We are here to tell you your opinion | June 22, 2022

For those of you who don’t live in North Dakota, North Dakotans justify the fact that we deal with cold winters because the trade-off is absolutely glorious weather the rest of the year.  This spring, however, has been a little…inconsistently glorious…compared to others; and yesterday we celebrated the first day of summer with a preceding week that could best be described as “Windy as all get-out and hot as the sun.”

The air temperatures and speed seem to be North Dakota Normalizing (Is that a thing?  What do we normalize here – bars as both a dessert and a main dish?) to its expected perfection; but while it does, I thought I’d do a We Are Here to Tell You Your Opinion (click here if you don’t know what I’m talking about) on a few TV shows for you to consider watching when you’re inside taking a break from all the summer-ness.  All of these shows are pretty easy on the brain; let’s call them the Beach Watches of Television.

REACHER

Kyle started Reacher (Amazon Prime) because he read the Jack Reacher book series by Lee Child and was excited for the television adaptation.  I started watching Reacher because Alan Ritchson is handsome and I wanted to look at him.  We ended up bingeing the entire first season over the period of a week, during which we learned 1) Alan Ritchson is from GRAND FORKS, NORTH DAKOTA which is obviously why he’s my brand; and 2) Reacher is a fun – if you consider gratuitous violence “fun” – action series similar to Criminal Minds, except that Jack Reacher is a nomadic vigilante supported by the law, instead of being the law itself.  Viewer beware: In addition to the violence, there are a couple of nudie scenes.  Here’s the trailer.

WELCOME TO FLATCH

Full disclosure: I didn’t want to start watching Welcome to Flatch (Hulu) because it looked too cornball-y for me.  I only gave in because we had finished re-watching Derry Girls for the second time and I was feeling too jolly to start Ozark (it turns out I still feel too jolly to start Ozark, and now we’re the only people in the world who haven’t seen the finale).  After three episodes I was hooked on Flatch – which, as I figured, turned out to be cornball-y, but in the best possible way.  Flatch is a mockumentary about life in rural Kansas; specifically, as it centers around two wannabe wild and loose cousins, the town newspaper editor, and Father Joe, played by ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA’s Seann William Scott.  As is the case with almost every comedy about the Midwest, every character is lovable, every character has big dreams, and every character begins to fulfill (or actually fulfills) those big dreams in a lovable way.  Here’s the trailer.

SHORESY

Speaking of shows I didn’t want to watch, when Jared Keeso, one of the creators of Letterkenny (a show about a town in Canada that Kyle LOVED because it reminds him of home, and I thought was pretty funny for about 10 of its 61 – and counting – episodes), announced he was making a spinoff about the fifth-most annoying character on Letterkenny, I was a hard pass.  I can’t remember how Kyle talked me into Shoresy (Hulu), but I’m pretty sure I agreed to it because I secretly wanted to scroll my phone for an hour.  I’m glad I actually paid attention because Shoresy is all of the silliness of Letterkenny with the added bonus of character development and a storyline.  Shoresy is about a Canadian men’s league team that is about to fold because they have lost all of their paying fans – and so the character of Shoresy (who is the king of hockey chirps and also cries at the drop of a hat) convinces the owner to keep it going with the promise that “they never lose a game.”  If you like hockey and bros, I think you’d be hard-pressed not to like ShoresyHere’s the trailer; head’s up, there’s a bad word in it.

RESERVATION DOGS

Kyle and I will watch basically anything by Taika Waititi, which is how we came to find Reservation Dogs (Hulu).  Reservation Dogs is a half-hour comedy-ish that follows four teenage friends on a reservation in rural Oklahoma.  Taika Waititi does a great job developing interesting characters, and the show is worth it just to see the four leads interact with one another as they deal with a host of lighthearted, and also not-at-all-funny problems, such as the death of the fifth member of their group.  I was going to try and give an example using quotes from the show but there are A LOT of swears in Reservation Dogs, so here is a link to a scene where Bear – one of the teens – meets his haphazard spirit guide for the first time.  Also, here is the trailer; although I’m not sure it best represents the overall storyline (the part where they steal the chip truck is the first scene of the show and is kind of a MacGuffin).

SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE

Kyle and I knew we were going to watch Somebody Somewhere (HBO) basically no matter what because it was written by EAST GRAND FORKS, MINNESOTA’s Paul Thureen and stars Bridget Everett, and we like both of those things.  Despite the fact that Bridget is a comedian, I’m not sure I’d call Somebody Somewhere a comedy; it’s a gentle, friendly look at some serious issues in small-town Kansas (Kansas is having a real entertainment-based renaissance, apparently).  The whole thing is like watching some of your perfectly pleasant acquaintances live their lives for a few months.  It’s such easy watching that we didn’t even realize we reached the end of the first season until we couldn’t find any more episodes.  Here’s the trailer.

The photo above doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but Kyle made that sign for our seven-year-old’s lemonade stand, and Seven made a sign that said, “Beer J/K Lemonade,” and both of them were pretty proud of themselves.

This week’s news has a Rendezvous and a Wagon Train.  Read on.


Tomorrow is the first day of the Santee-Lucky Mound Pow Wow in Parshall – check it out. (KX Net)

This is in here entirely for me to tell Kyle because he’s going to want to go: Fort Union is holding the 39th Annual Rendezvous. (KFYR TV)

Minot’s father-son duo David and Dayson Dannewitz received the North Dakota Highway Patrol Colonel’s Award for Excellence for helping clear two troopers out of the snow during the April Blizzard. (KX Net)

Westward, Ho!  Participants from 21 states and two countries are traveling as a part of the 53rd annual Fort Seward Wagon Train, which goes from Jamestown to Montpelier (and back again) this week. (Jamestown Sun)

Grand Forks’ Lily Goehring was one of twelve contestants performing on last night’s episode of Dancing with Myself. (Fargo Forum)

Bismarck’s Allison Keller dyed her hair blue in order to get her students to return their library books. (KFYR TV)


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Cougar Woods | June 15, 2022

When I was in high school, my boyfriend said to me, “If you’re going to be in business, you need to know how to golf.”  This was the late ‘90’s, when being “in business” meant wearing power suits with white sneakers and drinking martinis and obviously I was going to do that, so I agreed.  He and I went to the golf course on a foggy fall day.  He set up a tee and ball on the first hole, handed me his driver (I feel compelled to note that he was 6’2” and I was 5’2” and that club fit exactly one of us), gave me a quick, helpful instruction on how what to do, and stood back while I swung for the fences.  Then, he walked twenty feet up to where my ball had landed post-hit, picked it up, and threw it in the direction of the green.  We repeated that same process roughly a million more times – hit the ball, throw the ball – until we reached the fifth hole and he said, “You know, you’re good at other stuff,” and we left to go get ice cream.

I was “in business” by my early twenties, and so my boss invited me (and my white sneakers and martinis) to a charity golf tournament.  “Do you know how to golf?”  He asked.  “Oh, yes,” I said, remembering the advice I had been given on my first outing.  I borrowed a set of clubs from my friend’s little sister, bought three golf balls (I mean, how many does a person need?) – and, using those rightly-sized clubs, hit the crap out of all three balls right into the woods or the water on the first two holes of the course.  I spent the rest of the tournament driving the golf cart – i.e. one of my many “good at other stuff” skills – and charming everyone with my near-constant chatter.  Unrelated, I was not invited along on any future golf outings.

Fast-forward a decade or so to when Kyle and I took the boys to Arizona and he suggested we fill the time by going to Top Golf.  Top Golf is a multi-story driving range with digitally-chipped balls that track where they go on the range.  Also, it’s a restaurant and bar.  The boys liked it because they could hit golf balls for two hours.  I liked it because I could sit on a couch surrounded by nachos and cheesecake (martinis) and still have close enough access to my then-four-year-old to hold onto his shirt so he didn’t swing himself off the range.  With about ten minutes left in our reservation, the four-year-old took a nacho breather and Kyle suggested I use his turn to whack a couple of balls into the virtual water hazard.  Full of cheesecake and mirth, I did – except that instead of whiffing the shots, they went straight (and up and down like a rainbow, which I’m sure is the technical term for describing a proper golf ball path) and true.

“Mom is the best golfer in the world!”  Four exclaimed.

Buoyed by my newfound designation as the best golfer in the world, I spent the next couple of years showing off my rainbow golf skillz at every Top Golf-esque driving range in the United States.  Finally, earlier this spring, I told Kyle that I was ready to give for-real golf a for-real try.  He quickly bought me a set of clubs before I could change my mind/the martinis wore off; and then told one of our friends about it so that I couldn’t do that thing where I would act really grateful and excited about the gift but then hide them in the back of the garage for all eternity.

That friend and her husband invited us out for my (third time’s the charm) maiden voyage.  Kyle prepared by purchasing a sackful of golf balls and tees.  I prepared by Pinteresting “cool weather golf outfits to wear with white power suit sneakers” and finding places to hide airplane bottles of vodka in my golf bag.  We played nine holes of a game called Bingo Bango Bongo, which is where two golf teams compete to earn three points – longest drive, first to the green, and first in the pin – a great game to play with a novice, as teams advance to the best ball…no throwing necessary.  My team won because I am the best golfer in the world (I got one total point, and lost two balls) and, unrelated, my teammate and friend was an actual skilled golfer.  Despite the fact that it turned out that my golf skillz were only to be found at Top Golf, the whole thing was so fun – thanks to lovely, patient, helpful friends and a beautiful evening – that I decided not to throw in the proverbial towel, and instead kept it tied to my golf bag to wash off my balls (for whatever purpose that would serve).

Since then, another one of our lovely friends has invited me to Lady’s Night, and my co-worker has agreed to come with me to a thing called “Divot a Try,” where you pay $20 for a golf lesson and a drink ticket – and all of those things sound awesome.  Also, I bought a golf skirt – so I guess it’s for-real-for-real that I’m an official golfer.

The other night, we took the boys out for nine holes of golf.  I parred one hole and shot a billion on another.  Kyle texted a photo (above) to my best friend, who replied “She’s a regular Cougar Woods.”

This week’s news has an old family and hidden treasures.  Read on.


The nearly 340 descendants of Erick and Kari Evenson will soon celebrate North Dakota’s oldest family farm by ceremonially break the ground in Mayville using Erick and Kari’s original plow. (Grand Forks Herald)

Bismarck’s Pam Crawford has published a children’s book about change, starring an eight-year-old adventurer named Leia. (KFYR TV)

Head on out to McKenzie County Heritage Park this weekend for the annual dinosaur dig. (McKenzie County Farmer)

Congratulations to Minot’s Sidni Kast, the new Miss North Dakota! (KFYR TV)


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Heavily Meditated | April 20, 2022

I don’t want to brag, but I am exceptionally good at worrying.  If there is a real (or assumed) situation, issue, non-issue, or potential future scenario in need of a place to settle in, my brain is always open for business.  It’s fortunate to be riddled with anxiety because it means that I get to wake up in the middle of the night and re-evaluate every word I’ve ever said to another human being, which is an efficient use of time that would normally be wasted by sleeping.

There is an interesting social phenomena called “prevalence-induced concept change,” which states that – in its simplest “I’m-not-a-scientist-don’t-take-my-exact-word-for-it” form – when a person’s actual problems are reduced, they will redefine other non-problems as problems so as to keep the quantity the same.  Or, in other words: if you don’t have anything to worry about, you’ll give you something to worry about.

Which is what happened to me.  I’d finally reached the point (knock on wood, knock knock) where my kids, husband, job, home, hobbies, and nighttime skincare routine were all in a good place.  With nothing to stress over, my brain went on the hunt for something new.  It all came to a head – pun intended – when I found myself having full-blown panic attacks every time my six-year-old told me a kid was no longer his friend (if you’ve never been around a first grader, you should know this happens 1000x times a day).

I decided to take my crazy down a couple of notches through the practice of meditation.  And by “decided,” I mean my best friend told me I needed “Xanax, meditation, or both.”  I opted to start with meditation.

There are many, many forms of meditation.  There’s Guided Meditation, in which a whispery voice tells you what you should be thinking.  There’s Mindful Meditation, in which you are fully present with your own thoughts (yikes).  There’s Metta Meditation, for sending good thoughts to other people; Focused Meditation, for going all in on one of your five senses by staring at a candle or rubbing a rock or whatever; and Mantra Meditation, for those who like to repeat a word (presumably not a swear word) or sound over and over again.  There’s Yoga Meditation, which is what it sounds like; and Movement Meditation, which is Yoga Meditation for people who stink at yoga.  There’s Visualized Meditation, and Zen Meditation, and Chakra Meditation, and Sound Bath Meditation, and Transcendental Meditation, and meditations for basically every type of spirituality under the sun.

The reason why there are so many types of meditation is that the goal is to control your mind instead of it controlling you…and your mind isn’t always a good sport about it.  For example, I fell asleep during my first three tries at Guided Meditation, and I spent the entire session of Yoga Meditation thinking about how I was going to do laundry when it was over. 

What finally worked for me was Breathing Meditation (what it sounds like: breathe in, count one; breathe out, count two; breathe in, count one; etc).  I was physically at my son’s hockey practice but mentally in a work situation that had happened hours before – I figured I could either breathe for three minutes or just leave the building, since I wasn’t there anyway.  Wouldn’t you know it, I calmed down.

While I still do Breathing Meditation, I’ve also started Mantra Meditation because…well, I like it (I use the phrase “Release” because my husband and I like to shout it at one another when we’re overthinking things).  Some people meditate for like an hour at a time; I think I’ve maxed out at thirty seconds.

Anyways, I feel better.  I haven’t entered a new state of conscious being, but at least I’ve stopped wallowing in a sea of anxiety every time I get an unimportant text message.  One day, I’ll realize that none of it is important; or I’ll get a prescription for Xanax.  Maybe both.

The photo above is of what I think I should probably look like when I’m meditating.  Truth be told, I’ve never meditated like this in my life (usually I’m just walking around or living my life; I’m not exactly a crackerjack meditator).  It took me five minutes to get my feet like that.  Those house plants usually live in the kitchen.  Also, I was sitting on a slippery blanket and kept sliding forward.

This week’s news has an amateur meteorologist, a one-day mayor, and a snowmobile taxi service.  Read on.


Mandan’s Ronda Gustafson turned her hairbrush into a microphone and became part of North Dakota’s newest storm team. (KFYR TV)

Watford City third grader Brocktyn Devlin has been elected as the city’s Mayor for a Day. (McKenzie County Farmer)

You may have heard that we got a lot of snow last week.  In Dickinson, Kari and Jeff Maas helped over a dozen essential workers get around town, courtesy of their trust snowmobiles. (KFYR TV)

It’s the anniversary of the Flood of ’97, and in honor of the dramatic rebuilding and revitalization that has occurred over the years, here is a series of photos from when it all happened. (Grand Forks Herald)

Thank you to Voyage Minnesota for featuring North Dakota Nice on their site! (Voyage Minnesota)

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