Who wears short shorts | May 10, 2023

After last week’s story about my hot hockey mom friends, one of their husbands strongly suggested I also write something about the hockey dads (he actually said “hot hockey dads” but let’s not get ahead of ourselves) to balance it out.  So, fine.

My favorite hot hockey dad, Kyle, has a confident personal style when it comes to clothing.  By “confident,” I mean “unique;” and by “unique,” I mean “if he lays his eyeballs on it, he’ll probably wear it.”  He owns a meat sweatshirt, which is a sweatshirt wrapped in a screenprint of a close-up view of a marbled slab of beef.  He’s mildly known for a red, white, and royal blue velour track suit I gifted to him kind of as a joke a few Christmases ago after we took the train from New Jersey to New York and Kyle was noticeably distressed to be the only dude in the station who didn’t have a gold chain and trackie.  Also, he devoted one full summer to seersucker.

Kyle comes by his fashion sense honestly.  Ignoring the fact that he was born and raised in Canada – Home of the Bedazzled Man Jean – Kyle works for a hockey agency and spends a lot of time adjacent to athletes, commentators, coaches, and related.  Hockey players and their surrounding personages are similar to other sports in that they are partial to jazzy outfits, and Kyle is no different.  Kyle once attended an awards ceremony decked out in the loudest sport coat I’ve ever seen in person (as a reminder, my family used to own a men’s clothing store so I’ve SEEN some STUFF), and when he texted me a group photo there were so many big dudes sporting gaudy suits that it took me longer than it should have to pick him out of the crowd.

The latest look in men’s hockey is 50’s-esque shortie shorts.  How short?  In the words of my friend, “bend over and show ‘em you’re nuts” short.  Kyle is 100% on board.

We were in the Cities this weekend for a hockey tournament.  The parents were hanging out Friday evening when I heard Kyle say loudly to the dads around him,

“Tomorrow we’ll go get some five-and-a-half-inch-inseam shorts.”

When I was a teenager, I visited my Jersey family and my aunt informed me that sparkly, off-the-shoulder, neon-colored body suits were VERY IN and, in turn, I said,

“That’s too much pizzazz for North Dakota.”

Thanks to the Internet, North Dakota is much more pizzazzy than it was back in the 90’s…but, like, not all the way more.  For example, at a recent board meeting one of the male board members walked in wearing a burnt orange polo shirt and another gentleman exclaimed,

“Whoa, Ted, you tryin’ to glow in the dark or what?”

So, when Kyle proclaimed shortie shorts to a group of dads whose idea of razzle-dazzle is a black stripe on a pair of black joggers, their collective souls scrunched up as if he had suggested they wrap themselves in tinfoil and do a group Riverdance down the streets of Minneapolis.  However, since 1) Kyle is their friend and they didn’t want to hurt his feelings, and 2) no one wanted to be the first to say they weren’t – what’s the word, I’m looking for? Brave?  Insane? – enough for shortie shorts, they all said,


“They aren’t going to wear shortie shorts, leave them alone,” I said to Kyle.

“Yes, they will,” Kyle said, knowingly.

Now the other dads had a conundrum.  If they sided with me – the person who was accurate in what was going to happen regarding shortie short purchasing decisions – they would be going against the Hockey Dad Code that states that Hockey Dads Are Always Right And Are Also Hotter than Hockey Moms.  If they sided with Kyle…well, they’d better make sure their leg hair was combed in the right direction because Sky’s Out, Thighs Out.

“Haha,” they said.  “Yeah.”

The next day arrived.  Our sons played an early-morning game and then weren’t on the schedule again until 7:00 at night, leaving MANY hours available for shopping.  The moms were discussing a plan to fill the time when Kyle reminded us – again, loudly – that the dads were going shopping for shortie shorts.  The other dads didn’t respond because they had individually elected to give Kyle a fifty-foot berth.

“No, you’re not,” I said.

“Well, later,” he said.  “After lunch.”

“Way after lunch,” I said.

Wouldn’t you know it, every single one of those dads miraculously had something to do that entire, previously unplanned, day.  Some of them stayed to watch one of the younger teams play their own game, which is something they had never done before.  One guy straight-up left town.  The rest disappeared into the ether, reappearing juuust before 7:00 pm.  The game ended at 9:00; the stores were closed.  Shucks.

Kyle, however, remained undeterred.

On Sunday, Kyle and I popped into a sporting goods store because I wanted to buy a t-shirt I didn’t actually buy.  Kyle bee-lined for the men’s clothing section, emerging pleased as punch.

“Good thing we didn’t get the five-and-a-half-inch-inseam shorts,” he said, taking a picture and texting it to his friends.  “They sell FOUR-AND-A-HALF-INCH shorts here.”

“Pizzazzy,” I said.

Full disclosure, I’m a fan of the shortie shorts.  The photo above is of Kyle in normal-length shorts.  He’s the one on the right.

The Velva Library is now the Iris Swedlund School and Public Library after being named for a beloved librarian. (KFYR TV)

The Dakota Cruisers are gassed up and ready to hit the road. (Minot Daily News)

In news that will also make our Canadian family happy/unhappy (because they are fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders), Minot’s Troy Kowal has been drafted by the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League. (KFYR TV)

Jim and Cindy Unruh have made the largest donation in University of Jamestown history. (Bismarck Tribune)

After only THIRTY YEARS, volunteers have raised enough money to revitalize the Lisbon Opera House. (Dickinson Press)

And in news that will make me happy/Kyle unhappy, line dancing is on its way BACK. (KFYR TV)

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Halloween, costumes, and hugs | November 2, 2022

I’ve written about Halloween costumes every single year I’ve had North Dakota Nice because I love costumes.  Lerve them.  Looove them.  One of my favorite costumes was a Rainbow Brite get-up that I wore for Halloween in 1985 AND 1986 because it had striped tights and a plastic smock and was rad.  Nowadays, if you were to dress up as Rainbow Brite you’d get a blonde wig and a giant hairbow, but the 80s were pretty literal so my costume instead came with a full-head mask where the eyes were punched, not in the face, but in the hair – because nothing says “Gonna take you for a ride” like four eyeballs:

Another favorite costume was in college.  Two of my roommates were English majors and I was an English minor, and we dressed up as a Prepositional Phrase.  Specifically, we were the phrase, “Against the wall,” with each of us wearing a t-shirt with one of the words (I was the “The”).  Exactly zero of our fellow Halloween partygoers got it; and when we educated them on our cleverness, most people nodded slowly and said, “Huh.” before wandering off.  (The following year I was a Sexy Pirate and everyone seemed to have a handle on that.)

The only thing I like more than costumes are hugs.  My dream job would be to be a Disney Princess, because dressing up like Sleeping Beauty and hugging kids all day sounds like a 1985 Rainbow Brite costume (i.e. rad).  However, it turns out you need to be “tall” and “beautiful” and not “short” and “Jewish-y-looking” to be a Disney Sleeping Beauty, so I guess I’ll just have to bide my time until Feivel Mousekewitz from An American Tail really takes off (what kid DOESN’T see themselves in a depressing story about escaping Russian pogroms?!).

Women (and maybe men, too, what do I know) love to talk about our Love Languages – Compliments, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Buying Candles And Then Never Burning Them.  My language is, obviously, Physical Touch.  I love hugs.  Lerve them.  I love strong hugs, wimpy hugs, one-arm side hugs, whatever.  If I had my way, I’d hug every one of my coworkers before and after work (and then I’d hug H.R. after they inevitably brought me in for a “Keep your hands to yourself” chat).  My little sister is my gold standard for hugging.  Her hugs are warm and smushy and smell great.  She could give me a birthday coupon for a ten-minute hug AND I WOULD USE IT, I REALLY WOULD.

Kyle’s family’s Love Language is No Touching – so much so that when we first got engaged and I was in the process of meeting his extended family my sister-in-law would go in ahead of me and warn them, “Hey, everyone, Amanda’s a hugger,” so they could steel themselves for what was to come.  However, for a family that doesn’t like touching they are incredibly good huggers, and I know because after seventeen years together they will initiate my hugs just to get them out of the way.

North Dakota is also not big on touching.  North Dakotans don’t even really like touching themselves (gross, not like that).  For example, I have been to many, many movies in the theater (humble brag).  In every non-North Dakota U.S. state where I’ve seen a movie, someone has applauded at some point during the film.  I have never, ever been to a movie in North Dakota where someone in the audience has felt compelled to clap.  This does not mean that North Dakotans don’t like the movies.  Au contraire.  It means they show their affection in other respectfully-distanced ways, such as wearing a humorous t-shirt with the movie’s tagline on it or telling their friends of their partiality towards the cinema.

Like my sister, North Dakotans are warm (and smell great); and, of course, they WILL hug; it’s just not their first instinct when engaging with someone.  “Well, everyone is like that, Amanda,” you may be thinking.  Listen, I lived in Boston for six years, my sister lived in Los Angeles for a decade, and our mom’s entire side of the family is on the East Coast – and I can tell you with confidence that East and West Coasters not only hug, but kiss one another like they are trying to win a numbers competition.  In more than one instance I have been introduced to an East or West Coaster who kissed me on the LIPS, and I honestly and truly can’t imagine what would happen if I did that to a North Dakotan (wait, yes I can – they would kiss me back and then avoid me for the rest of my life).

While the Kosiors are family and can’t avoid my hugs, I try not to put my fellow North Dakotans in a similarly awkward position.  However, I still need my daily touches, so I’ve taken to patting people on their back and/or arm as a consolation: “I’m so happy to see you [pat pat].”  “How have you been [pat pat]?”  “You look great [pat pat pat]!”  I’ve also found that if I pat people enough, over time they will hug me when they see me…so, double win.

Last night was the most beautiful Halloween in memory: sixty degrees, nary a whisper of wind, and a sun that shone all the way to sunset.  Kyle and I took our seven-year-old trick-or-treating (Eleven went with his friends); and Seven, who normally likes hugs about as much as his father, was so taken in by the weather, the candy, the decorations, and the spookiness that he actually stopped other children for a hug (or a pat) at various intervals throughout the evening.  I sneaked a couple from him since he was handing them out so willingly, and for a few brief seconds I was fulfilling my dream of being a Disney Princess – wearing my high school letterman jacket, but close enough.

The photo above is of me and my little anti-hugger.

I say this every year, but I am so touched by the fact that the entire Grand Forks comes together to make sure Halloween is a great time for all of our children.  Some of the neighborhoods must have received 2,000+ kids per house (I saw one news report that said 5,000 for a particular street), and they leaned into it with big-time decorations, food trucks, and teenagers tapped to play crossing guards on the busier streets.

Here is my favorite story from last night: We were walking through a sea, A SEA, of people when Seven screeched, “LOOK, IT’S PATRICK STAR!”  Lumbering straight at us was a 7’ tall blow-up costume of Patrick Star from the TV show Spongebob Squarepants.  “HI, PATRICK!” Seven shouted through the crowd.  “Patrick” walked a few steps past us, turned around, and from somewhere around his navel the voice of an elementary-aged boy yelled, “S’UP!”  He then turned around and disappeared into the throngs.  (Unrelated: from this point forward, I shall only respond to greetings with “S’UP!”)

This week’s news has Meatloaf and potato salad.  Read on.

That’s it, I’m calling it – this is the Nice Story of the Year: two kids in Minot realized a candy bucket was empty, so they refilled it from their own stash. (KFYR TV)

Twins Eddie and Vinny Opp are Halloween-famous around Hillsboro for their amazing costumes. (Hillsboro Banner)

Dickinson’s Eric Sticka is on the road to recovery with the support of the Sticka Strong community. (KFYR TV)

Fargo’s Big Boy, Meatloaf, Cinnamon, and Buggy are Internet celebrities. (Fargo Forum)

Speaking of famous, Eva Schlepp’s potato salad is the talk of the town in Ashley. (KFYR TV)

Bismarck teacher Robert Fuller competed – and took Silver! – at the International Powerlifting Federation’s World Masters Men’s Classic Championships. (KFYR TV)

Dickinson artist Linda Little has sculpted a bronze statue of Medora de Vallombrosa – the namesake of Medora – and has installed it at the Von Hoffman house in Medora. (Dickinson Press)

A two-hundred-year-old tree needed to come down due to Dutch Elm Disease, and so Bismarck carpenter Michael Knodel has spent over 1,000 hours creating “something special for the city of Lisbon.” (KFYR TV)

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Nice news of the day – September 25, 2018

Hankinson’s 17th annual Oktoberfest an extravaganza of lederhosen and laugenbrezel (Wahpeton Daily News)

Somewhere around 1,000 people are expected to descend upon Hankinson on September 29, 2018 for the community’s one-day Oktoberfest celebration.  The event will include hammerschlagen, face-painting, musical entertainment, a yodeling contest, and much more.  Said resident Jeff Stein to the Wahpeton Daily News, “While we’re not on that scale [of the Munich, Germany 16-day Oktoberfest], the spirit is the same.”

After nearly 30 years in service, North Dakota’s postmaster to retire (Valley City Times-Record)

Before becoming postmaster in Valley City in 2004, Sherry Johnson held the position in Fort Ransom, Kathryn, Lisbon, Casselton, and Enderlin.  She was also SCF Manager in Jamestown and Acting Manager of Post Office Operations in Grand Forks.

Cavalier comes together to build a new rail bridge (Grand Forks Herald)

Hundreds of text messages, emails, and phone calls paid off for the people of Cavalier, who raised $57,000 to replace a rail bridge that burned in a grass fire in June.  The community relies on the rail bridge for ag transport for businesses such as Cavalier Bean and Walhalla Grain.  Twelve donors donated nearly $5,000 each to fund the construction.

photo by Lukas