North Dakota Today | May 24, 2023

On Monday, I went on North Dakota Today to talk about North Dakota Nice.  I work in marketing, so prepping people for media appearances is a standard part of my job; without exaggeration, I bet I have coached over 1,000 interviews.  There are a few baseline rules for television: sit up or stand up straight with your shoulders back; avoid noisy jewelry or garments that will interfere with the microphones; wear fitted and/or structured clothing to look thinner; don’t fart.  I didn’t have “don’t fart” on my list until I was privy to the worst interview I have ever seen with my own eyes during a press junket for the show Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  Melissa Joan Hart was in her early 20s and VERY MUCH over child stardom.  She slouched in her chair, one arm thrown over the back, and began every answer by smacking her gum and saying, “My best friend, Britney Spears…” or “My best friend, Soliel Moon Frye…”  After ten or so uncomfortable minutes someone on the stage let out what we were all feeling – a nervous fart, and every reporter immediately bent down over their cameras and notepads.

“That fart is going to be anything anyone talks about, thank goodness,” the intern next to me whispered.

“No farts; got it,” I whispered to myself.

(I feel compelled to note that Melissa Joan Hart is now a grown-up and seems to be living a lovely, non-slouchy life.)

Here’s the thing: while I have prepped a million people for interviews, I haven’t actually been on television.  Sure, I was in the background of the commercials for my family’s clothing store when I was a kid – but in terms of saying things into a microphone with a camera pointed at my face, nope.

There’s a reason for my lack of television prowess.  Have you ever heard the phrase, “She has a face for radio?”  Well, I have a situation for a blog.  In compliment of my nasally, Jewishy voice, my normal speaking speed is faster than the Micro Machines Man.  I am so pale – but not like “Nicole Kidman porcelain,” like “Guarding the Ark of the Covenant in a tomb in anticipation of the arrival of Indiana Jones” colorless – that one of my friends mistook me for wearing sweat socks instead of my own bare legs after a sunny college summer.  Also, I’d describe my body firmness as one of international appeal, in that I look like a French croissant.

Knowing these things, when I scheduled my North Dakota Today appearance I did what any person in my position would do: I bought a pair of shoes.  If you watch North Dakota Today you know that you never see the hosts’ or guests’ feet, so this was the right choice of action.

We have a bunch of great women’s clothing boutiques in Grand Forks, and so for the next two weeks I popped in to find a fitted outfit to go with my new shoes.  I bought sweats, a baggy short-sleeved denim shirt, a pile of floppy summer dresses, a novelty greeting card, and zero TV outfits. 

“No problem,” I told myself.  “I have lots of clothes; I’ll wear something I already own.”

I needed to be in Fargo – a one-hour-and-change drive from Grand Forks – at 9:00 am Monday morning.  At 6:30 pm Sunday night, as dinner was baking in the oven, I went upstairs to try on my plethora of outfits to find the best fit for television.  At 6:45 pm, Kyle came up to see what I chose and found me surrounded by the WORST CLOTHES in the WORLD.

“I look horrible in all of these,” I said, on the vergiest-verge of tears.

“What about this one?” Kyle asked, picking up one of my usual favorites.

“Too tight,” I said.

“Or this?” Kyle asked of another favorite.

“Too short,” I said.

Kyle patted my shoulder gently.  “Maybe you should run out and get something.”

“Everywhere is closed,” I said.  “And dinner is ready.”

“Target and TJ Maxx are open,” he said.  “Eat quickly, and then go.”

At TJ Maxx, I half-heartedly flipped through the racks.  Next to me, a lady sighed. I sighed, too.  Then, suddenly, the clouds parted, and a green dress appeared.  It was $19.99, and I bought it without trying it on (and there were about fifty left in every size if you want to get one so we can be a team).

The next morning, I woke up bright and early and realized I had meant to book a makeup appointment – and, like turning down that extra croissant, didn’t.  So, while the boys slept and Kyle made me coffee and breakfast because he is the BEST, I YouTubed “How to put on makeup for TV” and then slathered on foundation because that was basically the bulk of it.  I buttoned up my new favorite green dress, drove to Fargo without spilling any coffee or food on me, and was interviewed on North Dakota Today.  I don’t remember any of the interview because I left my body briefly somewhere in the middle, but I do know that both of the hosts and the secretary were incredibly nice and I had a wonderful time.  I didn’t fart.  Oh, and I didn’t wear my new shoes because they are five-inch heels and I honestly don’t know what I, the Queen of Converse Chucks, was thinking.

You can watch my interview here:

I welcome all comments, but only if they are positive because my croissant heart doesn’t do well with criticism.

AND GUESS WHAT.  I (and Kyle) get to do this rigmarole again because North Dakota Today is giving me a weekly segment to tell nice stories about people and happenings in North Dakota.  You can find me on North Dakota Today on Monday mornings starting June 19.  However, they are going to kick me off if I don’t have anything to say, so you can help me by telling me all about your nice friends and neighbors and flowering trees.  Please, please send me your stories at Amanda at (and if my friend, Scott, is reading this, I was serious about the duckling thing).

The photo above is a screenshot from the show.  There are only so many $20 green dresses in the world, so maybe I’ll put my normal outfits on Instagram on Sunday, June 18 for anyone who wants to help me decide what to wear.

 A group of Mandan High School seniors went back to elementary school for some cookies and memories. (KX Net)

Speaking of seniors, 28 of the 34 graduates of Nueta Hidasta Sahnish College graduated with honors, making it the highest (and largest) GPA class in college history. (KX Net)

This is my friend Dave, and I can guarantee that there is few more deserving of all of life’s blessings. (Grand Forks Herald)

Batter up!  It’s almost time for the 3rd annual Liam G Medd Memorial Baseball Tournament, held in Fargo in memory and honor of our friends’ son with the goal of reducing stigma around mental health, building hope, and ending suicide. (Facebook)

I love this!  Williston High School held a signing ceremony for students going right into the workforce. (KFYR TV)

Sixteen-year-old singer/songwriter Annabelle Maher has released her first album, two years after appearing on Today with Hoda & Jenna. (Fargo Forum)

As the mother of a child who used to make us stop what we were doing to watch the garbage men drive by, I can appreciate a good Touch-a-Truck event. (KFYR TV)

This one is a bit self-serving, but Number 17 is my godsister (i.e. the daughter of my godparents) – Grand Forks’ Leonora Pitts! (KX Net)

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Better let you go | March 8, 2023

If you are a North Dakotan, you know there’s a darker – but not like “Darth Vader” dark, more like “grumpy Death Star janitor” grey – side to the concept of “North Dakota Nice.”  Specifically, North Dakotans tend to struggle with direct negativity; meaning that if there is something not-so-nice we feel we need to communicate, we do it in a passive-aggressive fashion.  For example, if you say to a North Dakotan, “I think light ranch dressing tastes the same as regular ranch,” and the North Dakotan responds, “Oh, yeah?” in a casual and off-hand way, what that North Dakotan is actually saying is, “You must have lost your taste buds on a ranch dressing farm because nowhere in the frickin’ universe is that statement true.”

I was talking to a friend of mine (who worked for many years in city government so HE KNOWS) about these not-nice-isms and he reminded me of the meanest thing one North Dakotan can say to another: “Well, I’d better let you go.”  The translation of “Well, I’d better let you go” is “The only place I need to be in this world right now is as far away from you as possible.”  I had this conversation with my friend at a wedding reception last year and he ended our chat a few minutes later with “Well, I’d better let you go,” and he laughed and I laughed and I said, “Well, I’d better let YOU go,” and he laughed again and I laughed again and we haven’t spoken to each other since.

You may be thinking, “What’s so mean about ‘I’d better let you go?’  You’re just recognizing a person may have other things to do and giving them the space and time to go about them.”  You may also be thinking, “I’ve heard that Midwesterners take forever to say goodbye, so ‘I’d better let you go’ is a good way to put closure on those transactions without making it seem like you are overly-important.”  In both cases, you’re generally correct: North Dakotans are afraid of inconveniencing another person, and we (not ME, but most other North Dakotans) don’t like to make anything about ourselves (again, I have no problem with this, but other people do).  As such, we have for-real-nice responses for those scenarios; for instance:

This past weekend, Kyle and I ran into two of our friends at the rink before a hockey game.  The wife commented soon after the greeting that they had to go up to the third level to find their seats, which were different from their usual lower-bowl seats and therefore unknown.  Kyle and I, too, were on the move – we had people waiting for us in our own spot.  After we had talked for a bit, I said to Kyle, “We should let them find their seats before the game starts,” thereby acknowledging they had somewhere specific to be in a timely manner per their own indication and using that to achieve our own exit goals.

And another example: I was traveling for work a few years ago and found myself seated next to a friend on the airplane.  It was a late-night flight, and we both were tired.  We chatted during takeoff and the drink service, until I tipped back the last of my ginger ale and set it on the tray.  “Yep,” she said, in reference to nothing.  I nodded.  We sat in silence for a moment, and then she pulled out a book and I closed my eyes and our conversation came to an agreed-upon end.

My son had a hockey tournament earlier this winter.  After the kids went to bed, the parents went down to the hotel lounge for a chat.  On my left was seated one of my dad-friends (this story is just a “LOOK AT ALL THE FRIENDS I HAVE” brag-fest); On my right was a mom-friend (jeepers, Amanda, we get it, you have multiple friends).  The mom was engaged in a rapt discussion with the mom on her other side, and so I turned to the dad and said, “How’s work?”

“Good,” he said.  “How’s work for you?”

With that, I held him hostage for a solid hour.  Around the thirty-minute mark, he excused himself to get a drink – a perfect out – but another dad appeared out of thin air with a beverage and so he sat back down.  I came up for air fifteen minutes later and he said, “Yep,” and I nodded and then KEPT ON TALKING because the crazy train was well out of the station, choo-choo.  Finally, he looked me dead in the eye and said, “Well, I’d better let you go.” 

Obviously, I can never speak to him ever again.  Outside of no longer being human because I spontaneously melted into a puddle of embarrassment, avoiding this dad has been made difficult by the fact that he is, as noted, my friend (but really, Kyle’s friend – which, if I’m being honest, is probably the case in 75% of our friendships) and so I see him all the time.  In fact, he recently came to my house to pick up his child, who was playing with my child.  This is how that interaction went:

HIM: Hi, Amanda.  Is my son here?

ME: Yes.

[Gets kid, who takes an interminable amount of time putting on his shoes]

HIM: Work good?

ME: [Nods] You?

HIM: [Nods, gestures to the car] Gotta get to the gas station before supper.

ME: Yep.

HIM: [Nods, exits]

Anyways, if you are ever “Well, I’d better let you go”-ed by a North Dakotan and you feel like being a little saucy, respond back with, “No, it’s okay, I don’t have anywhere to be.” 


The photo above doesn’t have anything to do with anything, except that it’s pretty hard to have a bad day when Kyle wears that hat.

My amazing sister-in-law makes meditation music for a number of platforms, and she recently made a track ABOUT ME.  I’ve listened to it on repeat since she created it (and my wonderful and artistic niece made the cover art!).  Check it out. (Spotify)

I mean, this story is just so cute. (KFYR TV)

 Linton’s Dan Carr is the first head coach in North Dakota to reach 800 career wins. (KX Net)

Ready for spring?  The Fargo Public Library has free seeds to help you get started on your garden. (Valley News Live)

The Bismarck/Mandan Capital City Ice Chips synchronized skating team are national champions! (KFYR TV)

Good luck to Minot’s Gabby Johnson is on her way to nationals, having been crowned the North Dakota state poetry champion. (KFYR TV)

Fargo’s Alexis Engelking and Aaron Gnoinsky (‘s house) took center stage on on a recent episode of “House Hunters.” (Fargo Forum)

The Girls Class B basketball tournament is able to happen thanks to the help of 150 volunteers. (KFYR TV)

This is the car version of the “I know a guy who wears shorts all year ‘round.” (KFYR TV)

 The Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society is planning a Japanese Garden in Fargo in celebration of the non-profit’s 25th anniversary. (Valley News Live)

Did you see the story I posted this week about the Theodore Roosevelt Public Library?  Check it out. (North Dakota Nice)

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The Turkey King | November 30, 2022

Holy buckets, tomorrow is December.  Please say a prayer for Kyle, whose wife wouldn’t let him put up Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving.  I know that “Christmas tree timing” is a hot topic and I really have no opinion except that I am in possession of a bunch of Thanksgiving décor and am Toy Story-aware of the feelings of my box of paper mâché turkeys.  As always, my sweet husband tries to be mindful of the fact that I, too, have a holiday by suggesting we also display Hanukkah decorations, which…what would that be?  A baby pool filled with oil?

Speaking of oil, this American Thanksgiving Kyle deep-fried our turkey.  I say “American” because this was our second deep-fried turkey in 2022 (and ever); we also had deep-fried Canadian Thanksgiving turkey, and that’s what I’m going to tell you about today.

As I’ve said in the past, Canadian Thanksgiving is exactly the same as American Thanksgiving, except that it’s on a Monday in October and it’s Canadian.  This year, we decided to invite our eleven-year-old’s hockey team to our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner because their fall hockey season had recently ended and, more importantly, they are our friends.  They are so much our friends that 1) I didn’t even bother to clean the house before the party (meh, they’ve seen it), and 2) when we sent the invite everyone immediately RSVP’d with the food they were going to bring, even though at no point did I say it was a potluck, because that’s what friends do (and especially what hockey friends do).

Our guests ended up volunteering so much stuff – including their own chairs – that all I needed to provide was the turkey.  I did some quick math and figured that adults-plus-players-plus-siblings meant we could have up to fifty people, and so I would need two turkeys.  No problem, I said to Kyle, I would make one turkey on Saturday (the day before the dinner) and one on Sunday (the day of).

“We’ll be out of town Friday and Saturday for a wedding,” Kyle reminded me.  “Do you want me to see if someone else can do a turkey?”

“No,” I said, mindful of the fact that if I didn’t make the turkeys I would be nothing more than a guest at my own soiree.  “I’ll figure something out.”

Here is The Something I figured out: I would get up early and roast one turkey at 8:00am, and the second at noon.  I quadruple-checked the turkey weights and cooking times, and was 1000% solid on the fact that I could get two turkeys roasted and carved by the 5:00pm dinner.  Plus, I’d have the back-up meatballs (if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I always make back-up beef), which would go in the crockpot and wouldn’t be subject to any oven-related issues, should they appear.

The Thursday before the party, as I was packing up for the wedding, Kyle said to me,

“Oh, I told all the dads about the wedding issue and they said we could deep fry one of the turkeys.  It would be much faster, only 45 minutes.”

“But we don’t have a deep fryer,” I said.  “And we don’t know how to deep fry a turkey.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Kyle said with a wave of his hand.  “The dads and I got this.”

Normally, this would be the kind of last-minute laissez faire that would be ripe for a-fightin’ – but, as noted, these were our friends and I knew they would never leave me uncooked…nor would they care if things didn’t go perfectly.  Also, back-up beef.

“Sounds good,” I said.

Sho’nuff, by Sunday morning my patio was graced by one of the dad’s deep frying equipment.  Kyle moved it into the garage while I got the first turkey in the oven.

“Do you know how to set up a turkey deep fryer?”  I asked him.

“Probably,” he said.  “We’ll do it after hockey.”  (OH YEAH, I forgot to mention that; the boys had a skate directly before dinner.)

“Is that enough time?”  I asked.

“Yes,” he said.  “It only takes 45 minutes.  We’ll come here after hockey at 4, set up, and have the turkey ready to eat by 5.  We got this.”

“Sounds good,” I said.

Turkey #1 was done right at noon.  I pulled it out of the oven as Kyle set down his coffee and started arbitrarily injecting and rubbing Turkey #2 with random objects.

“Are you supposed to do that?”  I asked.

“Yes,” Kyle said.  He held up the injector.  “This was in the box.”

“Are you sure you don’t want me to roast it?”  I asked.

“Yep,” Kyle said.  “We got this.”

“Are you sure…” I said, pointing at the empty oven, and then, “Sounds good.”

Since I had a few extra hours on my hands, I pulled up YouTube because I figured it might be helpful if at least one person in the Kosior household was educated on the turkey frying process.  After sorting through a LOT of content about house fires (one of our guests was a firefighter, so that was his problem), I learned that the oil had to be heated before the turkey went in.

“The oil needs to be heated before the turkey goes in,” I said to Kyle as we cleaned up from lunch.

“Oh, okay,” Kyle said.

At 2:30pm, as Kyle was pulling out of the driveway for hockey, I shouted,

“Do you want me to start the oil while you are gone?”

And Kyle shouted back, “Nope, we got this.”

“Are you sure…” I shouted back, but he didn’t hear me.

Or maybe he did – because, twenty minutes later, I heard shuffling out in the garage.  Our next-door neighbor (and party guest) was maneuvering the deep fryer onto a makeshift platform out the side door.

“Kyle said you were a little worried about time,” he said, dumping the oil into the pot.

“I’m a little worried about all of it,” I said.

“Not to worry,” he said.  “We got this.”

“So I’ve heard,” I said.

Kyle was the fourth dad to arrive at the house after hockey.  By that point, the first three dads – including the neighbor – were standing around the deep fryer looking at the temperature gauge.

“’Bout ten more degrees,” one of them said.

Another one tapped his hand on the side of the pot to confirm.  “Yep, gettin’ there.”

The third nudged the stand with his toe and said, “Yep.”

Kyle, who had been wandering around the garage, took that “Yep” as his cue to go into the house.  He emerged a few minutes later with an apron, gloves, and the turkey on the fryer stick(?  Grabber?  Unknown).  He lowered the turkey into the deep fryer with the confidence of a man who had kerplunked a turkey in oil thousands of times before and was not doing it for the very first time without watching a single YouTube video – and then immediately wandered off again.  His spot was replaced by two more dads, who also looked at the temperature gauge.

Those five dads stood around the turkey for forty-five minutes.  At the end of the forty-five minutes, Kyle appeared from wherever he was, lifted the turkey out, set it on a cutting board in the kitchen, and, again, disappeared into the night.  The five dads, plus two more, came inside as I was taking the turkey’s temperature.  It was 15 degrees shy.

“It’ll get there; let it rest,” my neighbor said.

“Put it in the oven,” another dad said.

“Let it rest, then put it in the oven,” another dad said.

They stood around debating it for the next ten minutes – during which the turkey’s temperature got to its appropriate degree.  As per his M.O., Kyle came back from the mall or whatever and carved the turkey.  It was delicious.

That night, after we hadn’t cleaned up because everyone else had already done it, Kyle said to me,

“Deep-frying that turkey was really easy.”

“Easy for who?”  I asked.

“Yep, pretty easy,” he said, ignoring me.  “I’m going to do it for American Thanksgiving.”

“Better put the dads on speed-dial,” I said.

The photo above is of Kyle and his dad holding up the walls of the garage while the American Thanksgiving turkey was in the deep fryer.  It, too, was delicious.

This week’s news has a Toy Farmer, a real farmer, and a lot of nice people looking to make the holidays bright for seniors and families. Read on.

The Grand Forks Santa Claus Girls are at it for the 106th year, delivering 1,400 gift packages to low-income families around the community with the help of donors such as Deeks Pizza. (Grand Forks Herald)

A management class at Mandan High School cooked up Thanksgiving dinner for five Roosevelt Elementary families. (KFYR TV)

Speaking of Thanksgiving, the Jamestown community put on its 31st free Thanksgiving meal, distributing 1,060 drive-up dinners. (Jamestown Sun)

Live in Fargo?  Home Instead is looking for donors to help purchase 500 gifts for isolated seniors this year. (Valley News Live)

Live in Grand Forks?  Alexis Kringstad is putting together gift boxes for area elementary school families and is looking for dollars to make it happen. (Grand Forks Herald)

A mobile meats lab is making its way around southwest North Dakota to teach kids about ag careers. (KFYR TV)

Happy 111th birthday to Fargo’s Helene Sandvig! (Fargo Forum)

Kyle sent me this article with the note, “This guy is my hero.”  Dickinson’s John Jaeger is 92 years old and still farming…with his vintage equipment. (Dickinson Press)

This is the story of Toy Farmer magazine, which has been publishing from LaMoure since 1978. (Grand Forks Herald)

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