Weekend Coffee Share 7/16/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting once again in my local coffee shop.  It’s busy for a Sunday–but, then again, Sundays have been more and more busy lately.  Don’t worry about finding me–I’m the girl by the window with the laptop.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve joined in the coffee share.  I’ve been neglecting WordPress lately… I don’t think I’ve even opened the site in over a week.  How is everyone doing?

This weekend is our annual summer festival in Lindstrom, one of my hometowns.  Karl Oscar Days is one of the highlights of the warm months.  The festival is named for the protagonist of a book series about Swedish immigrants by the author Vilhelm Moberg, who stayed in our area while writing the book.  The community is obsessed with its Scandinavian heritage.  Downtown Lindstrom is peppered with Swedish flags and dala horses.  I’m half Scandinavian, so I find it quirky and charming.

Anyways, I had a friend come up from the cities and we joined in the festivities.  We wandered all around town, exploring the vendor booths, and chatting with people.  The town is perched between two lakes, so we borrowed some kayaks from a family friend and spent a few hours going around the lake.  In the evening, we lined up for the annual parade.  We ended up walking away with an enormous mound of candy, courtesy of our screaming at every float that came by.

Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share 1/28/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be meeting in an actual coffee shop for once.  Between meeting friends and getting out of the house to write, I’ve been spending a lot of time in coffee shops.  I’d be sipping a mocha–what would you be having?

Things in Amelia-land have been going well.  Over the past month, I’ve been reconnecting with friends that I haven’t seen in a long time, which has been wonderful.

I submitted my application for graduate school a couple of weeks ago!  Tracking down transcripts was a huge headache and I’m thankful to be done.  I’m not sure when I find out if I get accepted, but am just happy to have it off my mind for now. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: Life is Looking Up

If we were having coffee, it means I’m emerging from another hermit stage.  In all the changes over the past month, I’ve become a recluse, hardly seeing or reaching out to anyone besides my parents.  I’ve definitely been tossing my blogging schedule out the window, but I just didn’t have the will to sit and write.  Plus, I didn’t want my readers to drown in my negative attitude.  So, although I continued writing in private, my posts have been limited.

Thankfully, things are looking up.  I’m here again in the metaphysical coffee shop with you, ready to talk.

If we were having coffee, you’d know that orchard season is finally over!  Yesterday was our last day.  In many ways, it was a wonderful season.  All our records were smashed–we had the biggest crowds, biggest harvest, biggest sales.  My family is really thankful for all the people who came out this year, but oh boy…  We are exhausted.  It’s been a long haul, working six days a week for the past three months.  I’m really looking forward to having normal weekends and a manageable schedule again.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my birthday on Tuesday was an absolute blast.  Although I spent the first half working, I took the afternoon off.  My mom and I went shopping at the Mall of America, where we both spent WAY too much money.  It was good, though.  I got new pants, a sweater, and some really pretty scarves.  We had dinner at a fancy restaurant, where they gave me free cake.  At home, I unwrapped gifts, which included a vintage typewriter!  The ribbon is very faint, so I can’t use it at the moment, but what a perfect gift for a blossoming writer.  I’m excited to put it to good use.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about how my new job as Interim Director of my local Chamber of Commerce is going well and there is an end in sight.  I finally have the day-to-day tasks figured out and the chronic anxiety is ebbing.  We had a Board of Directors meeting last week, where everyone was really kind and encouraging.  Despite feeling under-qualified and constantly stressed, I seem to be doing a good job.

That being said, we’ve been interviewing candidates for the Executive Director position and I think we’ve found the perfect one.  If all goes well in the hiring process, I will pass the torch over to her in December.  Which means there is light at the end of the tunnel on my end!

If we were having coffee, you’d learn a secret: My next big adventure might be just around the corner.  No decisions have been finalized, but I’ve been exploring international possibilities.  If things go well (and people actually return my emails), returning to Europe might be closer than I ever dreamed was possible.  I’ll give more details as plans become solidified.

In the meantime, it feels so good to have a sense of direction again!

Now it’s time to pass things over to you.  What would you share over coffee?

This post is part of a link-up at Part Time Monster

Weekend Coffee Share: Best Apple Orchard in Minnesota

If we were having coffee, I would, right away, ask if you’ve heard the news.  Well… actually, if you’ve seen the news.  Because, oh boy, is it exciting!  One of my state’s top news networks does a “Best in Minnesota” feature and their most recent focus was Best Apple Orchard.  My family owns an apple orchard!  We found out about the contest a couple of weeks ago and, right away, launched a social media campaign to get everyone we know voting.  I kept the news off WordPress, but was fairly obnoxious with my Facebook posts.

Anyways, we WON the competition and can now say that Pleasant Valley Orchard is the best in Minnesota!

My family's apple orchard, taken at sunset last Saturday.
Panorama of our orchard, taken last weekend at sunset.

On Tuesday, a reporter and videographer from WCCO came out and shot footage for a story on our farm.  I took a class on visual journalism last year and watching them work was fascinating.  They clearly came with a vision for the story and, right as they popped out of their vehicle, got to work filming.  My entire family was there and we showed them all around our farm, telling them the history, and sharing stories.  We were all interviewed, which was fun.

If you’re interested in seeing the story, hop along to the WCCO website!  When it aired, we watched it three times in a row. It really is a lovely story–it captures the essence of who my family is, what we do, and where I come from.  My interview didn’t make the cut, but no tears were shed over that.  I’ll leave the spotlight to my parents and brothers.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that being the Best Apple Orchard in Minnesota also has negative consequences.  As soon as the story aired, we had a significant increase in traffic.  Friday had crowds like a slow Saturday and I worked for ten hours straight assembling bakery products, packing apples, and mowing as much as I could before the sun set.  Yesterday (Saturday), I worked in the store all day and now understand what it feels like to work retail on Black Friday.  It was the busiest day we have EVER had in the 23 years we have been open.  Working the cash register, I did nothing but smile and crunch numbers for eight hours straight.  We were short-staffed and, as a result, didn’t get lunch breaks.  Our bakery products were gone by three and we sold all of the 700 caramel apples that had been made for the weekend.  (Our baker had to work extra to make more.)

Before we opened, I prayed to Jesus and asked Him to make me an extrovert for the day.  It didn’t work.  My brain was total mush by 2 PM and my stomach growled most of the day.  At one point mid-afternoon, I turned to my coworker and declared, “I want to die.”

Nevertheless, I’m still alive and so are my parents.  It took a couple of hours to get all the post-closing chores done, but when they were, we went out for fancy steak dinner.  Because we deserved it.

If we were having coffee, I’d let you know that, even though exhausted, I was awake from 2:30-5 AM simply because my body was so wired from the day’s work.  Instead of rolling around for hours, I climbed out of bed, made a cup of hot cocoa, climbed back into bed, and watched Netflix.  I would have preferred sleeping, but Netflix is good too.

It’s now my day off.  THANK GOODNESS.  If I have my way, I’m spending the entire day in my pajamas, indulging in more Netflix, cleaning my room, and catching up on blogging goals.  The sad thing is, I’ll probably end up having to work.

Enough of my complaints.  I’m turning things over to you.  How has your week been?  What would you share over coffee?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up at Part Time Monster.

Weekend Coffee Share: The Last Summer Day

If we were having coffee, we’d probably be lounging on a blanket in my backyard basking in the sunshine.  I’d be favoring something cold–an iced mocha or frappuccino–behind my floral sunglasses.  An occasional leaf flutters from the maple tree above us.

In Minnesota, we usually have one last day of summer before the season shifts.  I think it’s today and am very thankful it fell on my one day off.  I’ve been ready for Fall to arrive for the past month, but can’t deny that today is absolutely perfect.  The air is fresh, no humidity whatsoever.  The trees are just starting to change colors.  I actually spent several hours on the aforementioned blanket alternately reading and napping.  It was absolutely glorious.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you all about the concert I went to last week in Minneapolis with a friend.  Maddie and I met during our semester abroad in London and she recently moved to my area and has been aching to go to a show ever since.  We went to see Ivan & Alyosha and Noah Gundersen.  I wasn’t overly familiar with either band, but it was a wonderful show.  Musically, both bands were a real treat.  Ivan & Alyosha were my favorite act (I’ve been listening to them nonstop ever since).  They’re really peppy with a California vibe.  Noah was much more serious–his whole band wore black and oozed angst.  I like his earlier music, but he mostly played stuff from his most recent album which is really existential.  It was hard not to be depressed after the show as I drove the hour home well-past midnight.  But I cured the overflow angst by listening to peppy pre-pop Taylor Swift songs.

If we were having coffee, you would know that I’m frustrated.  For the most part, things are going very well for me right now.  I have a job, a roof over my head, and get to spend lots of time with family.  But a big portion of my life, my Christian faith, hasn’t been doing well.  I’m not struggling, but I’m not thriving either.  One of the problems is that I feel like I have too much history with the churches in my area.  Most people my age go to the church I grew up in, which I no longer attend for some very painful reasons (which I discuss in this post).  My family usually goes to a mega-church in the cities, which was great for in college for weekend visits and long breaks.  But it’s not the kind of church I actually want to go to long-term.  There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s just not the right fit for me.  I’ve looked into trying some other churches, but I either know too many people who go there or have been turned off by hearing about people’s bad experiences.

The thing is, Christian culture tends to be extremely conservative.  And I tend to be more liberal.  When I’m around other Christians, even those I love and admire, I generally keep my opinions to myself.  Usually, this is because it’s not the time or place.  But another factor is that most people will strike up an argument.  I really dislike arguing–it does more harm than good.  In arguments, people tend to spend most of the time defending their own perspective without actually caring about what the other person has to say.  I don’t mind if someone thinks differently than I do, but it bothers me when others don’t respect my perspective in return.   So I don’t go there.

I’m in a bit of a rut, you see.  My relationship with God is one of the most important things I have.  I long for Christian community who will accept me without judging me based on the way I think.  I long for supporters who will spur me on in faith.  I known it exists–I’ve had it before in Morris and at camp.  Here, though, I feel very much alone.

If we were having coffee, though, I hope we don’t argue.  Because I’d love nothing more than to spend the afternoon sipping cool drinks on that blanket with you.  How has your week been?  Anything you’d like to share in return?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up at Part Time Monster.

Friday Coffee Share (Writing 101, Day 10)

It looks like our weekly coffee date is happening a few days early!  Our assignment is to write a post as if you’re in a coffee shop… little do the heads of Writing 101 know this is something I do every week.  Given that it’s an assignment and I’m quite busy this weekend, let me make you a cup of something… What is your favorite drink?  I want to make sure I have it…

If we were having coffee, I’d let you know all sorts of trivial things.  We got four inches of rain yesterday.  My older brother took me to a pro baseball game in Minneapolis the other day.  (The Twins lost, but it was still fun!)  My younger brother called me from college and we talked on the phone for over an hour.  I’m going to the Renaissance Festival on Sunday and a concert on Monday.  (I’m in for a busy weekend.)  We’re reaching the peak of orchard season, which means work life is high stress.

Mostly, though, I’d gush about my kittens.  The momma keeps moving them from bush to bush.  They’re starting to wander around, so she has a hard time keeping them in one place.  Yesterday, during the thunderstorms, she moved them into the woods.  This morning, I practiced my herding abilities and lead them back to a warm cat house.  They’re getting very tame.  If they hear my voice, they come over and crawl on my lap.  We’ve slowly been giving them names.  So far, we have Herman, Charlotte, Pip, and Carlos.  We already have people lined up to take two of them, which is sad, but I’m glad they’ll have good homes.  Do you have any name suggestions for the remaining three?

If we were having coffee, I’d let you know that it has been so fun getting to know you.  I know, it’s hard to truly get to know someone over the internet, but over the past few weeks I have interacted with so many wonderful people because of Writing 101.  I love the assignments, but I think it’s even more fun seeing how you all respond to them. I’ve never been much of a commenter before this course and I’m finding that I like being pushed out of my box.  It makes for great interactions!   Thank you so much for reading and engaging with my blog, but more so, thank you for writing such wonderful posts of your own.

Now that I’ve chatted a bit, I’d like to turn things over to you.  If we were having coffee, what would you have to share?

Weekend Coffee Share: Goodbye Socially-Awkward Hermit Amelia

If we were having coffee, we would be meeting at a local coffee shop because I need to get out of my house.  You’d enter the shop, order a drink of choice, and then would find me huddled over a table with my head in my arms. It’s been that kind of week.  A mug of English Breakfast tea would sit steaming in front of me, but I wouldn’t touch it until you sat down.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about work.  At any place of employment, there are all kinds of little behind-the-scenes things that need doing before and after hours. When you live at the place you work, it becomes your task to work extra and get those things done. I put in three ten-hour days in a row. On Friday night, if you drove by our orchard around seven-thirty, you probably would have seen me on a lawn mower cleaning everything up before the weekend crowds hit.

Since I basically work all the time, I keep forgetting to eat… which is something new for me. I’ll go for six hours at a time with only an apple to get me by. Lunches are a hurried dash of grabbing whatever is fastest (usually yogurt, salad, and an apple) and getting back to work. The other day, I went over to a friend’s house for a bonfire (after I finished mowing) and my first words to her were, “Do you have any meat?” She didn’t, so I settled for almonds instead.

Sundays are my only days off and I am determined (after cleaning the house and getting on top of my blog posts for the week) to lie on the couch reading fun books and watching movies. It’s going to be glorious.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I have written more in the last week than I have since college ended. I love it! Writing 101 has been challenging, but not in the ways I expected. The hardest part is finding time in the day to sit down and write. I I’ve been squeezing time in the morning for most of my posts, although occasionally they have to wait until later in the evening. All the assignments have been fantastic so far. Each one is simple, to the point, and offers a source of inspiration. Every day brings something different.

Since starting this course, the posts I’ve written have gotten at the heart of what I’ve always wanted Keep Your Feet to be about. It’s just taken a year and a half on this site, but I’m starting to find my voice here. Each post offers different pieces of myself as I transition into adulthood—working through why I write, making a list of things I love about living at my parent’s house, discussing the insecurities and perks of my nonexistent love life, random musings about Thoreau, and what it means to learn. I’m very proud of the work I’ve accomplished this week and, if you’ve take time to read it, I’m extremely thankful.  I’m eager to get started on this week’s assignments!

As part of Writing 101, I’ve also been working on engaging with other bloggers.  I’ve loved reading everyone’s assignments and finding new sites to follow!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about all the plans I’ve been making. Socially awkward hermit Amelia is a thing of the past (for now, at least). In the past week, I’ve had movie nights at two people’s houses and attended a bonfire. Tomorrow night, I’m meeting a friend for dinner. Next weekend, I’m going to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival with a friend one day and attending a concert at a club in Minneapolis the next. I’ve also stolen the Fall Arts Preview of the newspaper and hope to make a list of all the things I want to see and o in the upcoming months. I know all of this probably doesn’t mean much to you, but I’m really looking forward to spending quality time with friends and doing things that fill me up. Plays, concerts, art galleries… I want to soak in as much as I can.

During this time of business, I’m going to have to be extra careful about fitting in introvert time so I don’t become a raging monster and get crabby with everyone.

With all the things on my schedule these days, our coffee conversations are about to get more interesting.

I’ve done enough talking… it’s your turn!  What do you have to share over coffee?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link-up at Part Time Monster

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Last Hurrah of Summer

If we were having coffee, we would be sitting on a patch of flattened grass munching on deep fried cheese curds watching hoards of people pass by.  That’s right, I spent my day at the Minnesota State Fair.  It’s been four years since I last attended what we affectionately call the Great Minnesota Get-Together.  Nothing has changed much.  The cow barns still smell.  The DNR still has the fish pond.  My dad still spends way too much time ogling antique tractors.  And, despite the fact that you spend the entire day in crowds of thousands of people, you still manage to run into at least five people you know!  It’s still a delight, though.  There’s so much to look at and take in!

One of the biggest draws of the fair is the food.  These days, everything is deep fried and/or on a stick.  Throughout the day, I had a raspberry wine smoothie, an ice cream cone from the Dairy Barn, french fries, and deep fried cheese curds.  I’ve been home for several hours and the thought of eating anything makes me feel sick.  It’s a good thing the State Fair only happens once a year, ’cause I don’t think my stomach would be able to keep up.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am absolutely exhausted.  I can’t remember the last time I was this tired.  I’ve made the hour long trek to the cities and back three days in a row.  On Friday, I had a bachelorette party from 9-11 and didn’t get to bed till 1 AM.  On Saturday, I had a wedding to attend.  Today, as you already know, I went to the fair.  Overall, I had to pass through stop-and-go traffic and massive road construction on the interstate SIX TIMES.  UGH.  Excuse me while I lock myself in my room and don’t emerge for days.

IMG_5660If we were having coffee, I’d show off the fall outfit I spent WAY too much money on yesterday.  I’m kind of obsessed with it.  (See photo on left.)

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that one of my dear friends got married!  Katie and I have been friends for years–starting in early high school.  We’ve had a running joke for years in which we share a brain.  You see, I didn’t have a brain back then, so she split hers in half and gave a portion to me.  When I got the call announcing her engagement several months ago, one of my first questions was,Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset “Katie, what will happen to our brain now?”  That aside, it was a beautiful wedding.  The thing about Katie is that she is extremely quirky, goofy, touchy, and jumpy in the most adorable way.  As she stood at the altar, I couldn’t help but smile at her subtle excited twitching.  During the dance after the reception, I caught her out of the corner of my eye standing alone spinning in circles just to make her dress swish around her.  She’s a beautiful soul and it was so much fun to be there for her special day.

Enough about me.  What would you share if we were having coffee?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up at Part Time Monster

#WeekendCoffeeShare: It’s so good to see you.

If we were having coffee, the first thing you might notice is that I’m not actually drinking coffee.  I prefer tea.  The first thing I would tell you is let you know that I’ve been wanting to do this for weeks.  I’ve seen many of these posts from bloggers I follow for weeks upon weeks, but was never able to take time to do my own.  Until now.

So, friend.  I’m so glad to be with you right now.  Or, as Jane says in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

What is new in your life?  Maybe I should save those questions until the end.  In my enthusiasm, I’m getting ahead of myself.

If we were having coffee, I’d probably complain quite a bit about my back problems.  I pulled something a month ago at work and have been fighting the uphill battle to health ever since.  It’s better than it was–dosages of ibuprofen, icing it several times a day, and three visits to the chiropractor certainly helps.  Most days are now good ones and it has stopped keeping me up at night, but progress is still slow.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you all about yesterday’s canoeing adventure.  One of my camp friends came up from the cities and we canoed a ten-mile stretch of the St. Croix River.  In Minnesota, there are some hobbies that, because of the ever-changing seasons, you can only do a few times a year.  Canoeing is one of them.  I have been dying to get a canoe in the water for the past three months.  It wasn’t a very warm day, nor were the conditions good.  Amy and I battled wind and whitecaps the majority of the trip.  But it was wonderful.  There are few better things than being on the water, paddle in hand, with nowhere else to be.  At one point, we passed a man and his kids struggling to get un-stuck from a tree.  He looks over at us and goes, “You’re still smiling?  I lost mine a while ago.”  He was right–despite the fact that our arms felt like they were about to fall off, we were both still smiling.  It was exhausting, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  Sadly, I probably won’t set foot in a canoe until next summer.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that apple season is almost here.  I work on my family’s apple orchard and we are less than two weeks from opening day!  We spent a good deal of time this week indoors (due to rain) cleaning our main retail building.  I spent many hours scrubbing coolers, sweeping floors, and rubbing down cooking trays.  In addition, the apple harvest has begun!  My brother and I began picking the early varieties.  Our big cooler is now filled with several stacks of Redfree and State Fair apples.

I’m really excited for Fall.  It’s been four years since I’ve been around for a full season–and even then, I only worked weekends due to school and extra curricular commitments.  Summer has been wonderful, but our work crew has slowly dwindled to just my brother and I.  Fewer hands mean tasks take longer and the familiarity of siblings mean we don’t have as much to talk about.  When September 4 is here, all the fall employees will come.  There will be people selling in the store, high schoolers washing and sorting fruit in the back area, and a crew of bakers assembling pies and goodies in the kitchen.  It’ll be wonderful to have new people to talk to.

Okay, okay.  Enough about me.  Time to pass the talking-stick to you.  What would you share if we were having coffee?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up at Part Time Monster

The only daughter of an only daughter

Sometimes, I really suck at this whole being-a-girl thing.

You see, I’m an only daughter.  I never had a sister to teach me how to put on makeup or braid my hair.  You may be wondering why I didn’t ask my mom for help in these areas.  The problem is, my mom is also an only daughter.  My grandma before her too was the only girl.  Surrounded by nothing but brothers, women of my family tree have to put up with men all the time.  As long as I knew her, my grandma wore her hair short.  As long as I’ve been alive, my mom has also had short hair.  I usually have short hair too.  Its current state is the longest it’s been since I was twelve.

I don’t know how to braid my own hair.  Lately, I’ve been trying and the results have not been good.  Usually, they result with me giving up in frustration.  However, I realized a few days ago the process works works much better when my hair is wet.  On Wednesday, I was able to rock a braid all day long!  It was fantastic!  Yesterday, though, I tried the same thing only to have a large chunk come loose just as I walked into my only class of the day.  Dejected, I had to run to the bathroom to take it all out before the professor arrived.  As a result, my hair was wet and floppy looking all of class.

I’m really not one to care about my physical appearance.  I go to the gym regularly for the sake of having a healthy lifestyle, but I never wear makeup.  When I dress each morning, I select clothing based on what is comfortable or what I feel like wearing.

But, for goodness sake, the fact that I’m a twenty-two year old college student struggling to braid my own hair is incredibly frustrating!

Maybe I need to do a Google search or something.  There has to be someone on YouTube who has made an instructional video.

New goal: Master the art of braiding before graduation.

If I’m lucky, I’ll get there someday.