Father’s Day

Today is my first Father’s Day without my dad.

Dad and me at Mom and Dad’s 50th Wedding Anniversary, 2009

I know I never wrote about Dad’s passing. Probably because my Mom had a very serious hospitalization right after the funeral, and by the time we got past that crisis (she’s fine) I think I was still so mentally numb I couldn’t write about it. The set of family pictures we took the morning of the day dad went into the hospital – I still can’t display in the house. Too much grief and sadness fills my heart when I look at them. The last time Dad was Dad before the surgery to put a stent in his heart and dementia ravaged him and took him from this world in less than a month. Yes, his dementia was bad before – but the type of dementia (Lewy Body) he had is greatly affected by any cardiovascular surgery and it really accelerated his decline.

Last year on Father’s Day, I drove to see him in the nursing home. He was so frail and not responsive; I’m not even sure he knew I was there. After that, I went with my sister and Mom out for lunch and I just remember saying that Dad was already gone. His body was still alive, but who he was as a person was already lost. The gruff softie. The man who would tell you a hundred times how to do something, and when you’d say “you’ve told me this already, Dad.” he’d respond with a “well I’m just sayin’.”

I remember a conversation we had at a local pizza place – probably 15-20 years ago because I was living in Iowa at the time (I moved back to MN in 2001). And we were talking about my brother’s death and my accident.

When I was 10 years old, my brother died in a terrible tractor accident down by the river that divided our farmland. He was only 20 years old. A year later, I was in a tractor accident approximately 20 yards from my brother’s – I should have died, but came out of it with a broken arm. What happened there, I have no recollection because I blacked out when the accident started and came to 50 feet away from the wreck walking up the field drive towards the house holding my wrist.

Back to the pizza place. Talking about that, Dad got choked up and with tears in his eyes said “if anything more than that broken arm would have happened to you, I would have sold the farm and moved to town immediately. I couldn’t do it anymore.” Outside of my brother’s funeral, it was the only time I’ve ever seen Dad cry.

It’s weird, but I wasn’t super-close to my dad; I was and always have been a mama’s girl – but he was always there. Always yelling things in the background when I talked to Mom on the phone (like “ASK HER ABOUT MY EMAIL…”). Having to go fix his computer every time I visited the farm. Asking me questions about his ancient cell phone and why it does a certain thing and having to explain that every cell phone is different. Telling me to not unpack the clothes in dressers – to just remove the drawers, move the dresser, then put the drawers back in. Telling me pickled herring would put hair on my chest. Watching him and Mom polka dance. Having me do certain things on the farm because my legs were younger than his. Sharing the same astrological sign (Aquarius – to which he called “Asparagus”). Hearing his stories from the Army. Telling dirty jokes. Talking the ear off of anyone who would come to the farm.

All of that is now just a memory and I still miss him so much.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. <3


Three years ago today, I started working full-time for Automattic.

A lot has happened in three years. I’ve traveled the world. Met some amazing people. Found my enjoyment of public speaking. Moved across the country. Lost a best friend. Discovered my love of the ocean.

It seems like a lifetime ago when I got the job offer – but it also seems like I just started. I get to work on great things, learn new things, and work with the best team of people in the world.

(Shout out to Team Aurora!)

What do the next three years hold? I’m not sure, but I’m excited to find out.

Psst. We’re hiring!

Exploring Oregon

We’ve lived in Oregon for almost ten months now and we really haven’t taken advantage of the amazing outdoor experiences and destinations that we never really had in Minnesota. Mountains, valleys, oceans, and no snow1!

But in these 10 months, I’ve driven to the ocean twice – once in the pouring rain showing our friend the sights and going to wine country – and once to see a bunch of smelly, belligerent drunks on another drizzly day.

We’ve done a little urban exploring and a walk through Tualatin Hills Nature Park (which is smack in the middle of the city and a short MAX ride away) as well, but for the most part, we haven’t done any exploring of this beautiful state.

This past Sunday, I finally had enough. Why did we move here if we weren’t going to enjoy all the things we love – being outdoors, seeing nature in its glory, disconnecting from technology – so I decided we were going to go somewhere. I found a lighthouse that was only a hour and a half drive away (and would take us past the Tillamook cheese factory…mmm). Do a bit of exploring, see the ocean, and have a good time in the outdoors.

Since I’m an adventurer at heart, I got the general idea of where we were going and relied upon road signs to get us to our final destination. It’s a pretty straightforward drive from our house to Tillamook and the lighthouse was only 10 miles further west.

Instead of taking the main road, we followed the signs which took us on some beautiful back roads that went past dairy farms and had smooth, winding roads that had little to no traffic.

We got to a point where the road forked off to the right, but we ended up staying left and ended up at Cape Lookout state park instead. I had read there were some great hiking in that area and since we were prepared for some hiking, we decided on the spur of the moment to change our plan.

We were glad we did!

We ended up hiking Cape Lookout’s south hike, which wound it’s way through the forest and down 850 feet over 1.8 miles to get to the ocean. Here are some photos from the hike and from when we finally got to the ocean. There are also photos of slugs because my crazy husband is fascinated with them. They’re animated boogers as far as I’m concerned.

Next time we go back, I want to take the north hike – which is nearly a 10 mile round trip, so we’d have to leave the house earlier in the morning. But the views afforded on that hike also look amazing. I can’t wait! 😀

We ended our adventure by eating some ice cream at the Tillamook factory and getting a bunch of cheese to take home with us. Mmm…cheese.

Where’s your next adventure going to take you? Ours will be right outside our door.

1 Yes, yes, I know it will snow in Oregon on occasion, even in the area that we live. But it’s not never ending, 5.5 foot snow drifts that linger from November to May. Plus, it doesn’t get below zero.

Inside Hiring at Automattic

My awesome co-worker Dave Martin posted an article on his blog today titled “Inside Automattic’s Remote Hiring Process” and it’s a fantastic read.

One of my favorite quotes:

We try to reply to everyone, whether they look like a good fit yet or not. There are good reasons for this. Not only is it the right thing to do, we’ve actually had quite a few Automatticians get hired after reapplying a second or third time.

I think this is HUGE.

How many times have you applied for something only to sit around waiting for a response?



You apply for a job you’re really excited about, then weeks and months go by and you don’t hear anything back. What an awful feeling!

In this day and age where we have computers, auto-responders, text expander programs and the like – it literally takes a moment to respond to those people who did not meet the expectations or requirements of the position being filled. It’s just common courtesy to let people know.

That’s why I love working for Automattic – from the very first point of contact, we’re respectful of all applicants and their time. Whether that means “thanks, but no thanks” or “hey, let’s talk more” – we try to respond to everyone. That’s pretty cool.

What are you waiting for? Go read Dave’s article and take a peek at our hiring page. Who knows, we may want to talk to you more too!