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Column: The unknown - and Tuffy's

I was never the type of child who attempted to sneak a peak at hidden Christmas or birthday presents. It wasn't because I as an angel, but simply due to the fact that the excitement of the surprise meant more to me than the thrill of knowing what the gift was.

In many ways, I'm still the same.

Given the opportunity to learn exactly how my life would play out, I'd refuse the offer. The unknown and the 'bigger picture' keep me going, especially on those days that prove a little tougher than others.

Years ago, I never would have imagined that I'd be working as the editor for the East Otter Tail Focus - and not only because it didn't exist.

My first brush with Perham came when I was quite young, and I didn't even recognize it at the time. As a 5-year-old living outside of Duluth, Minn., I named my first cat "Tuffy." The dog food I fed my pup, Snowball, was my main inspiration.

Had you told me then that 20-some years later I'd work a few blocks away from the Tuffy's factory, I wouldn't have even known where it was.

My path from Duluth to Perham was windy, to say the least.

After gradating from the University of Wisconsin-Superior, I bid my family farewell and boarded a plane for Australia, where I spent my time learning how to surf and working in marketing/public relations for non-governmental organizations. It was quite the ride.

Though I enjoyed my job, I knew I had to get back into the reporting. I've always wanted to be in the news business - I'm obsessed. In third grade, my friends and I started our school's first newspaper, "The Hermantown Hawk Tribune." I still remember carrying around my reporter's notebook - it doesn't look too dissimilar to the one I carry today. In high school, I wrote for The Denfeld Criterion. I also did the newspaper thing in college, which included writing a column while studying abroad in Scotland. During my senior year, I landed a gig as a reporter with Wisconsin Public Radio, where I had the honor of being mentored by Mike Simonson, one of the best.

So, you can see why my life as a marketing girl was fun, but just wasn't meant to be.

I returned to America after my year abroad in search of a newspaper job - anywhere.

After a month of searching, I landed in Fergus Falls and worked for The Daily Journal for a few years. I eventually transferred to its sister paper in Austin, Minn., where I worked as the digital editor.

While I enjoyed my time working for The Herald, I jumped at the opportunity to return to lakes country and work for the Focus. I guess there's just something about this area of the world that calls to me. And, of course, there's Tuffy's.