Friday, October 7, 2011

Indian Summer

I hope you are all enjoying the Indian Summer we've been having here in Minnesota!

Emily and Gasthof at Minnehaha Falls dog park

I took the week off from work this week but have been trying to tie up some loose ends...home care has been very busy and I have had more patients recently that require more time both in and out of the home (phone calls, etc). So while I am on vacation, it doesn't always feel like it, but it's still better than working 8-12 hours every day! The house is looking better, I have been catching up with friends, and very much enjoying being outside. I even picked 20 tomatoes, 5 cucumbers, and watered our plants in the backyard. Although the weather has been nice, the plants and wine grapes need a little rain with all the sun and warmth we have been having! Until then, I will keep up with the watering. I'm no green thumb by any means...hopefully next year I take better care of my garden. I let weeds take over and I planted the green beans too late...I didn't get any to grow!

Nick and I have been running on a regular basis, so we also have enjoyed the fall colors at home...we have two parks nearby that are perfect for running. Any time we say run, Gasthof's ears perk up and he starts wagging his tail! Julie Ann and I took Gasthof to the Minnehaha Falls dog park and the scenery was beautiful! Gasthof hates water (he swims like a horse!) but when other dogs were in the water, he checked it out too. Maybe if we continue to provide him with positive experiences with water, he'll warm up to it. Some of the pictures on today's blog are from Minnehaha Falls dog park, courtesy of Julie Ann!
Julie Ann captured our feet as we ran!

The street in our neighborhood and surrounding area is being re-done....and the majority is happening on my week off! We had a hefty tax assessment that is covering the road work, which includes: a sidewalk added to the street just perpendicular to our cul-de-sac, new pavement, and new mailboxes. I will enjoy getting a new mailbox since ours is barely holding up. Earlier this year, right when all the RSVPs were due for our wedding, the mailbox fell over due to rotten wood....Nick was sick, so our neighbor Scott helped me out. I wish I was more handy, but I'm learning. We used a metal pipe and a few bungee cords. Although it has held up for over 6 months, it's time to get replaced. Speaking of 6 months, Nick and I have been newlyweds for about that long and I continue to enjoy looking at pictures and listening to the ceremony (especially Amy & Ted's singing!!). It was the best day of my life. We really are blessed to have such wonderful family and friends!

In other news, the large house to our west is going up for sale in the next month or two, and the house next to theirs is going for sale in the spring. For only 5 houses in a cul-de-sac, two sales in the course of 6 months is a big deal! 

I'm really feeling "adult" when some of the biggest news I can think of is about work, the weather, and our neighborhood...

I was just about to get started working when I came across an article link from a friend's Facebook page, and thought I would pass along the link. It is from Travel and Leisure and is an article about America's most beautiful college campuses. I don't have many to compare, but I am partial to #25. Nick and I headed down to St Olaf last Saturday and hung out with Zach (Emily's cousin)...ate in the caf, played Frisbee golf, and went to the Fireside Orchard in Northfield. It was a perfect time of year to visit campus! I can't believe it's been 4 1/2 years since I graduated. Time flies!

The article reminds me of a few things:
1. I had a good sense in high school to know that St Olaf's campus was beautiful!
2. I wish I had checked out more college campuses back in high see the cool buildings, cities, etc. In my mind I will never have enough time and money to travel to all the interesting places, but I will keep saving up and enjoying each new place I visit. 

The article didn't include many photos, so I am including pictures from last Saturday (October 1st) at St. Olaf. (I did not get many of the buildings, mostly where we were playing Frisbee golf)


I hope you are all enjoying the weather and have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pictures of things I found while cleaning...

A nice note from Nick from last year :-)

A funny comic

A story with a peaceful look on dying

This came from a city newsletter/booklet from Marvell, Arkansas

From the Broadway show in NYC

A mixed CD from Julie Ann

This is a picture of me when I was young

My Grandpa Clark with a Sherman Tank (in Korean War)

My medal from the Earth Day run (2008?)

Nick's medal from the Twin Cities Marathon 2009

Nick and I skied our first Birkie in 2011 (we did the Kortelopet in 2010)

The empty filing basket = success!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Beautiful Easter garden from my wedding 4/23/11 
Some people have blogs entirely devoted to a certain topic/ food, crafts, etc. I have never been that organized, and if you know me well enough you know that I am random and quickly jump from one idea/thought to the next. We all have a different style...instead of me trying to be someone I'm not, I am going to be myself and this blog will be a reflection of that style. Maybe Nick will even post now and again. He doesn't enjoy writing as much as I do, I expect his posts will be few and far between. Overall, I think I'm good at not letting my work get to me. I also don't let my personal life (if I'm having a rough day or something) interfere with the care that I deliver. But I'm human, and sometimes I have days where I dwell on my patients' concerns. Usually this leads to me being grateful for what I have and not worrying about the small stuff. As George Carlin once said, "Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things." He also said, "If humans came from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?" but that is a topic for another day :-)

Tuesday was too humid for my taste. It doesn't matter if it's 5 below zero or 95 degrees, I am always warm when I am working. Even when I'm driving! So when patients ask me about the temperature of their home (wondering if it's too cold or warm), I don't have the most accurate internal thermometer. When a patient asked me today if her house felt humid--I was suddenly at a loss for words. I didn't want to complain or to have her feel obligated to put on the air conditioning, but I also didn't want her to think she was imagining the heat!. And since I wasn't sweating, I just explained I have an inaccurate internal temperature on work days--I always feel warm. The same patient said she couldn't believe how windy it was today and preceded to tell me what is the ideal weather. Other patients talk about how nice it looks outside and how they wish they could go for a walk. Some weeks we don't get enough rain for the garden, and other weeks it's like a monsoon.. Warning: I am about to make a generalization. Everybody in Minnesota has an opinion about the weather--whether good or bad (or should I say "weather" good or, that pun is for you!). 

More beautiful flowers for Easter weekend. Our wedding was 4/23/11. For me it marked 21 years of being cancer free!!
The reason I mention this is that not everything I talk about with patient is health related--sometimes they bring up the news or local issues--but the biggest non-health topic is the weather. Elderly people love to talk about the weather. When I was younger, every letter from my grandparents would include something about the weather, which made a lot of sense because they live on a farm--farming is largely affected by something we have no control over--the weather. I think that is what makes it such a common topic--it's unpredictable, but we can all relate. It's a comforting feeling knowing we are all dealing with the same thing. On a smaller scale, when I find myself sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the highway in the middle of winter as snowflakes pelt my windshield, I feel more connected to my fellow drivers. We are all dealing with the same thing.
Like "tiptoeing" around a subject
Unlike the weather, a person's health--such as depression or a new diagnosis of cancer--is not always an easy subject for people to broach. We may all have different opinions, but no longer is it as impersonal as the weather. We can try and put ourselves in people's shoes, but we cannot know exactly how they feel. With that said, however, I think it is important for us to put ourselves in their shoes for a moment. This gives us a better awareness for empathetic listening. Too often we are worried about saying the wrong thing, when really we can ask a question, listen, and respond based on their reaction or thoughts. 

Many people do not know what to say to someone who has cancer. Some people are afraid of saying the wrong thing so they don't say anything at all. There isn't always a right thing to say. I've told people that cancer sucks. I say that it's not fair, they don't deserve it, and I will help in any way I can to make it less scary and more manageable. I say that life is unpredictable and we do the best that we can. I carefully remind them what is going right (such as good lab results, clear scan), and discuss with them what they would like to go better. I have hope while remaining realistic. I explain that they are in the driver's seat, that they are the most important member of the team,  and that I want them to have all the cards in front of them to make their decisions (an example being choosing whether or not to have a surgery). I was nervous today about asking a patient about his understanding of his diagnosis, prognosis or life expectancy, and his treatment options. I didn't know what can of worms I could be opening. However, I asked him the questions respectfully and informed him of why the questions were important. And, lo and behold, the discussion went much smoother than I anticipated. I ended up collecting very valuable data with which I shared with his doctor, and it appeared that the patient and his spouse were able to talk openly about his condition.

I think that the intention behind words and actions goes a long way. I pray that I say the right thing and that I help my patients. I fumble with my words and it doesn't always come out right, but in the end it seems to all work out. Nobody expects perfection. I believe that people have a right to be vulnerable without being judged, to know their options and who can help, and to be respected as a person with individual wants and needs.

I updated my status on Facebook tonight with something that was on my mind, in fact it was what led me to post on my blog today. Post from earlier this evening: "As a home care nurse I see joy and patients laugh and cry. They share with me their concerns, questions, and innermost feelings. I feel privileged to work with patients--who welcome me into their home--and to help them as they work to manage their health. I love what I do. We never know what tomorrow will bring, but at 26 I truly appreciate my life and each day that I am given. I look forward to each new life experience and I try to make the most of every day." --Emily Kremer 8/24/11

Dreaming of the future while still being present in the moment

Monday, August 22, 2011


I just realized it has been over 6 months since I last posted, and I figured it is as good a time as any to resume blogging (or at least give it a shot!). To get back up to speed, I am going to recap our  past 6 months...

-Bridal shower
-Cross country skiing
-Traveled up to Ely, MN for a weekend at Camp du Nord
-Nick & I skied the Birkebeiner (50k = 31 mile ski race)

-wedding preparation (& glad to be almost done with wedding planning...not my cup of tea! excited to get married but ready to be done with planning the details!)

-Bachelor and bachelorette parties
-My brother, Brian proposed to his girlfriend, Michelle...they are getting married next year on May 19, 2012!
-I turned 26 on April 20th
-Nick & I got married on April 23!!

-enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon to Washington State (Olympic National Park, Hoh Rainforest, Puget Sound, San Juan Islands, Seattle) and Vancouver. Also went to Seattle Mariner's game at Safeco Field
-Mother's day celebration with 3 different families: Nick's mom, my mom, and Nick's step-mom .
-Double date night with the Gallaghers!

-Baseball road trip June 3-5 (2 stadiums--Kansas City/Kauffman Stadium and St Louis//Busch Stadium)
-Nick turned 28 on June 13th
-"Camping day" to celebrate Julie Ann's birthday...since campground was full
-Celebrated Father's day: Twin's game with Nick's dad on Friday, and 3rd annual father's day bike trip with my dad

-Celebrated 4th of July with extended family in Hutchinson and Elk River
-My first time go karting
-Eye procedure to laser down retina in my right eye, followed by a lovely lunch with my mom and grandma at Key's Cafe
-Weekend at Nick's uncle's cabin with his mom, brothers, and brother's girlfriend, Miranda
-Biked 26 miles with Jen :-)
-Camping weekend in Eveleth, MN....Gasthof's first tent/camping experience!
-trying to get back into running

-yearly family vacation in Ely, MN at Camp du Nord
-flew to Los Angeles for a wedding (Sarah Robison/Jeff Schneider...reception in the Robison backyard. A beautiful wedding!). We also did some sightseeing (Venice Beach, Getty Center, Griffith Park, Griffith Park Observatory) and met up with a friend, Eddie, who I haven't seen in 13 years!! Nick, Eddie, and I went to a Dodger's game (Dodger Stadium)...Nick is collecting baseball hats at each stadium & I am collecting team baseball cards.
-Double date night with the Gallaghers
-August 20--(local) friends' wedding: Tiffany Blaisdell & Chris Nguyen. Lots of fun!

Current projects/interests include:
1. Emily learning to sew (bought 1st sewing machine today...waiting for it to come in the mail from
2. Nick & Emily trying to exercise's difficult in the summer when it's hot after work and we don't get up early enough to run before work!
3. Bottling wine that we made from a kit
4. Growing wine grapes and hops in our yard...and a small garden that actually produced 2 cucumbers so far. Waiting for the tomatoes to ripen.
5. Organizing the house...neither of us love cleaning but we enjoy when it's more organized. Always a work in progress!
6. I am looking forward to the new local library opening this fall.
7. Brewing beer
8. Finding enough time to spend with family and friends....while also finding time to relax!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Go Team!

                                  I, Gasthof, have become the mascot for "Team Kremer"...

                                 parents just don't know it yet.

I love my cozy bed!
Because of the weather they stay inside more, which means that I get the WHOLE backyard to myself. I can get away with playing with all the sticks I want, running along the fence saying hi to the other dogs, chasing squirrels, making new tracks, and taking care of business wherever I want. I also can play in my cool fort underneath the deck where dad put fallen tree branches last fall. And when I get tired and want to come inside, I get to sleep on a comfy, warm bed. I am a happy puppy.

Everything was going well; I ruled the backyard....

.....but then today mom came outside to play with me.

I wagged my tail a bunch trying to look cute, and ran around the yard, making sure not to jump on her. I was on my best behavior...and I think it worked. She didn't peek under the deck into my fort or scold me about the messes I have made in the yard. And when I sat down to play with a stick, she got bored with me and went inside. Freedom! It was back to playing under the deck. I can outsmart my parents :) Because I am smart, cute, and fast, I should be the mascot for Team Kremer. I wonder if as the mascot I get more treats....

Well, gotta run! Dad just came home and I overheard mom saying that we were going for a walk. I don't want to get my hopes up...I haven't gone on a walk since last month! Talk to you later!


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