About Me

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I have two kids - a girl and a boy - and live in north-central Minnesota, land of snow and ice. Well, for 9 months of the year, that is. I work full-time for a local government, and on my "free time" I enjoy cooking, baking, hanging out with my kiddos, and RELAXING.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the power of...power

It stormed here last night in the great state of Minnesota.

Well, it stormed where I live, anyway. I woke up at 3:30 am to nothing. Ah, the sound of nothing-ness.

The sound of nothing always wakes me up. Rather, I should more accurately make this statement as "the absence of sound always wakes me up." No more air conditioner, no more fan, no more tick-tock, tick-tock. Everything is silent, dead.

Immediately I set my phone alarm. My regular alarm has battery back-up, but you can't take chances when you have to get up while it's still dark outside. I tossed and turned for the next hour and a half, having a difficult time falling asleep with only Darren's snoring to listen to.

Perhaps his snoring is what actually woke me up in the first place, rather than the absence of my noisy fan. Something to look into...

I figured the power would be back on by the time I had to get ready for work because...well, it just had to be, alright?! I need my coffee! How can I get ready for work with no power? (This was before I understood the water situation...)

Well, 5:05 a.m. finally rolled around and my phone alarm went off, followed thirty seconds later by my alarm clock. Love that thing. So reliable, even without electricity. I struggled out of bed with my phone held out in front of me like a flashlight while Darren oh-so-wisely sleepily commented, "Uh...the power...the power is out." Um, yes husband, yes it is. Thank you for that insightful statement as I stub my toe on the bed.

Okay, I didn't really stub my toe. But it could have happened.

I should mention here that I grew up in the country, with a well. No city water for us. In the country, no power means no water. A double whammy. Now, a couple weeks ago I learned that in the city, this isn't so. No power does not mean no water. Hallelujah. But I decided to do a test run. I asked Darren and he said he wasn't sure if the water would work, but I thought there's no way to find out except to try. Or ask the landlords. But since it was 5:08 a.m., I decided to try it myself first.

I went into the bathroom and hauled this beast of a candle along with me. Lit the stinker and ran some water in the sink. Praise be, it worked! I had water! Maybe my makeup would be off the charts, and my hair would be dripping wet, but at least I would smell good!

I snuck back into the bedroom to inform my husband that yes, the water in the city does still work when there is no power. About this time the power came back on. I could hear it in the sudden whoosh of the fan, and the beep-beep-beep of seventeen appliances coming back online.

So, in the end, it didn't really make much of a difference that the power was out from 3:30 a.m. to 5:11 a.m. this morning, but I was very thankful for it to come back on. It's hard to think of getting through the day without electricity. It's so nice when everything works the way it's supposed to.

But just in case, it was the fastest shower ever.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

my purse

I've been lugging my purse around for the past several weeks without taking the time to go through it.

Occasionally it needs some weeding out. True story.

Today I realized how heavy it's getting. And that I walk with my purse shoulder hitched up higher than my other shoulder to compensate for it.

Not attractive.

I weighed my purse tonight. It weighs 5.4 pounds. Which isn't too heavy, as far as things go, but try walking around the streets of Duluth every day with five and a half pounds dragging your arm down and you'll get tired of it too.

I know you want to know what's in my purse.

You're on the edge of your seat, I'm sure. What could possibly be in there that's making it so heavy, you might ask.

Well, I'll tell you.

-two packs of Stride gum
-five bobby pins
-hair clip
-set of keys
-State ID
-two chapsticks
-a mini notebook my awesome friend Laura made for me
-a full-size deodorant (I forget to put it on a lot...)
-pepper spray
-liquid hand sanitizer
-another set of keys
-two paperclips
-hand lotion
-two pens
-hand wipe
-wallet, which is pretty heavy itself, though it only has five cents (not joking)
-envelope of cash from a shopping trip
-jump drive
-work keys
-mini lint roller
-book of matches
-oil-absorbing sheets (for my face)
-another book of matches (didn't even know I had two)
-powder concealer
-five dried up hand wipes, which I'm throwing in the garbage now
-three band aids
-packet of cold pills
-eight more bobby pins, in a different location
-make that nine
-fingernail clippers

And she's empty. It didn't seem like that much until I listed it all on here. Probably better get going on cleaning that out some...tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

from here to there. and everywhere

I've been going crazy in my car lately. I'm pretty sure in the past six weeks of road jobs I've listened to just about every CD I own.

No, I don't have an ipod. You should be thankful I'm not pulling out the cassette tapes.

Did I ever mention the time my sister borrowed ALL my CDs and lost them ALL? No? It wasn't a fun time. My mom made her replace them.

Anyway, when I was driving away on Monday, listening to my CDs (there were only about three radio stations that would come in) I started thinking about how many miles I'd put on my car over the past six weeks.

It was too many to add in my head while driving, I'll tell you that much for sure. So I figured it out today: over 1800. Over one thousand eight hundred. And I'm not done yet. Lucky me I get mileage reimbursement.

Also, just as a side note, during my road jobs I've spent a total of 9 nights in my bed in the cities. Nine nights. In six weeks.

Oh me-a, oh my-a. But the good news is, the Radisson is starting to feel just like home.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

a year

Crazy how fast a year can go by, isn't it?

One year ago today we moved down to the cities. It was a Monday. And it was hot. I was sweating up a storm as we hauled most of our worldly possessions upstairs to our apartment.

If I wasn't writing this on my lunch break at work I would put up some of the pictures I took of us unpacking and moving in. But I don't have them. They're at home and I'm stil in Duluth.


I love Duluth, don't get me wrong. I would much rather be here than say, Marshall. We have a crew in Marshall, MN. Also Moorhead. Yep, Duluth is by far the best choice if one can't be in the main office.

Although, I'm on my fourth week in Duluth (which is my sixth week in a row on the road) and I'm getting tired of my suitcase. And Subway. And I miss my bed.

But hey, if that year can go by fast, I'm sure the next couple weeks will as well, huh?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Freshman year at CSS I lived with a girl named Alli. We were inseparable. We have the same personality, the same type-A personality, similar goals, and we share a birthday. And when I found out my dad wanted to call me Alli...well, it sealed the deal.

We were like sisters, separated at birth. But more than sisters, practically twins.

We shared everything. Except our clothes, because she was too tall. And our shoes, because my feet were too big. But we shared stories, memories, laughter. We even shared our M&Ms.

One of my first memories of Alli is from the first day of classes. Classes started on the Tuesday after Labor Day. I remember this because Alli was in the shower, getting ready for her 8:30 MWF class, when she realized it was actually Tuesday, and she had class at 7:50. And she came running out, threw on sweats, and went to her first day of college with wet hair and no makeup. And as I slowly learned, these types of experiences were typical.

Dancing in Alli and Alissa's room, some day close to Christmas. I remember because we were rocking it out to a Christmas song.

Alli was the first person who ever died my hair. She got me addicted. I dye my hair religiously now.

Only a couple days after school started. Friends already.

Nearly the end of the school year, taking some pictures.

Alli was a bridesmaid in my wedding, and someday, I'll be in hers. And just another perk to being in Duluth for four weeks: I get to see Alli a couple nights a week. Haven't laughed so much in a LONG time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


My freshman year of college I went to the College of St Scholastica in Duluth.

It was awesome. Although I didn't realize it at the time. I thought I hated CSS. Really, I just hated college. It was unfortunate I didn't realize that until my sophomore year, my first year at Northwestern College in St Paul. Although I wouldn't trade my years at NWC for anything, I left behind some good friends at CSS. And I missed Duluth.

I've been lucky enough to spend the past two weeks in Duluth, and will spend the next two there as well, on assignment for work.

I love the lift bridge in Canal Park. I love watching it go up and down and watching big ships come in to the harbor. I love walking down Canal Park Drive and Lake Avenue, watching people, browsing through shops, hitting up Caribou.

One of my favorite memories is sitting in Caribou with friends from college, studying and drinking Hot Apple Blasts.

I also love to drive up the shore to Gooseberry Falls and Two Harbors. During fall semester of my freshman year in 2005, one of my friends from high school and I drove up to Two Harbors and walked out on to the pier. At the end is a lighthouse. As we got closer to the lighthouse I was reminded of a family vacation many years before. I was with my family and we were at the end of the pier, watching the ships come in, or go out. I remembered my dad using the car keys to carve our names into one of the posts of the lighthouse.

And sure enough, they were still there. Right where he carved them in 1997, although they had been painted over and written on a couple times.

Darren and I are hoping to get up to Duluth sometime this fall for a weekend away. I'm looking forward to going back to Two Harbors, walking down that pier, and seeing if that carving is still there.

But until then, I'll look forward to the sights and sounds of Duluth.

Friday, August 13, 2010

what I'm into now

-"Stuck Like Glue" by Sugerland and "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry

-my flatiron

-Say Yes to the Dress

-Baked Lays Parmesan & Tuscan Herb chips

-Skinny Vanilla Lattes (Starbucks) or Northern Lite Lattes (Caribou)

-alcohol-inspired eye shadows (strawberry daiquiri, mojito, and long island tea, to name a few)

-also, purple eyeliner


-not exercising

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I couldn't have made it without Bonnie. She's always there for me, no matter what. Filled with good advice and great directions, she's my hero.

She's also my GPS.

I think I probably would have accidentally driven to Iowa, or North Dakota, or been lost in Chicago without Bonnie. At the very least, I wouldn't have made it home last weekend.

I was working a job in Pine City, which is about an hour north of the cities on 35. And, much to my dismay, there is no direct route from Pine City to Backus. No direct route at all. I don't believe I drove more than 10 miles without turning either right or left until I hit Mille Lacs, about an hour northwest.

My map-reading skills are sub par. And even with mapquest, I'm pretty sure I would have ending up lost in a small farming town somewhere southeast of Mora.

And I used to think I lived in the middle of nowhere. Not true. Not true at all. I didn't know there was so much of Minnesota I had never been to.

But Bonnie, she was ever faithful. She directed me with precision and poise, calmly stating "Turn left in 300 yards" or "In one-quarter mile, bear right."

I couldn't have done it without her.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

things i like

Coming home from church in the dead of winter and putting on comfy pants and a sweatshirt.

Reading until two in the morning.

Having someone else shampoo my hair. (C'mon, you know you love it when you go to the salon.)

The occasional rainy/stormy/bizzardy day. A good excuse to stay inside and do nothing.

The smell of the ocean mixed with the smell of Banana Boat.

Brand-new mascara.

Winter boots. My feet always stay dry, and they're way comfier than heels.

Monday, August 9, 2010

the letter

So I'm pretty sure I mentioned Darren's box of letters a while back. What I didn't mention was I found the letter my father-in-law sent to Darren filled with...shall we say "misunderstandings" about me.

"I have some interesting news for you. You will probably be mad about it, but I'm safe because you will be over it by the time you get back. Anyway I was at the bank yesterday and Alaina Fisher asked what you were doing this summer (lie number one) and what your plans were for college. So I filled her in on what you were doing. She asked for your address (lie number two) because she wanted to write to you. So, you know me, we started talking about you and she told me that she had always wanted to go out with you (lie number three; pretty sure I would have died of embarassment every saying something like that to a man's father) and that anytime you would ask her out she wouldn't have to think twice about it, she would love to."

Either I had a serious memory lapse regaring that conversation, or someone was playing matchmaker.

I suppose I can forgive him.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

you know how?

You know how sometimes certain things will remind you of a specific moment in time?

Like how the smell of Banana Boat reminds me of sitting on the beach at Poipu, roasting to a crisp and laughing with friends.

Like how any Taylor Swift song reminds me of sophomore year of college and falling in love.

Like how any mention of duck hunting reminds me of my father.

Like how shelling peas reminds me of a warm summer day spent in the air-conditioned house at my grandparents.

Like how baby geese remind me of the smell of the hallway in my aunt's old apartment building.

Like how snapping turtles remind me of my sister freaking out while swimming in Scribner.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

awesome day

I'm going to start this post by saying, "Sarah, you were right."

Some time ago...three months ago, I misplaced a bag of dark chocolate M&Ms. Maybe I shouldn't say replaced. Maybe I should say I attempted to hide them from my husband and in the process hid them from myself, as well. In any case, I couldn't find them. I was sure I had them somewhere, and I was almost positive I didn't eat them, but they eluded me.

Until today.

I was watching Little Women while pretending to clean the house. I had just swept and vacuumed the stairs and was thinking about how I needed to change the decoration on top of my little red drawer set. I keep all my random out-of-season and unused decorations in the green hutch in our hallway, so I decided to look through there to see what I could pull out. I opened the bottom drawer and dug around for a while, unsuccessful. I moved on to the top drawer and oh my goodness there were my M&Ms!

And Sarah, my day definitely did turn awesome. Although the M&Ms taste a little off and smell like cinnamon.


I can't believe it's August. How have seven months of the year gone by already? I feel like it should still be April. Actually, I've felt like it should be April since, well, April. So four months of April so far this year. And I'm still in it. Maybe I could progress to May by now.

Mental distraction: Are you one of the people who knows all months and their corresponding number by memory, or are you one of the people who has to count? I know them; my husband counts. Just wondering...

You know what's really weird? On the 24th we'll have lived in our apartment in the cities for a year. A YEAR. That's crazy. But so is life.

There are only five months left of the year. In one month summer will be over and all the kiddies everywhere will be going back to school.

In two months I'll be in California and Nevada, and the days will be shorter and cooler. And crisp. Don't you just love fall? I love the leaves, and football, and hot apple cider, but mostly I love the crispy air. Just can't get enough of it.

In three months there could be snow. We'll be thinking turkey and watching the parade, eating pumpkin pie.

And in four months it will be the Christmas season. Red and green, sparkly lights, love and laughter. Christmas is my favorite time of year.

And then it will be 2011 and we'll start it all over again. And very likely, I'll still think it should be April.