Kyle and The Shed | November 9, 2022

Kyle got a shed.  I think I’m supposed to say “WE” got a shed; except that “we” wrongly assumed our garage would serve as a place for storing garage-related items and not dance parties (or whatever Kyle and his buddies do out there), therefore negating the need for a separate out-building.  My participation in the acquisition of the shed was to select its colors: black and white, the same as our house.  That decision took five seconds.

However, in my forty-eight hours of (Kyle’s) shed ownership, I have come to the realization that while the shed may look like four walls and a roof, it’s really the shape of friendship. 

According to the irrefutable source of all scientific knowledge, WebMD, there are six steps to making friends:

  1. Start the conversation.
  2. Show interest.
  3. Smile.
  4. Share.
  5. Do a small favor.
  6. Keep it going.

Like a tree falling in the forest, is a shed even a shed if you don’t use it to talk about sheds?  The answer is no.  Which meant:


Starting from the day we moved in, every visitor of the dad persuasion made their way to the backyard so as to discuss shed-related matters.

“I need a shed,” Kyle would say.

“Yeah,” the dads would reply.  “Shed’d be good.  You thinking an overhead garage door?”

“Nah,” Kyle would say, knowingly.  “Can’t go too big; gotta leave room for the rink.”

“Yeah,” the dads would nod, also knowingly.  “Should we run over to Menards and get some wood?”

Which would be my cue to lean out the door and shout,

“He’s not going to build it!”

To which the dads would laugh – they had fun-ruining wives, too.  Also, their laughter, as it were, was a facial movement related to:


The #1 thing in the world that makes people happy: Love.  The number two: Sheds.  There’s nothing more fun than some gentle shed-based ribbing.

Kyle and the dads were having a fire over at our neighbor’s house.  As one would expect, the conversation turned to the neighbor’s shed and Kyle’s lack thereof.

“Hey, when’s that shed coming?”  They asked Kyle, knowing full well he hadn’t yet ordered it (The Kosiors are the world’s foremost browsers-before-you-buyers; for example, his dad once went to four different stores TWICE each before purchasing a bagful of screws).

“I’m waiting for [one of the dads who also regularly laments his lack of shed] to get one first,” Kyle said, and everyone laughed; teasing is enjoyable.

“Maybe we should take down that portion of the fence and just extend my shed over,” our neighbor said.  “Like a double-wide.  We could double our storage space.” Then everyone stopped laughing because that was an infallibly good idea.

“If we’re going to take down fencing, we should build one of those fence bars between our two houses,” Kyle said – since, as we know, caring is:


An important part of building friendships is to share your commonality through subtle gestures that communicate, “Yes, I, too, am educated on sheds.”

“What kind of a foundation are you thinking?”  One of the dads asked after the conversation on fence bars had reached a temporary end.

“Probably sand,” Kyle said.  “You know, ‘case I want to move it.”

“Yeah,” another dad said.  “Sand’s good.  I did sand once.  I have concrete now so I can park my boat.”

“Yeah, gotta get a boat,” Kyle said.  “After the shed.”

Which was my cue to lean out the door and shout,

“We’re not getting a boat!”

“Hey, I’ve got a sand guy,” one of the dads said once the laughter – wives, amirite?! – died down.  “I can call him, if you want.”  Because, of course, one of the hallmarks of friendship is:


After many, many of these discussions, it was confirmed by my husband and the dads that YES, the backyard site Kyle had initially selected while touring the house with the realtor was, in fact, the right one.  However, that particular location required the moving of a small tree.  After many, many additional discussions on that particular tree and trees in general (“I’ve got a tree guy”), our neighbor volunteered to help relocate it.  Digging up and replanting that tree took thirty minutes.  Retelling the story of digging up and replanting that tree (spoiler: it went as expected) carried over for several more months.

That neighbor has actually carried the bulk of the very important small favors, including coming over to look at the postholes when the fence was removed to make way for the shed, asking about the delivery date of the shed, and looking at the new shed once it was installed (and also storing the aforementioned hockey rink while waiting for the shed – thank you, Shane).

And, speaking of install:


The shed was delivered over the lunch hour on Monday.  I came home “to see the shed,” as per request.  When I got there, Kyle and the shed guy were standing in the backyard, deep in conversation.  Kyle came in a few minutes later, excited (for Kyle).

“The guy who delivered the shed is a beauty,”  he said.  “I’m going to make him a coffee.”

“That’s great,” I said.

“Did you see the shed?”  He said.

“Yes,” I said.  “Very nice.  Maybe you can invite the shed guy over to see it once you have all your stuff in it.”

“Yeah,” Kyle said.  “Maybe I should have a shed party.”

“Whatever you want,” I said, because friendship is spelled s-h-e-d.

The photo above is of Kyle (and his beret) and his shed.

This week’s news has happy haybales and a great idea for a Halloween tradition.  Read on.

Bismarck’s Cleary Family created a tradition of trick-or-treating for food donations for the Bismarck Emergency Food Pantry – a tradition that has since been picked up by Evan Pena now that the Cleary kids have gone off to college. (KFYR TV)

This is the list of some of the friendliest haybales in North Dakota. (103.3)

Happy 112th birthday to Grafton’s Clarabell Demers!  According to the article, Clarabell is the oldest person in North Dakota and the 41st oldest in the world. (Fargo Forum)

Bob Vila is (virtually) on his way to Nome to award the Nome Schoolhouse the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Award. (Fargo Forum)

And speaking of awards, Fargo’s Nora Becker won a ticket to a taping of “Saturday Night Live” after entering the show’s annual essay contest. (Fargo Forum)

And speaking of Fargo, Fargo’s Bob Matthews is known around Hollywood for his woodwork on movie and television porches and decks. (KFYR TV)

This is the cute story of how Lulu the pig joined White Shield’s DeHaven family. (KFYR TV)

Let’s Be (Official) Pals!

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Goot Girl | February 18, 2021

You may be surprised to hear that it’s been cold of late.  How cold?  Well, our friend’s oldest son was out on his backyard rink and shot a puck that went clean through his elderly neighbors’ brand-new fence.  Money in hand, the boy went over to apologize and pay for the damage.  The sweet homeowner waved him off, and said, “We saw that a family of boys had moved in, so my husband bought extra fence panels, just in case.”

This story reminded me of my own friendly “neighborhood” senior from my childhood – a quiet German widower named Dina.

Dina was a member of my family’s synagogue, where she attended every Shabbat service, volunteered in the women’s group, and single-handedly kept Andes Mints in production for the better part of half a century.  Dina would sit in the back pew with her gentle, stuffed animal-loving, developmentally-disabled son, Eric.  As soon as services were over, all of us kids would wander back under the guise of “saying hello to Dina and Eric” so as to pick up an Andes Mint and a compliment.

“Such a beautiful girl, such a goot boy,” Dina would murmur in a thick accent to each of us, producing a chocolate from her seemingly-bottomless handbag.  No matter how many children showed up to services, be it five or 500, Dina had enough mints for all.  If you were especially well- or poorly-behaved or Dina had recently filled up her coffers, you would be palmed two Mints.

Once a year, Dina and Eric would host the congregation’s Sukkah at their home.  A Sukkah, for lack of a more intellectual description, is a little tent that Jewish families put up in their backyards in order to celebrate the harvest holiday of Sukkot.  It was the job of the Sunday School to decorate the Sukkah with homemade art (as an aside, in addition to being a beautiful and goot girl, I am really, really good at making paper chains).

The Sunday School classes would go over to Dina and Eric’s house before the annual Sukkot celebration and gussy it up.  And, of course, Dina would thank us in Mints.  One year she gave us each five Andes Mints for decorating, and even more during the actual Sukkot party.  By the time I went off to college, I had eaten roughly 100,000,000 chocolates and been told I was a “smart, pretty, wonderful girl” about the same amount.

I came home for Winter break during my junior year, just in time for the synagogue’s Hanukkah party.  Dina and Eric had moved into an assisted living facility together by that point, and were both looking a little more frail than when I had left.  I shook Dina’s hand, as always, and she slipped me an Andes Mint.  “Such a beautiful girl,” she said, shaking my hand again.

Dina passed away at 94.  Eric followed a few years later.  In addition to the Mints, here are two more things about Dina: 1) She escaped Nazi Germany in 1938 after her brother and father were killed in the streets; and 2) outside of the occasional Andes Mint and/or stuffed animal splurge, she and Eric lived quite modestly; and so it was a bit surprising to hear that she had bequeathed the synagogue and the Grand Forks YMCA nearly a million dollars each after her passing.

I actually can’t remember the last time I ate an Andes Mint, and since I couldn’t think of a good photo for this story Kyle picked up a pack of ‘em and we set up a pretty artsy-fartsy model shoot.  Turns out Andes Mints are still as delicious as they were when I was a kid.

This week’s news has a lot of LEGOs, volunteer grandparents, and barn gnomes.  Read on.

The Bismarck Public Library has put together 250 LEGO kits – with 117 LEGO bricks each, courtesy of the Friends of the Bismarck Public Library – for kids to stretch their minds and their fingers.  And a bonus: they have put the kits with several non-profits that support low-income families, including The Banquet, Heaven’s Helpers Closet 701, and the Abused Adult Resource Center, as well as Little Free Pantries and Libraries around town. (KX Net)

Eastern North Dakota’s Foster Grandparent Program – which apparently secretly never actually went away – is officially back up and running and spreading “Grandma Magic” all over the area. (Fargo Forum)

A whole family of little gnomes are now keeping barn animals company, and the proceeds from their sale has gone to help at-risk teenagers. (KFYR TV)

Fort Stevenson is hosting a chilly but probably beautiful full moon candlelit hike on February 27. (Devils Lake Journal)

Want to take a glamour selfie and help a Fargo boy in his cancer fight?  Well, put on your party dress because the time is now. (KVRR)

Some of the longtime romantics at Baptist Health Care Center have offered up their “love advice” on the organization’s Facebook page. (KFYR TV)

Children and families in Dickinson are invited to come Skate with a Cop at the end of the month. (Dickinson Press)

Grafton’s Ty Olson is skiing 250 miles to raise money for the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation, noted in the article as “one of the poorest places in America.” (Grand Forks Herald)

Hillsboro’s Jeannine Bryant has published a book about losing her mom and her childhood home entitled, “Keep the Memories, Not the Stuff.” (Hillsboro Banner)

Jamestown’s Jamie Stoudt has written his first book, “Back Again,” about a woman who dies, but returns a few years later.  Creepy! (News Dakota)

And speaking of Jamestown – as you may recall, two women in Jamestown sent out a request for Valentine’s Day cards for a two-year-old boy battling cancer.  Unsurprisingly, thousands of people took to the post office. (KFYR TV)

(Like Amanda Silverman Kosior and/or North Dakota Nice?  Check out last week’s tale about very softshell crabs, or this Valentine’s Day story about Batman bat love.)

Five | November 5, 2020

Our five-year-old son lives a life of deeply passionate enthusiasm.  If he puts his mind to a topic – weather systems, trains, the human body, cookie cutters – he parcels out three-quarters of his brain so that he can fully evaluate and absorb every single aspect of said thing available in the known universe.  I should note that the other quarter of his brain is saved for chicken nuggets, which he recently announced he “is falling in love with,” because he’s only eaten about nine million of them in the last two years.

Five recently started Kindergarten.  He has the best teacher (both of our boys do; I have an out-of-state friend who just moved her family to get into a better school district, and it reminded me how lucky we are to live in a place where every school is filled with excellent teachers and principals) and she recently opened the door to his new favorite subject: Words.

Five has always had an unusual relationship with words.  As a baby, he would babble and bubble away for long stretches, genuflecting with his arms to further his point.  We took to responding to him – “Oh, really?  Tell me more!” – whenever he would take a breath, because while he wasn’t saying anything found in the English language, he was clearly saying SOMETHING.  This went on for so long that I started casually asking friends for a recommendation for a speech pathologist…and then one day, that kid opened his mouth and a fully-developed sentence came out: “The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side.”  Just kidding, it was something like, “I have a cookie?”  He got the cookie.

Five’s recent fascination with words started when his class began to learn about rhyming.  From morning to night for days on end, Five walked around the house, pointing to objects and saying, “Cushion, bushion.  Book, flook.”  I’d say, “What about ‘Book, cook?”  And he’d pat my hand and say, “No, Mom, FLOOK.”

At one point I found him sitting on the steps, lost in thought.  “Dad is a really good rhymer,” he told me.  “Dad?  I’m sure he is,” I said, wracking my brain for a time when I’d heard my husband rhyme.  “Yep,” Five said.  “Dad, bad, pad, mad, had, sad.  Lots of words rhyme with Dad.”

From there, of course, came spelling.  “I-T spells ‘It,’” he’d say.  “What does ‘C-R-K-Q-A” spell?”  A couple of weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with a little face pressed to mine.  “Mom,” he whispered through the darkness, “How do you spell ‘Carpathia?’” (Note: His other interest at the moment is the White Star Line’s Titanic-related fleet, because sure.)

After that, he moved on to connecting those words into jokes.  Or “jokes,” as our nine-year-old points out as only a brother can because, like his baby babbling, it’s humor that only Five truly understands.  Like this: “What did the hurricane say to the tornado?  You’re made of dirt!  GET IT?  Made of dirt??”  And then he’ll fall on the floor laughing hysterically.

Now he’s into putting those words on paper.  The linear structure of word formation clearly doesn’t fit Five’s style, and so we have pages upon pages of stories written one letter at time, with each letter placed exactly where Five wants it to go on the paper.  An example of this is shown above – it’s a story of a happy pumpkin.

In other news, Monday was North Dakota’s 131st birthday!  To celebrate, check out this week’s news – about a newfangled engine, “The Superbowl of Field Reports,” and a ND Nice Facebook exchange about a dog named Rufus.  Read on.

I was so excited to read this article, because I remember reading years ago about West Fargo’s Ernie Brookins and his quest to create a perpetual motion machine that needs only a drop of gas to work.  Now he’s on the home stretch to a patent, and is already working with a number of companies to get it implemented. (Fargo Forum)

This article on the Dickinson Museum Center’s live stream of their annual dinosaur field report had me at “It’s the Superbowl IV of paleontology field reports.” (Dickinson Press)

Ward County Deputy Keith Miller and Minot Senior Officer Aaron Moss were honored with a “Love Without Fear” award from the Domestic Violence Crisis Center for their compassion towards victims of domestic abuse. (KFYR TV)

If you like making snowflakes, the Baptist Health Care Center is looking for papercuts to cover their windows this winter. (KX Net)

Happy 110th birthday to Grafton’s Clarabell Demers! (Grand Forks Herald)

Dickinson’s Tori Zettel, age 9, was so inspired by the Great Pumpkin Hunt that she wants to start her own newspaper. (Dickinson Press)

A Bismarck girl scout troop put together “Boo Bags” for twenty children who were unable to trick-or-treat. (KFYR TV)

Starting in grade school, Washburn’s Peter Olson has turned his lifelong love of fishing into a career – including a YouTube series, which you can watch at Missouri Secrets. (Minot Daily News)

In this article about 20-year election volunteer Aanders Jackson, he quotes the County Auditor in saying that North Dakota is one of the best-run election spots in the county.  Based on my own easy and friendly voting experience, I’d agree. (KX Net)

If you need a little love today, one of the lovely ND Nice readers sent me a screenshot of this very perfect conversation about Rufus the Dog:

(Like the story above?  Check out last week’s tale of a pair of socks.)