Parking Like You’re the Only Car on the Lot | March 2, 2022

We have reached the point in winter in which North Dakotans adopt the age-old adage, “Dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, and park like you’re the only car in the lot.”  From the months of April through December, a driver will identify an empty gap between two uniformly-striped parallel lines and maneuver their vehicle so it is placed between those two lines.  From January to March, however, it’s less “neat and orderly lines of cars” and more “uffda, whatever.”

There’s a mathematical equation for when this occurs, which is [Amount and Color of Snow + Number of Previous Days Below-Zero] x [Everyone’s Feelings of Doneness in Regard to Winter].  When that result is greater than the number of North Dakotans traveling to Arizona, Florida, or Mexico, society’s laws of parking no longer apply. 

Squirt International | February 23, 2022

Last weekend, my ten-year-old played in the Squirt International hockey tournament in Fargo, North Dakota.  The “Squirt” in “Squirt International” refers to the age group in which he skates – specifically, fourth- and fifth-graders.  My son, a fourth grader, is a first-year Squirt.  I’m not sure why “Squirt” is the nationally-recognized term, but my guess is it has something to do with the fact that kids of this age like to hold their water bottles out in front of their pelvic region and squirt water/Gatorade all over the ice to simulate going to the bathroom.

The “International” part is because this tournament attracts 240 Squirt teams from all over the United States and Canada, who descend on Fargo for three four-day hockey tournaments (80 teams per weekend) in February.

Road trip | October 27, 2021

The boys were off from school last week – and after deciding that we were definitely, definitely going to stay home and just chill, come Friday Kyle got antsy in his pantsy and quickly planned an overnight excursion to what was supposed to be Medora.  If you have read North Dakota Nice for a while you’ll know that “planning” a trip for Kyle consists of packing a suitcase and maybe having a hotel room and/or destination in advance of departing the house; while I, on the other hand, require every single second of the day scheduled and reserved from start to finish.  We met in the middle for this particular trip in that I got a handshake agreement that we would drive to Bismarck via Jamestown, sleep in Bismarck so the kids could get a swim in the (reserved) hotel pool, and then wake up early and head to Medora for a day in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Postcards from the middle | October 13, 2021

Kyle recently came back from a work trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“How did it go?” I asked.

“Great!”  He said – and then, forlornly, “But I couldn’t find any postcards.”

Every single time Kyle travels, he sends a postcard.  By “a postcard,” I mean upwards of a dozen of them.  And by “travels,” I mean if his head hits a pillow that is not his own, it counts as a trip – including once in Grand Forks when we booked a hotel room because we were having some work done at the house.

Sofa, So Good | September 2, 2021

We just passed the one-month mark of living in our new house.  At least, I *think* it’s our new house.  Considering there are stacks of stuff everywhere, we may be living in a box fort.

This is the exact text conversation I had with a friend right after we moved in:

Friend: How’s the unpacking going?

Me: Slow.  But my parents are taking the boys this week so we’ll have it all done by Saturday.

Friend: Ha ha!

Me: Ha ha!

Good Advice | August 26, 2021

A huge part of my job is understanding social behaviors; and if I had to use one word to describe all grownups right now, that word would be TIRED.  It’s like being at a party where you were ready to leave 45 minutes ago but your ride is debating whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich with a large group of people, and so you sit there with your empty wine glass, avoiding a refill or a trip to the bathroom or anything, really, that would delay your exit, responding to all attempted conversations with, “Oh, yeah?  Oh, okay.”

Ten weird minutes | August 19, 2021

I recently came back from a work trip, my first since February 2020.  The actual travel portions of my work trips are typically completely unremarkable – transport to destination, check into hotel, complain to coworker about the air conditioning/pillows/ice machine/Wi-Fi, sleep, eat breakfast, leave – but the universe wanted me to remember this particular trip (as well as remind me that I apparently do not belong in normal human society) because this is what happened in the span of about ten minutes:

We are here to tell you your opinion | June 24, 2021

When we were first married, Kyle and I went to the movie theater so often that we took it upon ourselves to create a movie review website, called We Are Here To Tell You Your Opinion.  This website was not borne out of altruism or a desire for fame; rather, we are both oldest children, and it is our God-given right to tell people what to do.  It’s important to understand that absolutely no one in the history of cinema had or has ever asked, “Hey, I wonder what Amanda and Kyle thought of The Grey?”

Fort Abercrombie | June 10, 2021

My ideal vacation consists of strategic lounging.  I lounge on beaches; by pools; in restaurants; on patios.  In the early morning I lounge with books; midday I lounge with pina coladas; and in the late afternoon I lounge with my eyes closed.

On the other hand, the only time anyone lounges on a Kyle-planned trip is when…[Read on]

Bingo Queen | January 28, 2021

This week’s story is about lunchtime bingo, and this week’s news is about a video, an app, and a lot of cell phones.  Read on.

Nice news of the week – July 23, 2020

Did you know there are three astronomy clubs in North Dakota (Grand Forks, Fargo, and Bismarck) that offer viewing nights, star parties, and stargazing programs – and welcome visitors?

And did you know this week’s news is all about beautiful manicures, beautiful rocks, beautiful chalk art, and beautiful neighbors?  Read on.

Nice news of the week – June 4, 2020

Did you know the Fargo Moorhead Area Youth Symphonies are performing live every Friday on Facebook?

And did you know this week’s news features an Employee of the Month, a poetry contest for high schoolers, and free ice cream?  Read on.

Nice news of the week – May 28, 2020

Did you know Ellen DeGeneres has named Inkster’s Katie Ralston one of the country’s top 100 educators?

You can learn all about this awesome Midway Public Schools’ pre-K teacher in this week’s news – which also features a cemetery rebirth, a backyard concert, and more.  Read on.

Nice news of the week – May 14, 2020

Did you know Josh Duhamel, Amy Olson, Matt Cullen, and Tom Hoge spent a (relatively secret) day on the Fargo Country Club course on Tuesday in the name of charity?  You can watch a 3-hour special on the game on May 31; a link to the details is in this week’s news.

And speaking of this week’s news, it also has vegetable seeds, Prairie Musicians, wet-collodion photographers, and more.  Read on.

Nice news of the week – April 30, 2020

All of our North Dakota food banks are being stretched thin as more and more people need their services.  If you can, deliver up some North Dakota Nice by donating non-perishables and hygiene products!

And speaking of North Dakota Nice, this week’s news is about a family that cleans together, a gaggle of lawyers, and beans beans the musical fruit.  Read on.

Nice news of the week – April 23, 2020

Isolation aside – did you know Bismarck is one of the top five cities in the U.S. with the cleanest air, when measuring ozone (smog) and particle pollution, and all of North Dakota holds an A-grade for lack of ozone pollutants?

And did you know this week’s news has a new take on prom night, on marathons, and on love letters?  Read on.

Nice news of the week – March 26, 2020

If you are able, take a few minutes today to hang some hearts in your front window for #aworldofhearts – a now-global effort, started by Bismarck’s Mandy Gill. 

You can find more details on #aworldofhearts in this week’s news – which also has dinosaurs, snowmen, music, and the Story of the Week (which is about teachers).  Read on.

Nice news of the week – March 12, 2020

Congratulations to Valley City’s Nicholas Lee, who was presented with a Diamond Coach Award by the National Speech & Debate Association for his work with the students at Valley City High School!

Check out this week’s news, which has all sorts of great stories about law students, time capsules, tractor pulls, and more.  Read on.

Nice news of the week – January 30, 2020

Congratulations to Mrs. North Dakota International Melanie Iverson and Miss North Dakota International LeAnne Brydl!  Did you know this week’s news is about an enthusiastic reader, a field full of helpers, the Story of the Week – and much more?  Read on.

Nice news of the day – January 17, 2020

Did you know the Leach Public Library had a record number of socks – 877 pairs, up from 556 last year – donated for their annual Sock Tree to help men, women, and kids with the Three Rivers Crisis Center stay warm?

And did you know today’s news is about boxing, books, and beautiful voices (aka, the Story of the Week)?  Read on.