Southernminnhomes Leader flat

Oregon road trip here I come

May 19, 2017

I work the notorious 9-5, am a mom who serves pizza far too often and there are parabens in my shampoo. I once had someone tell me in a conversation — the purpose of this dialogue has rightfully slipped my mind — they imagined I would be at home “knitting or something.”

I actually wish I could knit and sew. Not because it’s the perfect activity for when I am barefoot and in my apron, but I want to be able to make my own clothing. It’s a pretty good skill to have. Plus, I don’t like paying for overpriced, tacky apparel, which is precisely why I have chemicals in my shampoo; I am cheap. Furthermore, I won’t buy something for $35 when I can make it at home. Unfortunately, I haven’t quite yet found a recipe that doesn’t make me look like a wet dog. Yes, I’ve made my own health and beauty products. Again, valuable skills to have.

But when the weather gets warm and my boys high-spirited, I absolutely can be found barefoot — outside, covered in dirt and sweat. And when my favorite musicians venture to Minnesota, I’ll be there, also covered in not only my own sweat, but my neighbors’ as well. It’s a great time.

And to conclude, if I see you being an all-around unpleasant person, I’ll call you out on it. Like ridiculing your kids in public or being abusive toward any animal at all. Don’t do that.

Our culture has constructed these “boxes” because putting a name on someone is a lot easier than making any sort of attempt at actually getting to know them. I would say many of you have made an interest or passion of yours more public than really necessary just so people are aware that you like it. The world needs to know what you do in your free time.

This is why bumper stickers were created. Because even the complete strangers behind you need to know. A person can cover their entire vehicle in messages, but if I roll up alongside them and so much as make eye-contact, I immediately notice their yearning to get the hell away from me. I’ve become Michael Myers in approximately .02 seconds. It’s like the car is their safe place. But even in their safe place, they still need to tell everyone how much they love kale.

I know, I am sounding like a total jerk right now. I don’t mean to. I am a mom, I smile even when my baby is crying.

Just kidding.

I am not making fun of moms either. Moms are wonderful, unless you are my friend Christine’s mom from fifth grade. I always thought you were kind of a turd.

I don’t like to be categorized — at all. Specifically into categories that I do not fit whatsoever because you’ve made assumptions based off of what you see on the surface.

Desk junky. Mother. Coffee-drinking lame ass. Thanks, guys. You might as well toss a pair of khakis on me at this point. 

I love my many jobs. So you can spare me the “don’t forget to live” stuff. I have embraced what my life is and even though it isn’t the traveling van life, that’s okay. It’s not an “acceptance” thing either. I am not accepting a mediocre life. I don’t have to be an extremist in order to be an outdoor enthusiast, environmental steward, #boymom or a person who genuinely cares about other people.

I will add, though, that I do reach certain points of intemperance and I get lost every once in a while. I think that is healthy. I am also a firm believer in what you are afraid to do is a clear indicator of the next thing you need to do (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

This is why I have chosen to take 10 days and road trip back to Oregon this June. I know I lost a piece of myself when I left and I haven’t been quite ready to reunite with it. I still don’t know if I am. But if I have ever felt a pang of guilt for being late, this would be it.

See you soon, SoMinn. I can’t wait to share my adventure with you.


Autumn Van Ravenhorst is a staff writer and columnist for SouthernMinn Scene. If you live in the Owatonna area, she’d also be happy to sell you an ad in this wonderful magazine. Drop her a line at

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