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!

Day Trip: White Earth Bay

Faithful Readers, there’s nothing quite like a day trip to get away from town. Being cooped up takes its toll, and a person needs to find a way to go out and do something without joining a crowd of people.

Taking a drive in the country is the perfect thing, and it’s something The Flirt and I love to do.

White Earth Bay is an obscure little place on the north end of Lake Sakakawea, but if you search it in google maps, it will take you right there. We drove an hour to Stanley, on US Hwy 2, then just past Ross, then through White Earth Valley.

Given we are in the full swing of Autumn, it was a beautiful drive. Western North Dakota is a rare treat in that it is the very tippy top of the badlands, and you can see here and there similar formations as you would find in Roosevelt National Park, only smaller.

After following winding gravel roads, we found White Earth Bay Recreation Area situated along what was once just the path of the Little Missouri River, but is now the top end of Lake Sakakawea. All around the Lake you will find small recreational areas like this one where there people own property and have built cabins, but there are also camping spots available. For those who enjoy boating there are boat ramps, and in some cases there are docks to fish from. In the case of White Earth Bay Recreational Area, there is boast access, but no docks that I could see.

The water is low everywhere this year, and Lake Sakakawea is no exception. You can see how shallow the water is by how beige it appears close to shore.

So, we drove around a bit, took a few pictures, and got back in the car. We drove back through White Earth Valley, but I didn’t get a lot of pictures because I was driving.

We then hopped onto Hwy 1804, and made our way to 4 Bears Casino, outside of New Town, where they were having a sportsman’s show. Since we are in the market for a permanent ice house, we took a chance in going down there. As we figured, there wasn’t much of a crowd, which was welcome. Even masked up, I don’t like places that are too crowded these days. #causeCOVID

We took a looked at an ice house built by Core Ice. This thing was something else. It’s built on an aluminum frame, and the walls are a foam composition that keeps the cold out and the heat in. It’s light, and very efficient. Before this turns into an add for Core Ice altogether, I will say that one of the owners of the business, Mark, was on hand and was super great about walking us through how all the stuff in the ice house worked, and how they are constructed. If that’s something you are interested in knowing more about, check out Mark’s videos on You Tube here: Core Ice. Give Mark a shout, he’d love to hear from you. If you are in ND, give Scott at Vallely in Minot a holler, and he’d be happy to help you out.

So, we left and drove a little south past Sanish, and back around to New Town before heading home. It was a good day away from home. I was able to capture a few pictures. The light isn’t great because of some squalls that came through, but it was still a beautiful drive.

Saddle Butte

It’s hard being cooped up, but you can social distance in your car and still feel like you’ve taken a mini vacation. It’s good for the soul to go somewhere you haven’t been before. I’ve lived in ND my whole life, but have only begun to really see it. Get up and go see those places in your area you haven’t seen, I promise it’s worth a trip. Blessings all!

Day Trip: Theodore Roosevelt National Park-North Unit

Yesterday we got in the car with another couple and drove from Minot all the way down to Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s North Unit. Not only was it a good time spent with good folks, but the 2 1/2 trip to get there was worth it just for the privilege of driving through. The landscape is so pristine in places it looks like humans haven’t touched it at all.

Once we paid the fee to get in the park, we got onto the road heading in and we’re stopped by two bison just standing in the road. I swear they were messing with us and all of the of the other vehicles parked in front of and behind them. They’d take a few steps and then just look around and stand there.

At some point one of them sauntered off the road, but the other one took his sweet time before following his buddy. It was about 15 minutes waiting until we were able to move forward.

I took so many pictures and videos, but I won’t put them all here. I want you to come to North Dakota and see it for yourself. Just looking at the picture doesn’t give you the actual feel of the grandeur of the place, you certainly can’t smell the sage that grows prolifically there (OMG it smelled so good!), and I just can’t adequately communicate the weight of the history of the place. It just oozes with it. As it turns out, this is the northern end of the Badlands, the beginning of one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Wishing you all safety and relaxation in these uncertain times. Blessings all!

Feeling grateful in the middle of the apocalypse

I haven’t blogged since last Saturday, and in just 7 days the amount of COVID-19 cases jumped from 26 to 94

All at once I feel terrified and grateful in the same space.

I feel terrified for a whole host of reasons, the first of which is that we are just in the beginning of this thing in ND, and it already feels like it will eat us whole.

How could I be grateful in times like these? Easy… so many reasons.

I’ve said as much before, but living in a rural area helps. Folks living in urban areas are struggling the worst, for obvious reasons.

My parents are still healthy as of this writing. As far as I know my whole family, as well as The Flirt and his family, are virus free. I hope it stays that way, but one of us is bound to come down with it.

The weather has been good. Yesterday it was at least 60 degrees in ND, which is definitely shorts and t-shirts weather. We ran a quick errand to the pharmacy and then spent a few hours outside doing chores. It was nice to open all the windows and get fresh air in the house.

A drive in the country does a world of good for folks who have been cooped up at home. We did that a few days ago, and it was fabulous.

I am still at both of my jobs, so I don’t worry that I won’t be able to afford to live for the time being. I just have to be extra careful to make sure to wash my hands at every turn, and don’t touch my face. The Flirt is also still working, so financially we are ok for now.

Our our elected officials, Republicans and Democrats, have finally decided to work together, rather than continue to be at odds with each other. I hope this continues.

Communities are pulling together in ways they didn’t conceive of before. It’s wonderful to see, and I hope that continues as well.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. There’s a lot to be grateful for if you pay attention.

Today I’m sitting in my living room with the morning light streaming in, wrapped up in a prayer shawl that was given to me by a dear friend when I just found out I was getting divorced. I’ve been so grateful for this gift not only because it’s like having a portable hug, but it’s a reminder that it has seen me through a lot of ups and downs, and it will see me through this too.

Here’s hoping that you are all well, Faithful Readers. 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!

Getting out the vote

Today is Primary Day in North Dakota, and there’s a long line outside the polling place after work.

I’m hoping that the line goes quickly, but I don’t think I’m leaving if it doesn’t. Thank goodness it’s an unseasonably warm March day because the line wraps outside and around the corner. It’s a good excuse to get some fresh air and enjoy the beautiful blue sky. It’s a balmy 46 degrees out!!

I just heard someone who came out of the building say it has been this busy all day. He did say that this is the only polling place in Minot, so there’s that. It’s my hope that there are so many they will be forced to open more next time around.

This year’s presidential election is so important that I want to make sure to do my part.

Faithful Readers, I implore you to get out and vote wherever you are, if you haven’t already. We deserve the government we elect. Blessings all!

Girl’s Trip Day 4 – home!

We got up early, threw clothes on, packed up and headed downstairs to check out. I managed to grab some shots if the skyline from our room, and someone said, “hey, there’s a dinosaur!”

Well, I’ll be darned, there sure was! Faithful Readers, can you see it?

Downtown Rapid city from above is kind of clunky looking, unless you take special notice of the art in the alley ways. There’s some interesting art if you look close enough. The street corners are populated with statues, and some of them have scarves or hats on them, just in case somebody might need one to stay warm.

While waiting for the valet to bring the van around, we got coffee. Thank goodness the Alex Johnson Hotel has a Starbucks in it!

Having packed the van up with all of our luggage once more, we headed out to Spearfish to pick up Party Girl’s son, Skater Dude from her younger brother’s house. The weather was crappy, and I have to give big props to The Librarian for keeping her cool and getting us to Spearfish safely. It took a little longer because of the snow and slush, but we made it just fine.

Having arrived, we stopped in to visit, and ate some amazing bacon Party Girl’s younger brother fried up. We all gasped and hollered at him for pouring hot grease down the drain. Holy cow… hopefully he doesn’t do that too often, or they will have a big plumbing disaster sometime down the road.

Hugs all around, we collected Skater Dude and hit the road. The bad weather simmered down, and it was smooth sailing on the way to Dickenson.

Three hours later, we dropped Skater Dude off at his apartment, and we went to eat lunch. We managed to find a restaurant called Players, and the food was so good! If you find yourself in Dickenson, make sure stop there for a meal.

The rest of the trip home was pretty mundane. We chatted, and I crocheted. By the time we reached our old home town, it was almost dark. I drove home and made it home by 8pm.

It’s good to be home but I had a really great time, and I’m so glad to have had the time to spend with this very special group of ladies. It was the trip away from work and home I’ve been needing for years.

Word has it that we might be planning a girl’s trip next year for Vegas. One can only hope!

If you can, take the trip, see the countryside, go somewhere new. Most of all, spend time catching up with people who mean the world to you. Life’s too short not to. Blessings all!

Winter wonderland, and the best answer ever

The run up to Christmas is always so busy, and this year was no different. I am always so grateful when we get to Christmas Day when all that steam finally gets let out of the kettle, and then life slows down again.

This Christmas we ate at a local Chinese restaurant, just like we do every year. The food was great, and it was a relaxing time with The Flirt and what few family members I have left in the area.

Afterward the Flirt and I went for a drive around Lake Audubon, just to check out the ice and see if anyone is catching anything.

The drive down was lovely because fog had left hoar frost on everything, and of course I couldn’t help but take pictures.

I complain a lot about winter, but I can’t imagine not having a beautiful winter landscape this time of year. Christmas without snow would be too strange. This is the right amount of winter. Any more than what you see here is just overkill.

Speaking of ice fishing, the Flirt packed up the truck with all of the gear and went to scout out a local lake this morning. He tried to get me to go along, but as much as I like to ice fishing I just needed to sit in the quiet with a nice cup of tea for awhile. I wanted to read some blogs, and write as well. And, there’s always that pesky housework that needs doing. We will see how much housework gets done, but I definitely had to make time to blog. 😊

Anyway, I’m the way out the door, he was ticking off the few things he needed to pick up on the way to the lake. And he forgot something he definitely would need. When I said, “what’s the one thing you need to take with you?”, I was thinking to remind him to pick up bait but he said, “My girlfriend”. Best. Answer. Ever. ❤️

Well, as much as I loved that he wanted me to go along, I still needed some time alone. New Years Day is a definite yes for fishing.

Here’s wishing you all a very happy holiday season. 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!

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