Mar/Apr
2017

Let's Céilí

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Written by Jorrie Johnson

I attended my first céilí on St. Patrick's Day eve, Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at the Rochester Art Center, in collaboration with Irish Fest of Rochester, Minnesota. Nearing the spring equinox, the late afternoon sun shone brightly through the windows on the first floor of the Art Center as folks of all ages, dressed in green, gathered. I wore the only dress I own with green on it, which happens to be one of my favorite dresses and tall black boots for the celebration. Megan Johnston, executive director of the Rochester Art Center, opened the evening with a presentation on Irish art history. Then, we all ate Irish stew and soda bread and socialized. About 8 p.m. the céilí (kay-lee) dancing started, led by Twin Cities Céilí Band, along with the adorable singing, dancing, storytelling and bodhran (Celtic frame drum) player, Máirtín de Cógáin. I paid the price of wearing those boots the next day, but I had so much fun dancing with everyone at the céilí. I plan on going again this year at Bleu Duck. See the céilí article on page 13. 

Rochester Women magazine celebrates National Women’s History (which we have termed “Herstory”) month in March by featuring local author Sister Ellen Whelan, Ph.D., and her books “The Sisters’ Story,” Parts One and Two. Rochester would not be where it is today if not for the bold, kind, compassionate, independent and strong Franciscan Sisters of Assisi Heights. Read about them on page 20.

 

Jan/Feb
2017

be-YOU-tiful

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Written by Jorrie Johnson

In December, I got to participate in the BeYou Renew women’s weekend retreat hosted by LuAnn Buechler at the lovely Holy Spirit Retreat Center about an hour west of Rochester. On that particular Friday evening, after the sun had long gone down, I drove anxiously into the darkness. The wind swirled around my vehicle, carrying me through the cold blizzardy night. At about 7:30 p.m., I arrived at the retreat center lit with warm lights. I found a blazing wood fire and a small group of women who were listening to a Sister explain the house rules. We sat in a circle, opening our hearts and minds to each other. 

Throughout the weekend, I became calm as I identified and prioritized my professional passions and markers for 2017. I am passionate about earning what I am worth, being creative, problem-solving, project management, work-life balance and making a difference in the world. What makes me happy are living my passions and purpose.

 

Nov/Dec
2016

I Am Grateful For My Friends

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Written by Jorrie Johnson

I appreciate my work-from-home business and lifestyle, but as telecommuters and home-based business owners understand, isolation can become depressing. When my boys went back to school this fall I decided to combat the loneliness. I invited friends and readers to join me for coffee at Dunn Bros. Coffee on Mondays from 9-11 a.m. Thank you to all of the women who came to talk with me about RochesterWomen magazine and your business and life.

I also co-hosted Women Wisdom Workshops with Adrienne Sweeney of the Commonweal Theatre at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Assisi Heights and Madonna Towers. Combined, we talked with more than 100 women about relationships, choices/decisions, aging and memories. The conversations we had with women were real, sincere and meaningful. 

 

Sep/Oct
2016

Proud of My Life

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Written by Jorrie Johnson

I recently saw a Facebook post from a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who said, “My friends went off to college or to their chosen job while I went off to serve in the U.S.M.C. When we both look back on our respective lives, they'll like theirs, but I am DAMN proud of mine.” I honor and respect our veterans for giving their time and lives to serve our country. 

I, too, am DARN proud of the choices I have made. I got married when I was 19 years old. Earned a bachelor’s degree by the time I was 25 years old while supporting myself and living far away from home. I am proud that I became a mom at 26 years old and had two more children. Being a mom comes with demanding hours and little gratitude, especially when it comes to preparing healthy meals that young palettes don’t appreciate. I started RochesterWomen magazine as a home-based business when I was 30 years old, so that I could work from home and be the kind of mom I wanted to be (present). I earned a Master of Business Administration and have had the opportunities to pursue further leadership and project management education. I have completed three sprint triathlons and continue to live a healthy lifestyle. I chose to get divorced when I was 41 years old. At 46 years old, I don’t regret not climbing the corporate ladder, making it to every before and after hours meeting or social event with friends. When I am 90 years old, I want to be proud of my life and my decisions too. In the end, I hope I give my children enough and myself enough time to enjoy life.

 

Jul/Aug
2016

From the Editor: Taboo Topics

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Written by Jorrie Johnson

"You don't grow up until you have your first good laugh at yourself." – Eleanor Roosevelt

Taboo topics can be embarrassing, true, provide too much information (TMI) or uncommon, unordinary, unspoken and unlikely. Are there topics that make you or your family, friends and coworkers squirm? 

There is a topic that certain friends of mine are uncomfortable talking about, and they are probably going to read this and think “Oh no, here she goes!” Yes, friends (you know who you are) we are talking about sex in this issue of Rochester Women magazine (page 15). I am not uncomfortable talking about pleasurable experiences. But I suppose some people haven’t had pleasant sexual experiences, so I understand they aren’t eager to talk (or even hear) about sex. My aunt, who has a doctorate of nursing, researched sexuality in the aging. She has taught public health nurses from coast to coast, so we can have a conversation about sexuality in a frank, healthcare provider manner. We also talk about dating and even online dating across the generations. Speaking of online dating, Danielle Teal sheds light on the now cool dating method and gives some good advice (page 54). 

 

May/Jun
2016

Four Generations of Awesome

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Written by Jorrie Johnson

The four generations photo of me with my grandma Ella, mother Linda and daughter Tiffany was taken two years ago on Mother’s Day. My daughter’s Facebook post says, “Four generations of AWESOME! #mothersday.” 

My grandma has been suffering more and more from Alzheimer’s. Though it’s my grandmother’s disease, my mom has been affected the most. She says her mom is not the mom she once had. My grandma will be moving to an assisted living apartment when she returns from Florida in May. It’s been a challenge emotionally and legally for my family to make changes for my grandma. We hope she enjoys living in a more supportive environment.  

 

Mar/Apr
2016

Celebrating Sweet 16

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Written by Jorrie Johnson

The third annual Rochester Area Builders Studs, Struts & Stilettos (page 11), held on April 21, will show off fashion creations from area builders but not necessarily ones we will see anyone wearing on the streets of Rochester. It’s a fun-filled multi-event fun-raiser. 

It’s spring, a time for new life and fresh style. Emily Watkins, owner of Empowered Wellness, gathers some spring athleisure finds from area shops and has her friends modeling them with her (page 25). These are my kinds of clothes. I can wear them from working at home or the local coffee shop, to the gym, transporting kids to their activities and then to meetings and networking events downtown.

 

Jan/Feb
2016

Wild Winter Wonderland

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Written by Jorrie Johnson

Last winter, I was inspired by the book and movie “Wild,” Cheryl Strayed's account of her 1,000-plus mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert in California to Washington State. One Saturday in January 2015, I headed to Whitewater State Park for a snowshoeing class and ran into RochesterWomen magazine writer Nicole Czarnomski (see Snowshoeing article on page 55).

Every weekend (11 to be exact) throughout the winter, I visited Whitewater State Park for classes and hiking up to Inspiration Point or the Elba Fire Tower with my Olde English Bulldogge Roxy. It was a refreshing change to my weekend workout routine. I loved the time alone to listen to the breeze, like Strayed, just to be and breathe. I look forward to the hikes again this winter and encourage you to get outside to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (see page 51).

 

Nov/Dec
2015

From Work To Wine

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Written by By Jorrie Johnson, Photography By Fagan Studios

For many of us the holiday season means more to do but lots more fun too! RochesterWomen magazine is excited to bring you our first holiday beauty and fashion guide (pages 19-22). We partnered with Katie (Makeup) Kirckof and Urban Sanctuary to get our models looking fabulous. Our models found functional and stylish fashions at numerous area retail stores. And then we took them to one of Rochester’s newest hot spots—Kutzky Market and Forager Brewing Company—to show off their wears. You, too, can go from work to wine easily with a little help from area businesses.

Dawn Sanborn suggests a smorgasbord of restaurants (page 32) who offer catering or so you don’t have to mess with food preparation, serving and clean-up but can enjoy yourself and be more present with your family and friends while entertaining. Sue Whitney provides some splendid holiday decorating ideas (page 35). And Melissa Eggler shows us how to make beaded flatware for serving or giving as gifts (page 37). 

 

Sep/Oct
2015

What did you do this summer?

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Written by By Jorrie Johnson

What did you do this summer? It’s the time of year when teachers are asking students this age-old question. 

I always try to make sure my children have some summer stories to share with their classmates in the fall. At the end of June, we took a road trip to Colorado to visit family and friends. For three nights we stayed so deep in the Cache la Poudre River Canyon that we didn’t have cell phone reception. 

I don’t know if going without phones or computers was harder on me, my mom or my children. We survived that trip and three more days in August without technology (running water, electricity or wine) in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. That was a bit rougher and, no doubt, made us tougher. 

While growing up in northern Minnesota, most of the time I spent with my dad was fishing, hunting, gardening or outdoors. When I became a teenager, I wanted to spend more time with my girlfriends and doing other sports (such as chasing boys). Now, I regret not sticking with the outdoors sports. I hope to get back into them and maybe even meet an outdoorsman. My friend Alison Streiff also lived in northern Minnesota when she was younger but didn’t get into hunting and fishing until she got divorced. She hunts and fishes and is teaching her daughters to embrace the outdoors too (page 22). Alison’s daughters should have lots of stories to tell their classmates when they are in school this fall.

 

 

 

 

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