Let the Thanksgiving games begin!


Wow, it’s been quite a whirlwind since I last posted. Not only has The Flirt moved in (more about that later) but I have gone back to my seasonal job at The Big Red Box Store on top of my regular day job. I have been on the run, and it’s not going to slow down until after Christmas. Uff da…

Anyway, Thanksgiving is next week and I am getting ready to go grocery shopping for everything we will need that day. After many years of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, we have this down to a science. I cook the stuffed turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and provide the pickles, veggies and lefse (Norwegian flatbread), Cookie Salad, and anything else I feel like making. Mom brings the Green Bean Hotdish and sweet potatoes, and our friends will bring homemade bread and desert.

OMG… my mouth waters just thinking about it.

Lots of work to do between then and now, the biggest of which is the shopping. Today, I’m sitting in my favorite blogging spot with the recipe box, my favorite recipe book, and a cup of tea. The Flirt is sleeping in, so I’m enjoying this quiet meal planning ritual. Very soon, though, I’m going to have to start laundry, and then shopping. I made the mistake of sleeping in, when I should have been up and had most of my chores done before first light. Oh well…there’s that darned “should” again.

Here’s hoping you are all enjoying doing some small thing that makes you happy, whether it’s a daily, sometimes, or annual thing. Life’s too short not to just stop and do happy things, even if you have to shoehorn them into an already busy schedule. Blessings all!!

The Great Road Trip 2019 – Reno, Tahoe, and Virginia City


Picking this little travel log up after I left off, we ate breakfast at a lovely diner in Fallon, then we went to Younger Son’s house to drop off his tool box from home. He showed us around, packed a bag and we took off for Reno.

Let me pause here for a few minutes and talk about family dynamics.

Good grief, my kids are 26 and 24 years old…you’d think they’d have learned how to get along by now. Or, at least, suck it up for the short time we’d be together. It was unbelievable to me that they were arguing within an hour of being together in the same space. By the time we got to Reno, I had to have a chat with Older Son in particular, and then the two of them together.

Just a quick note for any of you Faithful Readers getting ready to travel with family. Family dynamics don’t change just because time goes by. I fell into the trap of thinking things would be just “fine”, and I should have known better. For reason’s I can’t begin to fathom, my kids have nothing in common, and just could care less for each other’s company. Next time, I will know better.

On with visiting Reno…

We stayed two nights at the Nugget, which was a huge step up from the Budget Inn, but no more expensive. The first day we visited the National Auto Museum, which was neat, and then we just hung out at the hotel for the evening.

Oddly enough, Younger and Older decided to go down to Bourbon Street and bar hop for a bit. The Flirt and I had supper at the buffet in the casino and then went swimming. We needed a nice slow evening to rest and recharge, and it was nice.

The next day we at breakfast at the hotel and the began the trip to Lake Tahoe. Holy cow, was that a little bit of torture. Getting up to Lake Tahoe require driving up the mountain, with lots of switchbacks and hairpin curves.

Luckily, I was able to hold it together and not lose my breakfast. The drive was worth it. Lake Tahoe was so beautiful. In North Dakota, it’s hard to find water so clear that you can see to the bottom like this. There was just enough of a breeze to keep the heat down, and a clear blue sky. I could have sat there all day looking at the scenery.

After walking around the shore a little, we got back in the truck and drove around the other side of the lake to the city of Tahoe, in the California side. We shopped at an outlet mall, and were going to take a gondola up the mountain, but it was undergoing maintenance.

After Tahoe, we continued on to Virginia City, which is an old mining town with all kinds of great cultural tours and lots of good shopping, which we did a lot of. I wish we’d have had time to do the tours, because Virginia City is really old, and has a very interesting history. Make sure you eat in a restaurant with an overlook of the canyon. There are several to choose from, and the view will be worth it.

If you go to Virginia City, make sure to plan to spend all day, and also be prepared for the twists and turns up the mountain and back down again. The terrifying ride was worth being there, but I will definitely check this permanently off of my bucket list until teleportation is invented.

Last night I was lucky enough to hook up with an old friend who lives in the area, and that was awesome.

So ends these adventures in Nevada. Next stop, California!

Safe and happy travels to all you who are on the road… blessings all!

The Great Road Trip of 2019 Begins


Today will be jam packed, Faithful Readers.

I finally made it to my two week vacation. I didn’t talk about it previous posts much because it always seemed so far away. Well, all of a sudden here it is!

All day will be about laundry, final house work, packing, and shopping for last minute things. Right now I’m sitting at Broadway Bean and Bagel having a lovely breakfast sandwich and coffee, and getting my mind organized for the day’s activities. This is a comfortable place to hang out and have breakfast. The food is good, and they play good music. Unfortunately, it’s become a little too peopley. Time to slurp up the last of my coffee and get on with what needs doing.

Tomorrow The Flirt, Older Son, and I head out for Deadwood, SD. The next day we push on to Grand Junction, CO. The third day will be the last leg of our main destination, Younger Son’s new home town in NV.

You guys, I’m so excited I can just barely stand it. I’m also a nervous wreck. Older Son and The Flirt haven’t been crammed into a small space together for a prolonged period of time before. They get along just fine, but I imagine by the time we get home the two of them will be glad to go their separate ways for awhile.

We will be meeting friends and family along the way, and checking all kinds items off of bucket lists. If we are lucky we will make it all the way to the Pacific. If not, that’s ok.

This trip is primarily about visiting Younger Son, and everything we see and do on top of that is just delicious gravy. Things are going to spontaneously appear on my bucket list, and I’m going to love taking pictures of all of it. More to come on that.

So begins The Great Road Trip of 2019. Here’s hoping you all have a lovely day, resting, packing for a road trip, reading a book, or whatever makes you the happiest. Blessings all!

When you feel like you are holding on by a string


I don’t talk about it here often, but I suffer from depression. I am like so many others who have similar issues, and while it has become very mainstream to let things all hang out in the public view I still have a difficult time speaking about my own experiences with anyone. I was trained from a very young age that airing your dirty laundry for everyone to see is a cardinal sin. Nobody cares that you are having a hard time, Sparrow. Suck it up and get on with things. You have responsibilities and no time for weakness or self pity.

I’ve become very, very good at hiding it. After years of stuffing things down and hiding it from everyone else, the seams get week it begins to leak out.

Lately I’ve become aware that it has creeped back into my life, slowly, insidiously, like some shadow in a horror flick. Except, there’s no creepy music to warn me that it is standing right behind me now.

I struggled to get up today, like I have for the last several weeks, but I made myself get up and do something. While straightening up in my living room, the ball of yarn attached to the shawl I’m making rolled off into the floor. I was struck by how well it illustrates how I feel, when previously I couldn’t begin to try to put words together to express it.

I’ve been feeling like I’m hanging on by a thread, not quite cut loose but kind of just waiting to be reeled in back to the main body of the yarn. Just waiting in a holding pattern. Just going through the motions.

Today I think I will reel myself back in, now that I realize what’s going on.

It’s going to be slow going, and I will have to be diligent in making sure I keep moving no matter what.

Slow motions count, even though slow slogging through life feels worthless and ineffectual. Sometimes I sit and curl up with the tv or phone, paralyzed with feeling worthless. What I forget is that even one room, or just even a corner of a room, or a drawer, cleaned up or organized makes your space better than what it previously had been.

It’s ok to give yourself credit for even the smallest victories. Collecting a lot of small blessings wraps up into something bigger.

I actually made mention to my boyfriend, The Flirt, that I was struggling, and why, today. I know it’s pretty awful if I was willing to say something out loud to him and ask for help with something that is overwhelming me. In the 7 years I’ve been seeing this man off and on, I don’t believe I’ve ever said anything to him. It felt awful, and terrifying, and relieving all at the same time.

Enough talking. Time to get up and do something. I have a bunch of small things I can pick away at today, and that will help.

I want to leave you with a message from a really great guy I have been following on Facebook. This video really caught my attention and gave me pause to think about my own situation. Please give this a watch, I promise it’s worth the time.

https://www.facebook.com/tillamookdairyfarmer/videos/2201382613486882?s=1619127355&v=e&sfns=mo

Here’s hoping this message finds its way to anyone who needs to hear it, and that it helps. It’s ok to ask for help, even if it is for the smallest task. Blessings all.

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!

I want a party when I die


Today I’m attending a celebration of life for someone I’ve never met. The Flirt asked me to go come along today, to a memorial of sorts, for a family friend.

The odd thing, and I guess it really it isn’t so odd for North Dakota, is that it is being held in a local bar. I think we must have missed the main event because there were people just milling around and visiting when we arrived, and I’m ok with that.

I don’t do well at funerals, and sometimes not even at weddings. I must pick up on the high emotions at these sorts of events, and then the waterworks begin. I just can’t help but get choked up when other people are crying, for whatever reason.

Today is different, though. I got to meet a whole bunch of people The Flirt grew up with, including the deceased’s mother. She was super pragmatic about the whole thing, and was very calm. Well, that is the tendency amongst the Scandinavians of the High Plains. We tend to be very stoic, especially when it comes to things like this. I’m also Scottish and Irish from both sides of my family, and I’m guessing those genes must cancel out my Norwegian stoicism when I need it the most. Maybe? Who knows.

I’m grateful this celebration of life is truly a celebration, and a community reunion, rather than a grief fest. I just wasn’t sure I wanted to come to an event like this, being somewhat of a stranger, and be seen with tears running down my face because I wouldn’t be able to shield myself from the grief of others.

When I die, this is what I want. I don’t want any sad and somber service. I’m not religious, so a church funeral is right out. I told my kids I want a party. Let people know where it is, bring food for them, play lots of my favorite music, and let people mingle and tell stories as they will. I hope I have the presence of mind to record a video or write something that someone can read on my behalf. I don’t necessarily want the last word, I just want to say a few words upon the occasion of my departing.

After much visiting, we took a drive down by Lake Sakakawea. The lake is high, as they haven’t been letting a lot of water out of Garrison Dam due to flooding happening in states south of here. It was raining on and off with lots of wind which made the lake super choppy, but there were a few intrepid souls out on their boats fishing.

Something I found interesting was every time we turned around we ran into rainbows. Given that we had small storms coming through the area, one after another, that shouldn’t be surprising. I guess I just have not ever seen that many distinct rainbows in such a short span of time. I’ll take that as a good omen of peace following a tragedy.

Here’s hoping you find all of the good omens you can possibly run across. Count all of your blessings; even the little ones add up. 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!

Don’t mentally flog yourself with a bar you haven’t reached yet


We’ve had some cold wet weather recently on the High Plains, and it has really ramped up the cabin fever. I’ve got the gardening bug bad, and this week I bought plants and got busy outside, cold wet weather notwithstanding. Today, finally, we have bright blue skies and warm temps. So I went out to check on everyone to see how things are progressing.

One of my favorite plants ever is the Bleeding Heart. My Grandmother always had one in her back yard, and it was something I always looked forward to seeing bloom. I can’t believe I just now got around to buying one. Hopefully the deer won’t find it tasty! I lose a lot of things in my yard every summer… it’s like a deer buffet. This year I bought some deer netting, so I hope that it will keep them away, especially from my tomatoes and peppers.

While digging a hole to plant my Bleeding Heart, I found something that looks very much a zucchini. I planted them last year, but nothing came up. This year I have this lovely little volunteer, so I kept it and will see if it’s what I think it is.

I also planted Thyme, Rosemary, and Basil next to the chives. The chives are already blooming, so I’ll let them be and just cut them back when the bloom is done. They are so pretty when they bloom!

This is the 3rd year the zombie hand has been in my garden. It’s survived some nasty winters, so it gets to stay again this summer. I added the little fisherman this year, and we will see how many years we can keep him around.

The front porch always needs so color, so I put some pots together, and I’m hoping they do better than the ones last year.

Over the winter I forget how relaxing it is to putter outside with the gardens. It’s I’m looking forward to a long summer of that.

So, The Summer To Do list is starting to shape up, for outdoors, and indoors too:

1. Paint the kitchen/entry/hallway

2. Finish the side yard

3. Build a compost container

4. Fill in holes in the back yard and plant grass

5. Redo the rock beds- kill the weeds and put down new plastic under the rock

6. Finish the work area in the basement

7. Clear out the pantry, paint it and put it back together

8. Spiff up the basement utility area

It looks like I have my work cut out for me, and the list feels more than a little daunting. Lots of projects to do, and a pledge of help from the Flirt will go along way to get all of it accomplished. We’ll see what it looks like in September! Usually I get to the end of the Summer, and feel terrible and guilty about anything that didn’t get accomplished. No more of that noise. If it doesn’t all get done, I’m not going to have stress about it, and I’m going to enjoy what did get done. Life’s too short.

Here’s hoping you all have plenty of happy projects to keep your minds happy and your hearts full. Just remember having a bar to reach for is all well and good, but only worry about getting done what you can, when you can. Don’t mentally flog yourself with that bar if you don’t end up reaching it. Blessings all!

Changing priorities


I sit here slurping coffee, while I stare at my living room ceiling and try to gather up the energy to finish painting it.

Last night I tore up my living room, and moved a bunch of stuff out so I would have the room to get my step ladder around the room. My ceiling has needed painting for so many years, and I’m just now getting around to doing it. It will be lovely and fresh when it’s done, but it sure is a disaster now. My spare room and my kitchen are full of stuff from the living room, and my little house is quite a wreck.

Today, I’ll finish painting the living room ceiling. I’m tempted to paint the walls while everything is pulled apart. It would be the smart thing to do, and I guess I should just go get the paint and do it. I have the paint for the kitchen, and I have been so looking forward to getting that done, but it doesn’t make any sense to put the living room back together only to have it be pulled apart again later.

The original plan was to paint all of the ceilings, and then do the kitchen. I see now that flexibility is key, and I need to just roll with what makes sense in the moment. More on that as it progresses.

In other news, it looks like I will be going to see the fireworks show with The Flirt tonight. We haven’t spoken in person for a couple of weeks, since we had “the talk”. It was a difficult discussion, and I had expected to come away from it single and going forward just concerning myself with me, and my family’s needs.

It never, ever, occurred to me that he would try to change my mind. Huh.

Well, I came away with a compromise. I at least wanted a break, and we agreed on a month just to see how things would settle. It’s been weird, but I’ve enjoyed the time alone. It was sorely needed, and I’ve been glad for it.

I have missed him, but I know I don’t want to go back to the way things were. If he wants me back, things will have to change. A lot.

So we when he asked me if I wanted to go watch the fireworks with him, I was of two minds. This is only a couple of weeks into my month long break, but my curiosity is overwhelming. No lie, it’s going to be awkward. I am not entirely sure what my motivation here is, but I’m interested to see what happens, so I’ll go watch the fireworks with him and see how things play out.

Right now, my coffee is almost gone and the ceiling isn’t going to paint itself. Time get started.

Here’s wishing you all the motivation to get up and do whatever needs doing, especially when it comes to priorities that change as you go. Blessings all!

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