Minnesota
  • Zoey Update: Bitter Truths

    As most know, Zoey has been with cancer for nearly two years. She has been through poking, prodding, CAT scans, radiation, and most recently, surgery. After all this, she still greets the vets with a lick and a wagging tail, cautiously, but still happy. We're the same way. Our Oncologist makes us laugh, so that's a plus.

    This appointment on December 2nd was one we've been dreading for a month. During that time we have seen large regrowth of cancer. The once flat surface from eye and tumor removal surgery, now looks like she has another eye, except this time it is covered up with hair and skin. She also had brief diarrhea and colitis, which cleared up with help from our general vet, but prompted us to make an appointment with Oncology to make sure there wasn't more going on. 

    What's up: Our Oncologist says the regrowth is not something he's particularly pleased with, and that it is painful for Zoey. She still choses to be a happy dog over everything else that is going on, and that tells him that her pain is still able to managed. He predicts our dealbreakers will be 1) If she starts to be unsocial 2) If she shows no interest in food. This appoinment also led us into talked about euthanasia, and if we had looked into at all - we hadn't - so he walked us through what happens. Simply put, the time we have left could be weeks to a month. There is no way of telling right now.

    Zoey's cancer progression of last month has forced me to start thinking about her inevitable death, and how I will cope. Only one animal has died in my life - my gerbil, Derby, in the 4th grade - and it was emotionally crushing. This will be that to the nth power. 

    There was an article in the NY Times some months back in which a writer used his column as a way to process his dogs death. The tone of the article was sad, but it had a playfulness - the kind that makes you laugh as your just about to burst into tears...maybe I'll do something like that.

    Although there are fluctuating percentages of sadness, Zoey is still very much alive, and happy to be with us, and we are very happy to still have her. 

    - B

  • Zoey, One Week After Surgery

    It's hard to believe that one week has already passed by. The first hardship was getting used to the site of Zoey only having one eye, but by the end of the day we had gotten pretty comfortable with the fact. During the first night I think I woke up about every hour when she would sneeze - each time I would get out of bed to make sure her stitches hadn't broke, or that there wasn't more blood than what was to be expected while her incisions were healing. Luckily Anna and I both had days off after the procedure, so it was nice to stay at home and make sure the first steps to recovery started smoothly. 

    Zoeys mood is peppy as ever. She plays, she gets excited, and is still so affectionate. Today (7/24) was her first outing away from the house, unfortunately I wasn't around for it, but Anna told me she was so happy to be outside on an adventure again. I got to see her in the evening and snap some photos.

    We learned tonight that the tumor was an osteosarcoma (bone tumor), and that with the surgical removal we just went through, they follow up with chemotherapy for best results. The U of M talked with us over the phone about this, and brought up the future and what the expected life span is after the treatment. They predict 12-18 months for the type of tumor Zoey has, including chemo. We meet with oncology again on August 12th to move forward with treatment, and get her stitches removed.

    Stay tuned for more updates.

    <3 Bryant, Anna, & Zoey

  • Dogwood Throwdown

    The following are candid shots from the latte art throwdown at Dogwood Coffee on March 5th. Baristas from the surrounding area came together to drink beer and pour lattes. Some shops that participated include: Quixotic, Urban Bean, Bull Run, Spyhouse, Dogwood, Parka, River Rock, Peace, Publika, and more.

    The winner of the evening was Keith from Dogwood Coffee

    Image below of the bracket taken by Andrew, who competed from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts 

    - B

  • The Frozen North

    Winter in Minnesota (along with the rest of the midwest) has been pretty extreme. The day after Minnesota was in blizzard conditions, Anna and I ventured north to stay in a log cabin for three nights. Snow shoe adventures, clouds of snow, ice cave adventures into Wisconsin, and more. Never have I explored the north in conditions like this. The setting was very surreal, and the landscape felt like it was not of this state at some points. Do enjoy what was our view. <3

    Day 1: Bear Head Lake State Park

    Day 2: Tettegouche State Park

    Day 3: Ice Caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

    This year Lake Superior froze over upwards toward 90%, reaching a 10 inch average for ice thickness. To get to these "ice caves" in the following images, you walk along the southern shore over the ice on Lake Superior. 

    - B

  • The Northern Air

    The North Shore in Minnesota is by far one of my favorite destinations to visit. All year round it offers an escape away from city life. Even if you only have a day to spend up there, you can get a nice fill of solitude and trails. This year was the first time I had ever visit the shore in winter, and I was in aw by frozen shores, ice slabs floating in the Lake Superior, and then as you drive further and further up the shore, it turns into clear waters and bright blue skies. The site of these waters and being able to breathe in the crisp northern Minnesota air puts me in a state of elation.

    Along the shore there are many waterfalls to hike into. With only a day up north you can really only travel to one of them. Well worth the trip we made. Water that was once rushing over rocks, creating deep pools was now frozen with ice thick enough to walk over it all. In some spots snow and ice revealed the force under the ice. Water was still rushing along as it had when it was melted, just hidden underneath. A dangerous surprise if you're not careful.

    Summer (2012)

  • Frozen Falls

    Every year in Minneapolis, Minnehaha Falls freezes over. Just about every photographer in the area has been here, but that shouldn't be a reason to stay away. This formation is awe inspiring, and when you get here at sunrise, you are alone. That's the best part. 

    I had the chance to sit down and write a bit while I was behind the falls.

    Splish, splash, trickle, and drop. Water droplets everywhere. The more you focus on them, the sound becomes deafening, their numbers only multiplied as morning goes on. Sunlight takes over as it rises above the hill. Columns have formed over time from freezing water, and have created windows, allowing light to illuminate the cave behind. Periodically ice will detach from its frozen home on the waterfall, causing an avalanche of ice to erupt on impact - shaking you to the very core - you would think the entire waterfall was collapsing.

    - B

  • Happy 21st, Anna!

    A happy 21st to, Anna! We celebrated around Minneapolis and St. Paul, having good food, beer, and some photo opportunities. All done with 19 obnoxious balloons floating around in the back of the car. It would have been 20, but during my time spent at one of the many stoplights throughout the day, one popped all of the sudden. Scary moment. Friction and that balloon did not get along.

    Zoey was absolutely terrified of these balloons. When Anna had first arrived, she ran through the kitchen, back and forth, back and forth, wagging her butt full of excitement (it compensate for her lack of tail), but head down in fright. Once she had finally got to Anna, she was weary and kept an eye on those balloons.

    For breakfast I whipped up some dutch oven pancakes, complete with raspberries, blueberries, pomegranate, and 100% maple syrup - the good stuff, and of course, an awesome pour over from Ethiopia.

    Still trying to conquer her fears, Zoey eventually got to the point where she would just run past the balloons without being too overly weary.

    We made it to a few of our favorite food/dessert spots in the Twin Cities. First stop, St. Paul Cheese Shop. With a wide variety of cheeses imported from all over the place, we stopped by for lunch to get a sandwich made up. I forget what we had. I know it was a swiss cheese, greens, and some sort of confit or chutney on there that was sweet. Second, we stopped at Dr. Chocolate's Chocolate Chateau. From some of the top truffle/chocolate makers in the states, they have a ranging variety of bizzare and interesting flavors that are quite delicious. For example, Olive oil basil with smoked sea salt, port with plum and fig, walnut, biscotti, and so on. Really great stuff. The 'William Dean' chocolate down there was actually in the Hunger Games movie I guess. Never seen it, but that's pretty cool.

    We put the balloons to good use. Our day was mostly planned around food, but with the time left between meals and outings, we ventured forth around the twin cities for some shots showing the skyline in the background with the balloons as well.

    I skimped out on taking photos at dinner, and beer, and all that good stuff...but you can imagine it ;]

    - B 

  • Sarah & Mike

    The newly engaged couple! Had a really fun time with these guys. Got to utilize the 1.2, walk through some beautiful areas, and catch up on life. I met Sarah at a party of hers a couple years back that a coworker invited me to. I later ran into Sarah at the grocery store I'm always shopping at. Since I was shopping at that location almost everyday, it gave us the chance to easily keep in touch. Then there's facebook, which brings us to where we are today.

    - B

  • Before you hit play: I want to mention a few contributing factors to this post. Lately I have been inspired by narratives and spoken word. The photo project, This Wild Idea, and the podcast, This American Life, have both played a large part in this. With that in mind, this post is something new that I am really excited to try.

    So hit play, and enjoy the photos that go with the audio.

  • Showin' Off Minneapolis

    A friend of mine I went to school with in Chicago came up to visit for the weekend. We try visiting each other in Chicago or Minneapolis at least once a year. It depends on schedules and finances. He moves to Boston at the end of the Summer, and this was the last open weekend he had to do anything, so Minneapolis it was! We showed him some of our favorite spots that deal with food, art, coffee, dessert, and summer activities. Good times.

    I made us some Buttermilk waffles topped with roasted pecans and blueberries with some fresh maple syrup we got from the farmers market.

    Visiting the sculpture garden at the Walker Art Center. You can kind of see that these trees have chimes hanging all throughout the area. If you sit under them and close your eyes it's a real relaxing and dreamy type sound that relaxes you to the core.

    On the second day we decided to hit the beach. It was about 93ºF so it was perfect. First we went to the farmers market so we could get all the ingredients necessary for Mojitos. After that we went canoeing on the lakes, had an awesome dinner grilling kebabs, and chilled out for the rest of the night with beer and good times.

    This was a long one. The next time we visit it will probably be in Boston. Can't wait.

    - B

  • Rural Minnesota: Abandoned Goodies

    Exploring rural areas has become kind of a lost concept to me.  I used to do this all the time during my teen years when all I had to get around were my own two feet.  So, yesterday I tried exploring.  Driving aimlessly through the backroads of Minnesota, it was harder than I thought to find anything of interest.  I managed to come out with a spots though.

    1st stop:

    2nd stop:

    everything decays

    mirror remnants on the walls

    creepy attics

    welcome home


    - B