Friday, July 30, 2010

Allan the Hunter

We have a very minor insect problem here. Compared to my childhood on the farm it is hardly worth mentioning except that the particular insect is really gross. I had never seen it before we lived here and between Yemen and the farm I thought I'd seen everything! The bug is a bit less than an inch long, brownish black, with short legs and antennae. In other words, really creepy looking. They appear alot near the floor vent in our bedroom and also in the bathroom. They appear under piles of clothes or a towel that have been on the floor. I found one in my laundry basket earlier this week. Yucky.

Allan took immediate interest the first time he saw one, and his hunting instincts kicked in! He would paw and bat at it, and eventually eat it. Gross, but at least I didn't have to pick them up and squish them myself!

There he is, patrolling the house. Haha, I love this picture!

The arrangement was working fine until, earlier this week, I found a big pile of cat vomit on the tile floor in the basement with a bunch of black bug parts in it. GAG! It was disgusting. No more bug hunting! At least I'm not going to encourage it anymore! I have to remind myself that Al doesn't have the garbage disposal digestive system of a farm cat. I think he was embarassed. . .it was hidden in the corner behind the TV.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

TV For Sale

During my second year of law school, I moved into campus apartments. First I had a tiny one bedroom, and then I had a slightly larger two bedroom. I had a modest, cheap TV that my dad and brother had ran out to buy when I was moving into my overpriced but nice off-campus apartment at the beginning of my first year. They also, so thoughtfully, brought a nice reminder of home when they pulled up with the trailer of furniture from the farm. They had brought three of Pete's childhood 1/16 scale John Deere tractor toys that they rescued from the attic to "remind me of home." Haha, I needed it because I was about 30 miles away! I thought it was funny, though, and lined them up above the kitchen cabinets where they stayed until I packed up that expensive place and stored everything before my summer in Norway.

I moved into the two bedroom over Christmas break, and during that time Justin, although he wasn't really allowed to live there because we weren't married and he wasn't a student and he never even had his own key until after our wedding, heard from a co-worker about an electronics store (not a TV store, but a store that sold autostarts and car stereos) that was getting new display TVs around their showroom and waiting room. If he wanted, he could get a 36 inch flat screen tV for $200. The catch was that, although the screen was flat, the TV itself wasn't. It weighed about 250-300 pounds and was so deep it occupied a whole corner of the room. It required a special stand to support its weight.

That blasted TV, the bane of every man who ever helped us move's existence, went up three flights of stairs to the third floor of 500 Tulane Dr. and down again after a year and a half. Then it moved into a very multi-cultural West Fargo apartment and then it moved up three more flights of stairs to our apartment in Bismarck. Then it went back down one year later. Then it went up our side door stoop and down the narrow flight of stairs to rest in our basement, but not before it smashed into the stair railing and sustained a small puncture in one of the speakers. That's alot of travel for a piece of electronics that almost cripples anyone who tries to move it. I think it would be easier to move a piano than that TV.

As Justin has been making his plans for the basement, he has decided that they don't include a cumbersome 300 pound TV that is deeper than it is wide and requires a stand that looks like it belongs in a college guy's video game lair. He was going to put it in the garage but decided that my little law school TV would be OK out there instead. So tonight he listed it on a local classified website (The same classified site where I found my parent's dog, Wally, in the giveaway section! He was definitely a good find!)

That is the link. . .I don't know if it will work for you or not because it is hard to paste things on blogger. . .you have to do it in the edit html section and. . .blah blah blah I'm sure you don't care! Just copy and paste the link in the address bar!

While doing research on the TV, Justin found out that when it was new this behemoth TV cost $2,700.00! Wow that is alot of money for a TV! We are selling it for $175.00 or best offer. Hahaha. Any takers?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Couch!

This week, we have been preparing to finally finish the basement! Justin painted the large family room down there during wintertime. All that was missing was carpet and furniture.
Yesterday evening, we went to a few stores and brought home a few carpet samples. Then we went to a furniture store. Justin had been looking at a specific sectional at this store, so he showed it to me and I agreed that it was a good choice.

I don't really like shopping for furniture. Of course, I love new furniture and shopping in general. I just get the feeling that the whole industry is a huge racket. Everything is always marked on sale, and they are always telling you the price listed is "only good" for another week, or another few days. My beliefs were reinforced on this purchase because the original couch was found in the clearance store attached to the real store. We decided to enter through the main entrance and take a walk around the regular store. Surprisingly, the same couch was on the main floor at the same price! And they had several in stock and could order more in different colors. That doesn't sound like clearance to me!
I'm glad we found it in the main store, however, because the salesman (if I could call him a man. . .he was more like a immature teenager) was actually pretty inappropriate the first time we shopped! He seemed OK, but when we were getting ready to leave, he said to Justin, while gesturing toward me, "Be careful when you bring her in the sun. She'll melt!" He gave a weird look, and so did I, and he said, "you know, because she's a ginger." If you are unaware, that is a teasing reference to someone with red hair. However, it is usually reserved for banter between good friends, and none of my friends call me that. Then, not catching our discomfort, this fool proceeded to start talking about his friend with red hair who got really sunburned at the state fair because she didn't wear sunscreen. He started talking about how he didn't have to worry about that because "I actually have pigment in my skin!" Justin and I got out of there pretty fast after that. I couldn't believe that happened. What kind of salesperson on commission does that?? Can you imagine if you were buying something and the salesperson said, "Oh, well, you better not have sugar in your coffee, since you are pretty fat." or " Wow, you need a dye job, I can see your roots," or "those clothes are not flattering," Even more annoying was the fact that this guy was overweight and paunchy and looked like his hobbies include World of Warcraft and Halo and not anyone I would find attractive. Well, I'm sure his girlfriend, who he mentioned repeatedly, has golden skin filled with pigment and perfect blonde hair.
Anyway, I was hoping he wouldn't be there tonight, but we didn't have to worry because another salesman intercepted us in the main store and got the sale. I could see Captain Inappropriate sitting in the clearance section. His stupid comments lost his sale! Ha!
I was reminded by this episode that I have had a bad experience with a furniture salesman in the past. When I was getting ready to move to law school I needed a new bed because I had lived in dorms and at KD all through college so Justin and I went to look at a store in Fargo. I told the salesman what I was looking for and law school came up. He said, "I had a friend who was going to go to law school. . .he decided to become a minister instead! Talk about complete opposite ends of the moral spectrum!" I was like "Uhhh, OK, BYE!" What an a$$. Everyone knows that all clergy members are not even close to moral and not all lawyers are crooked. It recently came to light that a minister from my youth was cheating on his wife with a prostitute who tried to extort him and might possibly have been pregnant with his child. Yeah, most of my law friends do that. . .or not. And I won't even get into the whole child abuse by priests thing. And even if he thought it, it probably wasn't the best thing to say to a potential customer! That store was already going out of business when we were shopping, and I guess I know why.
Anyway, the carpet and sectional are ordered! It should all be done within a few weeks!

Defaultina McBankruptstein

Hola! I am very happy right now because, as I speak, the Bar Exam is going on about 10 blocks from where I sit in my living room and I am not there! I never have to take it again! Oh, what a nightmare that test is. When this time of year comes around I always think of this joke-y rant that has been around for awhile and gets passed around between bar takers every year. I don't know who originally wrote it, but they were feeling very frustrated and decided to rave about the nonsensical nature of the practice questions in the review materials. In the practice questions, real states' names aren't used and are instead combined into fake states, such as "Calizona" or "West Dakota". The names of the defendant character in the question always start with D and the fact patterns are outlandish. I don't know if anyone else will think this is funny but I am doing it in honor of the bar! (Shudder, goosebumps, vomit in my mouth). Oh, I appologize for the language. It is not my own, and I'm not going to sensor it because it is important for conveying the frustration of the original author, which any bar taker has felt. Also, FYI, any word ending in "acre" refers to property and is normally named after a color, like blueacre or blackacre. I bolded the joke, so anything in normal font is something I wrote.

1. People who don’t record their deeds: (this fact pattern was very annoying, in my memory.)
Hey. Fuck face. That’s a nice deed you got there. Went ahead and bought Stankacre, didya? That’s awesome. Owning property is a sign of real maturity. Now, why don’t you do us all a fucking favor, and go record the fucking deed.

Right. Fucking. Now.

Don’t put it in a goddamn drawer. Don’t go off to India for 20 years. Don’t leave the deed in your will for dear cousin Victorianox. Get your fat lazy ass down to the records office, and record it before I burn your goddamn house down.

2: Wily property sellers:
Here is a suggestion to those Bill of Rights violatin’ petty thug assclowns, the Police. How about you go down to Doucheacre, and arrest the son of a bitch who sells the same house to 15 different people, over and over. I’m sick of this guy getting away every time he pulls this shit, and I’m left to sort out the fucking pieces.

3: “Known” arsonists:
Here’s a little tip to all the cretins that keep hiring “known”arsonists to burn down their cheating girlfriend’s house. Why is it, do you think, that he is a known arsonist, you dipshit? He’s known because he has been fucking caught before. You don’t know who the good arsonists are, do you! Because they have their shit together. But no, you had to go hire Dusseldorf, or Durango, or whatever D word your fuckwit moron arsonist is named, and now he’s gone and burned thewrong house, and left me with a BAR question.

4: People who back out of conspiracies:
Why don’t you just stick with it and save us all some trouble, you pussy.

5. Power companies that leave an electric wire live to deter copper theft:
(This still makes me laugh, because I picture stereotypical thieves wearing black eye masks or big rubber halloween masks that look like Richard Nixon.)
While I appreciate your effort to rid the world of thieves stupid enough to try and steal raw copper wiring that’s fucking humming and has blue arcs dancing on it, it’s just gonna bite you in the ass inthe end. Just let the copper go.

6. Fertile Octogenarians:
(This refers to the concept in property and wills that there is always a possibility that a new heir can be born, even if the woman in question is 80 years old. I always imagined my grandparents saying "guess what? You're getting a new aunt or uncle!")
I think I speak for all of us when I say……Burn the witch! Burn her! And don’t use a “known” arsonist!

7. People who use anything more complicated than Fee Simple Absolute in a will:
Hey, old man. Either give Horatio your fucking interest in Scroteacre, or don’t, alright? Don’t condition it on him growing a mustache, or learning to play the calliope, or winning “Dancing withthe Stars.” Don’t grant a springing executive interest to Zenobia if she manages to graduate from Ninja academy. Stop making my life more complicated than it needs to be, you Narcissistic old twat, and stop trying to control your property fromthe grave in a vain attempt to make up for your feebleness in life.

8. House Painters:
(This referred to contracts and I read the page in my review materials so many times I can still see in my head what the page looked like one year later. Very annoying page.)
Just paint the fucking house yourself, Paulson.Trust me on this one. It’s not worth it.

9. Bank Mortgages:
(SHUDDER! This subject is something that is pretty important and practical in real life law practice, but on the exam the fact patterns were the opposite of practical.)
Hi there, First National Bank of South Calizonachussettsas. I don’t mean to tell you how to run your business, but allow me to impart abit of sage wisdom.
When someone :
1) named Defaultina McBankrupstein,
2) is taking out her 17th mortgage with you,
3) on a place called Mushacre
4) so she can buy a new hat,
….do NOT fucking come crying to me when the inevitable judicial foreclosure sale nets $34, a button, and some lint, all of which are devoured by the banks that are 20 miles ahead of you in creditor line. And do not ask me whether you are a junior or senior mortgagor, or whether you debt is secured, or some other bullshit I don’tunderstand, because the answer is always the same.
D) You are Fucked. Take it like a man.

10. Wanna-be Burglars:
I am sick to death of these slackjawed melon-heads deciding at 2 a.m.that they need to borrow their neighbors wrench, and are sure he”won’t mind” if they saunter on over there in the middle of the night,crowbar the garage open, smash open his tool chest, and “borrow it.”And then always the inevitable fucking:
Did he commit Larceny/Burglary/Robbery?????? Ohhhhh, no intent!

Let him go, boys. Let the man go. So I can throw the wrench right at his goddamn teeth. Good thing when we are really in practice we will have these Intent Goggles that can magically tell us, despite every bit of evidence to the contrary, this jackass really didn’t intend to commit a crime. He genuinely thought that breaking into your neighbor’s house, stealing his car, taking a shit on his pool table, and sleeping with his wife were all part of the social covenants between good neighbors.

And that just covered multiple choice. Imagine the essays.
Good luck, test takers. By this time tomorrow you will only have two hours left!

Monday, July 26, 2010


I went camping in Red Lake Falls this weekend with Andrea, Kirk, Katie, Adam, and Pete. For those of you unaware, when I say camping I also mean tubing. By tubing, I don't mean the kind of tubing where you are pulled at a high speed behind a boat on a lake. I am referring to the kind where you sit in a tube, tie your tube to your friends' tubes and tie those tubes around a smaller tube with a cooler full of beverages on it. Then you float around on a river for several hours. Since my mom is originally from Red Lake Falls we have been doing this since I was pretty young. Well, I should say we have gone tubing. We didn't camp there. This is what I planned for Andrea's bachellorette party back in 2008, and we went last summer as well.

I arrived late on Friday, around dark, because I attended my classmate's funeral in the morning. This worked out fine, because by the time I arrived the camp was already set up and all I had to do was inflate my air mattress and crack open my beverage of choice! I shared a tent with Katie and Adam and I burst out laughing when I saw their nice arrangement. . .

It looks like a real bedroom! Mine wasn't quite as nice. . .

It was sprinkling for awhile, but fortunately it passed and we were able to stay up late by the fire.

Although I rarely carry an umbrella, I happened to have mine in my purse! Yeahh!
We got up and went on the river on Saturday morning. The water was pretty high and fast, so the route took around two hours. Pete had to work in the morning, so he arrived after lunch, still in his bank outfit, and we gave him provisions immediately.

I should mention that we were celebrating Katie's 25th birthday, which is July 25. Her golden birthday! Mine golden birthday occurred when I was 4, before I was aware of what a golden birthday was, and I always wished I had experienced it! Haha, oh well, I'm not scarred for life or anything!

We went tubing again in the afternoon, and it was a good time. It was really hot and we made several stops at little sand bars and islands, which turn into party spots on weekends.
This is just a shot from camping. Of course, I didn't bring my camera on the river so you will have to use your imagination for those.

On Sunday, I was at the farm and got the pleasure of watching my dad in action with his new bulldozer he bought recently.

He demonstrated tree removal by pushing down a tree, just for my amusement! (Don't be alarmed. The woods around the farm are filled with old trees that are rotting and dying. Most of them were planted when the house was built, over 100 years ago. The one he knocked down had lived its life.)

There it goes!

On Sunday evening, my parents went out for a long-distance run. Their golden retriever, Wallace, also known as Walter, Wally, or Wal, usually runs with them. Wal loves water. The first day he lived with us last summer we were amused to find out that he liked to splash his feet in his water dish. We got out the old turtle sandbox and filled it with water and he sloshed around in it like a wallowing swine. He goes in the creek and puts his head under water and wags it around. He even loves to be sprayed with the hose! He opens his mouth and lets you spray him in the face with the jet setting!

My dad decided to push himself on Sunday and instead of going home early, Wally stayed with him. When he got back to the yard he was breathing very heavily and frothing like a race horse. My mom was worried about him so she decided to spray him to cool him down. What followed was one of the most hilarious displays of dog behavior I have ever seen!

He laid down in the turtle and enjoyed a shower of ice cold hose water.

Soon his leg was hanging out over the edge. When the pool was full enough he started lapping up the water and dunking his head under. Although I've seen him enjoy water, I've never seen a display quite so extreme! I took around 20 pictures of it!

Justin wasn't able to come camping because he had to work until Saturday in South Dakota, but he had a fun weekend as well. He went to the ND State Fair in Minot and saw a concert on Sunday night.

That is Justin and our friend Jason. They saw Eric Church, who is a younger country singer. I saw him a few years ago when he was still an opening act, and I think he's pretty attractive! I wonder if Justin and Jason agree?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Exploring the 'Hood

I recently rescued my bike from its position hanging upside down from hooks in the garage and went for a ride around the neigborhood. I haven't used it since last spring (yes, spring 2009), when we still lived in our apartment. That day, I decided to look up the trails in town and chose one that was an accessible distance to the apartment and was not too long. I trekked up and down the steep hills of North Bismarck and it was exhausting. When I finally arrived at the trail entrance there was a gate across it. Lame. No trail for me. After that, I didn't ride the bike for rest of the summer, mostly because it was so steep up there that riding was painful for a person like me, accustomed to flat Eastern ND.

While I was riding a few nights ago I decided that this neigborhood is like a kid's fantasy neigborhood. There is a large park two blocks from our house that has tennis courts, a skate park, a frisbee golf course and a large swimming pool, as well as an ice rink during the winter. The indoor golf bubble is close enough to bike to (although it would be hard to do so with a golf bag!) and two golfcourses within minutes of our house. There is an elementary school one block away and a middle school with a track and football field about 4 blocks away. I'm especially excited about the track because I can rollerblade on it! I can roll pretty fast, and I don't fall, but I can't stop very well and trying to tackle hills is out of the question so I'm glad I found a safe place to rollerblade nearby! (There are flatter trails in the southern part of town but I would have to drive to them). I appologize for the lack of pictures. I didn't know if people around here would appreciate a stranger on a bike lurking around and taking photos of schools and swimming pools from a distance.

If I see any overweight kids around here I am going to follow them home and give their parents a piece of my mind! There is no excuse for that around here. It's safe for kids to be out alone around here and there alot to do, so get moving kids! Shut off the video games!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

uhhhh. . .What the H3LL?

Yesterday I thought I would pick some peas from the garden so I could make some stir fried rice (a new dish I learned from for the purpose of using the peas from the garden) for lunch. I gathered the peas out in the warm sun, and it was a very idyllic nice moment. Out of curiousity, I thought I would look closer at the green bean plants to see if there was any beans to pick. The bean plants have been a disappointment this summer, as I have already mentioned. Well, I found some beans on the plants. . .everyone knows what green beans look like, right? (I found that photo on the Internet. . .I might be bored, but not bored enough to take photos of produce. Well, unless it is on a plant in my garden. . .I guess I did take photos of tomatos I picked last fall right after I started this blog. . .Ughh never mind.)

Well, check these out!

What? What happened to those? I think we need on extension agent on the scene because there is a problem in the garden! These came from the same plant, and the other plants did not have beans like this (they didn't have beans at all), so that is good news. . .I guess. . .Don't worry, I didn't eat them. I thought that if the bunny rabbits didn't feel comfortable eating them like they are eating everything else then I shouldn't either. First the potatoes, now this!
There was a fast moving thunderstorm, complete with hail and a torrential downpour this evening. I was out riding my bicycle and saw the black clouds approaching. I know this isn't exciting or worth mentioning in any way. The only reason I am mentioning it is to point out a difference between Bis and the cities I am familiar with back in the flat valley.

When it rains, especially when it rains alot, it is kind of like a flash flood every time because of the hills! The water surges down the streets and the gutters turn to little fast moving streams. Then, within 20 or so minutes, the water is gone! No puddles, no soggy lawns or gardens. It's kind of cool. It is probably why the mosquito population seems lower as well. The photograph above was supposed to capture the phenomenon but it really doesn't.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend Fun II

OK, I'm back for the second time in one day to continue with what I was saying this morning. On Saturday we all got up early and the guests left for their hunting trip and Justin and I went to Fargo to meet my parents. Then we headed to Minneapolis for a MN Twins game! I was excited because I wanted to see the new Target Field. My parents, brother and sister have all seen it this summer but I had not. It was steamy hot and bad weather threatened. When we drove by Alexandria the clouds were so dark it seemed like it was night time even thought it was 2 pm. As we entered the Minneapolis area it started raining! Ugh! We were staying at a hotel downtown so we could walk to the stadium and we ended up taking the hotel shuttle because of the rain. Fortunately, by the time we arrived the rain had stopped! Perfect! We got a beverage and explored the stadium, which is much better than the Metrodome, at least for baseball purposes.

This is a shot of the grounds crew removing the tarp from the field after the rain let up.

We sat in left field on the home run porch. No balls came close though! It was a really nice night. It was still hot and balmy, but the sky was overcast which made the heat tolerable. We enjoyed several cold beers and some kettle corn as the game progressed. After a few innings I got up to use the bathroom and when I returned I couldn't find where the rest of the family was sitting so I scanned the crowd, looking confused. I finally saw all three of them waving at me and I waved back and started climbing up. I soon realized, however, that they were actually waving at the beer vendor that was on the stairs near me. Haha.
After the game, we decided to walk around and find a bar where we could hang out and eat. We made our way to Dan Kelly's, a nice little place a few blocks from the hotel, and on the walk a violent wind came up and it started downpouring! Ahh! Everyone on the street ran for cover and by the time we got to the bar we were really wet, complete with stringy hair and smeared eyeliner for me. It was a relief to get inside with a bunch of other dripping wet fans in Twin's gear who looked as disheveled as we did. My brother was at the game as well with a group of guys that were in town for a bachelor party. Since the "party" was the night before they were feeling low key and he and two of his friends met us at the bar.

It was kind of uncomfortable being in damp clothes for the rest of the evening. I called it the "JV player, Varsity bench warmer" feeling, because it reminded me of when I played JV basketball, and then, instead of going to the locker room at the end of the JV game, my teammates and myself would sit on the bench as the last resort, emergency, unlikely to play unless the game is a total blow-out, subs. At first, we would be flushed and hot from our game. As the night wore on, however, we would cool down and be stuck in a damp, sweat soaked uniform and socks for the next 1.5 to 2 hours. Soon, the chill would set in. Icky. This weekend was quite different because, although we had damp clothes on, we were allowed to drink beer, eat nachos and burgers, and not have to live with the embarassment of sitting on the bench all night!
The next day we subjected Justin and my dad to some shopping, and, big surprise, they found stuff they wanted to buy! Justin even picked out a pair of shoes for himself at DSW! As did I. . .
Fun weekend. . .
On a sad note, a friend of mine, a law school classmate, died over the weekend. He had been battling cancer for two years. He found out about it the day he and most of my other classmates got sworn in in October of 2008 when he had to miss the ceremony because he had severe stomach pain. He thought it was appendicitis but it turned out to be cancer of the colon, which spread to his liver. He was 40 and has two children. I'm not really sure what I want to say about it yet, but I felt the need to acknowledge it somehow. I might write more about it later.

Weekend Fun

We had a very full weekend and were occupied from Friday afternoon through Sunday night! This was fine with me. I've never been a fan of low key, "relaxing" weekends. This might have something to do with the weekly boredom of being unemployed. Even when I am employed, though, I still feel that way. But, anyway, this weekend was fun! On Friday, we had four friends, Aaron, Andy, Chris and Jason, stay with us. They were on their way to Western ND for a hunting trip. We grilled steak, and made corn and potatoes. We had plans to prepare fresh potatos from our garden and the thought of it was mouth watering! Justin went out to harvest some and I imagined him coming into the kitchen with an armload of fresh, earth-smelling potatos.

There used to be a burger restaurant in Grand Forks that was owned by a local farmer. It specialized in wood fired burgers and french fries and I thought it was delicious. It was fast, but the food was a step up from normal fast food. The decor had an agricultural theme, with murals on the wall of lush wheat and potato fields. There was a scripture verse on one wall, 1 Corinthians 3:7, which says,

"It is neither he that plants anything, nor he that waters, but God who gives the increase."

I admit, I had to look up the book and chapter. I haven't studied scripture since my days of confirmation and Sunday School. I have always liked the poetic language of some Bible verses. The kind of irritating thing is that the verse I am referring to is not specifically about agriculture but is actually about a divided church in the ancient city of Corinth, and the language about planting and watering refers to the two ministers that founded the church. They disagreed about who was responsible and who should have credit for the growth of the church. The Bible is full of metaphors and other literary devices, and not suprisingly, people on the Internet have interpreted this verse many different ways. It is used in lessons about evangalism, to encourage those who can't get through to someone they are trying to save. I even found another blogspot site where the blogger named his blog after the verse! (I would link to it but I read it and it wasn't very good. The writer took a trip and only wrote one paragraph about it! ONE!? About a whole trip? Why even bother? Also, it hadn't been updated since 2007). The verse is also commonly used in agriculture related lessons so I am going to interpret it that way, just like the restaurant owner.

Anyway, that might have been boring for anyone reading this. The reason I brought up the scripture verse is that our potato harvest kind of reminded me of the verse. Justin came in from the garden with one small potato the size of a golf ball! He had dug up two plants and that's all that came of it! I expected more of an "increase" than that, especially since the plants are huge! Fortunately, our guest Andy's family has a large potato farm so he was able to diagnose the roots and suggested that they weren't getting enough water. The good news is that he said its not too late to start watering them more so we can increase our "increase"! What a relief.

Allan loves when guests come and he was really friendly.

There he is, lounging in Andy's arms like a cute little baby! You can see he is relaxed by the way his paws are positioned.

Allan's fun went downhill when our friend Chris arrived. He has a 6 month old puppy named Mercury (Merc for short.) Merc is very friendly and playful and wanted to make friends with Al. Al was not crazy about making friends with him!

It is hard to see in the picture, but Allan's tail is puffed up and his is on guard! He didn't know how to react to his guest. He even hissed a few times. Merc was oblivious to Al's discomfort and made himself at home. Poor Allan! Whenever Merc was in the room Allan stared him down with his back arched and his fur puffed. When Chris brought Merc downstairs to put him in his kennel I saw Allan slinking down the stairs behind them. So, although he was scared he was also curious and had to investigate! He is funny.
After we ate, we went to a bar by the river to enjoy the lovely summer evening. Justin and Andy stayed home with Mr. Puffy Tail and Merc. We were only there for about 1.5 hours due to Bismarck's lame 1 am bar closing time and when we returned Allan was back to his old self, lounging in the window on the back of the couch, with his tail twitching and whackin Andy in the face occasionally.
I'm going to pause now and write the rest of the post later because it is getting too long and I need to do some productive things like go the the Y to compensate for my weekend sloth and gluttony and buy some food because there is nothing here to eat except frozen hamburgers and grapes. . .come back later for part II, which involves a weekend trip.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Guess What's Back?

Aaawwww no. . .look what's back! There are a few ferns infiltrating the new flower bed and the newly planted grass! They better enjoy growing while they can because I'm sure when Justin returns they will be GONE. Haha. Those plants sure are determined!

Do you see the fern in the middle of the picture, sort of to the left? Allan is really worried about them. He likes a neat flower bed.
By the way, I have had people tell me that they have tried to make comments and the website wouldn't allow it. I was looking at the features and settings and realized that I had a certain setting set so only other blogger members could comment. Now anyone can! So if you feel compelled. . .I would be surprised! Haha.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Goodbye "The Hills"!

Tonight was the series finale of a TV show I have been watching for several years. This show is "The Hills" on MTV! "The Hills" is a sort of reality show that is sort of scripted that follows a group of really attractive people in their early 20's and their lives in L.A. It is a spin-off of an earlier show, Laguna Beach, which ended in 2006. Laguna Beach featured a group of rich teenagers who always had some sort of "drama" to discuss for the camera. (Imagine "drama" being said in a drawn out, valley girl/boy voice!) Most of the characters were so dumb that they could barely have a coherent conversation. The more interesting characters, mainly Lauren Conrad, continued their stories on "The Hills" after Laguna ended.

Ahhh, there is the Laguna cast from the 1st season. New characters were added each season.

"The Hills" featured some new characters in addition to Lauren. They all had too good to be true jobs at fashion magazines and recording studios even though none of them had college degrees at the time. (I think Whitney might have one, but I'm not sure about the others). The girl on the right, Heidi, was originally Lauren's roommate. She became one of the show's biggest drama queens.

This show has had 6 seasons. Everyone, even fans like myself, is able to acknowledge how pointless and stupid the show is. Who cares, though! The new episode of each week is shown at 9 pm, the perfect time of day to sit and let your brain relax. It was such a relief after a day of law school drudgery or studying for the bar or a hot day of lifeguarding in the hot sun to take 1/2 hour to watch this crap. The main plot of the show over the last several seasons has revolved around Heidi and Lauren's falling out after Heidi started dating Spencer, a huge d-bag that everyone hates and that hates everyone. Supposedly, Spencer spread a rumor that Lauren made a risque tape with her ex Jason (some huge moron that was also on Laguna Beach. Lauren gave up a summer working for Teen Vogue Magazine in Paris because she wanted to hang out with him. SICK!). Eventually, Lauren got tired of all the drama and left the show in order to pursue her own interests. (These interests include a cheap clothing line that you can buy at Kohls.)

After that, the show went downhill in my opinion. MTV tried to salvage it by bringing Kristen, a drama queen from Laguna Beach, back into the mix. Kristen is really attractive and is always wearing amazing eyeliner. After Laguna, she thought she was going to be a famous movie star but she sucks at acting so that didn't work out and she had to go back to MTV.

That's Kristen. That picture might be a few years old, but it doesn't really matter. Her hair is pretty amazing. So many people try to get that perfect blonde and it never works! If I had straight hair I would love to try that hairstyle.

Heidi, the roommate, married her awful boyfriend during the show and they are on the quest for fame. She tried to be a pop singer and her song and music video were laughable. She recently had 10 plastic surgery procedures and looks like a scary mannequin or something. It is really terrifying.

This is Heidi in 2006 when the show started. She is a fool, but she was definitely beautiful.

This is her now, shown in a still from the show. She is 23 and looks like she belongs on the "Real Housewives" series as a 38 year old who wants to look 23. She had liposuction, work on her whole face, and now has DDD's. Seriously. Gross. Her lips are full of fillers and she had her body reshaped. She had her back contoured and a$$ cheek implants! It's pretty sad, actually. During the season, she looked like she was healed but she could only talk very softly because her jaw had been reshaped. Everyone thinks Spencer brainwashed her and is keeping her isolated from the world. I don't know how much of it is an act, but during this season he started wearing a bunch of new age crystals as jewelry and both he and Heidi talked about a bunch of crazy new age nonsense. They left the show early before the season ended. Ahhh, they are the characters everyone loves to hate! Just writing that paragraph made me realize how bizarre the show was getting.

Goodbye, The Hills, and good luck cast members. I can't imagine what else lies in your future, besides cheap clothing lines and possible spin offs. Lauren wrote a fictional novel, but I don't really believe she wrote it because in an interview she said "Well, I wasn't really familiar with the whole process, so I told the publisher the story I wanted to tell. . ." Which sounds to me like she didn't write it. But, whatev. . .she is still my favorite character and probably one of the few with a future. Hopefully they will all be OK, since the main characters made between $50,000 and $100,000 per episode! Ughhh. . .seriously?

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Justin mentioned recently that I wasn't giving enough attention to the work he's done on the yard when I write this thing. Yeah, I guess I really haven't. . .

It really does look much different. There were big shrubs around the deck before and the rock was dingy and becoming overgrown with weeds due to a lack of maintenance from the elderly owner. Now it is all fresh and new!

The daylillies are from Justin's co-worker Holly. She has also shared irises with us and her family took our old rock which they plan to re-use. Thanks! I had to look up how to spell "daylily" on the Internet and the top google search was a university extension sight and the link said that daylillies are "rugged, adaptable, vigorous perrenials that endure in a garden for many years with little or no care." I think I'm going to like these plants!

So pretty!

The garden is still growing but I wish I could keep bunnies out! I remember a controversy at NDSU a few years ago that started when people found out the grounds crew was shooting rabbits after hours. People got really mad about it but I can relate. They can really destroy things and they are everywhere! Ugh. Oh well. Next year we will have to build a fence around the garden I guess.

Those tomato plants look like trees! No flowers yet though. . .I hope nothing is wrong with them! If I remember correctly, those plants grow huge, juicy variety of tomato so maybe they are just storing up their energy for production.

The zucchini plants are flowering!
Since Justin is gone for three weeks I had to mow the lawn today. I posted last fall about my history with mowing and it is extensive, but I haven't done much mowing since I moved away from the farm. I took a spin with the push-mower and it was alot of work, even though it only took about 40 minutes. There is a small hill in the back yard with really wore me out! Haha. . .

Thursday, July 8, 2010

4th of July Again!

I returned home yesterday after being "home", as I refer to the area where I grew up, for almost one week. It was a very fun 4th of July weekend. On Friday Justin and I went to Upper Cormorant Lake to his parents' lake cabin that they purchased recently (well, almost two years ago, but that is recent in cabin years, I guess). It was pretty hot out so it was a good place to be. I spent most of Saturday sitting in a lawn chair reading and looking at the water.
What a nice view! They have a huge stretch of beach. I got out of my chair to play with my nephew who had a new inflateable turtle. I pulled him around, cringing at the weeds under my feet that increased with depth (I have always been mildly uncomfortable with aquatic plants in lakes and rivers but just suck it up because I am also uncomfortable with people who whine about things like that and let it ruin the fun. I also overcame my issues to an extent after swimming in Golden Lake, the greenest lake in America, as a child). He kept "tricking" me by pointing off into the distance and saying "what's that?" and sliding off the turtle when I looked away. Sneaky, sneaky! This went on until he got bored with me and went to play with the neighbor girls.

That turtle was pretty sweet until it got a hole in it and only the middle chamber would hold air!
On Saturday evening we went to Hatton to attend the annual street dance, parade and demolition derby. This has always been a favorite weekend of mine, and I have enjoyed it more over the years since I have reached the age of majority and my relatives have started joining us for the weekend. It was still in the 90's with about 99% humidity when we arrived and the house I grew up in isn't air conditioned due to the age of the house. It is heated by a boiler and big, metal radiators so it is not possible to install central air without prohibitive cost as it is in some other old houses. It felt like a sauna in that place! It even got to my brother and sister and myself, and we are used to it!

We had a dance to get ready for, and we ladies were completely wilted! Getting "fixed up" was a huge drag because as bad as it felt downstairs, upstairs is usually much hotter. As you can see, Andrea and I went with the natural look and our hair was taking over the whole room. (Behind Andrea you can see a window air conditioner. . .we have two and one is in my brother's room because he is there during the summer. We chose our sunroom to cool and that is where everyone sat for most of the evening.)
Fortunately, while the dance was in progress, the "front" finally moved behind some violent weather in Minnesota and the house had cooled considerably by the time we went home to sleep.
The next morning we watched the parade in town. We sat across from the newly finished and opened swimming pool that I wrote about a few weeks ago!
It looks very good and inviting, I think! The sight makes me so happy! I love seeing kids in town riding their bikes or walking in that direction with their towels once again!

It is hard to see, but that plane is pulling a banner that says Happy 4th HMC. (HMC stands for Hatton Men's Club). The same pilot flew around above the derby later that afternoon and did some pretty crazy stunts!

This was a funny float! It is a bar on wheels.

Hopefully there weren't any fires in the area that morning because all of the fire trucks were in the parade!

After the parade, we went home to eat lunch and get ready to go the the demolition derby. I've heard people speak of events like a demolition derby with distain, as something that is "red-neck" or "trashy". Well, I don't think of myself or my town that way (I think the swimming pool efforts prove that). The derby raises around $10,000 every year and the money all goes to community improvement and good causes involving youth. I can think of countless fundraisers that don't do nearly as much good or are anywhere close to as fun so I guess I don't think that is trashy either. However, it can be fun to embrace the stereotypes and my cousin brought a pack of cheap fake tatoos for us to wear!

We snuck up to a guest room to get inked! My aunt decided to highlight her bicep. I put some weird goth looking cat on my ankle.
Getting parked is pretty intense, and they don't let people park until 7 am on the 4th. Well, maybe HMC members might be allowed to sneak in early ;) We had two pickups and they ended up being "boys" and "girls".


In the photo above, the two black cars are stuck together! They couldn't get unstuck and had to remove themselves from the action before they even had a chance to hit anyone! They were not too happy about the decision, but they had another chance. There are 6 heats, then several "last chance" heats for any driver who can get their smashed up pile of crap to still run after losing their original heat, and the championship. There is a professional referee to keep things under control, and the fire department is on the premises. There are HMC members standing around the ring with fire extinguishers and flags to stop the action. Drivers can't hit each other on the drivers side. The concept of a demolition derby seems dangerous, but I have been watching it for about 15 years and have never seen an injury or a serious fire that wasn't contained in seconds.
That is my brother in law and my cousin trying to squeeze between the pickups! It was pretty tight!

This is my mom and myself with David, my brothers best friend from childhood. His family lived near us and he and his younger brother used to have sleeping bags at our house because they slept over so often. He was a distinguished member of the fire department and decided to really play it up! (This was after it was over, so he was off duty! Haha.)

Awww, reunited. . .
This is me and my dad after the derby having a quick happy hour cocktail.
We went home and hung out in the yard. Justin got down to business building the fire. My dad gathered logs, while he doused them in flamable liquid.
Soon the logs went up in flames!

What do you call this game? Monkey balls? Norwegian Golf? Indian Golf? Polish Golf? Any kind of ethic slur combined with golf? I call it Monkey Balls.
Jake loves coming to the farm and might have had the best weekend of his life. He loves being around alot of people who play with him.

Wallace had fun too, but was still his usually clingy self. As you can see, the heat got to him and he was swimming and rolling in dirt.
We did some fireworks when it got dark. I love sparklers. When we moved to ND when I was 7 I had never had a 4th of July where I didn't watch a professional fireworks display. I didn't know what we would do when I found out the town didn't have one. My mom told me we could buy our own, which seemed crazy. I had never even done a sparkler! That first night on the farm we children just stood there with our sparklers and my dad thought we didn't "get it" so he grabbed two sparklers and went running across the yard, flailing his arms around and making sparks fly. I was hilarious and I remember it with clarity.

It looks like my sparkler decided to quit early! Sad!
I have a "Fireworks" setting on my camera so I had to try it. It didn't work that great for the airborn fireworks, but this one looks OK. . .

We were all tired and wrapped up the weekend soon after the display ended. Swilling beer all day in the hot sun can lead to such a result, I have learned! Every room of our 6 bedroom house was full of people, and my cousin even slept in the hallway on a mattress. I think the house, if it had feelings, would be very happy on weekends like this! Old houses, with there many bedrooms, were built that way! Although, it seems that huge families in "the old days" didn't wake up having to piss really bad in the morning because one bathroom for five bedrooms (the other bedroom is downstairs, and the bathroom is attached to it) isn't the most enjoyable way to live. Ugh. Trying to use a bathroom this weekend was like trying to speak to a living person at the Wells Fargo Student Loan call center. For anyone who hasn't experience it, it takes forever.
Happy birthday America! Even with all the problems we have (the wretched mess of an oil spill, to name one) I still feel that the 4th is a day filled with optimism.