adventures in MN: mini roadtrip summer 2015

I spent the [double long] weekend in Minneapolis. I tried to write a Facebook status update on Sunday about it. It kept turning into a blog post it was so long. Now it’s Thursday and I’m trying to recreate what I had (except that’s impossible, and also I saved it somewhere and think my phone ate it.

Anyways. After a super chill day at camp on Friday (my wish was granted: I got such a chill camper on Friday. He was awesome. He and I hung out in the bean bag chair filled tent for a bit and both discovered we were going to Minneapolis for the weekend, so we talked about what we were going to do there, and he told me these crazy stories from dreams he’s had, and then our morning activity never showed up so he basically played soccer for two hours. Then after lunch (pizza!) some coaches needed to stay back to clean up while the kids and coaches went to the pool/splash pad… I agreed to stay back, and after 45 minutes camp was disassembled, loaded into a couple vehicles, and the kids memory books were assembled. That left… an hour and a half to hang out with the other coaches and camp director and eat freezies. For real.), I left camp early to hit the road to Monticello, MN with my aunt and grandma. The border people are pretty okay with the answer of because Dean is going to school/working in America for the summer, they get tired of us quick and let us keep driving :).

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Minion Twinkies? Yes, please! [I also bought Banana Creme Pie ones. With Minions. Because obviously.]

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The next day, we drove to Minneapolis. Eventually, Dean let us into the building (he had to pay with a check [not cheque] for our guest apartment!), and then we went for a drive to the park.

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Because I like subjecting people to my ADHD sometimes, here’s a picture from back at the apartment. BAGEL WEDNESDAY! Which is not the same as FREE BAGEL FRIDAY from WheezyWaiter videos of old.

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Back to “real time”.

We went to Breugger Bagels and then back to the park to stand on a boat for a couple hours.
It was hot out but there were photogenic things so it was fun. (Are things photogenic or just people?)

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Pano-park-rama.

And here are a bunch of out-of-order pictures from the riverboat tour.

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I took about one decent picture indoors. Then we went outside so that’s the last one with glare.

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Our boat had a crown. Minnesota Queen. (Also, yes, it was the Mississippi River, and yes, there at one point was a Mississippi Queen tour, or maybe there is. And no, they did not play Mississippi Queen by Mountain on there.

Dean was disappointed. Obviously.

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But then we made faces inside a lock as our boat rose. I didn’t intend to look quite that ridiculous, and I probably intended to at least be looking at the camera.

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This is an interesting tree.

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Bridge graffiti interests me.

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Here’s a landslide. Weird, eh?

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We went to Punch Pizza for dinner later that day. I love that place. If you’re in Minneapolis, I highly encourage you to check it out. Also another thing I learned about the next day, is WHIRLYBALL. Yes, that sounds ridiculously fun, even without knowing that it is basically lacrosse in bumper cars. My friend Heather told me about it at lunch at Houlihan’s. Also, when Heather (and her service pup Becca, who gave me a hello shoulder nudge when I got in the car!) picked me up, Heather surprised me with E. L. Fudge cookies! (There was a brief period of time where they disappeared from Dean’s Target, and this worried him. Heather went on a mission, and sent me a picture one day. And sure enough… provided me with E. L. Fudge cookies of my very own! :D).
 
Heather, Scott and I have made it a tradition to get together if at all possible when I’m in the area (they are AWESOME and I highly appreciate this!). This time, we had to sandwich it in between Scott playing basketball in the morning, and Heather having art class in the afternoon. BUT, it totally worked… mostly! 🙂 Scott and Heather ended up tag-teaming a bit, because basketball was super awesome—so, unfortunately, they had minimal hang-out time with the three of us, but I got lots of hang out time with each of them :). Scott drove me back to the apartment where I hung out briefly and then we went to Cupcake on University. (Obviously I love that place, and think you should go there too, if you’re in the area.)
 
When we got back, my aunt continued preparing dinner at the apartment—risotto, garlic mashed potatoes, salad, and chicken wings for the meat eaters—a proper-ish home-cooked meal for Dean and his roommate Derek (…and us, of course). We also went and played frisbee on the lawn of the architecture building briefly. Derek is better than I, but we both aren’t great at catching. Also, it’s hard to catch when Derek repeatedly threw the frisbee six feet higher than me. ;))
 
The next morning, Dean stopped by at 6:30 AM to say goodbye before he went to work (concerning bridges, actually). My aunt took a trip to Breugger Bagels again (because they kept giving us surveys where you got three free bagels?!) for bagels and cream cheese, and then we packed up and hit the road…
 
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Goodbye, Minneapolis.

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…by way of Albertville outlet malls, a Target for lunch (if you’re a smarty like Gerry, no, there is not a dining area in Target!), a Dollar General in Barnesville, Fargo’s West Acres Mall…
 
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and on to Grand Forks for Erbert and Gerbert for dinner (yes, I’m having pb&j and broccoli and cheese soup!)
 
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…plus I still had a cupcake and a half to eat…  
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…and some shopping. 
 
Oh, and the hotel pool at the Expressway in Grand Forks was awesome. Not only was it asthma-friently salt water, we think, it also had pretty coloured lights in it! And a basketball hoop in the pool!
 
And that’s about it, so we went home. (Or that’s about it because we went home. Whatever.)
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I still want to play Whirlyball, obviously. It’s on my list for next time. 😉

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Tour de Good Things: People. | #medx 2014

The Tour de Good Things was a way i could summate the crazy journey I took to culminate August and begin September—both on an extremely high note. It has been nearly impossible to come down from the high that begun prior to Medicine X 2014 at Stanford University [disclosure], especially since the journey encompassed 7,227 kilometres (or about that). The last Thursday in August, I got into a car with a 60L hiking backpack of necessities and a drawstring backpack of medications, my only “prepared” travel document being my passport, and left home for 12 days. I arrived back into Winnipeg by plane last Monday after a red eye flight via Minneapolis—my initial destination.

There are many posts in here waiting to be written, and a video to come. But as many, many others have summated, the power, the magic, the amazing of Medicine X is in the people: This is a theme that would cover the entirety of the Tour de Good Things.

Minneapolis.

This kid (my cousin, Dean) headed down to University of Minnesota to start becoming an engineer of the probably civil variety, not the train variety [though, train engineers are probably also very civil]. So thanks to him I got a really long ride to the airport.

I also had grilled cheese and an awesome conversation on the parallels of asthma and T1 diabetes with these lovelies, Scott and Heather.

SFO. All over the East Bay. Santa Cruz. Davis.

My awesome aunt, Linda, and my grandma dropped me off at MSP after a 4.5 day drive to the airport […okay, the airport truly is only 8 hours from home. Not that that’s close.] and a four hour flight, I hit ground at SFO and was swept up into my “Cali-bestie” Steve’s truck, where (after picking up pizza), I FINALLY got to meet his long time partner and now husband, Doug (finally. On my third visit to the Bay Area—third time’s the charm, right? Doug is, of course, to a tee of how Steve describes him, and a total sweetheart just like Steve). We headed to Santa Cruz the next day, and San Jose where I finally got to meet his mom, Claire, his sister Sheree, and Sheree’s husband, Dan, who had us over for lunch on Monday.

The next day we headed over to Davis to get Steve’s new bass set up by a cool dude named Harrison.

San Francisco.

Steve drove me out to SF on Wednesday [because he is the best] to ensure I made my connection with my friend Carly (whom I met at MedX in 2012!) at the Twitter building. Carly’s friend Samantha was [at the time] working for Twitter, and had invited Carly for lunch—and opened up the invitation to any of Carly’s friends who wanted to come, too, which was beyond awesome :). (Samantha on the left, Carly—our link!—in the middle :].) Thanks, ladies!

Carly and I made a brief stop in Japantown after lunch and our tour around Twitter with Samantha, and then headed for Palo Alto. Not long after arriving, we had a spontaneous MedX ePatient gathering by the pool—meeting, and reuniting, with a lot of kickass ePatients—friends.

Carly and I (left, of course), [fellow Canadian!] Annette, Liza, Meredith, Dee, Marie (from Ireland!) and Michael (from England!) at the Sheraton. (Thanks to the Sheraton team member who ran out to take this shot for us!)

The next day, the fun really got started when Dr. Larry Chu [the beyond awesome MedX Conference Director!] introduced us to the Selfie Stick [here’s a professional picture (source) of Leslie, Emily, Karen, Rachel [TEAM CANADA!], myself, and Nikki selfie-ing with a selfie-stick on pre-conference workshop day!]

Of course, Ryan had to give it a go once we hit MedX full-stride—he had to make himself short for me so that a) I could adequately put my arm around his shoulders, and b) because he is too tall and was blocking the world medicine :).

No selfie stick for Brett and I, though (…everybody is SO TALL). He yelled “Oh hey, it’s Kerri!” in the corner right by the selfie station, and then we hugged, and I was like “okay we need to selfie so we don’t forget!” :]

We don’t always selfie in front of the selfie wall—sometimes we selfie in front of the gold badge door. Not only was Devon, below, a hit among the crowd at MedX, I was super excited to find another lunger on the scene [I mean, asthmatics DO hide everywhere, but… they hide].

Devon spoke on a panel about “the non-smartphone patient”, and has COPD. And, though he seemed adamantly against it before I showed him everybody tweeting his quotes, I did get him signed up on Twitter!

My super sweet roomie, Karen, and behind us, her poster presentation on the metaphorical dance that is chronic illness. Karen is a sport psychologist from Mexico and is generally amazing, so we never had a shortage of fun things to talk about :).

And on the subject of roommates, my 2012 roomie, Kim, and I—clearly in the club, and not at a medical conference. #ClubMedX

And, Miss Zoe Chu. While puppy, and not people, she lovingly made MedX granola for me and we had selfie times, so she clearly belongs on this list :].

Joe from Eli Lilly’s Team of Good People and Awesomeness (aka Lilly Clinical Open Innovation) and I—we look less like a painting in person. Probably. 🙂

And, Jerry from Eli Lilly, who was in the elevator on Thursday morning before Partnering for Health when a bunch of ePatients yelled my name and hugged me as I got on the elevator. Except we didn’t know we were supposed to know each other yet, and then he sat down beside me at Partnering for Health and identified us as the people from the elevator and said he was wondering if we were Medicine X people. Because I am all class, I was like “Yeah, we were the people yelling and hugging in the elevator—did you feel left out?! Do you need a hug!?”—he accepted this crazy Canadian’s hug, so we are clearly meant to be friends. Also, he’s awesome. And broke into a presentation during Partnering for Health when all the patients were very confused on Twitter.

Alan, Britt, Leslie, myself and Julie (Photo grabbed from Britt via Facebook!)

Sarah—one of the awesome ePatient advisors—with her CANADIAN SCARF, Rachel and I, after the closing ceremony of Medicine X.

And below, Britt (on the ePatient advisory team), Marvin—who is super sweet and I didn’t get to connect with nearly enough! :)—Rachel and I. 

And, my own ePatient advisor and friend from 2012, Chris (he’s laughing about attempting to hug me with the giant hiking backpack on)—just before Joe (below!), Marie and I headed to the airport (where I almost lost my phone and Joe totally provided an amazing Joe-hug to alleviate my stress, and told me how I could get the Delta people to bring it to me to avoid having to go back through security, since I’d left it at the check-in kiosk). 

These people—and ALL the people I met and interacted with at MedX

(I can’t even source those photos anymore :])

—are not the entirety of the story of Medicine X: but they are the part that matters most. As are the people that preceded my arrival for Medicine X to my own part of the journey, and the people who engaged in #MedX via Twitter: WE belong here.

(Photo of photo cred to Joe Riffe)

And here isn’t always a place: often, it’s a state.

And I love each and every one of you, and I hope our stories continue to connect in a way that makes a difference: Remember to not lose sight of where you were—where we were—hold on to that feeling.

We’ll change the world together.

home to eau claire, wisconsin : day one on the road

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refuel

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drive.

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pass.

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dust and dirt.

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i enjoy this sign greatly. food is fuel for the body, fuel is food for the car. yay!

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crepe crazy in fargo, north dakota.  i want giant nutella!

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new shoes after an impromptu stop in albertville, mn

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mcdonalds in eau claire, wi for dinner.  i wish we sat here.

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showing Janeen that our hotel does indeed have a bible!