Saturday, June 27, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
- you own more pairs of mittens than pairs of shorts, swimwear and flip flops combined.
- you know what it means to "bake dirt."
- people still stare and you and make fun of your "city girl" clothes, but now, you no longer care.
- you can't buy groceries, drink at the bar or go for a walk without bumping into someone you know. You may have moved here knowing no one, but in two years you know EVERYONE.
- you tell stories to people who aren't interested and who would rather not know (i.e. split-in-pants). You're justification is: everyone knows anyway, because here, everyone equals three people.
- you've consumed and cooked kuchen, knoephla and lefse.
- you've mastered the art of climbing through snow.... To plug your car in... In 3-inch heels.
- you've forgotten what a Sonic Cherry Limeade tastes like.
- subjects like native grass and animal behavior suddenly interest you.
- you consider planting both flowers and vegetables, although you never actually do.
- instead of calling the noon meal "lunch," you call it "dinner."
- you begin questions with "say..." i.e. "Say Cowboy, how do you feel about allowing 12-year-olds to handle firearms?"
- you know that North Dakota's hunting age is 14. And that they cancel school on the first day of deer season.
- you know that Bobcats and Rhinos aren't just animals, they're also all-terrain humvees and you'd be CRAZY not to own one.
- you don't own one.
- you pump your fists in excitement for the county fair.
- leaving the windows open at night no longer scares you.
- leaving your purse in your car no longer scares you.
- leaving your apartment unlocked (although you'd never do it on purpose) no longer scares you
- you launch You Tube and search "How to filet fish".
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Now that’s I’ve introduced you to Cowboy and Grandma D, I should probably introduce you to my new best friend and AWESOMEST ANGLER EVER — Ladyfish Shakespeare.
Ladyfish Shakespeare is my new fishing rod. She’s long. She’s lean. And she’s pink.
Together, we’ve caught nothing more than Lyme Disease from all the the TICKS up in our grills.
It all started like this:
I grew up, graduated college and moved to a cold, isolated state that celebrates winter six months a year.
I never hated four walls until I was required to spend all my time within them. Had I stepped outside to RETRIEVE THE MAIL this winter, my toenails would catch gangrene and fall off, forcing me to feed them to Frosty, the Abominable Snowman. And his breath already reeks of funky.
So when Cowboy suggested I “so go fishing” with him and his dad, I so wanted to say, Sure, drop me at the nearest mall, please. But instead, I just said, “A’Ok.”
Maybe it was all that refer talking.
A Twin Lake and over-flowing river (with flood water once so high, picnic tables still stick in the trees) later, me and Ladyfish have yet to catch anything more than sea salad. Although we are pretty good at that.
In fact, we took to that lake like a Northern Pike to water. The only problem was, the Northern Pike didn’t take to us.
Northern Pike: a.k.a. “snot rocket” or literally “water wolf.” Basically, a bully of a fish that anglers rarely eat because the flesh is so boney. And while to me, not-eating-fish takes away from THE WHOLE POINT of catching them, the challenge in pike capture lies with sticking your finger in its EYEBALL. That way you don’t stick it near the fish’s fang-filled mouth.
And while I prefer to use marshmallows for bait, Cowboy swears by minnows. With my fishing-record, however, What’s the dif?
My 0-2 fishing record though, is not so much due to lack of skill as it is due to our natural kindness.
See, as is Ladyfish's and my custom, we collect fish like compliments at the bar: too many to even remember.
But if we were to do that with Cowboy and his country companions, they’d surely accidentally-on-purpose back their pick ups over my 37 pairs of pink pointy-toed shoes. And WHAT WOULD I DO without them?
Ladyfish and I do other things to hide my angling agility too. Every single time and twice when no one was looking Sometimes, I even let Cowboy bait the hook.
So while I've fished twice and caught nothing, I'm pretty sure country companions' luck runneth dry. Pretty soon the Game and Fish department will GPS-bracelet my ankle because Ladyfish and I over-exceeded the catch limit so many times. She's such a tease.
And to the moms, dads and all members of the Rodenburg family, I simply cannot fish without red Twizzlers, “3 Ninjas” and macaroni and cheese, no cheese. In fact, I almost put three different kinds of cereal in the same bowl this morning. And you wonder why my therapy bill is so high...
PS: If any of you still have the Minnesota potato recipe, I’ll gladly skeeze it from you. Should I ever CATCH a fish one day, I’ll need some greasy carbohydrates to go with it.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Date: June 6, 2009
Location: Dally Up Bar, Montpelier, N.D.
Population: 103 (not the bar, the WHOLE town)
In the country, people know your next-door neighbor (five miles away), second cousin and first person you kissed. In some cases, those three are the same person.
So the moment I stepped into the bar at Montpelier, I felt out of place. Not only did I not know anyone, but the size of my belt-buckle just didn’t compare to the stature and sparkle of the other ladies’.
And instead of wearing a camo-colored hat, flannel shirt and denim overalls, I wore dark-wash trousers and a matching scarf-accessory. Fewer eyes hath stared at a Green Bay Packer cheesehead with a neon sign flashing "live nudes." And this is Viking country.
I was so out of place, I couldn’t even relate to the one woman wearing skinny jeans. Sure, skinny jeans were stylish once. But wearing a thong OVER them, as she did, just hasn’t hit the runways yet.
I should have known to expect an unfortunate evening when the BAR’S OWNER approached me.
You’re with Cowboy, right?, he said. I’ve heard a lot about you.
Really? Awesome, because I have no idea who you are. This is so not awkward. PS: What have you heard and who told you, I said, finding a new affection for people deer rifles.
And later, I saw a familiar-looking gent and said, have we met before?
He said: Uh, HELLO, you interviewed MY NEPHEW! How could you forget me?
My bad, I said, kicking my heals, ready to barhop.
In the city, bar-hopping is no problem. Another pub isn't far.
Bar-hopping, in case you didn't know, is the solution to any uncomfortable situation. You see your boss shooting tequila... that's fine. Some creep-o starts hitting on you... no problem. Just bar-hop. Even in Jamestown, all you gotta do is cross the street.
But in the country, what you gotta do is CROSS COUNTY LINES.
I was tense all night... nervous not to confide in Person A that Person B’s socks didn’t match as likely the two have an illegitimate child together and together, would kick my Banana-Republic-ed behind.
And while I was nervous about insulting anyone, my anxiety over making a fool out of myself bordered on neurological. I would likely see (and forget the names of) all of them many, many times, if not with Cowboy then at the grocery store or out to dinner, at the gym or for a work interview.
First impressions were of utmost importance.
So you can imagine my reaction when I TORE THE SEAT OF MY PANTS OPEN and subsequently locked myself in a bathroom stall.
Naturally, I swore, fainted and punched a hole in the wall the shape of Fruit of the Loom.
Once my hand healed, I did what any independent, self-reliant woman would do. I sought the aid of the only girl in the pub I’d met PRIOR TO my voyage to Montpelier Bar.
Steal me a stapler, I beg of you! I cried, wrapping my arms around her ankles, kissing her shoes and promising to stop telling country children their fathers are their uncles.
The only problem was SHE WAS MY CO-WORKER. You know, like someone I work with. Someone who sees me as PROFESSIONAL. I’d rather moon Mother Theresa herself, than let a co-worker see my pink panties.
That’s right. Pink.
Like I couldn’t have at least worn BLACK underwear with BLACK pants and let the two blend. No. THAT WOULDN'T BE OBVIOUS ENOUGH.
And remember what I said about CROSSING COUNTY LINES... It wasn’t like I could just go home, change, and blame it on a spilt beer. THIS IS WHY PEOPLE LIVE IN CITIES.
A few minutes later, co-worker returned armed with scissors and duct tape. Seriously.
They didn’t have a stapler, she said, but the bartender said this would work.
The bartender? I asked. As in, you TOLD HER why you needed them. The bartender knows more names, faces and credit card numbers than Western Union. The whole township will know before I finish my next drink.
It’s OK, my co-worker said. She’s cool.
Great. I might as well grab a microphone and sing karaoke in these bloomers as that IS LESS EMBARRASSING.
Soon, my co-worker had me taped up and tucked in.
You can’t even tell, she said, pretending not the notice the unease in my step and HUGE CREASE in my crotch.
I stepped out of the bathroom, sheepish, shady and willing to sing praises to Ted Kaczynski if only my shorts would stick.
Wanna dance, Cowboy asked?
I'd prefer pouring whiskey in my Cheerios.
No, I do not, I said, giving him the eye that in girl language means: DO AS I SAY AND I WON'T TELL PEOPLE YOU CAN DO THE SPLITS BETTER THAN ME.
Be a man, ya pussy! my new friend the bar-owner said, slapping Cowboy’s behind.
See!! We gotta dance now, he said.
And that’s how men are:
Dude No. 1: You're a pussy. Let me touch your butt.
Dude No. 2: I’m no pussy. Check out my two-step.
So while a slow dance may have been OK or maybe even a do-si-do, this was country dancing... with spins and dips and “turn your partners!”
Seriously, I don’t want to do this, I said, trying to pass it off as dance-floor jitters.
But you told me you like shaking that groove-thang, he said.
Fine. One song.
Three George Straights and a Trisha Yearwood later, the tape was tearing at the skin of my inner thigh. It felt like someone took a tweezers to my legs in search of ingrown hairs or leftover meatloaf.
Let’s get some fresh air, I said.
I wasn’t going to tell him what was going on. I didn’t want the shame of it. Ladies don’t SPLIT THEIR TROUSERS. And even if they do, they don’t mend them with DUCT TAPE.
I was going to wing it in hopes God loved me enough to let the adhesive stick. But it was 8 o’clock. And I haven't been to church since Christmas.
Ok, I really like dancing with you and everything, I said to the Cowboy, wondering if I should save face and conjure up the “I-have-a headache” excuse, but in a town that small, he'd likely find out anyway.
I can’t dance with you anymore, I said, telling him the whole story and willing him NOT TO JUDGE.
He laughed. But not in the mocking way, in the disbelief kind of way.
Why didn’t you say something? he asked.
Because! I said. I’M A LADY. Besides, I told co-worker and she helped me already.
What? You told her and you didn’t tell me?? he said like I'd broken a pinkie swear or John Deere Code of Ethics. You could have told me. We’re allies here.
Yeah, sure, whatever. Next time I need help, you walk into the ladies restroom with a roll full of duct tape... no one will notice, I'm sure.
PS, Cowboy, I said, If you could just keep this between us... and co-worker... and the bartender AND THE INTERNET, I'd appreciate it.
No other bar-hoppers seemed to notice my posterior the rest of the night. Not even when I oh so subtly yelped CO-WORKER! CO-WORKER! Check out my bum!
But if they did, the bar-hoppers were courteous enough to cork their gourds. Maybe that's because they found extras after all the wine they drank.
But for the future, I'll make you all a deal. If anyone feels like teaching me to mend, I'll send some of North Dakota's June snow in exchange.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Anyways, no. I am NOT posting pictures of the Cowboy. But in an effort to compromise, here's photos of the country cruise.