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.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


"A cairn is a human-made pile of rocks, often used to mark a path across stony or barren terrain."


On the ascent to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park the trail is marked with many of these cairns, as the path is indistinguishable on the face of the rock. After climbing the waterfall and passing Lake of Glass, hikers continue to climb through rocky terrain, following only these small piles of rocks.

And believe me, if you miss one, you can wander around for a while with no lake in sight.

Kind of like life. Without cairns, or guidance, we end up lost. Searching for the prize while walking in the opposite direction, wondering all the while where it was we went wrong.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

seven years

It's crazy to think it's been seven years since my dad died. That's a long time.

But I'm pretty sure I say that every year.

It feels like so long ago, and at the same time, not very far at all.

I'm pretty sure I say that every year, also.

Sometimes I wonder how my life would be different if my dad were still alive. I think I would be a little more anal, and a little less crazy. Kind of more how I was before he died.

Life sure is a learning experience.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

letting go

Do you have a hard time letting things go?

Sometimes I can be so carefree about the loss of a possession or a dream, and other times I'm so bitter.

Like now.

And really, in the grand scheme of life, this thing I can't let go of is pretty small. And will be non-existent in another month, but it's the principle of the thing.

I planned, and I hoped, and I planned some more, and then through not entirely my own fault something went wrong.

And the bitterness is eating me alive.

Well, that may be a slight exaggeration, but I'm pretty upset about it. Mostly I've just been really into the word "bitter" lately. Probably because it perfectly describes how I feel right now.

Yes, I know that God is in control, but in the spectrum ranging from total apathy to "my way or the highway" I've always leaned more towards the side of control freak. And sometimes my plans don't line up with God's. Much as a try, I still possess some sick temptation to create incredibly inflexible five- and ten- and twenty-year plans for my life.

Which is ridiculous for two reasons: (1) I know firsthand how drastically and suddenly life can change, and (2) only God can know the future.

So, again, in the grand scheme of life (and my twenty-year plan) four weeks is no big deal. And really, I do believe in God's timing, so as they say, I'll "let go and let God."

Hopefully sometime before the next month is over. Hey, what can I say? I'm a work in progress.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

the heels dilemma

I'm fairly tall for a woman. And really, I'm not that tall. I'm five-six (and three quarters, according to the doctor the other week) which is considered pretty average.

I do, however, seem to have a difficult time finding pants long enough. To me, the perfect length of pants are ones that are just brushing the ground. Not so long that you trip on them and not so short that the world sees your socks when you sit down.

That's all well and good, but the problem is that I wear a lot of heels. High heels. Therefore, I must compensate by buying even longer pants. In fact, the pants I'm wearing this very second are a good three inches past my foot when I stand up. Now, if I were wealthy enough to afford two pairs of pants - one for high heels, and one for flats - of every style I own, then this wouldn't be an issue. But as it is, I'm either walking on my pants or stumbling around in not-high-heel-appropriate terrain.

It's quite the dilemma.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


The other day Darren and I were talking about potential children's names. (Nope, not pregnant.) We have a pretty good idea for girl's names, but we're stuck on boy's names.

I would tell you what the girl's names are, but Darren wants to keep it a secret. I don't really care either way, so secret it is.

In any case, he was suggesting some boy's names. One of which was Buck.

I said, "We can't name our child Buck. What if he grows up and moves to the cities and becomes an accountant?"

To which he, in all seriousness, said, "Then I have failed."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I'm one of those people who weighs myself every day. It helps me stay on track. Although, sometimes when I know it's not going to be pretty, I skip it. But for the most part, every single day.

And some days, I swear a beast from the underworld has come to the land of the living in order to possess my scale. There's no way I weigh that much, right?


Occasionally, however, my scale will read so low I know the numbers aren't right. The first couple times this happened I immediately jumped back on in a state of pure elation in order to see those magic numbers one more time.

And then I was disillusioned. Because, in fact, some beast did possess my scale and did cause it to tragically misinform me of my true weight.

So do you know what I do now? Whenever my scale tells me a number that I think is a little too low, I just roll with it. And feel good about myself all day long. Because, hey, there's no reason to put myself through that kind of torture.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

my family loves football

Every Sunday my family does football picks.

My brother is in charge of the whole thing: he lists all the games for the weekend, including the records. We each have our own sheet where we choose who we think will be the winner of each game. And then we also write down what we believe will be the total number of points scored during the Monday night game, which is used as a tiebreaker, if needed.

Everyone puts in $2 a week, and the winner gets to keep it all.

In three years, I've won once. It was pure luck.

We also do a SuperBowl playoff. During the post-season we'll each draw two teams for the finals. Everyone puts in $5 this time, and whomever's team wins the SuperBowl wins everything.

Two years ago during the SuperBowl Darren and I had teams that played each other. It was awesome.

My family loves football.

Monday, October 11, 2010

busy, busy life

Last night as I was unpacking my bag from yet another weekend away from home I started wondering when was the last time I spent two weeks in the same place.

Answer: March.

True story. Since March I have not slept in the same bed for two weeks straight. Between heading up north, vacations, and road jobs, I have packed my duffel or suitcase at least every other week.

Sometimes every week.

I'm very ready to stay home for a while.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Shelly's Shrimp Corn Chowder

My mother-in-law makes the best shrimp corn chowder ever.


Darren and I made it last weekend and it was mmmmmm, tasty.

Unfortunately, after I ate a huge bowl I felt like my throat was kind of scratchy. Even worse, the same thing happened the last time I had shrimp.

And the time before that.

I've come to the realization I am allergic to shrimp.

Sad day. And I don't even really like shrimp.

However, it didn't stop me from eating a bit of the leftovers a couple days later. I think that just goes to show how good good this soup is.

I buy frozen shrimp, so we had to thaw it. (You'll need two cups, chopped.) It's also pre-cooked, which is nice.

Chop up 1/4 cup onion...

...and 1/4 cup mushrooms.

Add 1-2 cloves chopped garlic and saute in a little olive oil.

You'll want to start chopping the shrimp before you saute the onions and mushrooms. It takes a while to chop two cups.

When the onions are almost done (when they're almost clear) add the shrimp. Saute 3-5 more minutes. Then, add 2 cans cream of mushroom soup, 1 can creamed corn, 1/2 can chicken broth, and some milk until you reach the desired consistency. Also add 1-2 tsp basil and 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and also a little salt and pepper.

Stir it up real nice. Mmm, I'm craving it just writing this post...

Simmer for 15-20 minutes, and add 2-3 tbsp sour cream towards the end. (Serves 4)

I think garlic biscuits are a perfect compliment to shrimp corn chowder, so we made some of those, too. These are similar to Red Lobster biscuits, only not quite as tasty. And I can't figure out why...
Anyway, here's how to make them:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix 2 cups Bisquick, 2/3 cup milk, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, and a considerable amount of garlic powder. I sort of just dump it in there; it's probably about a tablespoon. And I still don't think they're garlic-y enough...

Anyway, mix those ingredients until a soft dough forms and then beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Melt 1/8 cup butter and add 1 tsp garlic powder. Brush over warm biscuits before removing from sheet (yield 6-8). Eat warm. And drool over their tastiness.


Friday, October 8, 2010


Today was the follow-up ultrasound for the lump I found on my breast, which I first wrote about here.

Went through the same routine as last time. Found out that there were no changes.

And, the best news of all: I get to go back. Again. In another six months. But that should be the last time, so long as everything is still the same.

Can't wait for this to be over.

Monday, October 4, 2010


I got accused of being a germaholic today at work. Just because I keep hand sanitizer at my desk.

Side note: Wouldn't you think "germaholic" would mean "addicted to germs" instead of "afraid of germs" as it was intended?

Yeah, me too.

In any case, it was all in fun, but here are the reasons I am most definitely NOT a germaholic.

1. I eat food off the floor. Well, maybe food is too broad...broccoli, no...chocolate, yes.

2. I don't sanitize my kitchen after cutting raw chicken. Also, I don't throw my dishrag in the laundry after washing things that have touched raw chicken.

3. I use the hand towel to wipe food/juice/etc off my hands when I'm too lazy to wash it off.

4. I thaw my meat on the counter and not in the fridge. And sometimes we thaw steaks in the sink.

5. I sanitize my sink about once every three weeks (which is really gross when you think about it).

6. I don't wash my hands after I blow my nose.

7. I don't always wash my hands before I eat, either.

8. Also, I don't feel the need to wash my hands after I touch gum underneath a table.

9. I touch the grocery cart handle and then eat the free samples at Target.


10. I used to kiss my kitty on the face.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

nothing to show

I came home sick.

Lovely. And even better, Darren is sick too.

I have an appalling lack of energy and have spent the time since I woke up sitting on the couch.

I have nothing to show for the morning, other than a near-empty carton of juice, empty pill packets, and a mess of used kleenex.

It's a little disgusting.