From the Editor

I've always thought that the ideal vacation would not be to some exotic or new location, but back in time, to a favorite point in life. My destination would be St. Paul, about 1996, any pleasant summer weekend-let's say one in June. Back then, I lived in a second-floor apartment in a Victorian house on a quiet street with a beautiful name: Laurel Avenue. I had an open back porch that was up in the leaves with morning glories climbing the posts, and I loved to sit there on Fridays when I worked from home, early mornings with a cup of coffee and evenings in any weather. I had a good job and all my needs were met; I had good friends close by, and I had the one thing that I miss the very, very most: time.

Of course, I didn't think so then. My life was an exhausting cycle of work, visits to the gym and the occasional volunteer opportunity. All this was squeezed in between leisurely walks down Summit or Grand Avenue, hours spent people-watching and writing in coffee shops, and the tough choice on weekends of whether to spend my precious hours knitting, reading or cross-stitching. All that solitary time could make a girl lonely, in which case I'd call up my friend Katie and we'd go out for ice cream or have a glass of wine on my porch. I remember feeling so overwhelmed sometimes, though today, I can't imagine why.

Because what I couldn't foresee then was that time would eventually become a commodity so precious I would fantasize about it like some people fantasize about handsome celebrities. There were the grad school days when I was presented with hundreds of pages of reading material to consume before the next class. There were the infant-toddler-preschooler combo days when I forgot to brush my teeth or change out of the shirt I'd slept in-but I got my deadlines met! There were the days I taught three sections of college courses, when I'd stay up till 2 a.m. creating PowerPoint presentations (after putting the toddler-preschooler-first-grader combo to bed), then fall asleep at stoplights on the way home from class.

Happily, my schedule isn't that extreme now. But I still long for more time. And while it's not yet possible to travel back to a simpler era, I have discovered there's much I can learn from those fantasy days. A child's piano lesson is a chance to duck out to a coffee shop for half an hour. An evening TV show is a chance to knit. And an evening spent on my porch, alone or with a friend, is never wasted.

The women featured in this issue of Coulee Region Women have their own relationship with time. Our cover women, for example, have careers devoted to time: keeping trains on schedule, getting kids to school and acting fast in the moments separating life and death. Other women featured carry on age-old traditions, like breadmaking and beekeeping, while others look to the future: Tara Craig inspires young minds through Odyssey of the Mind, and Kahya Fox builds upon the success of Habitat for Humanity.

In this issue, we'll also encourage you to take time for yourself-whether to improve your mental health, spend quality time with your family while still getting things done, or save time, money and effort through savvy meal planning. We'll offer you suggestions for that rare moment you do find to curl up with a good book, and we hope to inspire travel-not necessarily through time, but certainly to places you'll want to visit time and again in your memories.

As for me, I'll be up on that back porch in St. Paul, enjoying my respite among the leaves before I return to the present and its busyness. Come to think of it, I could use a little company. Why don't you join me?.

Betty Christiansen



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What is inside this month's issue:

Women on Time
For three Coulee Region career women, time is of the essence in more ways than one.

Personal & Professional
It's All in the Timing
Kaley Jacobson excels at the orchestration of catering.

The women of Renaissance Breads and Pastries celebrate an age-old tradition.

Take an Hour for Your Family
Minutes here and there add up to quality time.

Healthy Living
Take Time for Mental Health
A mindfulness practice is key to less stress.

The 2017 Parade of Homes winner offers a satisfying combination of both.

Dinnertime Dilemmas
Meal planning saves shopping trips, time and money.

Women in the Region
Busy as a Bee
Women beekeepers create a buzz about bees.

Using Its Momentum
Executive Director Kahya Fox primes Habitat for Humanity for growth.

A Modern Odyssey
A dedicated teacher in La Crosse helps students create their own great adventures.

Book Review
Readers Recommend . . .
There's still time for a good summer read.

Retail Therapy
Fashion Q&A
Discover tips on how to style some of your closet staples this fall.

Mother Earth
A local artist offers a colorful way to celebrate Perrot State Park's 100 years.

Time for an Adventure
From castles to canyons, these favorites will spark wanderlust and make memories.


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