, if you’ve given yourself a correction dose in the last 3-4 hours, that you don’t correct again within that timeframe. This is because the insulin is still working for that many hours. If you give yourself any more insulin, you’re going to end up with a really low blood sugar. He didn’t tell me that until I’d been seeing him for 6 months. He also never really explained the relationship between exercise and dosing, which is not linear.

Now I’ve got Dr. K on my team, and things are going a lot better. I had my final insulin pen a1c test done on Friday afternoon. A good a1c for a diabetic person is less than 7.0. In the last year I have gone from 9.4 to 7.9 to 7.5. I’m hoping that it’s about 7.2 this time, but I’d be happy with another 7.5. I’ll keep you updated, because I know you all care as much as I do. 🙂