Creating an essence An Albert Lea woman finds passion in painting
A perfect fit
Tour a coupleâ€™s Wedgewood Cove home
flawless outfits for spring
Communicating with your man How to get through to the opposite sex SPRING 2013
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Welcome to Albert Lea Magazine!
Albert Lea woman who not only trains and raises horses but also teaches others how to ride and For almost a decade, Albert Leans have grown care for them. See her story on Page 52. to know and love Southern Minnesota Magazine, Albert Lea Magazine was fortunate enough to a publication of Albert Lea Tribune Media. Our get before and after photos of four lucky women staff has been dedicated to making this magazine who were made over by stylists at Albert Lea’s the finest local glossy offering it can be for our Allure Salon & Spa. They got the clothes at readers. Maurices at the Northbridge Mall and then had To continue to best serve our readers, we made photographs taken by Kellie Steele Photography a few changes. The goal of Albert Lea Magazine afterward. The results are astounding, and the will be to feature more local people in Albert Lea ladies looked stunning. See the dramatic changes and Freeborn County. on Page 42. You’ll see many of the This issue also feasame features like the tures a book review of sections dedicated to “Safe Haven” on Page home and garden, food 62. Our book reviewer and art, beauty and is Angie Barker, and you more. will love her wit and This is our first issue, charm. Jennifer Vogtand we want to hear Erickson is a wonderful your feedback! Feel free Check out our Behind the Scenes feature on writer who penned a Page 64. to send us an email, give heartfelt Final Word colus a call or contact us through Facebook. We’re umn on Page 63 about meeting her husband, always looking for ways to serve our advertisers Jeshua. It really touches the heart. and readers better. Our recipe feature has some to-die-for sweets So what’s in this first edition? So many great that will melt your man’s heart. See the recipe on features! Our cover shoot was with Albert Lea Page 37. Then, our staff picked out Things You High School junior Grace Gjersvik, and we Didn’t Know You Wanted, which can be found turned a couple of separate pieces into a mixture on Page 18. of different outfits perfect for spring. Look for it So with all this to see and more, I hope you can on Page 26. And check out the Behind the get cozy and see all the great features we have Scenes feature that details the work involved in inside! I’m an avid magazine reader myself and setting up a fashion shoot on Page 64. really think Albert Lea Magazine will be a great We also talked with local artist Abby Murray addition to the community. I grew up reading about her unique paintings. She tells us that it Highlights and then all those teeny-bopper publican be hard to tell when a painting is finished cations. And now as I’m turning 25 I’m reading but the hobby is a joyful one all the same. See anything I can get my hands on so I can find new more on Page 48. features, designs and stories that Albert Lea readers Interested in horses? So is Jodie Distad, an might like. Magazines are special in that they can have thought-provoking feature stories as well as pages full of Feedback great information like recipes, We need you! We need your input on what the latest fashion and more. you like, as well as what you don’t like. This We hope you enjoy our premagazine is for you and about you. Please feel mier edition. Happy reading! free to email me at email@example.com or give me a call at 379-3439.
Kelli Lageson, Editor
Publishers Scott Schmeltzer Crystal Miller Editorial Editor Kelli Lageson Contributing Writers Angie Barker Kevin Coss Tim Engstrom Michelle Haacke Brandi Hagen Jennifer Vogt-Erickson Jennifer Levisen Sarah Stultz Contributing Photographers Brandi Hagen Eric Johnson Art Art Director/Story Layout Kathy Johnson Graphic Designers Colby Hanson Susan Downey Kristin Overland Sales & Promotion Sales Representatives Crystal Miller VEnus 2013 Volume 1, Number 1 Editorial correspondence: Editor, Albert Lea Magazine, 808 W. Front St. Albert Lea, MN 56007. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or reproduced without written permission. For comments, suggestions or story ideas call 507-379-3433. To purchase advertising, call 507-379-3427. To subscribe, call 507-379-3422.
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Venus 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 3
on the cover
spring fever? try these great looks
things you didn’t know you wanted
We turn just a few pieces into so many different outfits you’ll think the possibilities are endless.
Albert Lea Magazine staff share their favorite recent finds.
Creating an essence Local painter Abby Murray finds peace creating her works of art.
Breeding a passion Albert Lean Jodie Distad enjoys raising and caring for horses.
albert lea | SPRING 2013
8 ‘i do’ weddings
See the smiling faces of couples from across the region.
10 The Big freeze
Local residents try their hands at making chili and jumping into Fountain Lake.
22 communicating with your man Tips for communicating with the opposite sex.
37 hugs & kisses guaranteed
This recipe for raspberry cream cheese tarts is sure to melt some hearts.
These five new colors from OPI are sure to make your nails pop.
38 The perfect fit
Tour the Wedgewood Cove home of Mary and Todd Wayne.
Susie and Weston Hulst give you five activities for getting fit with your partner.
36 Be a trendsetter CREATE
The Albert Lea Figure Skating Club holds its annual skating show.
17 Fitness for you and your partner
16 ‘planes, trains & blades’
60 ASK THE EXPERT:
10 first-date faux pas
62 book review: ‘safe haven’
63 final word:
finding love in the wilderness and offline
56 Area and regional events
See what’s happening around Albert Lea and the region in the coming months.
59 A look at the past
Scenes of Albert Lea in the 1940s and 1960s.
Black Friday process 6x5.5
6 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
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Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 7
SEEN | Area Weddings & Engagements
6 (1) Nicole Stotts of Albert Lea and Cole Thompson of Glenville. (2) Paige Seadlund and Jesse Larson, both of Albert Lea. (3) Amanda Leonard of Albert Lea and Neal Wenninger of Lafayette. (4) Christianna Johnson of Albert Lea and Eric Mullins of Appleton, Wis. (5) Liz Scheffler of West Allis, Wis., and Josh Kolling of Albert Lea. (6) Marta Behling, of Albert Lea and Casey Roser of Minneapolis. (7) Jennifer Bartholmey of Albert Lea and Logan Kahler of Fairmont. (8) Amanda More and Tim Evans, both of Albert Lea. 7
8 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
12 (9) Patricia Salisbury of Plymouth and Paul Kleven of Glenville. (10) Bridget Nesse and Jerrid Schindle, both of Albert Lea. (11) Emma Anderson and Mark Habben, both of Albert Lea. (12) Marie Kahnke of Janesville and Patrick Hicks of Wells. (13) Hannah Gudal and Alex Stadheim, both of Albert Lea. (14) Kristin Behl of Plymouth and Jon Wadding of Albert Lea. (15) Naomi Sternberg and Josh Vu, both of Albert Lea.
15 Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 9
SEEN | Big Freeze Edgewater Park in Albert Lea was full of people willing to brave the cold in mid-February. Hundreds showed up to watch those courageous participants jumping into Fountain Lake for the Polar Plunge. Other activities included a chili cookoff, kids carnival and more. The event was a chance to raise funds and get food donations for local food shelves.
(1) Wende Taylor, Jan Bernau, Wayne Pirddy and Steve Patten. (2) Angie Dahlum and Kisti Skaar. (3) Josh DeShanne, Brianne McKinney and Jack Kuchenbecker. (4) Mark Skellenger and Mark Heinemann. (5) Josh Madson, Ken Laite and Jeff Dahlen. (6) Thomas Guggisberg and Trista Pawlitschek. (7) Back row from left are Alex Hagen, Nick Jepson, Nick Davis and Rich Mirelli. Front row from left are Maggie Eggum, Brandi Hagen and Erin Murtaugh. 10 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
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BBQ Ranch Pulled Pork Salad Ventura Foods Ingredients Trailhand Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce 3 T. Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing 5 T. Other Ingredients Creole Mustard 2 tsp. Granny Smith Apples, julienne ½ c. ½ c. Golden Raisins Walnuts, toasted, rough chop ½ c. Romaine Lettuce, chopped 5 oz. Butter Lettuce, whole 2 ½ oz. 2 ½ oz. Carrots, Julienne Celery, sliced ½ c. Red Bell Pepper, julienne 1 c. Smoked Roast Pulled Pork 5 oz.
Methods: 1. Place butter lettuce on plate then top with romaine. 2. Arrange vegetables and pulled pork. 3. In a separate bowl combine BBQ sauce, ranch dressing and creole mustard, mix well. 4. Drizzle salad with Spicy Creole BBQ Ranch sauce and garnish with apple, raisins and walnuts.
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March 1-May 1, 2013 Venture Crew 2189 I-TRIathlon Complete this triathlon at your own pace! Youth from 7th grade-up and adults are invited. Event ends May 31. Call Doug at 641-832-8018 to register. June 14 & June 28 at Osage City Park, 6pm-10pm Friday Night Out in City Park FUN for the whole family! Food and drinks, kids’ activities & live music.
June 21 City of Maples Golf Outing Bring a team and hit the greens at Sunny Brae Golf Course—Osage’s 9-hole, 70-acre course nestled in the bluffs of the Cedar River. June 22 6th Annual BRAM-Bike Ride Around Mitchell County All levels and ages of bicyclists invited! Choose from 5-mile to 70-mile routes around scenic Mitchell County.
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Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 13
SEEN | United Way annual celebration The United Way of Freeborn County held its annual celebration in February to commemorate its 2012 Live United campaign. The event was a chance for agency partners, volunteers and donors to gather. They met at Albert Leaâ€™s Carnegie Event Center. The United Way raised more than $628,000 in 2012.
7 14 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
3 (1) Evelyn Spielman, Dee Emery and Rena Soper. (2) Betty Anderson and Merna Christenson. (3) Lorraine Berg and Lois Parker. (4) Amanda Weiss, Mary Laeger-Hagemeister and Bob Haas. (5) Justin Oman and Ann Austin. (6) Tiffany Hagan, Sue Berg, Laura Leraaen and Dawn Schroeder. (7) Penny Jahnke, Julie Sager, Jon Murray and Nancy Vanderwaerdt.
Live, Work & Play
In the Land Between the Lakes FIND IT IN FREEBORN COUNTY! Fountain Lake 5 / Tiger Trot 5k Land Between the Lakes Triathlon “Church Basement Ladies – Musical Comedy” at ACT Theatre Crossroads of Destruction Demo Derby Open Streets/Bike Rodeo Eddie Cochran Weekend The Met HD Live Opera - Handel’s Giulio Cesare
Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce • 2580 Bridge Ave • (507) 373-3938 • www.albertlea.org Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau • 102 W. Clark St. • (507) 373-2316 • www.albertleatourism.org Albert Lea Economic Development Agency • 2610 Y.H. Hanson Ave • (507) 373-3930 • www.growalbertlea.com
SEEN | Jose Cole Circus The Jose Cole Circus put on a show at Glenville-Emmons High School at the end of March. For the second year in a row the Glenville-Emmons National Honor Society sponsored the event. Kids and their parents saw dogs jumping through hoops, acrobats suspended in the air and balancing acts.
3 (1) Sara McGuire, Kinley McGuire, Bryce Buren, Mary Buren and Brayden Buren. (2) Tristan Mehus, Tiffany Mehus, Callan Mehus and Oscar Mehus. (3) Heather Calcamuggio and Isaac Calcamuggio. (4) Brittany Braund and her children Emerson, left, and Jada.
SEEN | ‘Planes, Trains & Blades’
The Albert Lea Figure Skating Club presented its 52nd annual show at the end of March. The theme was “Planes, Trains and Blades” and featured more than 50 skaters. The club is made up of skaters from around the surrounding region.
(1) Carma Pederson, Sadie Mortenson, Marissa Mortenson, Holly Mortenson and Kristy Minear. (2) Marnie Thompson, Sandi Sorenson and Maureen Zelenak. (3) Katie Williamson, Jackie Williamson and Lacey Williamson. (4) Front: Samantha Brumbaugh and Imogene Brumbaugh. Back: Alyssa Matson, Jacklyn Matson, Emma Turbeett and Madison Fleek.
16 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
MOVE | Training together
Story and photo by Sarah Stultz
f itness activities for you and your partner
Much of Weston and Susie Hulst’s relationship has revolved around fitness. Though the Albert Lea couple met through mutual friends, when they first began dating they trained for a sprint triathlon. “That was probably the first thing that attracted me to him,” Susie said. That summer they completed two or
three triathlons, and since then they have enjoyed other types of fitness activities together, including swimming, biking and running. “Fitness has always been important to us,” Susie said. Weston, the wellness director at Thorne Crest Retirement Community, and Susie,
the sports fitness director at the Albert Lea Family Y, have now been married for 2 1/2 years and have a young child. Though their lives are different now than they were when they were dating, they still take time to make fitness a priority. They offer these five fitness activities to do with your significant other:
Train for and complete a fitness event together. Whether it’s a 5K, a half marathon, a marathon or a triathlon, work to achieve a common goal. When you are struggling or having a bad day, your other half can be there to encourage and push you to keep going. “It’s easier to have a partner,” Weston said. “You’re so much more accountable.” In the Albert Lea area, there is the Tiger Trot, the Fountain Lake 5, the April Sorensen Memorial Half Marathon and the Land Between the Lakes Triathalon.
Take advantage of local outdoor resources. Albert Lea has an abundance of fitness opportunities available. The Brookside Boathouse along Fountain Lake offers rentals of everything from canoes and kayaks to stand-up paddleboards and geocaches. Consider renting one and venturing out onto Fountain Lake to try them out, Susie said. Or you can pack up bookbags with water and snacks and go hiking at Myre-Big Island State Park.
Go for a bike ride. Use the bike trails in the Albert Lea area or venture out to see something new in another community. Grab your bikes and start at the Blazing Star Trail. The paved trail runs from Albert Lea Lake to Myre-Big Island State Park, where work will soon be under way to connect it to Hayward. When completed, it will be about 20 miles. There are also seven miles of mountain biking available at the state park.
Lift weights together. Though you’ll more than likely be lifting different weights, push each other to work your hardest. Join a local gym or work from home. It’s not a bad idea to have an extra person on hand for safety purposes, either, when you’re on weight-lifting machines.
Play with the kids together. Plug in your iPhone or put in a CD and have a dance party with your children. “What better way to set an example for your children than to be active,” Susie said. You’ll make lasting memories and burn a few calories, too.
Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 17
DAZZLE | Staff Picks
Fossil minibag Herberger’s Albert Lea $58
Gold structured choker necklace Aldo Accessories $20
Things you didn’t know you
Coach high-heeled rainboots Coach stores $128
18 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
Multi print fashion scarf Addie’s Floral & Gifts Albert Lea $13.99
DAZZLE | Staff Picks
Graphic print satiny camisole New York & Company $29.95
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LIVE | Communication
Story by Michelle Haacke Photo by Brandi Hagen
How to talk to your man An Albert Lea therapist gives couples tips for working through issues Men must be from Mars, because sometimes it feels like we are worlds apart when trying to communicate with them. And feeling that way is pretty normal, according to Teresa M. Anderson-Krull of Albert Lea. An individual and family therapist with 25 years of experience, she has
Jodi Moen and Brandon Klukow. See Klukow’s comments about first-date faux pas on Page 60. 22 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
developed a niche for couple’s therapy over the past decade. Because intimacy and emotions can drive women, it can be a struggle to communicate with men because men often compartmentalize their issues. The woman’s perception is that men don’t express their feelings. “That’s just how the majority of people are wired,” she said. “Educating both sides is the key.” Anderson-Krull said the three
biggest differences couples experience are related to sex, money and parenting. Often, it’s all of the above. For example, the most common parenting issue she sees is letting the child sleep in mom and dad’s bed. Ironically, this coincides with sex issues. Not sleeping together is one of the biggest mistakes a couple can make. “The quickest route to getting into a discussion is to ask about sex, because that answers 50 other questions,” Anderson-Krull said. “That’s where the discussion starts.”
However, if there is no intimacy in the relationship, there won’t be much of a discussion. Women crave touching, kissing and cuddling, yet they view sex as another chore and often close themselves off to it. Men, on the other hand, are much more apt to open up and communicate afterward. To overcome this obstacle, Anderson-Krull encourages women to change their thinking: think about intimate time with your partner as something to relieve stress and enjoy. “Think of it as maintenance and insurance — plus it’s good for you,” she said, pointing out that sex helps release endorphins that make a woman feel good. Time is yet another roadblock for couples. When both the husband and wife are working full time and raising children, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. By the end of the day when they are alone, they are simply exhausted. The solution? Date night. AndersonKrull encourages women to put it on the calendar and keep the date. “You don’t have to have money,” she said. “Put the kids to bed early and stay in. Do some dancing or enjoy a glass of wine.” Time management in the home is important. Anderson-Krull encourages women to set aside family time, couples’ time and time out with girlfriends. Keeping their own identity keeps them interesting and gives them something more to talk about. The same goes for men. Money issues can be handled just about as swiftly. The biggest financial issue Anderson-Krull sees is that only one of the spouses is doing the bills each month while the other one is complaining about a lack of money in the account, or spending more than they have. She recommends that couples
take turns doing the bills or do them together. A joint account for the bills with individual accounts for each spouse is also effective, as it’s good for a woman to have her own account and maintain her own credit rating. Plus, this gives a wife and husband each a little of their own money to use for hobbies and fun.
Hey guys! Here are six simple ways to let your woman know you love her:
Compliment her. She cannot read your mind, so tell her if you think she looks nice.
Give her a kiss or hug without implying sex.
Help her with things. Nothing tugs at a woman’s heart strings like seeing a man washing dishes or playing with the children.
Send her a text message. Let her know you’re thinking about her.
Flirt — it was cute when you were dating!
Use humor. Women love it when a man’s being silly.
“Men will never understand why a woman spends $100 on her hair every couple of months, and women get tired of trying to explain,” she said. “With regards to this argument, I like to say a man’s haircut usually costs $12 to $18 every four to six weeks and takes about 15 minutes. A woman’s hair appointment is usually one to two hours, so it all works out the same.” Anderson-Krull pointed out several things women can do keep communication on track with their spouse. One common mistake women make when trying to communicate with her husband is choosing the wrong time of day to have the discussion. Hitting him with a heavy conversation right when he walks in the door after work is not going to be productive, likely escalating the argument. To this, Anderson-Krull said you should simply ask him when a good time is to talk and set the expectation of how long it will take. Once the discussion starts, another productive technique for women is to try and agree with something the man says. This validates his self-worth and makes him more open to communicating. “Men will listen better if they feel like they’ve done something right, so you can bridge off that,” she said. Another common mistake made by women and men alike is blocking out what they know to be good and true. As life and issues can cloud your reality into a different perception, think back to when you first met. “Do a checklist,” she said. “What did I find attractive when we were dating and why did I marry him?” These tips will give couples a good start, but the important part is to have patience and to stay positive so the good communication you have can continue. Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 23
Your Destination for
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Coupon good through 6/16/13
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Because he loved me, ## | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
He did the dishes, Rubbed my feet, Surprised me with tulips, Took me to musicals even though he didn’t like them, Carried my bags while I did the shopping, Held my hand.
He died of cancer four years ago.
Because he loved me,
I can stay in our home. I can be here for our children. I can afford to pay for their college education. I can worry about the other things in life besides money.
He still loves me. And he still shows it.
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Nancy Vanderwaerdt, Agent, LUTCF, FSS 505 Bridge Avenue, Albert Lea 377-0227 www.nancyvw.net Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 25
Here again is the blue undershirt, worn with the perfect-for-spring floral skirt from Maurices. Tan heels elongate the leg and keep it classy.
Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 27
How do you make a floral skirt even more perfect for spring? Add in this bright yellow blazer. Donâ€™t want to look like youâ€™re heading to brunch? Add in the shirt with black and whites to keep it original.
28 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
25% OFF Any One Item in the Store Excludes consignment items & special orders. One coupon per customer. Not valid with other offers. Expires 4/30/13
L O C A L LY O W N E D
Subject to Change
Mon. & Tues. closed Wed. & Thurs. 11am-7pm Sat. 10am-5pm Sun. Noon-5pm Photo by Melissa Baus Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 29
Floral skirt not your thing? Pair the yellow blazer and striped shirt with these comfy jeans and this is the perfect outfit for those still-chilly days of spring. The multi-colored flats are back to add even more color to the ensemble.
30 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
Yellow isnâ€™t your color? Try the blue undershirt, here worn as a top with ruching, and add in those comfy, stylish jeans. Make it less casual by wearing the supermodel heels.
Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 31
We represent over 50 companies
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Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 33
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Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 35
BEAUTIFY | Nail polish pride
Photos by Brandi Hagen
4This delicate light pink hue is called A Butterfly Moment. $9
4This dark purple hue is called Anti Bleak and can be found at Expressions Salon & Spa in Albert Lea. $9
4This great light purple shade is called You’re Such a Budapest. $9
4This vibrant pick shade is called Suzi’s Hungary Again! $9
4This deep-blue hue is called Eurso Euro. $9 36 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
SAVOR | Raspberry-cream cheese tarts
Recipe by Jennifer Levisen Photo by Kelli Lageson
Hugs & kisses guaranteed In my house, the statement, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” is true regardless of age. Whether he is 31 years old or 19 months — if it’s food — he is putty in my hands. Better yet, if that food happens to be a homemade sweet treat that’s still warm from the oven. Before our son was born, my husband and I made the commitment to make our own baby food and to use organic, locally grown products as often as we could. My in-law’s garden and love of canning and freezing makes that very easy, but as our son is getting older we’ve run into a few snags when it comes to dessert. Should he have it, should he not? Sweets are inevitable and a fun part of life, whether it is a birthday cupcake, M&Ms from Santa or an ice cream treat on a warm afternoon. We want our son to have a healthy relationship with food and to grow up enjoying all of the things we did as kids. So I make everyone happy by making some desserts at home. I know exactly what ingredients are used, my husband gets to volunteer as taste tester, and our son doesn’t miss out. The kitchen is the heart of our home and for me, cooking for my family is a wonderful expression of love. This recipe is guaranteed to get any wife, girlfriend, sister, friend, grandma or mama as many kisses and hugs as she can handle!
Raspberry-cream cheese heart tarts Makes about 10 tarts Ingredients: 1/2 cup fresh or defrosted frozen raspberries 1/4 cup whipped cream cheese 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar 1 14-ounce premade pie crust Icing 10 fresh or defrosted frozen raspberries 1 tablespoon milk or water 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar Directions: 1. Place the raspberries, cream cheese and honey in a bowl. Using the back of a fork, mash the raspberries with the cream cheese, leaving some of the raspberry pieces intact. 2. Roll out the pie crust to 1/4-inch thick and, using a heart-shaped cookie cutter about the size of your fist, cut out about 20 heart shapes. 3. Place one heart on a lightly floured work surface and place 2 teaspoons of the cream cheese mixture in the center, leaving a 1/4-inch border. 4. Lightly dip your index finger into a cup of water and “brush” the border with water. This will allow the two sides of the heart to adhere to each other. 5. Top with another cutout heart. With the tines of a fork, gently press down along the edges to adhere the two sides, making sure not to press so hard that the cream cheese mixture goes beyond the boundary of the pastry heart. With a toothpick, poke some holes in the top of the heart to remove any air pockets. 6. Repeat to make the rest of the heart tarts. 7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 8. Place the tarts on parchment paper or Silpat on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Set the tarts aside to cool. 9. While the hearts are baking, make the icing. Place the raspberries in a strainer and press down with the back of a spoon to release the raspberry juice into a bowl. You should have about 2 tablespoons of juice. 10. Whisk in the milk or water and slowly whisk in the powdered sugar. 11. When the tarts are cool, use a spoon to spread the raspberry icing over the hearts to serve. — Recipe adapted from Catherine McCord’s Weelicious cookbook. For more information go to weelicious.com. Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 37
CREATE | Tour a Wedgewood Cove home
Story and photos by Tim Engstrom
The perfect fit
An open floor plan allows the kitchen to blend into the dining room, living room and entryway. 38 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
home in the new Wedgewood Cove residential development was just what Todd and Mary Wayne were looking for back in 2010. The youngest of their three daughters had graduated, and their family of five now only had Mom and Dad at home. Their home on Crescent Drive was outsized for the empty-nesters but took 28 months to sell. When the big house finally sold, they noticed a 3,100-square-foot house at Wedgewood Cove was just being finished. They knew it must be the right one. “Todd and I didn’t have a desire to build, but this is close to what we would have built,” Mary said during a tour of their home at 2354 W. Ninth St. The home on Crescent had been across from the Albert Lea Country Club, a century-old golf course that was sold in 2006 and then shut down. Todd enjoys golfing, and the couple liked seeing friends playing the course. They spend much of their free
A family room in the basement is where the Wayne daughters and their friends and families spend time together when they visit.
time during summers up north at a cabin on a lake near Brainerd. When they are in Albert Lea, they can sit outside and watch the action on Hole 10 at Wedgewood Cove. Their new home and lot cost $350,000, plus they paid an extra $25,000 to have the basement finished. Mary says the new home has a more modern design, with an open floor plan. Most of the living happens on the main level, with its kitchen opening to the living and dining rooms. Bed and bath are just down the hall. The basement has room for the kids when they come home. There are spare bedrooms and a bath, and there is a family room for hanging out, playing games or tinkering with a piano. Wedgewood Cove offers residents mowing and snow-clearing services, and Mary said having that available is convenient. She said they like living in a new house, because there is little maintenance to deal with. That means more time to enjoy the lake cabin.
Sunlight falls on the living room of Todd and Mary Wayne. The couple had the TV set mounted above a mantle to make for easier viewing. Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 39
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DAZZLE | Get the look!
Ooh la la! Albert Leaâ€™s Allure Salon & Spa recently teamed up with Maurices and Kellie Steele Photography to provide four lucky ladies with a completely new look. Because they never take time for themselves, these four women were nominated by their friends and family members for a makeover. Each woman not only got their hair done, but also nails and makeup. Then Maurices provided the clothes and Kellie Steele Photography documented the whole affair.
After photos by
Kellie Steele Photography 42 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
Lynn Grahn was nominated by a coworker at Good Samaritan Society. Grahn works full time at the nursing home and does home health care for her neighbor, as well as being active in her church. Stylist Kristin Larson helped create this updated look.
Beth Hagmann was nominated by her daughter, Sara. Beth is a busy nurse who always puts her family and others before herself, even when sheâ€™s going through her own tough times. Her stylist was Cheryl Dreyling.
Before Before Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 43
Mary Nelson was nominated by her niece, who wanted to boost Mary’s self-esteem as she’s recovering from breast cancer. Mary works full time at Walmart and always puts her needs before everyone else’s. Her stylist was Michelle Hanson.
44 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
Marja Stenzel was nominated by her husband, Jake. Marja is a stay-at-home mom to two busy girls. Her husband wanted to show her that he appreciates all her hard work. Her stylist was Morgan Meaney.
Before Before Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 45
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ALBERT LEA | FEATURE
Creating heading?? an essence
Story and photos by Brandi Hagen
Abby Murray works on a painting for her mother-in-law. Murray has taken the painting back a couple of times to make changes.
48 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
while others took more than a year to complete. s a working mom sometimes the “I have that problem, when is it ever good enough? I most peaceful place in the think that’s something I’ll always try to work on — learnhouse is tucked away in the ing when to stop,” Murray said. “It’s tough to learn.” cluttered basement or sitting When the weather is warm and the sun is shining, on the back deck with a paintbrush and Murray enjoys painting canvas. outside on the deck Sometimes that time of behind her home. peace lasts 30 minutes “I can be as messy as I and other times it lasts want to be and hose it three hours or more. off when I’m all done,” Abby Murray, a she said. 29-year-old interactive When the weather is marketing coordinator at unsuitable to paint outAlliance Benefit Group in side, Murray paints in Albert Lea, has always her basement. had a knack for design “There’s nothing glamwhether it be graphic or orous about it,” Murray interior. said. “But it’s the only When she isn’t spendspace I didn’t care about ing time with her husgetting paint on the floor band, Jon, or her three because it’s completely children Ayva, 6, Sienna, unfinished. So, it 4, and Charlie, 1, she worked.” enjoys spending time in An advantage of makfront of a canvas with ing her own paintings is acrylic paints and letting that Murray can look at her creative juices flow. the space where they will “I don’t know how I hang and make them to find the time, but when I her liking. It’s actually do, I like to lock myself one of the reasons she away,” Murray said. started painting — she Murray made her first could never find the ever purchase of canvas right piece in a store to after becoming inspired These are the first two pieces of canvas Abby Murray bought in fit the bill. by the colors of a pear college. Today they hang in her dining room. Sometimes, even after a while she was in college at canvas is hung on display, Arizona State University where she graduated in 2006. Murray takes it down to add paint or change the look of The two canvases she originally bought have stuck with her and today hang in the dining room of her Albert the piece until she’s satisfied. Lea home. Since beginning her painting hobby about four or five years ago, Murray has completed about nine pieces. “Even though there are only nine or 10 paintings that I’ve done, it’s cool to say that I’ve done them,” Murray said. In addition to using acrylic paints, sometimes Murray incorporates texture to stray away from cookie-cutter art and add more interest. Some of the pieces Murray completed over a short time,
“When I know what I want and I can’t find it anywhere I just have to make it myself,” Murray said. “It takes me a lot longer and I drive myself crazy in the process but the outcome is so much better than me going and buying it, and then it’s meaningful.” Murray’s inspiration comes from several different things including her life experiences, children, family and other art. Speaking of her kids, Murray said they don’t quite understand her art. Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 49
Some of the candid things they’ve said have been, “Mom, why are you doing that?” “What is that? It looks like you spilled paint on there.” Murray expects her children aren’t the only ones with opinions. “Some people appreciate it,” Murray said. “That’s the whole essence of art. There’s certain people who have an eye for certain things and a taste preference for certain things. That’s the great thing about art, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. That’s what makes this fun.” While Murray is flattered when other people enjoy her pieces, the experience and meaning behind each piece is more significant to her. “You don’t have to worry about everyone liking
50 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
it,” Murray said. “There’s something freeing about that.” Three of Murray’s most-treasured paintings hang in the stairway of her home. The paintings are ones she made to symbolize her three children. Each one incorporates the child’s name, date of birth and pages from the dictionary from the letters that spell their names. Murray has given her art as gifts and donated them to fundraisers but isn’t so sure she’d ever sell one. She has no idea how she would price them because of the time and energy that goes into making a piece. “I’d much rather give them as gifts or donate them than try and put a price tag on them,” she said.
Abby Murray stands in front of the paintings she made that symbolize her children.
Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 51
ALBERT LEA | FEATURE
Jodie Distad owns and lives on Broadway Farm south of Albert Lea. She raises and shows horses, as well as teaches children and adults how to ride. 52 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
Story by Kevin Coss Photos by Eric Johnson
Breeding a passion Albert Lea trainer spends her time raising and showing horses
odie Distad takes life at a gallop. Distad, a horse trainer for the last 16 years, owns and lives on Broadway Farm just south of Albert Lea. Between training, breeding, caring for and showing horses, it’s a busy life on the farm. Distad grew up in upstate New York. She’s the first to admit she and her twin sister have been “horse crazy since we could walk and talk.” Her youth proves it. At the age of 8, she and her twin sister started taking riding lessons. Two years later, they got horses. Distad went on study equine science and management at Morrisville College in New York. She moved to live on a horse farm in the Austin area around the year 2000. Then, eight years later, she moved to Broadway Farm in Albert Lea, where she lives today, riding and training horses for her clients, and also giving riding lessons. “My identical twin sister does the same thing in New York,” Distad said. “We’ve always done the same thing.” A typical afternoon consists of teaching two to three lessons, with people ages 5 to 65 who are from all over southern Minnesota. Many come from Owatonna, Wells and Albert Lea. “Sometimes my customers come down from the cities,” Distad said. “It really depends on the day.” Apart from the 12 she herself owns, Distad keeps about 13 more horses on the farm that belong to others who take lessons with her or show horses. Distad has always had a good eye for understanding a difficult horse and knowing how to calm it down. “It’s just so natural for me,” Distad said. “People bring me problem horses and I’ve been able to fix them and maybe communicate with them in ways their owners can’t.”
Despite the unforgiving weather, winter months don’t slow training down at Broadway Farm. Distad has an indoor arena that blocks out bad weather. While riders still need to layer up to protect against low temperatures, the structure keeps out snow and ice. “It’s nice that we can ride in any weather,” she said. “It’s attached right to the barn.” Her instruction doesn’t end with lessons on the farm, though. Recently, Distad was hired to teach a part-time equitation class during the spring semester at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa. She goes to instruct students in an intermediate-level riding program there two evenings a week. It’s a different experience than teaching lessons on her farm. Distad said her students come to school with a wide variety of aspirations. Some set their sights on horse training, while others want to become a horse chiropractor. They are shooting for a career in the industry, unlike those who come to Distad’s farm looking to improve their riding, showmanship and safety on a horse. When she’s not holding lessons, Distad travels to horse shows put on by the American Paint Horse Association, where she does English and Western showings. The shows are specific to the paint horse breed, and will not admit any other type of horse. “People come from all over the Midwest,” she said. Distad has been involved in shows at the Freeborn and Mower county fairs as well as other locations in Minnesota and in Iowa. Her show team consists of eight people, and Distad is in charge of keeping nine horses ready to compete. “I am the trainer, so I will make sure all the horses are ready for the customers,” she said. “I do everything from grooming to warming, to making sure they’re riding properly.”
54 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
While Distad said she and her team are highly competitive, they don’t neglect having a good time. “Our show team is a very fun group,” she said. “It’s like a second family ... we all like to get away, and we all enjoy the sport of showing horses.” Wells resident Christie Wetzel, who has been part of Distad’s group for three years, can second the sentiment. “It’s like a sisterhood,” she said. “We really have a team mentality. Everyone is willing to help one another.” After she purchased a retired showhorse so her daughter could take up trailriding, Wetzel arranged for her daughter to take riding lessons with Distad. Soon the thought of showing horses became appealing, and both Wetzel and her daughter joined Distad’s team. “It looked like a lot of fun, so I ended up buying a showhorse from Jodie,” she said. “We do it together.” Distad keeps the horses in shape and helps the riders get ready as well, Wetzel said. They typically leave for the show on a Friday, and spend that evening letting the horses acclimate to the arena and giving them a heavy-duty bath to make them look their best, Wetzel said. Then the team spends Saturday and Sunday showing. “She really is an amazing trainer and a fabulous coach,” Wetzel said of Distad. “She has a detailed eye and knows what to look for.” Back on the farm, horses are a way of life for the whole family. Distad’s older son, 9-year-old Cole, is a third-grade student at Sibley Elementary School who now participates in horse shows. Devin, 4, is a preschooler who does leadline, where children sit up on horses led by their parents. “They just have to show proper form and show they can steer,” Distad said, adding children typically transition to riding by themselves around the age of 6 or 7. Distad’s husband, A.J., leads oversized loads for Pro Trucking. While he doesn’t participate in competitions, he does enjoy going trail riding occasionally. Though she may have a way with horses, Distad cautions that training and showing horses is no walk in the park. “There’s a lot of hard work involved,” she said. “Everybody thinks that riding horses is easy.” That’s not the case. Apart from learning to control the animals and teach riders, the job comes chock-full of physical labor. There are stalls to clean, and hay and feed to unload. Animals require a lot of care. Broadway Farm breeds and raises horses, and keeps six broodmares and a stallion in the stables. But the work is an investment that’s well worth it for Distad. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” she said.
Apart from the 12 she herself owns, Distad keeps about 13 more horses on the farm that belong to others who take lessons with her or show horses.
Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 55
events calendar Saturday, April 20
Fountain Lake 5 & Tiger Trot
• 211 W. Richway Drive, Albert Lea • When: 9 a.m. April 20 Where: Brookside Education Center, Albert Lea Cost: Tiger Trot 5k: $20. Fountain Lake 5: $29 More info: The Fountain Lake 5 and Tiger Trot are timed events, and you can sign up the day of the race at Brookside Education Center. Anyone is welcome at either event.
Saturday, April 20
Community Sew Day • 1609 W. Main St., Albert Lea • When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 20 Where: Senior Center, Skyline Plaza, 1609 W. Main St. in Albert Lea Cost: Free More info: Come for all day or however long you feel like sewing. Bring your sewing machine, scissors, pins and a sack lunch. Beverages and cookies will be provided. Community Sew Day is part of the local Shinefest activities.
four Beatles music lovers who bring the Fab 4 back to life.
Tuesday, April 23
Sheltered Reality concert • 1128 N. Highway, Jackson • When: 6:30 p.m. April 23 Where: JCC Performing Arts Center at the JCC High School: 1128 N. Highway, Jackson Cost: Tax-deductible free-will donation at the door. More info: This is a fundraiser for the Jackson Community Foundation. Proceeds will go toward 2013 projects.
Thursday, April 25-May 4
‘Church Basement Ladies’ • 147 N. Broadway, Albert Lea • When: 7:30 p.m. April 25-April 27, 2 p.m. April 28, 7:30 p.m. May 1-May 4 Where: 147 N. Broadway Ave., Marion
Tuesday, April 23
Civic Music presents Abbey Road band • 2000 Tiger Lane, Albert Lea • When: 7:30 p.m. April 23 Where: Auditorium at Albert Lea High School, 2000 Tiger Lane, Albert Lea Cost: Admission is by season ticket only, which will be available at the door. Season tickets are $80 for a family, $40 for adults and $10 for students. More info: Abbey Road is made up of 56 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
Ross Performing Arts Center Cost: $18 for adults, $10 for students More info: Church Basement Ladies has been playing to sellout crowds in Minneapolis. This musical comedy based on recipes, food and change in the church is funny, heart warming and down to earth.
Thursday, April 25-May 5
• 1900 8th Ave. NW, Austin • When: 7:30 p.m. April 25-April 27 and May 2-May 4, 2 p.m. May 5 Where: Riverland Community College’s Frank W. Bridges Theatre in Austin Cost: $15 for adults, free for Riverland students More info: The vibrant, all-ages musical about timeless values, written by Louisa May Alcott, will be performed by Riverland Theatre. Contact 507-433-0595 or firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets. See www.riverland.edu/theatre for more information about upcoming shows.
Saturday, April 27
‘Giulio Cesate’ • 147 N. Broadway, Albert Lea • When: Noon April 27 Where: 147 N. Broadway Ave., Albert Lea, Marion Ross Performing Arts Center Cost: Tickets are $20 for general admission, $18 for ACT or Civic Music members, or $12 for students under age 30 More info: This is a live HD broadcast of the New York Metropolitan Opera’s latest show.
Saturday, May 4
Freeborn County Bike-A-Thon • Albert Lea • When: 6 a.m. May 4 Where: Sibley Elementary School warming house, 1501 Front St., Albert Lea Cost: No cost, participants raise funds for the cause More info: The 100-mile ride is in its 41st year. Funds raised go to the American Cancer Society.
a.m., fashion show (no cost); 11:30 a.m. to noon, autographs and photos (no cost). This event is for mothers, daughters, grandmothers or any woman.
Sunday, May 19
Land Between the Lakes Triathlon • Albert Lea • When: 9 a.m. May 19 Where: Edgewater Park in Albert Lea Cost: $60 for individuals and $90 for teams More info: The triathlon starts with a 0.25-mile swim, followed by a 14-mile bike ride and finishing with a 4-mile run. Same day registration is available at Edgewater Park from 6:30 to 8 a.m.
Friday, June 7
Eddie Cochran weekend & car show • Albert Lea • When: June 7-9 Where: Freeborn County Fairgrounds, Bridge Avenue in Albert Lea Cost: Varies More info: Friday night cruise-in social will be at the Country Inn & Suites with free live music. Saturday is the 27th annual all-day car show at the fairgrounds. There will be a swap and craft area, and food and adult beverages available. The car cruise starts at 4:30 p.m. at the fairgrounds. Sunday is a rock ’n’ roll church service at 10 a.m. at United Methodist Church in Albert Lea.
Saturday, May 11
Miss Minnesota visits Medford Outlet • 6750 W. Frontage Road, Medford • When: May 11 Where: Bella Vita Salon, Medford Outlet Center Cost: Tickets $35 (for two) for private brunch with Danielle Hooper, Miss Minnesota USA 2013. Girls receive a tiara from Miss Minnesota. Tickets can be purchased between 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the mall office. A portion of ticket sales go to Owatonna Business Women’s Scholarship Fund, a Steele County nonprofit. Event after brunch is open to the public (no cost). More info: 8:45 to 9:45 a.m., private brunch; 9:45 to 10:30 a.m., hair and makeup tips (no cost); 10:30 to 11:30
Wind Down Wednesday
Friday, May 31
• 1525 S. Elm Ave., Owatonna • When: May 31-June 2 Where: Steele County Fairgrounds, 1525 S. Elm Ave., Owatonna Cost: Varies More info: This Kansas City-sanctioned barbecue competition benefits the local chapter of the Special Olympics. Other events include a 5k run, bean bag competition, antique tractor show and more.
Wednesday, June 26
Wind Down Wednesday • Albert Lea • When: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 26 Where: Central Park in Albert Lea Cost: Free More info: Craft and other vendors will sell their wares, entertainment will be provided and food and drinks are available. The event is at Central Park this year due to the construction on Broadway in Albert Lea. Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 57
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Wilson & Co., Albert Lea’s iconic packing company, seen from an aerial view in the 1930s.
A postcard from 1965 that depicts downtown Albert Lea.
This photo from the 1940s shows Albert Lea’s St. Theodore Catholic Church and School.
Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 59
ASK THE EXPERT
10 First-date faux pas
Story by Sarah Stultz
Have a first date coming up and want to make a good impression? Consider avoiding these first-date turnoffs given by one man and one woman in Albert Lea:
1 2 3 4 5
Amy Bohlen, 21: Texting “I feel like they’re not paying attention to me. They’re paying attention to something else.” Being late “It shows something else is more important that comes before me.” Bad breath or body odor “I think that’s self explainable.” Bragging about themselves “When they’re really into themselves, it shows a lack of self respect.” Talking about their ex “They’re obviously still not over them.”
60 | ALBERT LEA | Speing 2013
1 2 3 4 5
Brandon Klukow, 26: If you go out to eat and the girl doesn’t eat anything “It defeats the purpose of going out to eat. Be a normal person and order a burger or something.”
Talking about marriage or having kids “Save that for at least six months down the road.” Talking about ex relationships “Instead of learning about the person you’re meeting, you’re learning about the people they’ve already been with.” Talking about drama or gossiping “You’re talking behind people’s backs. I don’t think guys are as gossipy as girls, and most guys don’t want to listen to it.” If the girl is acting stuck up “Even if it’s not necessarily toward you, it’s probably revealing a character flaw right there.”
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Albert Lea Magazine ran a contest for Facebook fans in March 2013. Three lucky winners were announced on April 1. 1st Place - Coach Purse Jen Williamson 2nd Place - $50 gift card to Home Depot Tara Johnson 3rd Place - $50 gift card to Home Depot Brenda Avery-Ravlin
Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 61
CONSTANT READER | Book review by Angie Barker
A safe haven indeed Spring is around the corner and love is in the air. Romance is an intriguing and complicated idea because the definition is objective to the individual. For some, it is a soft-focus candle-lit vision of long-stemmed roses, bubble baths and walks on the beach. If you’re like me, then a walk on the beach equates to sprained ankles and a bubble bath is where you pretend you can’t hear your offspring banging outside the door. For those of us on the other side, romance is anything but soft focus. It’s more like the harsh overhead lighting of a truck stop bathroom that makes me look like I am unfamiliar with the concept of sleeping. I call this the “Walking Dead” version of romance. All my faults are as visible as my attributes because in a post-apocalyptic world there is no polite society and definitely no soft blurred edges. My bed is a place where children escape nightmares, pets puke to voice their protest of everything and husbands think their gas really does warm up the cold sheets faster. It does not. But that doesn’t mean we are antiromantics. We just find it in the cracks rather than in grand gestures. Romance in literature is as eclectic as real life. From barechested Fabio covers of Harlequin to gray-tie wearing millionaires to the starry-eyed poetry of Keats and the gothic tragedy of the Brontes, romance has always been defined by the reader. The current king of romance in popular culture is Nicholas Sparks, author of “The Notebook,” “A Walk to Remember,” and the most current adaptation to hit theaters, “Safe Haven.” Even if you have not read one of his 17 romantic fictions or seen one of his eight adapted films (two more coming, “Best of Me” in 2014 and “The Longest Ride” in 2015), it seems that everyone is familiar with the man and his message: love comes at a cost. Sparks’ style focuses on the suffering involved with loving someone that usually involves death or disease. “Safe Haven” veers slightly from this formula by casting the threat to the couple in the form of an ex, and it is better for it. The mysterious protagonist, Katie, arrives in a small town in North Carolina looking for a “safe haven.” She just left her abusive police detective husband, Kevin, in a well-organized 62 | ALBERT LEA | Spring 2013
“Sleeping with the Enemy”-style escape. I mean Katie didn’t take secret swim lessons and pretend to drown, but I think Julia Roberts would be impressed nonetheless. Katie just wants some quiet and some space to breathe. What she gets is a nosy well-meaning neighbor, Jo, and Alex, the widow and father of two. Widows and single parents also appear frequently in Sparks’ novels as a means of building a layered and vulnerable character in only three nouns. Alex and Katie fall into this Sparks trap as two wounded individuals dealing with the fallout from their pasts. They got baggage that would require a storage locker, and yet, they fall in love because they are both emotionally scarred. I should mention that these two are beachwalkers, not deadwalkers, so when Alex finds a poster that labels Katie a murderer, he totally believes it. In the world of soft focus, faults need not apply. I get that murder is kind of a biggie, but I want a partner who brings a shovel, not the police. Once Katie tells him she is innocent Alex is relieved and ready to party despite a few problems: 1. She is still married 2. to a psycho 3. who is coming for her 4. with a legally permitted gun 5. that he is trained to use 6. and Alex is now standing between them. Alex should really take a beat here and do some soul searching, but lucky for us he doesn’t. It is the tension between the two story lines that makes this novel one of Sparks’ best. The dramatic thriller plot of crazy Kevin balances the sugary sweet romance of Katie and Alex and makes their eventual collision a pleasurable payoff. At least until the unnecessary, convoluted and frustrating twist at the end. A twist so ridiculous that it threatens to undermine the entire the novel just to emphasize the point that our past haunts us and those we love. Mr. Sparks, you are better than this, and we readers deserve to be left with a satisfying ending to an entertaining novel.
FINAL WORD | By Jennifer Vogt-Erickson
wilderness of love
Internet dating was catching on in the early 2000s, and a number of my friends joined one of the popular sites. They let me peer over their shoulders while they fished for potential suitors in the online pool. It seemed like fun. My latest relationship had imploded after a year and half, and I was clearing the rails, wondering if this was a good place to start fresh. After my friends had some, let’s say, “interesting” experiences with the actual people behind the online profiles, I decided to try a nearly opposite approach. I applied to work at a retreat center in the Cascade Mountains called Holden Village, with no phone or Internet service (yet), and no roads linking it to the outside world. I got a position as the head of lawns and gardens for the summer. It was by far the most remote place I had ever lived, a trailhead for the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area. There were dozens of other young adults on staff, and, even if Cupid was not hovering above me with his bow drawn, there would be plenty of hiking partners with whom to trek the endless miles of rugged mountain paths. Though I didn’t realize it as I stepped off the boat at Lucerne landing, my match was there. In fact, he was probably the first person I saw, since he was my driver up the switchbacks to the village. I became friends with my future true love early on. He made goofy pronouncements, like most people “live to eat” while he “eats to live.” He rarely left the village except to drive the bus down to the dock on Lake Chelan to meet the passenger boat, and he also managed the bookstore. He played his guitar in his free time, and he wrote songs that became staff favorites. At night on his porch his friends yelled out requests, like “House Called Chalet,” “Bus Drivin’” and “Lentils in My Soup,” and they all sang along. I hung around and thought I would just be one of his groupies, but three things as the summer unfolded revealed a chemistry experiment in progress between us. First, as summer staff, I had to train as a dish team captain in the kitchen. I asked guitar man to help me through my first time leading dinner cleanup. He readily assented, and he was a great coach who made everybody laugh (“We are winning!”).
Afterward I thanked him with a dozen fresh chocolate chip cookies I had baked, and I didn’t think much more of it. I happened to see him a little later, and he wasn’t feeling well. Man who “eats to live” had eaten all the cookies at once. Strange. Clue No. 1. Another month rolled off the calendar. One evening I was a few minutes late for the daily prayer service, and I slipped into a place along the side wall next to guitar man. I looked up at him to whisper “hello,” and he looked down at me silently, through long eyelashes, with an expression that made three words pop into my head with perfect clarity: “He loves me.” It seemed so random, I thought I must have imagined it at the time. In retrospect, clue No. 2. In the last few weeks of my summer position, after hiking many of the trails around Holden with other friends, I asked guitar man to take me to Copper Basin. “Isn’t it nice up there?” I asked. To my shock, he didn’t know, because he had never been. After 18 months on staff, he had only jogged to Hart Lake (once), a short hike from the village. “That’s unbelievable!” I blurted out. He accompanied me to the basin (out of shame, I thought), and though a horde of mosquitoes pursued him like a hapless sugar daddy, the next week he followed me along Marten Ridge, and a week later he suggested we hike to see the amazing vista of the North Cascades offered by Cloudy Pass. An emerging pattern. Clue No. 3. But would it stick? Inevitability of something bigger set in quickly, even as we both packed for trails east in Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin. Despite the physical distance we soon acquired, being in a relationship seemed easy all of a sudden. Within the next few years, guitar man followed me to Norway, back to Holden, and then to Minnesota. We married five days before moving to Albert Lea in 2005. Ten years after finding harmony offline and off-the-grid, we have a house and two children together. My husband makes up songs on his guitar for our kids, and they sing (or babble like an Ewok) along. And every time I look at our baby girl’s long, thick eyelashes, I think, “Your daddy loves me.” Spring 2013 | ALBERT LEA | 63
INSIDE ALBERT LEA MAGAZINE
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