^ wandering around Paris – May 2015 ^

Obligatory footnote … this post is about my life – the good, the bad, the happy, the sad. If you are new to my blog, new to my life or just want to catch up on my writing from the last few years, these would be good posts to take a look at… It’s a down and dirty summary of a little bit of this and a little bit of that, all in chronological order.

I’m not a jewelry kind of girl

one year ago


another year

the adventure starts here

smiling is my favorite exercise

emotions run wild

making it happen

“you a party girl?”

That last one is to lighten the mood. It’s also possibly my favorite story from my recent trip to Europe.

Anyways, moving right along…


I am so torn on whether or not 4 years is a long time … And I’ve been staring at the screen so long that I think I just need to play Switzerland in this debate and go right down the middle.

On the one hand, it is a long time; it’s the average time that people go to high school. Or university. It shows a commitment. “I’ve been with ‘them’ for 4 years.” “Wow, 4 years!” You can really do a lot in 4 years!! Heck, in just 2 years I’ve lived in another country, traveled to 7 others, photographed dairy cows in Portugal and been employed by 6 different businesses. And those are just SOME highlights.

But 4 years is also no time. No time in the scheme of a statistically long life or in the scheme of history. It’s a blink of an eye in many, many ways. If you think back to where you were at 4 years ago, what would come to mind? 4 years ago today – where were you? It was a Thursday. And if you were in Minnesota, it was hot. Were you at the same job? Were you even wearing those same jeans? I know exactly what I was wearing and I still have the same clothes in my closet. Though that may speak more to how current my wardrobe is rather than prove any other point about the passing of time…

However, the passing of time is where my mind has been these last few days and weeks. Generally speaking, I enjoy making those thoughts take a back seat to what I have going on in the now. I think I’ve conditioned myself to live in the present as much as possible (to really enjoy things, you know?) but sometimes the little gnomes in my mind can’t be shushed any more. They like to let me know “it’s almost birthday month!” or “it’s almost September 1st!” Thanks guys.

I view my life as restarting on September 1st – to me, that is more like the ‘new year’ than January 1 when the paper calendar restarts. September 1 is the date my life forever epically changed and it’s the day that I am constantly thinking about. And I view September 1st 2011 like a fork in the road. It’s the day I started walking down another path – one very different than I had expected the day before, or even that morning.

So here I am. September 1st 2015. Wow. 4 years, huh? 4 years. I still flip flop from “wow, it seems like just YESTERDAY Murray and I were making our last family meal while sitting on the kitchen floor [with the girls, of course] watching our hot dogs sizzle and pop in the broiler” to “wow, i have lived in New Zealand, backpacked through Europe, gotten fleas in Spain(!!), gotten jobs at 2 breweries AND our absolute favorite restaurant in Minneapolis and most excitingly, welcomed the 2nd, 3rd, 4th AND 5th nieces and nephews to the family.”

I’m sure it’s tiring to hear me talk about what I’ve done in 4 years but this is me being selfish and using my blog as a form of diary. I think I need to type this out again and again to make it feel real. Because there are still mornings I wake up and am not really sure what life is real. I wonder when that will change … ?

Again, I am finding myself in a discombobulated blog post… I think what I’m trying to communicate is that when I really think about the nuts and bolts of the fork in the road – the fact that Murray never came home from work that day and we never got to have our happily ever after – I can’t imagine much time has passed. But when I think about what I have done with my life – how I have vehemently refused to be anything less than me and have tried to do things for ‘us’ every step of the way – it feels like I have lived decades.

Today is more than just an anniversary for me. As I’ve said, today is a new year. And if you have done your reading homework and read past posts, you’ll know about my obsession with ‘epic’ on this day. If you haven’t read, that’s ok [it’s a lot of reading …] so I will quickly say that I made a vow of sorts that every year on this date I would do something epic; something that would honor Murray, something that would make him giddy, something that would make him smile, something that would elicit the response, “yeah gurl. nice choice.” Over the years my vision of what that means has morphed a bit.

Year 1: camp and climb some form of mountain in Yellowstone with an amazing friend and Minnesotan beer.

Year 2: have a staycation filled with great food, special moments and an epic move out of our home and into New Zealand within a few weeks

Year 3: camping by the seat of our pants in Southern Cali over labor day weekend with that same amazing friend from year 1

And this year, year 4, I have decided my epic is ‘starting fresh.’ Today I get the keys to my new apartment. I am so excited and so scared and so happy and so sad. The apartment has the feel of our old home which I think will provide some special comfort to me, however it has enough differences that I can make it fresh and all mine. It’s not the same kind of epic I imagined when I set out on this ‘quest,’ but I think it’s perfect for this year. I’ve done a lot of moving in the last 730 days and I am 1000% confident he would really appreciate me remembering him by just sitting still for once. And eating a lot of pork. I can honestly hear him breathing a sigh of exhaustion, slumping down on our couch and saying, “can’t we just not do anything more today?” Alright dear, I’ll chill out.

Onward and upward, ay?