August Blog A Day – Day 20

An interesting dating story

Hmmm…. Having not gone on that many dates in my life until I met Prince Charming, it’s a fairly small pool of events to pull from, and most of them are not very interesting.

There was one the summer of my junior year of college, when I was living on campus and there was a weird love rectangle (there were four of us, paired up wrongly, in short, but the long version is way weirder, anyway…) and the first date I went on with my soon-to-be-boyfriend (and soon-to-be-ex) was to see Saving Private Ryan, which was a terrible first date. After exiting the theater, we decided to postpone the second half of our date until another time (which we did – that’s not what did our relationship in, that was him hooking up with his best friend, who was not part of our love rectangle, so was it a love pentagram? that sounds ominous for sure).

Once in high school I went on one single date with a guy I’d been crushing on, only to find out several hours into the date that he was quite boring and we didn’t really click, so much so that I don’t actually remember what we did on said date, I only remember him dropping me off at my house and trying to politely tell him there would never be a second date. Later that year he asked me to prom; that was a “no” from me.

Prince Charming and I had lots and lots of dates, but they’re all already chronicled here, or at least the fun/interesting ones. We occasionally still drive by the spot of our first date, which was the Caribou Coffee on Grand Avenue in St Paul (because I could walk there, car-less as I was at the time). After coffee, we walked up and down Grand for a while, eventually ending up at Cosetta’s for pizza. He dropped me off at home, and the rest is history. Who knew a cup of coffee could be so life changing? (He doesn’t even drink coffee!)

August Blog A Day – Day 19

A book, album, or movie that changed your life.

Changed my life? That’s a tall order! I am positive there have been several music albums that fit this bill, particularly from 1990-2004-ish, but I couldn’t say what any of them were.

Likewise with movies, though I suppose one could argue that if I can’t remember them, they weren’t that influential. I would disagree with that logic.

I read The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, by Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee, which is a giant 350-page hardcover about a 25 year study of children of divorce. It was fascinating and really helped me put my parents’ divorce in perspective, despite the fact that most of the book was about people whose parents divorced while they were children (whereas I was 19). It helped me process things.

The summer I worked in San Francisco, I read one chapter a day from How Now Shall We Live? by Charles Colson, another giant 562-page hardcover, which helped me get through a grueling summer. I also read the complete Chronicles of Narnia that summer, buying one paperback at a time because that’s all I could afford.

I could probably list at least a dozen Christian books that shaped and changed me over the years, but without my bookshelf in front of me, it gets hard.

In more recent years, though this was still probably 13-ish years ago, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant was very influential in helping me see things (especially church-related things) more… flexibly, less black and white. It’s hard to explain any other way; while reading it, I had to set aside my personal beliefs and philosophies and live in the book, set aside judgement and all the personal disagreements I had with things that were in that, and just… live in the book. I’ve been on a mental journey to be less judgmental for most of my adult life, and this book helped me with that.

These days, I prefer to read enjoyable, entertaining books that are mostly fluff and have no ability to change my life whatsoever. Sometimes you want that. Usually I want that, to lose myself in another world and just… enjoy being there, meeting new people and seeing new places. That goes for movies too. I just want to be entertained.

August Blog A Day – Day 17

How do you feel about school? What were your favorite subjects as a kid?

I LOVE school! Maybe not as a kid… things weren’t always easy for the strawberry blond kid who’s awkward and shy. But the learning part… I enjoy that. So much so that I went to graduate school by choice (two more classes and I’d have my Master’s in… a field I don’t plan on working in). As a kid, I’m not entirely sure what my favorite subjects were. Probably reading, maybe social studies or math at a younger age. My high school had a fairly good selection of electives and I was able to take psychology and sociology, which was cool. (I also took 4 years of French, which was not my favorite subject, and probably unnecessary.)

In college, since I studied youth ministry, there were a lot of psychology classes in addition to biblical studies courses, all of which I enjoyed, in addition to the youth ministry-specific ones (which I also mostly enjoyed).

But it wasn’t until later, at my last church job, that I discovered my love for history, and decided to change careers (which didn’t really happen, but that’s another story). When I went to grad school, since my undergrad wasn’t in social studies, there were a fair number of undergrad classes I needed to take, and I enjoyed and did pretty well at them (all As except for one A-, that I contest was unfairly given). I really enjoyed the graduate level education classes too (not so much the introductory, undergrad ones). I think one of the benefits of grad school is that you’ve picked something (hopefully) that you really love and get to spend all your time studying that, which is really important because if you don’t love it, you’re never going to make it all the way through. I think Liz and Amanda, both of whom have graduate degrees, would agree with me, that there are times when you are so tired of doing homework and you really want to quit, and if you don’t love it, you might do just that.

Grad school tangent aside, I do enjoy studying history now; these days that mostly consists of podcasts and audiobooks (Recommended: Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff You Should Know, and the Hamilton and Washington biographies by Chernoff). When I was still considering becoming a teacher, I think the fact that social studies wasn’t something I’d always loved was a mark in my favor, since I really understood kids that didn’t like it, or came into class with a misconception about it. It’s so much harder to teach something that you’ve always loved (“but why doesn’t everyone love it like I do?”) or have always been good at (“it’s so easy, I don’t understand why you’re struggling”), which is why I am a terrible piano teacher.

OK, clearly I felt the need to get some words out today. Or at least was more inspired by this prompt than the others. Happy Friday!

August Blog A Day – Day 16

When do you feel the most loved?

Whoa. That escalated quickly.

I should be able to answer this question, but you know what, the drama of this week at work ramped up today and I’m kinda spent. Here’s what I came up with:

Sitting on the couch or laying in bed with both cats and Prince Charming, and everyone is happy. That is when I am most content; everything feels right and I feel surrounded by love.

Second attempt at homemade scones

This is how you make scones. Jalapeño Popper scones (with zucchini), that is. Improvising this turned out OK, though it needed more something. Definitely could have used more cheese, and maybe smoked paprika? One of the few similar recipes I read used that. And I squeezed out the zucchini too much!

Note: this was from early last week, but the Instagram plugin I was using stopped working, so there’s a small backlog of… 2 posts. Enjoy!

August Blog A Day – Day 14

What’s your dream? How has it changed over the years?

It’s been busy at work and I forgot, so now I’m in the parking lot of a taco place on my iPhone trying to answer this before amanda arrives. Not sure I’m up to answering this at any level of depth on this tiny keyboard.

Maybe later. For now, I’ll say that work has gotten unexpectedly busy, and I’m not sure blogging is in the cards. I’ll do my best.

August Blog A Day – Day 15


Had to look this one up. Sorry to post late – I did take this picture on Wednesday, just didn’t get it posted.

GPOYW! A day late! first cucumbers and beans of the season. And more zucchini, because it’s zucchini and there’s always more of it.
So much zucchini in my house.

August Blog A Day – Day 13

What gives you confidence?

When I’m good at something, I usually know it. Like, I’m good at my job. Really good. People tell me this all the time, but also know it to be true. There are other things that I am skilled at, and I have a lot of confidence about them. Knowledge helps too – I have acquired a lot of knowledge (information, history, how to, etc) about things at my job, and people come to be with questions a lot, and that gives me confidence. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes have performance anxiety or other nervousness associated with these things, but at my core, I have a lot of confidence about these things.

I’ve been at my job for nearly 16 years, and in the same physical location for nearly all of those years. I feel very comfortable in the downtown Skyway, in navigating my building as well as the downtown streets. So familiarity also breeds confidence for me.

I could probably make a long list of things I don’t have confidence about, but that’s not what this question is, and I’d rather leave this on a more positive note.

August Blog A Day – Day 12

Favorite trip you’ve ever taken.

Ooh, this is a tough one! London and Vancouver are definitely up there, but I think my favorite might be Puerto Rico. That was such a fun vacation. We stayed in Old San Juan and just walked everywhere for a week, except for the day that we went with a tour guide to the rain forest and bio-luminescent bay. The hotel we stayed at was part of the magic, I’m sure, with their daily siesta with free wine, cheese, fruit, and coffee on a partially covered patio.

Another afternoon in Old San Juan spent on the veranda, reading and drinking free coffee. Also, I didn’t get sunburnt today. And all of our required shopping is done. Yay!

It was just before Christmas, so there were a lot of decorations up, which was beautiful.

The Christmas decorations are so beautiful in Old San Juan!

There were old forts to visit, lots of little shops, slightly weird food, and we were surrounded by water. It was relaxing even though we stayed busy.

August Blog A Day – Day 11

Where did you grow up? How often have you moved? Where do you live now?

Finally a question that will take me longer than 2 minutes to answer!

I grew up in St Charles, Illinois, a far west suburb of Chicago. I lived there my entire childhood (two different houses – we moved the summer before… 2nd grade?). Then I went to college in Elgin, a slightly closer suburb of Chicago. I did a stint the summer before senior year in San Francisco with a mission organization.

After college, I moved to a very small town in Michigan outside of Detroit to work at a church in an even smaller village. I was only there for a year and a half before moving to the Twin Cities, and I’ve been here ever since.

I moved around quite a bit my first few years here. I lived with a church family for 4 months in the outer southern suburbs, then moved closer to Minneapolis, then got fired and did a 3 month stint in Arizona with a different mission organization, then came home and had to move again because of roommate …things. So I moved to St Paul and lived there for 5 years in 3 different apartments. When I got married, I moved in with Prince Charming in a St Paul suburb just south of the river. After a year and a half, we sold the townhouse and moved to the Minneapolis suburb we currently live in. We’ve been here a little over 9 years and plan on staying in this house forever. It’s a great location, so close to the airport, Mall of America, and both downtowns. And we love our house and have improvement plans that will keep us busy for at least a few decades.

August Blog A Day – Day 10

Fr(eye)day. A photo of your eye(s). Or, what color are your eyes? Do you notice eye color?

I’m pretty sure I don’t have any pictures of my eyes. Can I remedy that while I’m at work? Let’s find out.

No, I can’t. I mean, they don’t look like much. They’re blue. Just a normal blue. I have on occasion had arguments about my eye color (a coworker was convinced they were green). They do tend to look greener if I’m wearing green eye shadow, but they’re definitely blue.

I never notice eye color on others. Except maybe babies, but that’s because they’re all head – there’s not much to notice. 🙂

August Blog A Day – Day 9

The story behind your first and middle names.

This is super boring. Sorry. I was supposed to be a boy, and named Eric. But turns out I was a girl. I have no idea how they settled on Kelly Laura, but there’s no family history or special significance. Kelly was a pretty popular name when I was born (there were 3 Kellys in my elementary school grade level, but we all spelled it differently – so glad I’m not “Kelli with an i”). There might have been more Kellys than there were Jennys. Huh.

August Blog A Day – Day 8

The story behind your blog name.

I used to have a page somewhere around here talking about this. I recently archived it because it seemed… outdated/irrelevant. I mean, who really cares why I picked my blog name out 17 years ago? Because that’s how long I’ve been blogging. I did start out with other blog titles, but my domain, ever since I graduated from blogspot, has been, which is based off of a Bible verse and my summer in Arizona. Wonderment is only slightly younger than that, as part of a conscious effort to be more curious/creative/happy.

It’s not that either name is incorrect now, and I’m not sure what blog title I’d go by if I were to start one today, but this prompt seems a bit “baby blogger” to me. Here’s where we get to the part of the daily prompts where we realize that I have talked about basically everything at some point or another. I mean, I have more than 2,500 published posts, which doesn’t include all the archived and private stuff, which gets the total up closer to 4,000. That’s a lot of words.

Side note: I wish there was a WordPress plugin that just created a draft post every day with a writing prompt or meme in it. That would be amazing.

August Blog A Day – Day 7

Truthful Tuesday

Finally caught up! I have no idea what I’m supposed to write about for this one, so here are some random truths:

  • I meal prepped last night, making a kale-bacon salad with kale and radishes from the garden, and some leftover carrots, almonds, and pecorino. It’s good, but I overcompensated from last week’s broccoli salad (that was bland) and my salad is… salty and a bit too flavorful. I’m going to need to add some more kale, I think, to balance it out a bit.
  • It’s acorn season at our house, and our yard waste bin is half full of acorns, no exaggeration. I’m also working on a project involving acorns that I’m not ready to reveal yet.
  • I have no idea why I stopped blogging, or why just now I’ve decided to start again.
  • But I have decided that since a large part of my job (well, a medium-sized part) is accessibility, that I should walk the talk and make my blog template and posts accessible, even though there’s probably not a single reader anymore and no real need. I think it’s going to take me 3-6 months to go through all the posts and make sure all the images are captioned properly and all the name graphics I used to use are replaced with text.
  • I’ve felt a lot lately like I’m failing at everything. Failing to get to work on time (or even slightly improve), failing to get better at taking the stairs in the parking ramp, failing to get better at yoga (or even go to yoga), failing to lose weight, failing, failing, failing. I don’t know what’s going on. I’m not depressed, my medication is working just as well as always. It’s been a weird few months.
  • I turned 40. This is completely unrelated to the bullet above. It didn’t seem like a big deal, in the end. There was a wonderful party and it was everything I wanted it to be. I got some lovely gifts.
  • I could swear that the day after I turned 40 more white hairs started showing up. Redheads don’t go grey… we skip that and go straight to white. I need to do highlights and lowlights again, because my hair has been growing in more brown (well, less red) and more white, and I’m not in love with that. I’m trying to not hide the white (that is, accept it), but I might not be fully on board with that.
  • June and July were quite hot, so hot that I threatened to shave my head not once but twice. So I got the back cut even shorter when I got my most recent haircut, and it’s been fairly cool ever since. Like, what is going on with this weather?

I’m sure I could come up with more truthful things, but do we really need that? No. Enjoy.