Dreams Do Come True

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to live somewhere else and more specifically another state. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved Minnesota and have been proud to live here, but there was some internal draw to live somewhere else.

I was born in San Diego, California and when I was just three years old, my parents moved back to Minnesota which had been home for them. My exposure to the greater U.S. was limited as a child and I can count on one hand how many of my immediate family members have ever moved from Minnesota. As I grew up and heard stories and saw pictures of San Diego, I had an incredible desire to move there. It seemed like another world with the ocean and all of the sunshine. We also had family that lived in Virginia and when we would visit, we would go to Washington, D.C. and tour the White House and the Smithsonian and I fell in love with the history of that great area. As a child there is really nothing you can to do change where you live, so I found my escape at the library, reading books about places around the world and dreaming of what it would be like to visit or live there.

When I graduated from college I immediately started looking for jobs in San Diego and Washington, D.C.–the two other places with which I felt a connection. I had no professional network in either of them and didn’t really know how to find a job in another state, but I knew how to use a library for research, so I would go to the library and spend hours looking through newspapers from these two respective areas looking for jobs. Well, as you might imagine, this didn’t quite work out the way that I had hoped. I mailed my very, very short resume out to a number of entry level jobs and was fortunate enough to get a few rejection letters. Those letters helped bring some reality to the situation for me and I decided the timing wasn’t right and put my dream on hold.

As I continued to live and work in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota, my dream of moving remained, but it tended to be a sporadic visitor versus a constant friend. I got married in 2000 to a man who was born in Burnsville, Minnesota and had no interest or desire to ever move. So be it, I was more than OK with that plan! I had married my best friend and we had plans to travel the world and maybe own a second home somewhere warmer when we retired. Not my exact dream, but absolutely nothing to complain about. I was happy with my life and able to again purposefully
push aside my dream.

Randy and I started our lives together and as planned, it included travels to all kinds of different places in the U.S. and outside of the country. Every time we would travel, my dream of moving would surface again. I would find myself on vacation looking at real estate and job listings. Dreaming of potentially living in whatever location we were visiting, we started a regular practice of saying, “Could you live here someday?” to each other. The intention behind that question was supposed to be addressing our future retirement, but then we visited Portland, OR. On our first trip to Portland it was almost like we were afraid to ask “the question” of each other. After a couple of days, I asked “Could you live here someday?” to which Randy responded, “Yes.” This time it felt different. We both felt it and I wasn’t sure that waiting for retirement was the right choice. So in the midst of the worst economic state in history, a horrible real estate market and me with a stable, successful career in Minneapolis, we decided to put our house on the market and see what would happen.

Which brings us to today. It took 1.5 years to sell the house, the economy is still shaky, I left my career and we are MOVING! I now understand why it’s so hard to move and the older you get, just adds to the challenge. But in spite of the challenge or the length of time or the economy, my personal dream is coming true and I get to share the experience with my partner and best friend. It’s almost breathtaking for me to write that down.

So don’t give up on your dreams.

I heard Natasha Bedingfield on the radio today singing Unwritten and felt like these lyrics explain where I am at now.

Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Thank you all for sharing my journey and my dream with me.

Not Your Mother’s Goulash- Managing Your Pantry

Managing your pantry, fridge/freezer and liquor cabinet is one part of planning and executing on your move. I managed mine in a few steps.

Step One: Determine how much time you have to before your move. Can you consume all of the items during that timeline? Is the timeline very quick? Are you moving locally and will have the same type of space for food storage in your new home? This step is critical, because it will help guide you through the following steps.

Step Two: Go through all pantries, refrigerator and freezers and dispose of all items that are beyond their recommended use by date or that you haven’t used in the last six months to year. The freezer can be a bit tricky so use your judgment and if you see freezer burn or haven’t used a vacuum sealer, you may want to dispose. I also found a lot of condiments that were still usable, but I had bought them for a recipe I made once and never would recreate. I also threw those items away.

Step Three: Start planning your menus around the use of the food already in your possession. Meal time got very creative and I found myself on a mission to only purchase fresh food and dairy items when at the grocery store. Like most people I know, we had a lot of unused canned, frozen and boxed foods in our pantry and freezer. Be realistic about how much you can actually consume before the move. As packing begins and you are busy with this process, you may not want to be cooking. My husband and I have a joke right now that “we will never eat pizza again”. We ended up ordering in a number of times and pizza was the easiest choice–maybe not the best choice, as we are both a bit burned out on pizza now. One thing that I did was keep my crockpot handy and not packed so I could make some home cooked meals in the midst of the chaos of moving.

Step Four: Determine what you will do with the excess food, etc. After a bit of research I found that there are a number of charities out there that will not only accept the traditional canned and boxed goods for donation, they will also accept frozen items. This type of donation requires you to set up a time for delivery, versus just showing up. One example of this is, Second Harvest Heartland who have locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Another option for dealing with excess food is to share with family members or friends. This might be as simple as giving the food away, or if you have enough time, you may choose to have parties with friends/family to have help using your food and liquor.

Finally, you may want to physically move some of your food etc. with you to your new location.

I did all of the things listed above to varying degrees. We only had about thirty days before our move, so not a lot of time to use the massive amount of food we had accumulated with our Costco membership. In the end, I did move some canned goods, frozen food and dried pastas with us to the duplex. Additionally, because my husband writes a cocktail blog (Summit Sips), we have an extraordinary amount of alcohol products in our possession and that collection was also moved to the duplex.

Now we are living in a much smaller space, with a less workable kitchen and fewer kitchen tools. I have decided to continue my quest to use all of the food and alcohol items that we moved to the duplex before our bigger move to Portland, OR. Last week I created a goulash using only items that had been moved–my husband and I agree it was a success. Here is that recipe.

Not Your Mother’s Goulash (Makes 6-8 servings)

1 lb. of ground beef
½ of an onion chopped
1 large garlic clove chopped or through a garlic press
2 -14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
1-2 beef bouillon cubes
1 can of Guinness Beer
3 stalks of celery
7 oz of macaroni
2 tsp. ground pepper
½ tsp of cayenne
Salt to taste

  1. Fry the ground beef in a cast iron pot or large skillet on medium high heat and season with salt and pepper
  2. When ground beef is cooked, push to side and add your onions and celery
  3. When your onions become translucent, turn your heat down to medium and add your garlic and cook for about 2 minutes more
  4. Next, add your 2 cans of diced tomatoes and make sure to scrap up all of the browned bits from the bottom of your pan
  5. Then add the can of beer, beef bouillon cubes and cayanne
  6. Now add your macaroni and bring to a boil and then turn down and let simmer
  7. Let simmer for about 20 minutes

After 20 minutes check to see if your pasta is cooked. Add additional pepper, salt or cayenne to taste and serve!

We Survived!

Boxes waiting for the movers.

Our first move was a success. I say “first move” because in order for my husband to fulfill his work contract we are renting a duplex (for six months) in West St. Paul as an interim step. The cross country move to Portland will come later this summer.

I attribute the success of our move to excellent planning, some difficult decisions and tons of hard work. More details on this in future posts. We took our 11+ years of life together and packed it into boxes. Almost all of our belongings will be in storage until we find a house in Portland. We have pretty realistic expectations that this could be anywhere from 12-18 months.

It was strange to watch a house filled with things and memories become an empty shell filled with boxes. I expected to feel a lot more sadness or bittersweet emotion than I did. In the end, I was ready to move forward. Ready to build new memories and DREAM big as we move into our future.

Let The Adventure Begin

The journey really has started. At my last post (over 6 months ago) I had just left my job of over ten years.  Turns out that my decision to leave corporate America was just the first step in a much larger, exciting adventure.

We have sold our house and decided to move to Portland, OR. Big move for us, as we have both lived in MN for most of our lives. The first thing people say when I tell them we are moving is, “Oh, so you’re moving for a job opportunity?”  Nope. We are moving for the love of the place! CRAZY!? Maybe. At this point in our lives/careers we probably should stay put, not move. Oh well, let the new life begin.

I thought it might be interesting to document this journey.  Not only is it packing up and making a cross country move, it’s also creating new friendships, building a professional network, finding jobs and exploring a new state, city and community.

Join me if you want to come along for the “ride”. It promises to be an interesting one.

The Journey Begins

My first walk as an unemployed woman. It’s a hot, humid day and as I walk the sun is heating my skin.  I start down Summit Avenue and see others that are walking, running, biking- everything seems brighter.  I have my earbuds in, listening to music and feel energized.

I start experiencing memories from the last ten years of my corporate America journey. Memories of laughter, crying, friendship, pride, disbelief and adoration. All of these memories spanning years came rushing through my mind in only moments.

Suddenly Florence + the Machine are in my ears and the “Drumming Song” is playing. “Louder than sirens. Louder than bells. Sweeter than heaven. And hotter than hell.”

I release myself from all of the memories and emotions and feel euphoria. Pure, unadulterated EUPHORIA.

Today I begin my journey.