Internet Shopping with Amanda | October 12, 2022

I was scrolling the World Wide Web the other day when I received a targeted advertisement for an Oscar Mayer “Beauty Inspired by Bologna” Face Mask.  It was an appropriately-timed ad because at that exact moment I was soaking in a bathtub filled with creamy pasta salad while loofahing with slices of white bread and had realized – crap on a cracker – that I had completely neglected my face.

I am fascinated by my targeted ads because, obviously, they are targeted.  This meant the bots-that-be received the Oscar Mayer Bologna Face Mask Ad and beeped at one another, “Who do we know that wants to look younger with the assistance of processed meat?”  Et voila.

I receive quite a few targeted ads that, at first glance, seem a bit out of my shopping comfort zone – maybe because I’m clicking on and then buying Bologna Face Masks, or maybe the Internet wants me to aspire to my best lifestyle.  Either way, I thought I’d share a few of the recent goods the universe wants me to own.


The irrefutable parenting app, Pinterest, advises the best way to get picky children to eat is with thematic meal options.  What started out as animal-shaped pasta for Zoo Night quickly developed into a poncho-clad jet ride to Oaxaca for Taco Tuesday and a light overthrowing of the Canadian government for Pierogi Pi Day.  When Irish Stew Fridays became a fan-favorite, we decided it was cheaper to buy this inflatable pub than continue to purchase small villages throughout the Emerald Isle.  As a bonus, it paired well with our Giant Inflatable Outdoor Bathroom and matching cleaning fire hose.

This may seem extravagant for a once-a-week dinner, but just the other day Kyle and I were also saying to one another, “How can we have our friends come over but not actually allow them in the house?”  I did order this with an extra hand-pump because it’s cold here in North Dakota and I can’t think of anything more embarrassing than having our Giant Inflatable Irish Pub deflate on our guests without an option for them to blow it back up themselves.


This jumpsuit is perfect for the bologna-laden mother who wants to look like the woman in this picture with a whole bunch of added fat rolls.  I personally love to wear my Women’s Metallic Halter Jumpsuit to the hockey rink, because there’s nothing more pleasant than needing to peel down and then squeegee up skin-tight fabric so that you can sit totally nude on a public toilet between games.  I pair it with the Miami Dolphins starter jacket and pump high-tops I got in 1995 and pretend like I’m Cindy Crawford (‘90s Cindy or ’22 Cindy, take your pick).


Our loose change jar was a little light after dropping $3,000 on the Giant Inflatable Irish Pub, but when I saw the Kettlebell Travertine Stone Top Handle Bag, I knew it was worth digging in the couch cushions to make it mine.  I especially liked how it featured all the “must-haves” when selecting a new purse: heaviness and lack of interior space.

I don’t talk about this very often, but I have a really personal connection to travertine.  As you know, travertine is a form of limestone found around hot springs or caves, with some of the richest areas located in Italy.  The Romans particularly loved travertine – building monuments, temples, and the Coliseum out of the stone.  For my part, my master bathroom floor is travertine.

While there really isn’t a wrong place for my Kettlebell Travertine Stone Top Handle Bag, I prefer to carry it when walking in dark alleys because my mace expired in August and I’m too lazy to get another.


I spend an inordinate amount of time toting around a lawn chair – to baseball games, parking lots, people’s backyards, and workplace meetings.  I’ve gotten so sick of packing, unpacking, and packing up my lawn chair that I was at a hockey tournament a month or so ago and all of the parents were hanging out on the hotel lawn and I chose to STAND with them rather than go get my lawn chair out of my car.  My life can be really tough.

However, Pinterest and my refrigerator magnet have told me I need to SIMPLIFY – and what’s simpler than having a chair built into your own pants?!?  I’m pretty sure everyone is jealous of my new Exoskeleton Wearable Lightweight Folding Chair, although I can’t say for certain because whenever I use it I spend the rest of the conversation looking at people’s belly buttons.  Also, it’s made it a little awkward to drive a car, but I manage by opening the sunroof.


I don’t think there’s any question that Nicolas Cage is a marvel of cinema.  My favorite role of his was H.I. McDonnough in Raising Arizona – “This here’s the TV; Two hours a day, maximum, either…either educational or football so’s, you know, you don’t ruin your appreciation of the finer things” – although you could make an argument that any performance in his vast portfolio is worthy of note.  To that end, I felt it befitting to adorn myself with a giant representation of Nic’s face (I can call him Nic now that a 6” wide version of his nostril is aligned with my privates) while watching his, or basically anyone’s, movies.

The photo above of is my handsome Kyle at a wedding we recently attended.  None of those things have anything to do with this story.

This week’s news has a whole bunch of famous people – a football player, a volleyball coach, an author, and more. Read on.

This is just a cute post about two Lake Metigoshe volunteers, David and Connie Engg. (Facebook)

Minot’s Sebastian Gutierrez has signed with the New England Patriots. (Valley News Live)

Fort Berthold Indian Reservation’s Shyla Sheppard and her beer-making business were featured on The Today Show. (US 1033)

Washburn’s Geremy Olson’s book, “Campfires, Kids and the Outdoors: Outdoor Lessons for the Real World” was named the Best Book of 2022 by the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. (KFYR TV)

The community of Standing Rock brought back its football team. (KX Net)

Congratulations to Thompson’s Lisa Strand, North Dakota’s first volleyball coach to reach 1,000 wins. (Grand Forks Herald)

Fargo’s Madi Johnson will soon be a contestant on the next season of The Bachelor. (Fargo Forum)

Is your “Famous People of North Dakota” bulletin board full yet?  Here’s a list of “28 Great Actors from our Great State.” (KX Net)

Let’s Be (Official) Pals!

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Santa and the Sewing Machine | December 22, 2021

I have kind of an unusual relationship with Santa.  Probably the weirdest part about it is the fact that we have any relationship, period – because, you know, I’m Jewish.  For Jewish kids, Santa is like your workplace hosting a doughnut party when you’re on vacation: it’s nice, but it doesn’t really affect you at all.  In the winter of 1990, however, I wanted a sewing machine; and I went to Santa to get it.

Nowadays you can watch children’s television programming until your eyeballs fall out of your head; but back in the olden times if you wanted to binge cartoons, you had to wait for Saturday morning.  My little sister and I would wake up just in time for Jem and the Holograms – a show that was “outrageous, contagious,” just like the sparkly-pink commercials that played throughout the episodes.  Barbies!  Cabbage Patch Kids!  Polly Pocket!  After each ad we’d shout, “We want a Care Bear!”  And our mother would say, “That’s nice” or “Hmm” or “Pee-yoo,” as she sniffed the air (because someone was “spoiled rotten”).  And then she’d go about her life.

In November of 1990 the most-often played commercial was for a toy sewing machine that used yarn to bind paper and felt.

“I need a toy sewing machine,” I said to my mother.

“There’s a real sewing machine upstairs,” my mom replied.  “We can sew something together.  That will be fun!”

“But the one I want sews felt,” I told her.

“So does the one upstairs,” she said.

“And paper,” I said.  “With YARN.”

My mother handed me a hole puncher.  “There’s some yarn in the cabinet.  You can sew it by hand.  Maybe you can make Grandma a book for Hanukkah!”

“UGH,” I said.  “I don’t want to do it by hand.  I want a sewing machine!”

“Pee-yoo,” my mother said, sniffing my shoulder.  “Someone is spoi-led.”

That year, Hanukkah came and went and there wasn’t a sewing machine to be seen (besides the one we already owned).  I did, however, get a book of kid’s sewing patterns and some pretty fabric so as to add insult to injury.  I ultimately made (spite) pillows out of it.

We were walking through the mall a couple of weeks later when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a team of elves, a lighted Christmas display – and in the center, Santa taking requests from all of the good boys and girls.

While my mother shopped for shoes for my sister, I considered the Santa situation.  We did have a chimney, I told myself.  We also had two big decorative trees in our living room; and while they weren’t pine, they were strung with white twinkle lights.  Plus, we celebrated Christmas every year with our family friends and decorated their pine tree…so…

I tapped my mom on the arm.

“Can I go talk to Santa?”

My mother considered it for a moment.  As a mother myself, I’m guessing she was thinking, “What kind of crackpot question is this?”

“Sure,” she said, after a moment.

Back then (and maybe now), it was free to meet the big guy.  Plus, you got a candy cane.  I was up at the front of the line before I had spit-whittled my candy cane to a point.

“What would you like for Christmas?”  Santa ho-ho-ho’d to me.

“I’d like a sewing machine,” I said.

“A sewing machine!”  Santa’s voice boomed throughout the space.  “Very good.”  Then he patted me on the back and I returned to the shoe store.  My mother and I never spoke of the interaction, although she did ask if I got my sister a candy cane (which I did not).

You will be unsurprised to hear that I didn’t get a sewing machine for Christmas.  I didn’t get anything for Christmas, as per usual – because, you know, I’m Jewish.

For the next fifteen years, I told that story over and over again to any willing ear.  I always ended with the punchline, “The moral of the story is, Santa is not for the Jews.”  I got a laugh at least once.

In January of 2005, I met the woman that would one day be my mother-in-law.  As there is no better way to endear yourself to your boyfriend’s family than by disparaging their major religious holiday, I shared my Santa story, ending with my hilarious punchline.  At the end, my mother-in-law said, “Hmm.”  She probably also laughed because she had a good sense of humor and, like I said, it was hilarious.

Just about a year later, I awoke on Christmas morning to find a big shiny box under my family-in-law’s Christmas tree with my name in it.  The tag read “From Santa.”  Inside was a sewing machine. 

The first thing I sewed on that machine was a set of potholders for my future mother-in-law.  I also used it to sew the binding on my wedding programs instead of stapling them, because it turns out that real sewing machines will sew paper, too.

The photo above is of my sewing machine, which is that blurry thing in the background because I asked Kyle to take the picture and I’m not sure he understood what we were doing.

It’s Christmastime, which means we have both an abundance of good cheer and good news.  Read on, and Merry Christmas!

North Dakota is just about able to declare “functional zero homelessness for veterans” across the state. (Grand Forks Herald)

Once again, the Minot and Minot Air Force Base communities have baked up thousands of cookies to be given to airmen for the holidays. (Minot Daily News)

Looking for a place to eat on Christmas?  Victory Lutheran Church in Jamestown is delivering 800+ meals to anyone who is hungry. (Jamestown Sun)

The Century High School boys hockey team donated 50 presents – with an additional $10 boost from Scheels for each shopper – to patients at Sanford Hospital. (KX Net)

Hunter Andes, an English teacher on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, has been awarded a silver medal from the Nonfiction Authors Association for his book, “The Elders: Stories from Fort Berthold.” (Minot Daily News)

Sixth graders at Wachter Middle School in Bismarck sewed up some Christmas ornaments to be donated to the Benedictine Living Community. (KX Net)

Four children, ages 5 to 7, have been honored by the Grand Forks Police Department (with Dairy Queen) for helping stop a potential kidnapping. (Grand Forks Herald)

Minot’s Tyler Schmaltz has put together a Google map of all of the best Christmas lights in town. (KX Net)

Fargo’s Tristian Ellenson returned from his deployment in Africa by surprising his wife. (Fargo Forum)

And Minot’s Adam Gottbreht surprised his mom on his return from his naval deployment. (KFYR TV)

The Salvation Army now has 740 ham dinners for families to celebrate Christmas Day thanks to two area businesses. (KVRR)

Four-hundred North Dakota second-graders got to have a little Christmas party – and receive a backpack with toys, essentials, and a grocery gift card – thanks to a program serving the state’s eight Title I schools. (KX Net)

For the 23rd year, an organization called Freedom Prison Ministries helped female inmates send a gift (and a gift card for dinner) to their children for Christmas. (KFYR TV)

I try not to put too many business donations in here because they would take over the news, but this one was so unique I had to share it.  Minot’s Dakota Chappy Boutique has put together gift packages for children to give to their mothers for Christmas. (KX Net)

Did you get your $3 North Dakota Nice sticker yet?  As a reminder, 100% of the proceeds go to St. Joe’s!  Click here to check it out.

Nice news of the week – July 2, 2020

Happy Almost-4th of July!  Did you know that Prairie Public has created a two-minute video on life in North Dakota in 1776?  You can check it out here.

And you can learn all about the nice things going on in the state voted “The #1 Place to Be in the Event of a Zombie Apocalypse” ( in this week’s news.  Read on, and have a safe and relaxing weekend!


Two ninth-graders from White Shield School are spending their summer building an earth lodge. (KX Net)

Valley City residents created a beautiful garden in honor of a fellow community member. (Valley City Times-Record)

Elbowoods’ Melvin Klaudt is being inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. (Minot Daily News)

North Dakota is one of the U.S.’s top 10 job markets (specifically, number 10) weathering the pandemic, when looking at unemployment, change in employment, exposure to industry sectors, and number of job seekers. (Grand Forks Herald)

Despite the fact she’s not the totally ideal candidate – she has donated only to find out her iron levels were low – Minot’s Paula Bachmeier has been giving blood for 47 years. (Minot Daily News)

Before he passed away, Fred Hector Jr. created The Hector Foundation to help “ordinary people or the common man” in North Dakota. (Fargo Forum)

Forth Berthold’s Lauren Good Day has been featured in Vogue for her clothing line, titled “Matriarch” – which she says is “cultural appreciation, not appropriation” and open to all.  As a bonus, all of her models are from the MHA Nation. (Grand Forks Herald)

If you’re going to be near Devils Lake on July 3, check out Max’s Gordy “Crazy Fingers” Lindquist at Stump Lake Village! (Devils Lake Journal)

Dickinson’s Richard and Joan Hintz celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary with a vow renewal, courtesy of CountryHouse Residence for Memory Care. (Dickinson Press)

Fargo’s Joseph Lewis is organizing campfire chats to discuss racial equality. (KVRR)

Bottineau’s Miranda Schuler has put together a military display honoring PTSD Awareness Day. (KFYR TV)

“Fossil Country” is coming to soon to PBS. (Bowman Extra)

The Killdeer Rodeo will have a record-number of participants – over 1,000 cowboys and cowgirls – at this year’s event, starting today. (Dickinson Press)

Happy 100th birthday to Wyndmere’s Eleanor Bommersbach! (Wahpeton Daily News)