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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Thoughts from the back of a motorcycle


Tonight we went on a motorcycle ride along with some other folks.

My Flirt’s new bike (new to him, 2012 Harley CVO) doesn’t have a radio, so there’s not much to keep your mind busy other than your own thoughts. That’s ok…it’s a nice chance to let things filter through. It’s no wonder he rides for hours when he’s had a bad day, or just needs the space to work things out on this head.

We had a nice trip from Minot to Kramer, and then through Dunseith, down through Rugby, and back to Minot. Several thoughts rolled through my head during this trip:

  1. I love North Dakota. So many people come through here and whine because it’s too flat, not enough of what they want to do, not enough people, blah, blah, blah. It’s beautiful year round, and bursting full of nice people, and there is ALWAYS something to do. It’s a good place to live, and a great place to explore on a motorcycle.
  2. My backside just wasn’t built to ride all day. His either, it turns out. We were both hurting by the time we got back home. I’m not a “ride or die” chick, I’m a short trip gal, and that’s ok.
  3. I really love this time of year. Everything is ripening, and farmers are already starting to get harvest under way. My favorites are blue flax and sunflower fields. Yellow flowered Canola fields are beautiful too, but wow do they stink. Pew!
  4. Something no biker, or rider, likes to see is storm clouds. Riding in rain is no fun. We’ve been caught in heavy rain and hail, and that sucked badly. We kept an eye on the radar, and were able to make it home without getting wet this time. Whew!
  5. The Flirt is always telling me how great it would be if I got a bike too. Could I ride my own? Sure, I could learn how and get a license. Do I want the debt from buying a motorcycle? No. I don’t even have a garage to put one in.
  6. We meet a lot of interesting people while out on a ride. When stopped to take a break in Rugby, we met this elderly guy who told us everything about him but his name. He was quite a storyteller, and I was glad to have crossed paths with him.
  7. I love to take pictures from the back seat. Tonight’s clouds were beautiful. The storms missed us, and the setting sun glowing on the back side of the storm clouds was stunning. My crappy iPhone camera just can’t do it justice.
  8. Pro tip: wear your helmet. Better yet, spend the money on a good one with a visor. The bugs are hard and juicy all at the same time, and you don’t want that on your face. I made the mistake of leaving my visor up, and took a hard bug to the nose. That hurt, but thank goodness I didn’t get it in my eye. Regular bugs are one thing, but bees and dragon flies are a whole other level of pain. Seriously, just wear a helmet. If not to save your face from the bugs, then at least to save your brain if you have an accident.

Here’s hoping you all have the opportunity to go for a drive in the country, whether driving a car, a motorcycle, or bike. It’s peaceful, and relaxing. Blessings all!

Enjoying the light while I can


This is what I saw when my eyes popped open this morning:

I so love that my room is lit up with sun shine when I get up in the morning, and that the sun is still setting at 10:00 at night.

We are approaching the Summer Solstice, and the longest day of the year. It makes me so happy to have so much light, and this is my favorite time of year given the lack of darkness. Winter is always so depressing, and the lack of sun light plays a major part of that.

I feel more than a little sadness thinking about passing by that day, and the darkness slowly creeping back in.

Time to focus on what is, and enjoy that while I can, rather than worry about what will be.

Here’s hoping you have all the light you need, and that you have an awesome day. Blessings all!

Road Trip: Western North Dakota


Yesterday The Flirt and I went on a road trip, which is one of my favorite things to do. He has had a jones to trade in his truck for something new, and so we went to Williston, ND to check out what they had to offer.

Williston is two hours from Minot, and is smaller in population, but it was a good excuse to get out of Dodge, if you will. I really enjoy getting out of Dodge.

I also enjoy it when he drives, so I can bring a crochet project along and keep my hands busy. This afghan is one I’ve been working on for my nephew. I used a modified block pattern which leaves a lot of tails to weave in at the end, but it’s worth the work when it’s all done. I actually made good progress, and am finally nearing the end of this one.

First stop on the way was in Stanley. We heard that all of the Shopko’s in the nation were going out of business, so we thought we’d check out the going out of business sale. Holy buckets… I had no intention of shopping, but the deals were so good I couldn’t help but pick some things up. Having filled up The Flirt’s back seat, we got back on the road to Williston.

We arrived at the dealership, looked over what they had to offer, and he began the process to see if a trade could be made. While the dealership crunched numbers, we went to lunch at a restaurant called Famous Dave’s. Minot doesn’t have a Famous Dave’s, so this was a particular treat. I ate what they called “burnt butts”, which is like burnt ends, but is pork instead of beef. The coleslaw was really good… not bland at all, and not too soupy or too dry. The Mac and Cheese, which had a good spice to it, also included sweet corn. The corn was unexpected, but turned out to be a great addition. There was also a corn muffin, which was a little more like a cupcake than corn bread in consistency, but it tasted good. All in all, it was a fabulous meal, and there was so much we both had to get to-go boxes. Looking forward to going back!

As it turned out, no deal was made for a new truck, so we made our way home by way of New Town, which is south of Williston if you take highway 1804. The terrain here is so lovely. I am a huge fan of the High Plains with its rolling prairies, but western North Dakota is particularly beautiful with more prominent features starting with the Missouri River, Lake Sakakawea, and then the Badlands in the south west.

I love taking pictures, and so I snapped a few from the truck as we drove between Williston and New Town on highway 1804.

Across Lake Sakakawea, you can see Saddle Butte.

Taking pictures from inside a moving vehicle, and the gloominess of the day, make for less than stellar pictures. On top of that, I was using my iPhone, which doesn’t take the best pictures. However, you get an idea of the terrain in this area.

One of the bad things about this area is that it is in the top end of the Bakken oil play and all of this beautiful countryside is dotted with oil wells. In this picture, you can see natural gas flaring:

Oil wells, and wasting of natural gas notwithstanding, it was still a beautiful drive. We made it to New Town, and hit that Shopko as well. We ran into some people we knew, and I found a few more things to buy, and then we drove home.

It was a good day.

I love a good road trip, and have a few more planned for the summer. This fall, I am driving out to NV to visit Younger Son, and a few others. It’s going to be a great adventure, and it’s killing me that I can’t get in the car and go now!

Here’s hoping you all have opportunities to get out of Dodge, whatever that looks or feels like or looks like for you. Getting away for a little bit is a good thing. Blessings all!

Creeping Jenny gets evicted


As you, my Faithful Readers, will remember, I have rock beds around the foundation of my house. Weeds growing up around the edges of the quickly disappearing plastic under the rocks has become a problem.

The most prolific weed I deal with is what we on the High Plains call Creeping Jenny. She’s quite a nuisance, and is impossible to get rid of. This noxious weed is otherwise known as Field Bindweed, which is an appropriate name, because it winds up all around and inside anything it touches, including the siding of my house, and my air conditioner. I just spent an hour going around my foundation pulling a whole lot of it out by the roots.

Now that I think of it, I may have even blogged about this last year. Well, enough complaining…time to redo the rock beds. This time I’ll put a rubberized pond liner under the rocks, which will help a great deal.

Something lovely I did find tonight, in the old gardens in the back yard, was a strawberry plant. I thought they all died, so it was a nice surprise to find this sweet little plant peeking out between the weeds.

Here’s hoping you all find a sweet little surprise while doing an icky chore. Little things like that can go a long way to lift your spirits. Blessings all!

Day 35 – Living well in spite of Old Man Winter


It is a bright and stormy day in North Dakota today. Snow is falling and blowing around, and what little light comes through the clouds makes everything kind of blindingly white. As gloomy settings go, this isn’t highest on the list, but it is somewhat disheartening to see snow falling…again.

I saw did see something today that brightened my spirits quite a bit, and Sprouts day 2reminded me how large a difference one day can make. The seeds which were just barely noticeable in yesterday’s picture are now very apparent.

Today is going to be a mixture of crappy chores like paying bills and cleaning floors, but also a trip to the local Rambler’s Magic City Bike Show. It’s always fun to get out and see the motorcycles on display, and running into people I haven’t seen in a while.

The nice thing about being from North Dakota is you learn from a young age to respect our weather because it will kill you, but also how to live well in spite of it.

Today is a good example. It’s snowing and crappy outside. No doubt the roads will be extra slick with all of this new dry, fluffy snow falling. However, there is fun to be had and people to see on the other side of town. It would be easier to just stay put and putter around the house, but getting out is good for the soul. As long as there is decent visibility and clear roads there’s no good reason to let Old Man Winter win. You lose, you mean old bastard!

On the flip side, there is a certain coziness to just being in the house when the weather is icky. Maybe I’ll curl up with my latest crochet project later after the sun goes down.

Here’s hoping you find a way to live well, no matter what weather is thrown your way. Blessings and warm green thoughts to you all!

Day 34 – Killing despair at the end of a North Dakota Winter


It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to write, and I am starting to think that it’s because I have so much rambling around in my head that I can’t begin to know how get it out in words. Sometimes there aren’t words to describe exactly what is going on in my head.

Most of my problem lately has been the weather. We’ve been blessed with two or three good warm spells, which have melted much of the snow that was dumped on us at the beginning of the Winter in December. That has been a big help, but Winter just can’t let Spring Owl - Nopego, and I wish he’d just pack it in and go to sleep for the season.

Just recently, we’ve had some awful storms in northern North Dakota and southern Saskatchewan. The amount of snow we got isn’t great in amount, but the winds whipping it around at 60+ mph is the real evil here. Minot didn’t get it so bad, but mostly everyone north of us did, and it’s ugly. People have dug their way out now, but it appears that we are getting more snow cold this week. As my favorite weather app (WTF Weather) tells me today, it’s “snotcicle weather”, with a low of -1, and a projected high of 10 above zero. That’s really not terribly cold, but we have been teased with 40-50 degree temps, which makes it feel cold all of a sudden.

I don’t want to give the false impression that we have been beleaguered by a long nasty winter, because we really haven’t. Our first real accumulation of snow came late in December with a whiz-bang blizzard, and we have been struggling along ever since, but to only have snow and cold from December through March is a gift. I’ve known years where our first blizzard comes in October and Winter keeps us in his grips right through some of April. When Old Man Winter stays around for so long, it gets really demoralizing. If I were to personify Winter, and I often do, I would guess that he likes it that way. Mean old bastard…

Why demoralizing? Well, for one thing, it’s painful. The cold makes your bones hurt, and when the weather changes and storms blow through it can cause throbbing aches which are hard to get rid of. That’s part of my problem now. I’m really done hurting all of the time. I would love nothing more than to just sit in the sunshine, soak the heat into my bones and be ache free. It was not lost on me that I didn’t hurt the whole time I was in Las Vegas, and when I came back to North Dakota the old aches just fell back into place. Wow…going somewhere else can make my knees stop hurting. Hmmm…food for thought.

Spring Sprouts
If you look really close, you can see little sprouts in the middle.

Something else I am keenly aware of is my need to be surrounded by greenery and things that I can nurture and grow.  I believe what happens when you grow things is that you plant a little hope with those seeds, and to watch them grow is very sustaining in times when regular daily life just isn’t. I’ve started some seeds on my kitchen table, and it’s nice to check on it daily to see the growth and change. This will tide me over until I can get outside to plant in my yard.

It is still only the middle of March, so it is not out of bounds to still have cold and stormy weather. However… we are witnessing the death throes of Winter, and the rattle and wheeze of his last days are loud. Underneath all of that complaining racket I can just hear Mother Nature plotting with Spring and Summer in whispers and grins of anticipation. Their time is coming, and the long wait is soon to be over.

Here’s hoping that your weather is just right. If it isn’t, just hold on…better weather is coming. Blessings all!

 

Day 12- The Car Wash as Therapy


I was supposed to go ice fishing today, but circumstances dictated otherwise. So, I figured I would take advantage of a free Saturday and get my oil changed.

I want to give a shout out to the folks at Minot Automotive. They always do a good job, and get me in and out quickly. I didn’t even have a chance to get my whole coffee down before I was paying my bill and on my way out the door.

Silly as it seems, I have a whole ritual with regard to getting my oil changed. I get up early, go get a my coffee and something to eat, and hopefully arrive in time to be first in line. After the oil change comes a car wash.

Today is a good day to get a car wash. It’s cold enough to keep slush and dirt off the car so it stays clean longer, and warm enough so that the car wash will still be open. Sounds weird, I know, but that’s typical winter car washing strategy up here on the High Plains.

I love going through the car wash. There’s just something soothing about the sound, the warmth, and smell of it. Now, if I could get someone to sit in the back seat behind me and rub my shoulders while the car was being washed, that would be the amazing!

There’s something really lovely about finding joy in mundane tasks. I know people who are perturbed at being made to feel anything but excitement. I have learned the hard way to feel grateful when nobody is making excitement for me. Hum drum is just my speed most days, and it’s awesome.

Here’s hoping you are able to find joy in some everyday task and take solace in the ability to just slow down and breathe, even if it’s only just long enough to get your car washed. Blessing all!

 

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