Hockey Bubbes | May 11, 2022

My ten-year-old’s hockey team closed out the spring season with a tournament in Minneapolis. As his mother, I’m legally obligated to tell all of society (but, like, in a casual way) that they went undefeated, and won the championship, and my son and his friend (the team’s two goalies; they each play half-periods) had two shut-outs and the whole thing was very fun.

My parents live in the Cities and attended all of Ten’s games.  The championship was held on Mother’s Day – and so my mom recommended (by saying “Amanda, you need to drink more water and your next column will be about me”) that — click to read on.

Sunshine and May | May 4, 2022

As I type this, THE SUN IS SHINING.  We’ve had roughly 100000000 grey days in a row this spring and I tell you what, it starts to wear on a person – like a hat with bells which seemed like a whimsical idea in the store but turns out is the equivalent of self-induced tinnitus.  I like rainy days and cozy darkness just like all women on Instagram, but I was one more set of clouds away from getting a Vitamin D lightbulb to sit under it while I shopped for a plane ticket to Yuma, Arizona – the sunniest place on Earth.  These big, beautiful blue skies have completely cleansed my soul, like the feeling you get when you throw out a hat with bells on it. — click to read on.

Axolotl | April 27, 2022

My ten-year-old has been campaigning pretty hard for an axolotl.  An axolotl, for those of you who aren’t up on your Minecraft animals and/or exotic amphibians, is a carnivorous salamander that lives under water, has frilly external gills, and looks like it’s always smiling.  My ten-year-old is not getting an axolotl.

Ten wants an axolotl because he actually wants a dog – and if not a dog, a cat; and if not a cat, a guinea pig; and if not a guinea pig, a bunny; and if not a bunny, an axolotl.  The thing is, Ten is allergic to pet dander. — click to read on.

Heavily Meditated | April 20, 2022

I don’t want to brag, but I am exceptionally good at worrying.  If there is a real (or assumed) situation, issue, non-issue, or potential future scenario in need of a place to settle in, my brain is always open for business.  It’s fortunate to be riddled with anxiety because it means that I get to wake up in the middle of the night and re-evaluate every word I’ve ever said to another human being, which is an efficient use of time that would normally be wasted by sleeping. — click to read on.

The Great Scotcheroo Debate of 2022 | April 13, 2022

I had a completely different story lined up for this week, but my friend Corey and I had…let’s call it a “situation”…regarding Scotcheroos and Special K Bars – after which he commented, “I bet this is going to end up on your blog,” and after about the third time he said it I thought, “Yup.”

First, however, we need to discuss the products in question.  Both Scotcheroos and Special K Bars are dessert bars. — click to read on.

Friends for Life | Levity Brevity, April 12, 2022

I like to write little stories (usually called Flash Fiction), and figured I’d post a few of them here. This one is called “Friends for Life” and was the result of a writing prompt on an imaginary friend.

Happy Feet | April 6, 2022

It’s springtime; and naturally, every passageway into our home is littered with the muddy shoes of our children and their friends.  Of course, even if they were clean as a whistle those shoes would still be there – because every single North Dakotan is taught from birth to 1) never take the last item in a shared food situation; 2) have a “Well, that’s the way she goes” attitude towards the Minnesota Vikings; and 3) always remove their shoes when entering someone’s house.

The “No Shoe Rule” is so ingrained in our culture that our oldest son recently accepted his North Dakota birthright of keeping his sneakers permanently tied to the loosest state so that he can just step on the back of his heel and pull them off (and then back on) quickly – as has generations of his fellow statesmen have done before him.

I’d like to thank the Academy | March 30, 2022

The Academy Awards are my annual reminder that my eighteen-year-old self would be incredibly disappointed with my job choices.  Twenty years ago, I made the decision to pivot from the entertainment industry to the hotsy-totsy world of architecture and construction.  Prior to that, I had one career goal: to plan The Oscars.

This wasn’t one of those dreams that began and ended with a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio on my wall (although I did have that); I went to college for Public Relations – the degree-of-choice for the discerning event planner – and interned throughout college with movie and television studios and their related partners.  It was those internships that made me realize that I was more cut out for popcorn and Leonardo DiCaprio posters and less Paramount paychecks and Disney business decisions because, when it came to working in the entertainment industry, I was two thumbs down.

The Grand Forks Mercantile Exchange | March 23, 2022

This week, my company is moving out of our long-time downtown office space to a fancy new building about two blocks away.  The whole thing has been a little weird for me because I have worked in our old building – the Grand Forks Mercantile Exchange – for 17 years, which is two years longer than I’ve lived in any one house.

While I typically don’t like to talk about my job on here (I can’t imagine my coworkers would be pumped to know they were associated with this nonsense), I feel I owe it to the Merc Exchange to give it a proper sendoff.  Plus, I work for an architecture firm, and if anyone would forgive me for telling a building story it’s a bunch of architects.

Raemi and the Chimney Fire: Tales from the East Coast

I have a very best friend in the world and her name is Raemi.   Raemi and I met on our first day of college at Boston University, when she walked into our dorm room in her all-black outfit with her dark eyeshadow and eyebrow piercing and found me sitting on my frilly denim bunk in my Gap chinos (which I owned in every shade of khaki) and my Gap polo (four of each in white and pink).  It was love at first sight.  Twenty-five-ish years later, we still exist in entirely disparate universes – she lives an incredibly glamorous jet-setting life on the East Coast, and I am me.  The things we have in common now are the same as they were then: a disdain for even the most minor inconveniences; cheese; and the fact that we both often find ourselves in completely absurd situations of our own doing.

North Dakota Grows: Black Leg Ranch Meats

In 1882, George Doan packed up his life in Canada and set off to the Dakota Territory to establish his future.  Six generations later, his homestead – and family – has evolved into the historic Black Leg Ranch: 17,000 acres of rolling prairie, abandoned farmsteads, post offices, wagon trails, and railroads, and an active multi-product ranch run by the Doans.  Every part of Black Leg Ranch, located in Sterling, North Dakota, connects the community to the rural North Dakota experience, from the Black Leg Ranch Meats to the Copper Jewell Event Barn to the Black Leg Brewery to the Rolling Plains Adventure outfitting operation.

The wonderful Kassy has kindly offered her thoughts on what it means to preserve the family legacy while also building new foundations for the future:

Outdoor Rinks | from The Red Cent

I grew up across the street from Central Park in Grand Forks – and, every winter, all of the neighborhood kids would clomp over to the park, moon boots on our feet and ice skates over our shoulders, in order to rip around the outdoor ice rink.  We had a small, unheated warming house that smelled like hot chocolate and cold air year-round, and I personally was on a ten-to-one ratio in regard to outdoor fun – for every one minute I spent leaning over the boards to watch a pick-up hockey game, I’d spend ten in the warming house drinking hot chocolate.

Like everything in Grand Forks, those Park District-run rinks have been upgraded over the years.  Now, the nine outdoor locations have both lighted hockey rinks and pleasure rinks, as well as heated, supervised warming houses.  I live near one of these Park District setups, and there’s rarely a weekend day or school night when you won’t find a pile of kids out for a skate.

Grand Forks’ public rinks continue to be so popular, in fact, that they have given rise to a new type of ice sheet: the backyard rink.  Called ODRs (Outdoor Rinks), these home-based ice sheets have become the latest Hockey Dad (and sometimes Mom) craze.

The Library Room | March 16, 2022

As you know, we moved into our new house at the end of July 2021.  As you also know, the world has been struggling with shipping and supply chain issues.  So, as a result, Kyle and I have one room that is currently devoid of furniture.  We call it The Library Room.

Here is a picture of The Library Room as it looks right now.

The Apple Tree | March 9, 2022

Last week, the New York Post put up a graphic that identified North Dakota as “the best state at solving Wordle.”  I’m not sure my participation is helping those numbers, but I absolutely love Wordle because I love WORDS.  I’m sure you’re thinking, “Oh man you are so deep I hope they have a Nobel Prize for deepness because you would win it” – but listen, some people like sports and other people like collecting decorative spoons and I like words.

Parking Like You’re the Only Car on the Lot | March 2, 2022

We have reached the point in winter in which North Dakotans adopt the age-old adage, “Dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, and park like you’re the only car in the lot.”  From the months of April through December, a driver will identify an empty gap between two uniformly-striped parallel lines and maneuver their vehicle so it is placed between those two lines.  From January to March, however, it’s less “neat and orderly lines of cars” and more “uffda, whatever.”

There’s a mathematical equation for when this occurs, which is [Amount and Color of Snow + Number of Previous Days Below-Zero] x [Everyone’s Feelings of Doneness in Regard to Winter].  When that result is greater than the number of North Dakotans traveling to Arizona, Florida, or Mexico, society’s laws of parking no longer apply. 

Squirt International | February 23, 2022

Last weekend, my ten-year-old played in the Squirt International hockey tournament in Fargo, North Dakota.  The “Squirt” in “Squirt International” refers to the age group in which he skates – specifically, fourth- and fifth-graders.  My son, a fourth grader, is a first-year Squirt.  I’m not sure why “Squirt” is the nationally-recognized term, but my guess is it has something to do with the fact that kids of this age like to hold their water bottles out in front of their pelvic region and squirt water/Gatorade all over the ice to simulate going to the bathroom.

The “International” part is because this tournament attracts 240 Squirt teams from all over the United States and Canada, who descend on Fargo for three four-day hockey tournaments (80 teams per weekend) in February.

Hop, Skip, and a Jog: The Amanda Kosior Running Story | February 16, 2022

This is typically the time of year when I take up running.  I am right type of person for running as I own a pair of sneakers, belong to a class of bipedal organisms, and say things like, “I can’t do a chin-up because I prefer cardio.”  Also, my natural state of movement is akin to a speedwalking 1980’s businesswoman – elbows up, emphatic stride, power skirt and sports socks – so it’s only a hop-step more to turning that into a light jog.

I have a habit of becoming a February runner because I look at a calendar and have an unproven surge of hope that I will soon look unbelievable in a bathing suit.  By July,