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!

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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!

 

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!

Little things mean so much


So much has happened in the last few weeks…

Younger Son was home on leave for two weeks, and it was nice to have all my chicks in the nest again. So much changes, but then again not. My world-traveling baby is still his same self, but so grown up.

We managed to go away for a weekend to visit my brother’s family, and that was good. Older Nephew is going into his senior year and, this time around, I have to make sure to make it to some of his hockey games. Younger Nephew is only four years behind him, and I have missed out on so much with both of them. I did find out that Older Nephew will be attending my alma mater next year, which makes my heart soar!

Today I discovered I was gifted with a blogger award! Wow! I will be passing that one on to some of my favorite bloggers shortly, but I have some revamping of my page to do first, so more on that to come.

I’ve been a bit under the emotional weather lately, and I am not sure why. There seems to be something under the surface bugging me, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps there has just been too much going on, and I haven’t been able to catch my breath. Whatever it is, it seems only to be cured by the simplest things.

Tonight my Flirt, his Giant Dog, and I went for a walk out in the country. It was just what the doctor ordered. There is nothing quite like the rolling prairies of the High Plains. It’s so beautiful, no matter what season it is. Right now, though, is when it’s at its most beautiful – Harvest Season!

In the pictures above, Giant Dog is shown walking ahead. He knows hunting season is around the corner and was so happy to get out and run around the dusty road, and all in the weeds. He even managed to get in the water and go for a swim.

It aggravates me to no end when out-of-staters complain that there isn’t anything to look at in North Dakota. I beg to differ, and I have come to believe that some people are so used to being handed “pretty” scenery on a platter that when something different comes along, something that’s a little more plain, it is written off without a second look.

North Dakota is full of all kinds of wild life, and beautiful scenery. Today, I was able to capture a lovely sunset, and several interesting plants. Above you can see the wild sunflowers. Below is a picture of some plants I was so pleased to be able to find: wild Echinacea and chamomile! If I’d been thinking, I’d have dug some up and transplanted it into my yard. It’s a good excuse to go for another walk later this week. 🙂

Echinacea and Chamomile

All one needs to do is look a little closer, and you will see so much. I suspect that is the way it is with everything in life. Little things mean a lot.

Here’s hoping you find some interesting things in places you wouldn’t suspect you’d find anything. Look closely…there are beautiful little miracles everywhere, if you pay attention.

Jump in the lake? Yes, thank you…I think I will!


I got a text from The Flirt this afternoon before I got off work, asking if I’d like to go to the lake for a swim tonight. Oh boy, did I ever. It’s been really hot here in North Dakota lately, and a swim in a nice cold lake would hit the spot.

Earlier this Summer, The Flirt and I met his family at Lake Sakakawea (yes, that is the correct spelling…). I don’t own a swimming suit, so I didn’t plan on getting into the water. When I got there, The Flirt’s sister, my best buddy, “C”, asked why I was just sitting on the shore with my toes in the water. She didn’t care for my “nothing to swim in” explanation and very bossily told me to get my keester in the water. As it turns out, the rest of them were swimming in their shorts and t-shirts as well. After a bit of arguing with “C”, who wasn’t taking no for an answer, I made a decision.

Life is just too short to sit around and watch other people have all the fun. I jumped in the lake with all of my clothes on…and I loved every minute of it. Riding home with wet clothes on was no picnic, but it was worth it.

The big question I had to finally ask myself is, “what will it hurt?” I’ve been asking that of myself a lot lately, and I think my life has been a lot more simple as a result. That has been kind of the crux of my Summer of Yes…Life is too short. If it looks like fun, and it won’t hurt anything or anyone, let’s do it!

Today, I was able to talk Younger Son into going a long, so he and I, and The Flirt, and his Giant Dog, went swimming. What a lovely evening, just paddling around in the cool water while the sun set. I’d had a hard week already, so this was a most welcome event. I think Younger Son enjoyed himself way more than he thought he would, and he agreed that it would be nice to spend more time at the lake next summer.

I had enough to do that I should have stayed home and worked on all of the things that need catching up on. If I die tomorrow, I don’t believe I’ll have any regrets for having let the chores wait another day. I’m glad we jumped at the opportunity and did this very simple, very relaxing thing. It made all the difference.

Here’s hoping that you have some lovely opportunity pop up that you can easily grab hold of and run with. Life on this Earth is too short not to take advantage of them.

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