Finding normalcy in explosive, history-making times

It’s been a wild ride these last few months, Faithful Readers. I’ve had so many blog post topics float to the top of my consciousness, only to be 86’d for being too negative. I just didn’t want to dwell in the negativity.

So, today I had a Dr’s appointment and it went well, and so quickly that I have time to stop at my favorite restaurant, Ebeneezers, and have my favorite breakfast. You just can’t beat their veggie omelette and pancakes!

It occurred to me just now, as I was inhaling the goodness that is Ebeneezers coffee, that it feels so great to do something normal. On the drive I was listening to some live audio from one of our elected professionals talking about the debacle and travesty that happened at the Capitol this week. I finally had to turn it off because it’s just too much today… I can’t get away from it. I know explosive history is being made right in front of our eyes, and the topic is important, but at some point I think it’s ok to pull back and take a deep breath.

While I’m eating my very normal breakfast in my favorite restaurant, I don’t have to deal with all that garbage. I get to revel in the hum drum deliciousness that’s in front of me, and think green thoughts about what I want to plant in my garden this spring.

I get to. So do you.

Self care comes in a lot of different packaging, and that what mine looks like today. Here’s wishing you all the normalcy you can find and then some. Blessings all!

Don’t take simple joys for granted

I was so grateful to check out of work yesterday, I can’t even describe it. It was a long scary week, and the worst thing about that is that it hasn’t even become as scary in ND as it has elsewhere. However, the stuff is hitting the fan here too, and our COVID-19 cases went from 1 to 26 in a few days. I expect that they will at least double by the end of next week.

Measures have been taken to try to staunch the spread of the virus here, but there were some who came back from traveling out of state who were unknowingly infected, and it has started to spread.

My first thought is that I am so grateful to live in a rural state where we aren’t all packed in like sardines. Even here, we are practicing social distancing, and most businesses are closed or just allowing curbside pick up or drive through at this time. Schools are closed, bars are closed, events and weddings are canceled, but it’s better than people getting sick and dying.

It won’t be long before our Governor declares a state of emergency and makes everyone but essential personnel go home for two weeks. It will probably save us, and I have a boatload of home projects I can do to keep busy when the time comes. Still, it will be a long stretch at home.

With that in mind, I’m going grocery shopping today. I have plenty of toilet paper already, because I like to be stocked up on that anyway, but there are some other things we need.

The Flirt went grocery shopping the other day, and picked up enough for the week. I’m going to get some pantry staples today, and some extra meat for the freezer. Pieces and parts, really, that we can put away and use for the time when we are stuck at home.

I want to get some meds too. I read an article talking about how people aren’t stocked up on things like Tylenol, or other basic necessities. That’s also part of the plan today. Just the basics. We’ll see what’s left on the shelves.

I’m currently sitting in the parking lot at the Scandinavian Heritage Park, sipping coffee and thinking about days when I had lunches here with my friend and ran my toes in the soft grass under the picnic table. I miss my friend, and I miss the grass. Simple joys like that are the best things, and something I won’t take for granted again.

Well, time to get on with my shopping, and get going with my day. I hope this note finds all of you safe and well. Blessings all!

Blessings come in ridiculous packages

Sometimes you just have to take some time off. Today was one of those days.

Sunday, right in the middle of Super Bowl, my furnace went out. When you live in North Dakota losing the ability to heat your home is one of the hazards of winter, and is not to be taken lightly.

So, I contacted my plumbing and heating guys at Ralph’s, and they came to check it out the next morning. Turns out the heat exchanger was cracked, and that was the death knell for that furnace. Ralph’s hooked us up with a temporary heater, and today they put a new furnace in. We struggled with that furnace almost the whole time it’s been in the house, and I’m looking forward to more efficient heating, and smaller electric and gas bills. Blessings sometimes come in ridiculous packages.

I feel pretty lucky to own a very tiny home, because I only needed a small furnace, and it was half as expensive as I thought it might be. Because it was so reasonable, I think I’m going to replace the AC too. I might as well, as ours was put in 20 years ago along with the furnace. Anything I can replace now will help in the long run.

I’m always looking for ways to update my house. At some point I will want to move and all the updates will help the sale. Until then, I want to be happy and comfortable in my home.

I took half a day off in case I needed to be home for the installation, but the guys from Ralph’s are so efficient I have some free time. So I ran some errands, and stopped by Prairie Sky Breads for a coffee and a scone. Let me tell you, their scones are to die for, and their bread is amazing. Now that they have a brick and mortar building they are serving breakfast and lunch as well as all of their delicious breads.

Today is their opening day, in a really cool old building, at the corner of 1st St SE and Central Ave. The building has been lovingly redone, and many of the things that went into putting it together are up cycled.

I’m sitting in a little back room away from where there were kids playing up front. I see out the window that there is a building across the street that is being renovated, and I’m glad to see that another if Minot’s old buildings is being preserved.

Minot, ND has been blessed with a population of young entrepreneurs who just have a feel for what the city needs, and Prairie Sky Breads is one result of that. Check this place out, as there will be lots of activities taking place here going forward. If nothing else, it’s a great place to blog from!

Having consumed my coffee and scone (yum!), I’m off to finish my errands. This has been a lovely afternoon away from the office.

Here’s hoping you all have the opportunity to take some time away and just do something for you. Recharging your batteries is nice. When you can do that and buy a loaf of fresh jalapeño cheddar sourdough bread, it’s even better! Blessings all!

My love hate relationship with fun

Today is going to be a fun-filled, busy day. I will love it and hate it at the same time.

Why would I hate an action packed day of fun? Because I am an introvert by nature, and anywhere there is a crowd I probably don’t want to be. However, sometimes I just make myself get up and go.

First is breakfast at Charlie’s Diner, which is practically an institution unto itself here in Minot. They had this really cool sign that left me with a nice ear bug entrenched in my brain for the rest of the day:

Then it was off to look at some permanent ice houses. It’s a long term plan to get an ice house that doubles as a camper for the summer. I say long term because it’s not going to happen this year, but it’s something to plan for.

Now we have to go run errands quick, and get home and pack up to go ice fishing. Top on the list of things to look for is my fishing license. It’s not in my purse where it usually is, but The Flirt thinks it might be in the tackle box.

Sounds like not such a bad day, right?

It really isn’t, but before I get out of bed in the morning, it feels like a big deal. Once I get up and get out of the house, I’m good, and I don’t mind, and probably even will have a good time.

I think ice fishing will be the best part of the whole day. More about that later.

Here’s hoping you all can find the gumption to get up and leave the house, get some fresh air and sunshine. I promise you will feel better if you do. Blessings all!!

Today’s self care moment

I had extra time this morning, so I stopped at one of my favorite local shops, Minot Daily Bread, picked up a scone and a coffee, and took them to Scandinavian Heritage Park.

It’s so quiet here, even with the traffic from Broadway, and the pine trees smell so good. It feels great to sit here and sip my amazing blackberry lavender mocha, and just breathe. This is what self care looks like for me today.

This is a place I used to come to a lot, and I think I’m going to start coming here more often. It’s especially nice on cool mornings like this, and it’s big enough I could come walking here. What a lovely local resource. ❤️

What does self care look like for you today? Here’s hoping you all can take a few minutes for yourself to recharge. Life is too short not to. Blessings all!

Day 6 – Pancakes. That’s right, I went there.

This morning, I did something a little different. Usually I get up, walk on the treadmill, pancakes-1-29-17write a few words, throw back a smoothie, run through the shower, get dressed, and run to work.

Today, given that it’s Sunday, we slept in. Then we went to my favorite place in town to eat breakfast, Ebeneezers. It was amazing, as always. Not only is their coffee the best in town, but their pancakes are to die for.

Yes I ate the pancakes, with butter and syrup, and it was worth every bite.

So why, if I am trying to lose weight and get healthy, am I eating luscious things like Pancakes? Because I wasn’t born only to go to work, pay bills, count calories, and die.

I really do try to pay attention to what I am putting in my mouth, but if stopping to smell the roses means indulging in the best pancakes in town once in a while, so be it.

On Day 6 of this challenge,  I have  already noticed a positive outcome. I seem to be experiencing a little less brain fog than usual, and I am sleeping better. Hopefully that trend will continue.

Here’s hoping you find some interesting ways to stop and smell the roses. If you live close to Minot, ND, try the pancakes as Ebeneezers…they are worth it! Blessings all!

There is something about the smell of The High Plains in the evening…

Hmmm…oh lovely Summer evening, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1. The setting sun paints my precious High Plains with gold, and makes me want to cry for the sheer joy of seeing it.

2. The temperature is just right. So right, in fact, that it’s perfect for a motorcycle ride in the country.

3. There is so much to see along my fabulous countryside ride that I can barely take it all in. It’s amazing how much you miss when driving the same route in a car.

4. This lovely ride in the country is just another good excuse to have my arms wrapped around my sweetie.

5. One of the best part of this whole lovely evening is the smell of it all…

There is something about the smell of The High Plains on a lovely Summer evening that is amazing, and I guarantee you that the smells are different in the evening than in the morning or afternoon. A lovely summer evening can take you straight to olfactory heaven. It’s difficult to describe, but I would have to say it’s kind of a sweet smell, like fresh mown hay, punctuated with wood smoke from people’s backyard fire pits, and the occasional whiff of a farm added in. It’s one thing to smell all of this as it drifts by you while you are sitting in your back yard, but it’s another thing altogether when you are tootling around the countryside on a motorcycle. The way it made me feel to have access to all that good smelling fresh air, at speed, defies adequate description. One thing I can say for sure is that I will sleep very, very well tonight.

The picture I posted here isn’t from my local area, though it easily could be. There is no other place on Earth I would rather live than on my beloved High Plains.

Here’s wishing you all lots of good smelling fresh air to share with your sweethearts, and a lovely night’s rest…sweet dreams all!

Explosive Expansion

Generally, I have a hard time coming up with something to blog about, but recently I’ve had a topic I’ve been burning to get on the blog: Expansion.

So, you might ask, what about expansion? Well, it seems that we have more than a wee bit of a housing shortage here in Minot. In fact, given the oil industry boom and the disastrous loss of housing from the flood, we have quite a problem.

What’s being done about it? Plenty. It’s astonishing to me how many houses are going up right now, and it’s a little disturbing. Minot is not a large town, or at least it wasn’t. Three years ago we were sitting at somewhere around 36,000 people, plus or minus. As of the 2010 census 40,888 were definitely living here, but a recent housing study gives a higher estimate of approximately 45,000 people living within the city limits. That’s a lot of growth in a short amount of time.

Minot is surrounded by lovely countryside. Given the building boom happening right now, much of that will disappear. This last weekend, I snapped some pictures of areas on the North end of the city where most of the home building is taking place. The picture below is taken from the corner of 16th St and 30th Ave NW, looking in a SW direction. In the distance on the left, you can see some new homes that went up last year, and in the center you can just see my Cube Farm peeking from behind the landscape. With in the next couple of years I predict that this whole place will be filled with homes. This area used to be farmland.

This next picture is still at the same corner of 30th Ave NW, but looking straight West toward the Hwy 83 Bypass. This is still farmland to the North of 30th Ave, but I predict that it won’t stay that way too long. While I understand the need for people to have a place to live, I’m a little sad that my little city is now growing so quickly that the beauty of the surrounding area isbeing obliterated.

There are more places not too far from my Cube Farm where buildings are going up quick. I’ll be taking pictures and posting them here for posterity’s sake, if nothing else.

North Dakota Governor, Art Link, made a famous speech entitled  When the Landscape is Quite Again, which had to do with water/energy resources. In this time of things changing due oil energy resources, I hope that our leaders are paying attention to not only how quickly things are built and put into place, but also how well things are built and put into place.  My fondest wish for my little city is that the dignity and beauty of it and the surrounding landscape can be preserved. I hope the small town feeling doesn’t go away.

Football with a view

This Thursday night was the first game of the season for Younger Son’s football team. Now, I don’t understand much of football, but I keep trying. Younger keeps trying teach me the rules, and they are slowly but surely sticking, but by the time he graduates from high school, I don’t imagine there will be much call for me to watch a football game anymore. Football just isn’t something I am interested in, unless Younger is playing, or it’s a University of North Dakota game (GO SIOUX!).

Last year Duane Carlson Stadium at Magic City Campus was under renovation and the teams had to use other venues. This year, the construction is all done, and they have one heck of a field. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Duane Carlson Stadium is probably one of the best, if not THE best, in the whole state. Why is it the best? Because of the view. I don’t know jack about football, but I know a pretty view when I see one.

Not only have the stadium and field  just been redone, but it has got to have the most fantastic view of the Mouse River Valley. The Stadium is built into the side of a hill, and looks out over the valley in a breath-taking way. People think that North Dakota is as flat as a board, but that isn’t entirely true. Eastern North Dakota is just as flat as a board, but once you travel West of the Red River Valley the landscape becomes beautiful rolling prairie full of coolies, valleys, hills and fields.  Below is a series of pictures I took throughout the game.


Here’s one looking North West. The big “M” used to reside on top of the Metropolitan Federal Building. When Metropolitan Federal went belly up, the school bought it, and it looks great overlooking the Valley.

There’s something beautiful about a field lit up in the dark!

Unfortunately Younger Son didn’t get to play until the end, and the game was lost 0-21. Oh well, it was a beautiful night to watch the sunset and enjoy the view!

Flogging depression with gardening

Apparently, I’ve been depressed.

It sounds as though I make it out to be like it sneaked up on me, and caught me unawares. Well, that’s sometimes how it happens…at least for me. I realized recently, that I’d been falling into old patterns and having no feelings other than unhappy. Today I heard stories about two people I work with at The Big Box Store, who have decided to move away because they lost their homes, and most everything in the flood. There’s nothing holding them here, so they are moving to where they have family, and starting over. It really made me think about all the things that I have taken for granted, and how  fortunate I have been.

Do I have more bills than I can keep up with? Oh, yeah. Do I run like a chicken with my head cut off most days? Yep. Do I feel overwhelmed all the time? Most definitely. Has my ex-husband served me with a legal motion because he thinks he’s paying me too much, and wants a refund? Yes he did, that rotten so-and-so.  Has the heart of my city been destroyed, and so many people I know been displaced and won’t be able to get back into their homes before the snow flies? Yes, and it makes my heart ache.  Have I got more things around the house that need doing than I have time and energy for? Oh, man, do I. Did my engine light come on? Unfortunately, it did. Ugh.

I’ve been feeling really down because of all of this stuff on my plate, and didn’t realize how down I was until I realized I have been having a continual internal pity party for quite a while. Hearing about these two families who have had to make such a hard decision really jerked me out of my rut, and I was able to actually get up and do something. Feeling depressed is very much like wearing weights around your neck…it’s just so hard to get up and do anything. I wish I had realized I had sunk down so far before things got so out of whack.

The thing is, I have got so much to be grateful for, and that really should outweigh the bad stuff. Do I have a home to come home to at the end of a long day, that is dry and safe? Are my kids healthy? Am I gainfully employed? Do I have parents that have stuck by me and helped me every step of the way my whole life? Do I have good friends?  Did my garden produce food for me, even though I neglected it all summer? A resounding yes to all of these things and much more. I am so blessed, and it’s a huge bummer that I lost sight of that.

Before - ugh!

So, after I got home from working at The Big Box Store this morning, I took Older Son shopping. We came home, and then Younger Son and I spent three hours outside. He changed light bulbs over both doors and washed the van, and I spent my time cleaning up and organizing the rock beds that surround two sides of our house. The front one was especially bad, but it turns out that it didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Since I had extra time, and was on a roll, I weeded out my strawberry/herb garden and found some interesting things.

Rosemary on the right, Thyme on the left

I planted rosemary, thyme and oregano this spring, which grew fabulously. Now I have a nice bunch of fresh herbs to cook with. Actually, I like to just rub them in my hands and sniff them. There’s nothing that drops my blood pressure quick than smelling fresh thyme. Who needs drugs when you have a good kitchen herb garden!

After that was done, I took a look at my VERY over grown vegetable garden. We planted snow peas, corn, carrots and pumpkins. The only thing that did really well was the pumpkins. The vines and flowers are so pretty! Younger Son has been telling me for a couple of weeks about some really strange-looking pumpkins, and he thought the vines might be infected with something and the pumpkins were deformed. I finally made the effort to take a look tonight, and it turns out that not only do we have genuine baby pumpkins, but also spaghetti squash! I had a spaghetti squash that I ended up throwing in the compost heap this Spring, as it went bad before I could eat it. Apparently, they are very easy to grow!

We also have ground cherries and dill that re-seeded themselves from last year. The strawberries looked a little worse for the wear, but were holding their own and had sent out runners. We even had some carrots that survived all the rain we received. Even though Younger isn’t a veggie eater, I talked him into trying a carrot straight out of the garden, since he was the one that planted them. I was surprised that he actually ate it, but he did. I ate some too, and it was a little woody as it should have been picked earlier, but it was good anyway.

So, by 7:30 this evening, the rock beds had been cleared of all weeds, one garden had been weeded and watered, and the van had been scrubbed for the first time all summer (There wasn’t

Whoa! Now you can see the rocks in my rock bed!

much car washing going on with the city requesting water conservation during and after the flood, until just recently),  and I was able to sit down and eat supper with a genuine feeling of having accomplished something for the first time in a long, long time.

Tomorrow, I work on the inside of the house!





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