Friendship is Magic | September 21, 2022

I had a pretty craptastic week last week.  There wasn’t anything that would be deemed an actual, real problem – I was coming off of a cold, Kyle went out of town for work just as both of our kids decided to have their own minor ordeals, my band didn’t get hired and then my nonconformist friend needed me to go back in time with him to make sure my parents fell in love at the school dance or else I’d cease to exist, etc etc – but combined made it one of those situations where my nightly routine was to get in bed and think, “Blech.”

Fortunately, though, there were a few bright spots (specifically, people) that ultimately got me back on the path to jollyville, and so I’m going to tell you about two (technically three) of them now.

The Cushman Classic is an annual football game between Grand Forks Central High School and Grand Forks Red River High School.  The first Cushman Classic was held in 1997; since then, it’s grown to a communitywide event with bouncy castles, dunk tanks, face painting, and, of course, chips-and-queso (Grand Forks loves queso almost as much as ranch dressing).  If that wasn’t enough fun-ness, this year, a bunch of my eleven-year-old’s friends were playing in their own mini-football game on the field during the half.

By the time gameday rolled around, I was so pooped out by the week’s suck that I only wanted to curl up on the couch in my “Fri-YAY” underpants with a bowl of ranch dressing in one hand and a bowl of queso in the other.  Since Kyle was out of town on his aforementioned work trip, however, it was up to me to feed and care for my children…and also to take my son (and, by lack of a babysitter, his unwilling younger brother) and his buddy to the Cushman Classic as promised.

You know how in Looney Tunes when a character is disheartened they drag themselves, weighted by their melancholy, through the motions while a mournful violin plays in the background?  That was me through the making and cleaning up of an uninspired soup-and-sandwiches supper, through the half-assed brushing of my hair, and through agreeing to absolutely whatever my children wanted so long as they ate eat some portion of their meal (“You want cotton candy at the game?  Sure.  You want a Coke at the game?  Sure.  You want cocaine at the game?  Sure.”).  I was begrudgingly tying my shoes when I heard my son’s friend pull up and his dad have a short conversation with the kids before popping his head in the back door.

“Hey, Amanda,” the dad said.  “Do you want me to take the boys to the game?”

Now, I’m sure he was doing this to be polite after my son probably told him that Kyle was out of town.  Also, I’m sure he had something to do after dropping off his son at my house that didn’t involve high school football.  So, my brain told me to say, “No, thanks, we’ll have a great time.”

Instead, my mouth said, “You know, that would be awesome.”

While my eleven-year-old went to the Cushman Classic with his friend and his friend’s dad and had a whale of a time (someone streaked across the field, so they could have cancelled the game right then and there and it would have been a major success to those boys), my seven-year-old and I got ice cream and popcorn and watched Minions: Rise of Gru (v good) in our jammies and the entire week turned around with the absolute nicest, most necessary-in-the-moment gesture.

Okay, the second story: Kyle and I have been good friends with this (now) married couple for almost as long as we’ve known one another.  They are the type of good friends who stick with you even when you become terrible friends.  For example, we were some of the first of our group to become parents – thereby going from SUPERFUN Kosiors to REALLY BORING WHY ARE THEY ALWAYS WITH THEIR BABY Kosiors.  Because they are good friends, this couple would organize movie dates by selecting the film with the lowest possibility of an audience, and then sitting there with us and our baby in an empty theater watching movies like Cowboys Versus Aliens (which was undeserving of its universal panning, by the way).

In addition to being good friends, this couple is really smart.  Kyle is also really smart, so when the four of us get together at least once during the gathering I will think to myself, “I am the dumbest person here.”  Before you’re like, “Aww, Amanda, you’re smart, too,” listen: we all have our interests and skills.  For Kyle and our friends, it’s historic, scientific, and world-based knowledge.  For me, if there was a Jeopardy series solely about Laura Ingalls Wilder and quotes from the movie Back to the Future THEN I WOULD CLEAN UP, I REALLY WOULD.

Our most common get-together with this couple is to go to lunch, during which we do the “Tidbits” trivia.  “Tidbits” is a free newsletter in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks that is basically everything great about a newsletter – in its own (accurate) words, “[‘Tidbits’ is a] non-controversial, weekly paper dedicated to publishing entertaining morsels for the mind, food for thought as it were: trivia, fun facts, amusing stories and oddities.”

There are two trivia segments in “Tidbits,” one for sports, and one for general trivia, which is usually on the same theme as the week’s newsletter topic itself. One of the reasons why “Tidbits” is so charming is because of its fast-and-loose attention to detail in the trivia.  For example, this past week’s theme was “Four-Letter Words” and one of the questions was, “What’s the largest country in Europe?”  The answer was “Russia,” and Kyle and our two friends spent the rest of the lunch discussing how much of the Russian population was actually IN Europe and what role the Urals played in that population spread.

(In case you were wondering, my guess for that question was, “Asia.”  Obviously, I knew that Asia is neither a country nor in Europe – but it was the only four-letter place I could think of; I’m the dummy of the group, anyways; and, most importantly, the answers in “Tidbits” often require a bit, “Well, whatever”-ing…like how “Russia” being is in Europe and spelled with four letters.)

In addition to enjoying lunch with our friends, I like doing “Tidbits” trivia with them because I can be the information deadweight and still answer like 40% of the questions correctly.  In fact, the writers of “Tidbits” must anticipate dumb-dumbs like me needing a little nudge in the right direction (I guess “Babe Ruth” for every single sports question) because my friend shared this gem from one of the past issues and I haven’t stopped laughing about it:

If the image didn’t show up, the question is this: “How many NFL teams do not have an official mascot? (hint: 5 teams)”

Anyways, those three people (and “Tidbits”) helped right my ship, and this week started off about much, much better than the last.

The photo above was taken at the hospital gala this past weekend.  Last year, I had gotten rid of all of my fancy dresses in the move and had to wear a pink-sequined ice skater number that I had originally purchased as a Halloween costume (I think it’s on my Instagram if you feel like scrolling, which I do not).  For my birthday this year, Kyle got me a real dress so that we could look like a normal couple, and not like a normal Kyle and his pretty-sparkle-unicorn-princess wife.

This week’s news has Family Feud and Chateau Nuts. Read on.


In “These people are living out my childhood/adult dream” news, the Meyhuber Family of Fargo will soon be contestants on “Family Feud.” (KVRR)

Grand Forks County’s Shane Rothenberger – the only drug recognition expert and the first cultural liaison officer for the GFCSO – is the third North Dakotan to be named to the International Association  of Chiefs of Police’s 40 Under 40 list. (Grand Forks Herald)

In “News we all knew was happening but in true North Dakota fashion kept it a secret,” two North Dakotans got married a couple of weeks ago. (Facebook)

Linton Public School, Larimore Elementary School, and Roosevelt Elementary School in Bismarck have all been named Blue Ribbon schools by the U.S. Department of Education. (Valley News Live)

If you are thinking of visiting Medora anytime soon, you should probably check out Chateau Nuts in Medora. (Fargo Forum)


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International relations | September 7, 2022

The Kosiors are nursing a happiness hangover after a weekend visit from one of Kyle’s two younger brothers and his family.  As I’ve mentioned many, many (many) times before, the Kosiors are Canadian; and so, in addition to all of the normal things a person would do when they have houseguests, we also had the added activities of welcoming international travelers. 

“But The Simpsons called Canada ‘America Jr.!’” You may be thinking.  “Why would a trip to America be any different than going somewhere in Canada?”  Obviously, I’m gonna tell you.

Here are three things Canada and the U.S. have in common:

  • The continental landmass known as North America.
  • A proclivity towards “the weather” as a constant topic of conversation.
  • Democracy.

Here are three ways Canada and the U.S. are different:

  • Canada is a member of the British Commonwealth.  America is a member of America.
  • Canada’s official languages are English and French.  America does not have an official language (the unofficial language is ‘Merican).
  • The population of Canada in 2020 was 38.01 million people.  The population of California in 2020 was 39.35 million.

Those differences (well, excluding the French thing because everyone speaks the international language of social media) are pretty big distinctions.  For example, Canadians have the Queen of England and hockey players (their two monarchical governing bodies) on their money and they stick a silent letter U into words.  As another example, Canadians have their own Food & Drug Administration (called the Canadian Food Inspection Agency) and so their favorite foods and/or food-related ingredients are not the same as they are in America.  Canadian Campbell’s Tomato Soup, for instance, is sweeter than it is in the States.  In the U.S., we think of Smarties as little chalky discs.  In Canada, Smarties are hard-shelled M&Ms.

As such, when our Canadians arrived, the very first thing we did was the Ceremonial Transference of Food.  Kyle moved down to the States in 2004 and became an American citizen in 2020; and while you can take the Canadian out of Canada, you can’t make him pronounce the last letter of the alphabet as anything but “Zed.”  Same goes for food – his taste buds live physically in the U.S., but emotionally in Saskatchewan.  My sister-in-law thanked Kyle for our hospitality with a bagful of Kyle’s two favorite Canadian delicacies: Coffee Crisps and HP Sauce.  Coffee Crisps are what Kit-Kats would taste like if they were flavored with coffee and the thickness of a normal candy bar.  HP Sauce is a smoky, bitter barbecue sauce, and is to Kyle what ranch dressing is to Midwesterners in that he puts it on everything.  The pandemic hit Kyle hard in that he had to eat his food unadorned, so he was pretty excited to get not one, not two, but three bottles of HP.  As opposed to the Coffee Crisp, no one in our immediate family likes HP, so the three bottles should last him a solid year (less so if he goes on an unscheduled pork chop-eating binge).

The second thing we did was the Official Unveiling of the Cost of Alcohol.  I’m sure you’ve heard the stereotype that Canadians are unfailingly polite; but we rarely talk about their other skill: booze consumption.  If there ever was a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style drinking competition between an Irishman and a Canadian, my money is that the Canadian will still be sober enough to apologize to their opponent after they beat them handedly.

It’s pretty amazing that Canadians are able to imbibe as they do because alcohol is expensive.  As noted, the population of Canada is small but mighty, and so Canadians are taxed to their toques to pay for their healthcare and whatnot.  Alcohol is especially pricey – a 24-pack of Molson Canadian is $65 – because the provincial governments own all of the liquor stores.  So, when Canadians come to America, it is customary to take them to a liquor store so they can marvel at both the price and selection of alcohol.

Finally, the third thing we did for our Canadian brethren was the Pause for the Conversation of Information.  Canada is on the Metric System and the Centigrade Scale.  Also as noted, Americans and Canadians like to talk about weather.  Therefore, it was necessary in our chit-chat to allow time for all of the participants to convert the numbers shared into our respective languages.  Like this:

Sister-in-Law: I was driving down the road at 100 k [pause] the other day, and I looked at my temperature gauge and it was 30 [pause] degrees outside.

Me: Wow.  That reminds me of a similar day when it was 92 [pause] degrees and I was driving at 60 [pause] mph.

Our Canadians have now returned to their homeland, full of cheap beer and the memory of driving 120 k down the Interstate to Fargo.  We miss them already, especially now that we have eaten all of the Coffee Crisps.

The photo above speaks for itself.

This week’s news has Farmtokers, runners, and Watch DOGS. Read on.


Rolla’s Tim Mickelson is a popular member of Farmtok, reaching thousands with his videos about canola. (Ag Week)

After 30 years, Watford City’s Mitch Haugeberg is bringing his board game to the masses. (McKenzie County Farmer)

The first-even Fire & Iron “Take a Teacher Shopping” raised $6,500 and bought a lot of school supplies. (Devils Lake Journal)

Jamestown’s Russ Schmeichel is still inspiring runners 40 years after starting a running camp for cross-country enthusiasts. (Jamestown Sun)

The Emergency Food Pantry in Fargo is hosting a free picnic meal (with cake) today, September 7. (Fargo Forum)

Berg, Roosevelt, and Heart Elementary Schools in Dickinson are now home to Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students). (Dickinson Press)

I wrote a fun (“fun”) story about early holiday shopping. (North Dakota Nice)

Also, thank you to Area Woman for sharing my story about my inability to properly feed my children. My story about picky eating is in this month’s issue(Area Woman)


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Oh, did I tell you Kyle broke his elbow? Because he broke his elbow. | August 31, 2022

Five days before we were set to leave for Las Vegas, Kyle started limping.

“My Achilles’ is bothering me,” he said, wincing.

“How about some ice?”  I asked.

“No,” he said.

“How about some heat?”  I asked.

“No,” he said.

“How about some rest?”  I asked.

“No,” he said.

“How about a doctor?”  I asked.

“No,” he said.

The next day, he had devised a solution.

“I’m going to go play hockey tonight,” he said.  “I think I just need to stretch it out.”

“Maybe instead of hockey, you should try resting it first,” I said.

“No,” he said.

An hour later, I was sitting on the couch – I’m EXCELLENT at resting my body parts – when Kyle returned, nursing his left forearm.

“I think I broke my arm,” he said.

“How about going to the doctor?”  I asked.

“Okay,” he said.  And then,

“My Achilles’ feels much better.”

“Terrific,” I said.

Lo and behold, his Achilles’ had actually and miraculously healed itself.  Also, he had broken his elbow.  Fortunately for both our trip and Kyle, he didn’t require surgery, and didn’t need a cast.  The doctor’s instructions were simple: wear the sling, work the arm a few times a day, and don’t lift anything high or heavy.

That last rule has been a real problem for me because it turns out I’ve become pretty dependent on Kyle having two working arms.

Here’s an example:

Before we left for Vegas, I decided that we would share one giant suitcase instead of taking two smaller ones because I figured Kyle would appreciate having one free usable arm to protect himself from tripping and breaking another elbow.  This was a good plan in theory but less so in practice, as I am both short and only able to lift something above 50 pounds if I’m carrying it on my back and it’s the same size, shape and grippiness as my children.  Our enormous suitcase weighed exactly 50 pounds (we were nothing if not prepared for every outfit-related vacation scenario), and was so tall that I couldn’t hold the handle on the top while also gripping onto the bottom.  This meant that in order to get it into a vehicle, I had to squat on the ground and use my shoulder as support.  (In hindsight, I’m sure there was a better way to do this, but when I got married I not only stopped dating other men, I also stopped putting suitcases in cars.)  Las Vegas (and Kyle) will forever be changed with the memory of a small, sweaty Jewish girl hoisting a suitcase into an Uber like Atlas with his globe.

Here’s another example:

We have a number of items at our house that are above my eye level, but it’s never been that big of a deal because I’m married to the human version of one of those grabber things.  Except that now that grabber can only reach with one arm.  As luck would have it, all three of the light bulbs in our walk-in pantry burned out simultaneously, and the only person in our family who is both allowed to climb a ladder and has two available hands to twist open the light fixture and pull out the bulbs is this girl right here.  Which means that I have spent the last week using my cell phone as a flashlight to get the canned peas because the only time I remember I need to change the bulbs is when I’m in the middle of cooking something or typing this story and am otherwise indisposed.

The whole thing has been so much work that I’ve taken to “jokingly” asking all of our male friends to do things for me.  Just the other day, I tripped and one of those friends caught me.

“You have really strong forearms,” I said.  “Can you come over later and help me with something ha ha?” 

Then, after he looked really nervous and I realized he thought I was suggesting he come over and “help me with something” untoward, I said,

“No, no, I need you to move a table.”  And then he looked REALLY nervous and walked away.  Now not only do I no longer have a friend, that table is still unmoved.

Kyle feels badly that I am apparently incompetent at life’s simple activities, and so he’s been sneaking around trying to do things to help me out, like fold sheets out of the dryer or move tables.  This means I’ve had to not only do extra stuff – like LIFT SUITCASES OUT OF THE CAR AND CHANGE LIGHT BULBS – but I’ve had to anticipate his every move so as to ward him off.  We recently attended a hockey tournament in Fargo, and I was forced to wake up early because Kyle thought he’d surreptitiously put our son’s goalie bag (which is the equivalent weight and floppiness as an adult body bag) into the car.  After he was caught, he pretended to walk away and instead slipped out of the room with two heavy coolers.

We’re a few weeks away from the arbitrary “healed” date set by the doctor, and I’m marking the minutes off like a person would on a prison wall.  In the meantime, I’ve ordered a ramp to get things from the ground into the trunk of my car.

The photo above is of Kyle on vacation in Las Vegas.  You would not be surprised to hear that a great many people asked him what happened to his arm.  You would also not be surprised to hear that every single one of them was incredibly, deeply disappointed that it didn’t happen to him in Vegas.

This week’s news has a neighborhood greeter, an annual block party, and the Babe Ruth World Series. Read on.


In North Dakotaish news, the FM Legion riders honored Moorhead’s John Cunningham, who is best known for sitting outside his building waving to passersby. (KFYR TV)

The entire community of Jamestown throws an annual block party in order to welcome University of Jamestown students back to school. (Jamestown Sun)

Dr. Richard Faidley, the superintendent of the Williston Basin School District, goes around to all of the local and rural schools and says hello at the start of the school year. (KFYR TV)

Fort Yates now has a new mural thanks to group of Denver-based and local artists. (KFYR TV)

Speaking of murals, Fargo’s Lauren Starling has brought the world of Mario to the downtown. (Valley News Live)

Williston was the hot spot of baseball after hosting 48,000 people for the Babe Ruth World Series. (KFYR TV)

Finger’s crossed, it’s looking like it’s going to be a pretty successful year for North Dakota’s farmers. (Facebook)


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