It’s our party we can do what we want…

Yes, that is the opening lyric to Miley’s song We Can’t Stop. And let’s just all admit it now, that song and Wrecking Ball are really catchy songs! I could go on a tangent on what I said this past year (a lot) and who I kissed(a few….but have since for real fallen in love!). I didn’t smoke anything in the bathroom, nor did I dance with Molly or hold any house parties.

So much has happened since I last posted…good and bad, but as I look back, the great times outshine the not so good times!

Since my last post in June I…

  • Marched in 4th of July parades with politicians
  • Met a great guy named Eric
  • Helped get the Westerly Route off the table for the Highway 53 relocation
  • Started a new but temporary job
  • Went camping to the BWCAW with Eric (with pneumonia(I wouldn’t recommend it, as it isn’t fun coughing on a rock all night!))
  • Attended a Neko Case and a Mason Jennings concert at First Ave.
  • Jumped into a hole of a frozen lake five times
  • Cleaned my adopted highway
  • Was appointed to an honorable task force
  • Ate at delicious restaurants in Duluth and the Twin Cities area
  • Biked
  • Hiked
  • Attended a gay wedding…because love is the law in Minnesota!
  • Cross country skied
  • Went dogsledding
  • Found new loves for healthy foods
  • Moved into a house with Eric
  • Found more happiness
  • Etc.

I didn’t run a 5k like I had planned(my bad joints have other agendas!). I didn’t land a job I really wanted. I didn’t read 14 books either! I don’t have any resolutions planned for 2014, but I don’t try to look at the next 365 days, instead I try to look at the day ahead or even the week, because we never know what is around the next corner. I have shared so many happy moments with Eric these past six months that I can’t wait to see what is to come! I don’t want to plan it all out, as I never could have envisioned this past half year being so sweet!

As of late, I find myself dancing in the kitchen to We Can’t Stop blasting on the stereo…honestly, it’s a good song! And as we close another year, let’s remember that everyday can be a new beginning or a new resolution. Like birthdays, January 1st only comes once a year…so let’s celebrate everyday instead, one day at a time! Because we can’t stop, and we won’t stop, because it’s our party and we can do what we want, we can say what we want, and we can love who we want!

Happy December 31st!


Building Blocks.

In approximately four weeks, I will be finishing my current job up. The time has come to move on. It is slightly bittersweet but mostly exciting. I am taking on a new job where I will be a Communications Coordinator. It is only for one year, but it sounds challenging and rewarding all along the way.

It has been time for something new for a while now.

I thrive off challenges and being busy. It is hard sitting back and watching things go by. We are in this life to make a difference. And I think everyone, especially young people, should be out hitting the pavement and giving a shit!

Week after week, I sit at meetings for different community organizations and often wonder where all the young people are… It doesn’t matter whether you plan to live around here for another year or for the rest of your life. This is YOUR community! Don’t just live here, be apart of this place that is supporting you. If you are bored, change it. If “there is nothing to do,” find something.

We can spend everyday of our lives wondering what is going to come next, or we can get out there and get involved, so we can bring the future to our present-selves.

Everything we do in life builds us up to reach bigger and better things. Jobs are the biggest building blocks, but we can’t get there without structure. Being involved in extra-circular clubs, organizations, and committees are the stepping stones to the highest points.

I want to encourage high schoolers, college students, and young adults to get involved in at least two things in the community, & one of those things cannot be apart of your everyday job.

Or find a new job/career that challenges you. Don’t continue to be miserable because…crap, I have to…YOLO!

I adopted a highway.

I recently came to the conclusion that I am indeed a professional volunteer. I am currently and have been involved in more organizations than I can count on two hands! I am only 25. I think everyone should volunteer in at least one extra-circular activity that is OUTSIDE of their day-to-day job. I am involved in some groups that relate to my job of working at a co-op, but I also belong to community organizations that deal with murals and highways.

Speaking of highways…I adopted one! Grab your long socks and pants and let’s get dirty! Image

It’s nice to be nice to the nice.

4 years.

A lot happens in four years.

Four years ago was the last time I saw my best friend. He was stolen from this world on April 5, 2009.

We all go through up and downs throughout our lives. Some of us deal with terrible things, others just live on cruise control acting or thinking like they are invincible. But I have found as I have looked around these past four years, everyone has gone through something.

There are those who have gone through something crappy but really they have no idea how bad it really could be. There are those who have been to hell and back.

A couple of weeks ago I was diagnosed with a disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. While most people that received that diagnosis would be sad and depressed, I see it as yet another bump in the road. No one died. I probably won’t die. It’s all about perspective. I have bummed a bit with the diagnosis, but mostly because it’s like no one noticed and I wanted to tell Dan.

There have been so many things that I have wanted to tell Dan these past four years. Secrets. Thoughts. Realizations. News.

While the next month will be full of reminders of sad, traumatic, and heartbreaking days…it will also bring happy reminders of new friends, new perspectives, and better lookouts on life events.

Life is what you make of it. Find what you love. Remember those who have passed.




149,668,992 Kilometers

If you know how to do conversions, own a conversion calculator, or just enter 149,668,992 Kilometers into Google you will learn that it is the same distance as 93 million miles.

93 Million Miles is a song by Jason Mraz. Mr. Mraz somehow knows the words to my soul! And if you read my old blog or just know me, you know that music essentially keeps my heart beating. I mean, just LOOK at this count! If you listen to the lyrics of 93 Million Miles, you hear Mr. Mraz refer to how we can always come home no matter where life takes us.

Lately I have been trying to figure out what I want in this life. In a couple of weeks I am going to be 25! Another year older, yet still so young in some people’s eyes. To me, it feels like I am going to be 30-sometimes. To say I have matured in the past four years is an understatement. My friends and I went through hell and back…we went through things some people will NEVER experience & I hope no one ever has to deal with what we dealt with. Not only did losing Dan through a horrible tragedy make me grow up, it also made me look at life in a completely new perspective. I look at situations from different angles than the average person. I try to see the positive in every situation, because once you have had so many forms of evil shown to you…you will try to dig out any happiness you can.

I am currently quite happy with my life, but I want more. I work part time and LOVE my job but I need more money to survive. While I am not 100% sure where I want to work or do at the next step, I do know I need something new or something else so I don’t have to live with next to no money. Money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness, but more money would definitely make me happier. More $$=more traveling, more good restaurants, a better car someday, a house someday, etc. If I was paid for all the volunteer work I do, I would be well off!

While I was going to UWS, I lived in Superior for two years. A couple times a week, I would drive across the bridge to spend time in Duluth. Duluth really is for lovers…because 95% of my matches on are from Duluth, but I digress. I do love Duluth though! So much more to do and see and better careers. I am currently torn. Do I want to move to Duluth or stay in small-town USA? I hmm and haw with this decision quite often, but I am trying to remind myself that I don’t have to make any immediate decisions. I have to give myself time. While there are many opportunities down there, there are also plenty of open doors here as I have loads of connections with people and places.

I have decided that unless an out of this world opportunity comes up in Duluth, I will give the small town another lap around the sun. In six months, if I feel on top of the world and ready to conquer all, maybe I will dip my feet into something new in Duluth or another area. For now, I’ll just keep building my resume(I can’t get that little notch above the e/e’s) and working on the multiple committees I am apart of and hope something comes my way…because wherever I go, I can always come home. And I have been poking at going back to school for something…because damnit, I like to learn! Maybe I should go finish cleaning my apartment and read another book instead, because it IS a lot cheaper!


Running for Dan

My friend Sam, her friend Sam (now my friend Sam), and I joined a gym last week! I signed up for an 18 month membership…talk about commitment. Any ways, I have been there about 4 times now and absolutely love it! We even went at 6 AM on Friday. 

You know what…this is all good stuff. It is a healthy activity that will bring my whole mind, body, spirit to healthier places. I used to be big into athletics and then pretty much fell off in a dark hole when my joints started to get bad. Then my best friend Dan got me into biking and I fell back in love with being active. Dan and I biked everyday in the spring/summer of 2008. He never quit pushing me mentally and physically to get up the tough hills when on the bike. A week before Dan went missing, we took our last bike ride together. It was in March of 2009 and it was snowing, the wind was blowing, and we both were wearing multiple layers to keep warm on that cold night. It was one of the last times I saw him, and it was the last time I biked for at least a year.

I never thought I would run again, but today I proved that thought wrong when I jogged for about 7 minutes of my 30 minutes on the treadmill. I will run one or many 5k’s in the coming months. And I will run for not only me but for Dan! I will run to honor his memory and our time together.

Dan loved running! He had a crazy low heart rate from all the running he did. So low that his doctors at the University of Minnesota were blown away at his ability to keep his Type 1 Diabetes somewhat at bay because of his active lifestyle. At the time of Dan’s death, he was participating in a clinical trial at the U of MN that he believed was indeed going to cure his diabetes in addition to his healthy lifestyle.

I may not be able to “cure” my arthritis and Lyme Disease, but I will continue to run & be active as long as I can for Dan. I think of him everyday and sometimes many times a day…I try to remind myself to live for him. Everything I do has a different and bigger meaning now, because he never got to graduate from college, search for a real world job, become someone and something bigger. 

I know when I run that first 5k and every minute and mile before and after that, that I will have Dan whispering in the wind and pushing me to keep going.


Let’s run…

So, I think I am going to run a 5K. I mean why not; I haven’t ran more than a block in the past umpteen years because of Arthur the Inflaming Joint Friend/Foe!

For years, I have felt this love/hate towards running. I missed running but I couldn’t run. After a friend (who also has arthritis) brought up the possibility of running a half or full marathon, a spark was re-lit in me…so I adopted a highway! No, really, I did! Yeah that has nothing to do with running, but it was also something I have longed to do for YEARS! I took the plunge, contacted MNDOT, and now I just have to sign the official forms and decide what I want my sign to say. Maybe I should practice running my highway stretch, because it is 2 miles long and that is just 1.1 miles short of a 5K.

Back tracking a month or so…I stepped off a curb or three normally yet felt some horrendous un-normal pains in my ankle. FURIOUS pains in my foot that I just had surgery on in May. Since I have weird luck, I had to have a MRI because it could either be a stress fracture, newly torn tendons/ligaments or re-torn fixed tendon, arthritis, joint narrowing, or something in the 52-card pickup. Seriously, you pick. I find out on Thursday what the heck I’ve done, because I definitely won’t be doing a lot of running since just walking a few blocks right now aggravates it! I might end up back in the boot to rest it for a while, but let’s just hope I end up back in these…


2012 Book List

My 2012 goal was to read at least 12 books, one book for each month. As it turned out to be, I read about 5 books just in the span of June and July when I was recovering from my foot surgery. My 2013 goal is to read 14 books, but I am hoping to read more. Time to dig that dusty library card out to save some money from my addiction of Barnes & Noble. My brother works for B&N, so essentially my addiction gives him job security. Otherwise I support local bookstores when I can, although they are a rarity in my neck of the woods.

Books Read During 2012:
Footprints of Courage: Our Family’s Struggle for Justice-Inside the Chris Jenkins Murder Investigation by Jan Jenkins (This book is eerily similar to my best friend Dan’s disappearance and death. I recommend that everyone read it.)

Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams

Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis by Lisa Sanders

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

Wheat Belly by William Davis M.D.

Half A Life: A Memoir by Darin Strauss

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Down Among The Dead Men: A Year In The Life Of A Mortuary Technician by Michelle Williams

Homegrown Democrat: A Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America by Garrison Keillor

Calico Joe by John Grisham

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

43 Things

I rediscovered my 43 Things list today and was thrilled to see all that I’ve accomplished on it since I created it in 2009. While I may close the account and just keep track virtually here, it is fun to see that I have accomplished some of the larger goals including: graduating with a 4 year degree, love my job, love my life (again), traveled to Dallas & NYC, and I think I can say I have beat Lyme Disease onto its ass pretty well. Some upcoming goals include skydiving (hopefully this spring), falling in love ( FTW!?), adopting a highway (in the process), and dabbling in a few of the other goals.

Check out my list now before I delete it permanently, but at some point, I will create an ongoing list here. Maybe I’ll set 30-things to do by the time I am 30-list. I will be turning 25 in about a month and a half, so that would give me 5 ample years to get-a-crackin! WOW, twenty-five years old! That age number seems legit! I probably won’t think that in 4 months though…haha!

Enjoy your day!

In the meantime, my goal this month is to read two books and get out and XC ski and snowshoe as much as possible.

Word love.

What is love? Love can be a peck on the cheek, a hug, or even a romp under the covers. Or it can be with the words: I Love You.

I think the word love has been chewed and spit out too much. In the sense that people have become stuck on the fact that you need to always tell everyone you love them, “because you never know when your day could come.” Like you and I could die tomorrow without warning. Right?!

What does it mean though if someone says, “I love you.”? Do they? It has become an overused and abused saying in my eyes. Because how can you say those three words to someone but never show it through other words or actions? Think about it. How many loved ones (ironic, huh!) just say in passing that the love you but may not ever show it.

Facebook reminds us of everyone’s birthdays (that are listed), and it is SO EASY to write, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!” on someone’s page with no real context behind those words. You can write that to someone you hate from high school, a former partner, a close friend, or even a relative. I realized a few years ago that I was that person…I wrote on everyone’s wall when it was their birthday! Then I realized how pointless that was–that I was doing this deed with no real thought behind it!

I am a card person. I write thank-yous even when I receive a simple birthday card or to people who have helped me through the troubling times of my health or when Dan died. So why was I writing to everyone a simple message that did not always have meaning behind it. Now when Facebook announces birthdays, I write to those who really mean a lot to me (I have about 775 friends on Facebook…and I am currently trying to downsize that number dramatically). And I don’t just write those two words. I write a meaningful message from my heart of why I hope they have a good year ahead of them, etc.

Our words have more to them than just their definitions. We can harm and hurt but we can also heal and love. Words are powerful! Actions are powerful! And while some people say that actions speak louder than words, I believe that our words can be just as powerful, if not even more so than the eye can see. Is there meaning and action behind your words? Think about it.

You don’t have to go out and buy your girlfriend a bouquet of flowers or buy your friend something to make up for something you regret that you did, but you can use your words to speak your feelings and your truth.

Use your words wisely but also use them honestly! And back your words up with other words and actions. Don’t just say it, just do it (thanks Nike!).