Live, Lake, Love | June 8, 2022

In a surprising move, I made a last-minute Friday decision to take my family to the lake for the Memorial Day weekend after our expected houseguests cancelled their visit.  It was surprising because I am not known for my spontaneity – when I first met Kyle, I told him that I wouldn’t go to the bathroom without a ten-minute warning – and also because I AM known for using free time for small projects such as sandblasting and repainting the entire exterior of the house.

Kyle, who is actually spontaneous, is always so happy when I say things like, “I just bought 200 feet of wallpaper,” so when I called him over the lunch hour about my unplanned plan, he was all in.  When we spoke he was in the garage preparing to leave for a meeting in Fargo, so he delayed his departure for five minutes in order to throw a duffle bag, the fishing rods, and tackle box in his truck while I booked a room at a lakeside resort a few hours away.

I finished work at 5pm, and spent the next hour running around like a contestant on Supermarket Sweep in order to gather up everything the boys and I would need for the trip.  Just as I was shoveling the last of the suitcases and children into the car, it dawned on me that I had forgotten something…goggles.  I ran back in, congratulated myself on being me, and hit the road for our weekend o’ fun.  We stopped for a Fargo fast food dinner and to pick up Kyle (who parked his truck at our friends’ house), and pulled into the resort a little past bedtime.

Our ten-year-old had used the drive to map out an elaborate activity schedule (the trip was Friday to Sunday, so Saturday was our “only” day), which was so action-packed that I wasn’t sure we would have enough time for a bathroom break, let alone a ten-minute bathroom break warning.  The grand finale was a pontoon rental/fishing trip at 5:30pm, which meant all of the other events needed to happen in a timely manner so as to get the family to the dock by 5:15.  Ten was recounting his schedule for the two-hundredth time when I opened a suitcase to get Seven some jammies and realized that the thing I had remembered I had forgotten was not the goggles – but was in fact, my underwear.

Growing up in the 80’s, clean underpants were a very big thing.  Like your American Express card, you’d never leave home without it.  We don’t seem to be concerned with this anymore, so either the results of dirty skivvies never manifested themselves or we are a lot less disgusting without Aquanet.  Regardless, old rules die hard; and so when I mentioned my predicament to Kyle he said, “No problem, we’ll have breakfast in town and you can grab some then.  It’ll be quick.”  He may have also mentioned something about wearing bathing suits for the next two days as an alternative, but I had stopped listening at that point and also I wasn’t going to do that.

Now, I don’t know if you know anything about resort town shopping, but if you are in the market for a sign that reads “Live, Lake, Love,” then you are IN LUCK.  If you want to buy ladies’ undergarments, however – well, it turns out a lot of people wear their bathing suits because it took me eight stores to find any.  I did, of course, find a pair of boxers that said, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” that I was going to get for Kyle because of its inspiring and worldly mantra but then remembered our tight timeline and moved on.  I was also pointed towards a tableful of nursing bras; close, but no cigar.  I should note that in the time it took me to procure two pairs of ‘pants, Kyle and the boys bought a cricket bat and ball, a hockey t-shirt, a novelty plate set, Taco Bell-flavored sunflower seeds, a USB hairdryer, and a hand humidifier.

We got back to the resort – a ten-minute drive from downtown – an hour behind schedule.  No problem, we told Ten – we would just cut a little bit off of each activity to get back on track.  This great plan worked exactly never because all the activities were so much fun that we had to drag both boys away after several gentle calls for, “We’re leaving now.  Okay, we’re leaving NOW.  Okay, NOW we’re leaving now.”

By 5:05, we had accomplished exactly half of Ten’s program; but ‘toonin’ time was nigh, so we rushed back to our room to grab the fishing gear.  As the boys were arguing over who was going to carry the Taco Bell-flavored sunflower seeds, Kyle casually mentioned, “Oh, right, I forgot to get bait.”  Ten froze.  No problem, we told Ten, once again – we would buy some from the guy renting the pontoons.  This was a resort!  Obviously, they would have bait.

The resort did not have bait.  “There’s a place downtown that probably sells it,” the suntanned young man at the ‘toon shack told us.  And then he mentioned the same store where I had purchased my unmentionables (it was a very versatile retail experience).  “We’re good,” Kyle said.

We were good.  It was an absolutely perfect evening – 70 degrees, blue skies, and not a mosquito or a lick of wind for twenty miles.  It turns out that both fish and little boys like beef jerky, because that’s what we used as bait and it worked.  When we packed everything back up into the car the next morning, Ten declared it “our best vacation ever” (and Seven declared that he wanted ice cream) so I guess we’ll have to schedule in some more spontaneity in the future.

The photo above was taken on the pontoon and includes me, Kyle, the Taco Bell-flavored sunflower seeds, and my new underwear.

This week’s news has a life-saving senior and a bowler named Maddy A.  Read on.


Manvel’s Robert Kennedy is a humble hero thanks to a quick-thinking Heimlich maneuver, which saved Curtis Carlson. (Grand Forks Herald)

The Bottineau VFW has been putting out flags – over 500, to be exact-ish –for a Memorial Day and Veterans Days Parade of Flags. (KX Net)

This particular article is for Bismarck, but I know many of the school districts in North Dakota are offering free lunches – and for some, breakfasts – over the summer. (KFYR TV)

Valley City’s Madison Anderson is in the 8th grade and will soon be rolling in a national bowling tournament (and you should click on the article just for the photo because it’s really cute). (Valley City Times-Record)

Bismarck’s Dylan Wetsch now has a new friend named Canam thanks to Make-a-Wish North Dakota. (KFYR TV)

Looking for a little light reading?  Check out my latest story on summer scheduling in the latest issue of Area Woman Magazine. (Area Woman)


Let’s Be (Official) Pals!

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Sorry | September 17, 2020

I have a Facebook friend who recently started a countdown to the end of what she calls “The garbage fire that is 2020.”  If you share a similar sentiment, you are welcome to join me and my Jewish compadres for the Jewish New Year (called Rosh Hashanah), which begins tomorrow night at sundown.  We celebrate, in part, by eating apples dipped in honey to usher in a sweet new year.  We may also douse ourselves in hand sanitizer – not for any religious reasons, of course, but hey, couldn’t hurt.

We Jews also use the new year to apologize for any unhappiness we intentionally or unintentionally caused in the past.  Apologizing is a very big thing in my household right now because I have two boys who like to literally and figuratively push one another’s buttons and are not sorry about it ever.  Last night our 5-year-old was bouncing on his brother (don’t ask), and when our 9-year-old decided he was done with that scenario, he shoved him off.  Unsurprisingly, tears ensued.

Me: Please apologize for hurting your brother.

9, deadpan: Sorry.

Me: Say it like you mean it.

9: But I don’t mean it.

I’d like to say I had a profoundly great parenting response that changed all of our outlooks forever; but in actuality I started to lecture about kindness, 9 interrupted with a relatively genuine apology, and the boys went back to bouncing on each other.  So, success.

All of this is so that I can share my favorite meaningful apology, found in the Grand Forks Herald (date unknown):

Jewish or not, I hope the coming year brings you good health, lots of happiness – and, if you need it, a meaningful apology from 2020.


If you’re looking for some bright spots in 2020, check out this week’s news – about good customers, good friends, and good strangers. Read on:

This is the perfect example of small town North Dakota Nice: The community of Gladstone is rallying around Lea Madler, a beloved barmaid who is fighting cancer, with a donation box, a spaghetti fundraiser, an auction, a bake sale, and good vibes. (Dickinson Press)

Like old farming equipment?  You’re going to love the Big Iron Farm Show, this weekend in West Fargo. (KVRR)

Fargo’s Emily Kingsleigh may look like a mild-mannered taxi driver, but she is actually a superhero who saved an unconscious man’s life. (Fargo Forum)

The newest comic strip in the Minot Daily News is drawn very close to home. (KX Net)

After Veterans Ayleah Peasley-Evitt and Greg Akason met at the Fargo VA, Akason started a fundraiser to help Peasley-Evitt get back on the road (instead of walking through snow). (KVRR)

Napoleon native Wayne Scherr and his horse Necker Island will soon run in the Kentucky Derby. (Napoleon Homestead)

Kendra Miller ran the Boston Marathon in Dickinson in support of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society (and in honor of her mother and aunt) – and she had a few fellow joggers join her along the way.  (Dickinson Press)

Fire prevention education at Manvel Schools has gone waaaaay beyond the typical “Stop Drop and Roll.” (Grand Forks Herald)

If you are a stepmom, Bismarck now has a support group for you. (KX Net)

Minot’s Independence Inc. has created a Career Connections program to take students with disabilities behind the scenes at local businesses to help connect them with careers. (KX Net)

Looking to get outside?  North Dakota Parks & Rec is looking for volunteers. (Jamestown Sun)

After 79 years, Mandan’s Albert Renner is finally coming home. (KVRR)

North Dakota Nice News of the Week | August 6, 2020

Time to go sunflower chasing!  According to the USDA, more than 20% of North Dakota’s sunflowers are blooming – and you can find a map of the best views here.

But before you go, check out this week’s news – about restaurant bros, Whispering Oaks, and 100,000 masks. Read on.

This is such a North Dakota Nice story that KX Net even titled it as such.  A Bismarck restaurant named Butterhorn is donating a portion of its weekly sales to help keep its restaurant neighbor, Noodlezip, in business. (KX Net)

You know I love me a good building mural! (Fargo Forum)

Norsk Hostfest may be cancelled this year, but one of the musicians, Daniel Starks, is putting on an outdoor concert to raise money for the Greater Minot Concerts. (Minot Daily News)

Sanford Fargo’s Wanting Huang reached out to her native country of Taiwan to get 25,000 masks donated for her fellow coworkers. (KVRR)

The Manvel community has come together – to the tune of about $150,000 – to save the Whispering Oaks Golf Course, which ended up with $200,000 in damage after all of the rain this year. (Grand Forks Herald)

This is a short but sweet read on the beauty of growing up a North Dakota farm family. (Fargo Forum)

The 701 Auto Enthusiast Club is cruisin’ in support of the Amen Food Pantry. (Dickinson Press)

Minot’s Catori Sarmiento has won the Literary Titan’s Silver Award for her science fiction horror novel, “Carnival Panic.” (Minot Daily News)

And speaking of winning, congratulations to Thompson’s Ashley Rae Klinger for being crowned Mrs. International 2020! (Grand Forks Herald)

It’s my favorite news time of the year: Country Neighbors! (Bowman Extra)

Fifty inmates at the James River Correctional Center in Jamestown have made 100,000 masks for those in need around North Dakota. (Grand Forks Herald)

For the 25th year in a row, the Sunrise Rotary Club of Minot is filling a bus with school supplies for more than 200 children. (KFYR TV)

After two years of volunteer planning and fundraising, Mott has a new nature trail. (Dickinson Press)