Don’t Be a Drip

Day Six Assignment: Make an Irresistible “About” Page

No can do. I am going to have to use my “One Free Assignment Pass” that I got when I did extra credit for my Identify My Audience Assignment.

I am incapable of compiling a “About Me’” page. I wish I could say it was because I am a complex; multi-layered brainiac.  Actually quite the opposite is true. I have absolutely no common sense what so ever. I am indeed multi-layered but in all the wrong places and “maniac” would be the better word.   I do believe that synapsing is taking place among the neurons of my brain. However they are in a more of a pulsating Snipp, Snapp and Snurr pattern. What happens is that I only remember snippets of very important information, like the address of where I work.  At other times a perfectly good train of thought snaps into pieces and I have no clue what I was just thinking about. Then there are the times when just a random thought will settle in my hippocampus and I am stirred to think about it.   Many times this stray though is a single word.

I have a question for my classmates.   Sometimes when I am writing and the TV is on, I will realize that the word just spoken on the TV is exactly the next word I am going to write down.   Does this ever happen to you?  I am asking this in all seriousness. I think it is some sort of celestial consciousness or lunar enlightenment. But whatever it actually is, it really does happen to me at times.   At other times I will hear the very same uncommon word three or 4 times in the span of 15 minutes. When my part of the brain known as the inferior temporal gyrus reaches the number “ 3 “ it sends a message to my neurons to take note of this meaningless word that happens to be haunting me.   This happened to me on Friday when after two weeks of coughing, sneezing, and nose blowing I finally decided to go to the walk-in clinic.   While waiting in the waiting room the TV was announcing that the Dow Jones dropped another 168 points. Then a commercial came on and a lady was bragging how she dropped 30 pounds in just 3 weeks by walking. [Don’t believe it. I tried this and I didn’t lose an ounce.   I think my mistake was that I walked to the Dairy Queen and got a medium French Silk Blizzard.] When I saw the doctor, she said that she would write me a prescription for ear drops. There is was. The word drop was creeping  into my cerebral cortex.   As I was waiting for my prescription to be filled I came to realize that the word “drop” is indeed a multifarious and interesting word. The stock market dropping, dropping the ball or dropping dead are all negative events. Whereas dropping pounds on a diet, dropping the price on a real estate offer, or dropping the charges against you are all very positive events.   If you think about it there are countless examples were the word drop can entice completely opposite feelings or emotions. Here is another interesting concept about the word drop. If you add drop to another word it can be a thing of beauty or something very ugly depending on each person’s individual range of experiences. For me, one of the most beautiful sights in nature is the sun reflecting off a dewdrop on a spider web.[ Provided the spider is nowhere to be seen.] There are times when a raindrop is a thing of sparkling beauty and other times when it is a disaster in the making. How about a teardrop?   Happy tears are gleaming with joy yet sad tears burn red streaks down your cheeks. Mouse droppings in your bread box are bad news and horse droppings are stinky and disgusting.   On the other hand, Unicorn droppings could be colorful and smell like cotton candy.

Then my named was dropped that my prescription was ready.   As the lab technician handed over my tiny bag containing the ear drops she said my total was $59.77. I had to inform her that I had prescription drug insurance. She had to inform me, that she knew that and my co- pay was still $59.77.   My jaw dropped.   I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of ear drops these were. At over $195 total cost they must be liquid gold.   It turned out that the ear drops were actually evil. The directions were to put 4 drops in each ear two times each day. First of all, the bottle was so small I question if there were even 8 drops in the bottle. Second, how does one put 4 drops into one’s own ear much less both ears?   After missing my ear twice and having $50 worth of ear drops slide down my right check I successfully got one drop into my ear. The one drop in my ear felt like I poured half the ocean into my ear. There would be absolutely no way to tell if I successfully dropped another drop in my ear or not.  And now what was I suppose to do? I had 1 drop in my right ear. I couldn’t turn my head to put any drops in the other ear without the only successful ear drop draining out of my right ear completely. I impatiently waited for a half hour to give the drop the chance to drain further into my ear. It never happened. After 2 episodes of Murder She Wrote I put a piece of cotton in my right ear and repeated the whole stupid attempt to get a drop in my left ear. After 3 hours I could hear nothing, I felt like my whole head was underwater, and I was so dizzy I couldn’t drive up to the Dairy Queen to get a medium French Silk Pie Blizzard. I ended up going back to the walk-in clinic.   This doctor said to me, “Drop the ear drops. How good are you at spraying stuff up your nose?” I just dropped my head in shame.



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I Choose You

Day Four: Identify Your Audience

Hint: We often create posts hoping that someone in particular will see (and appreciate) our work.

This is so TRUE! I made a whole list of audiences I would like to reach. Does that give me extra credit?

1.) I want my Mom and Dad [Ted and Marie Renner] to read it and say:

“Our dearest daughter, that was so genuinely funny we are re-writing our will and telling all your brothers and sisters that they are adopted.”

2.)  I want my son [Dr. Nikolaus Butz] to read it and say:

“Mom, that was so brilliantly sick, I promise I will apply to the University of Hawaii and you can come and live with me and my wife.”

3.) I want all of my brothers, [David Renner, Mike Renner, Ted Renner, Jayme Renner] to read it and say:

“Hey Mick, that was so good and funny, we all apologize for all the times we were so bad when you were babysitting for us.”

4.) I want all my sisters [Kathy Renner, Mary Mercado, Jodi Renner] to read it and say:

“Hey Sis, that was so hugely funny that we have agreed we will each gain 15 pounds to that you won’t be the fattest sister anymore.”

5.) I want my ex-husband [Rolf Butz] to read it and say:

“Mick, that was so worthy of a laugh, please let me up your Alimony.”

6.) I want all my nieces and nephews to read it and say:

“Favorite Aunty Mickey, that was so comical we will name our first born child after you.”

7.) I want my parents friends [Erv and Marilyn Kessel] to read it and after church on Saturday say to me,

“Mickey, we read your blog and that was such a divine comedy, we will say extra prayers that God knocks off a few days in Purgatory for you.”

8.) I want my BFF [Brenda] to read it and say:

“Hey Bestie, that was so cleverly funny that I will always be your friend even if your relationship advice is stupid.”

9.) I want my first and forever friend [Deb] to read it and say:

“Hey my oldest friend, that was so unbelievably  funny I will keep telling everyone we know how much younger you are than me.”

10.) I want all my classmates of Dickinson High School Graduating Class of 19?? to read it and say:

“Man, that was so validly funny that we should have chosen you so be the Valedictorian Graduation speaker instead of Clay Jenkinson.”

11.) I want the entire morning drive up crew at MacDonalds to read it and say:

“Car number 55 that was so deliciously funny that we made the car in front of you pay for your diet coke and cinnamon melts.”

12.) I want the City Administrator to read it and say:

“My dear employee, that was so outrageously funny I want to give you and all your coworkers at the library a $2.00 per hour raise and police protection.”

13.) I want Bill O’Rielly to read it and say:

“Mickey Renner, that was so bold and fresh, I want you to come on tour with me and Dennis Miller.”

14.) I want Michelle W., the WordPress teacher for Blogging 101 to read it and say:

“mickeyrenner, that was such a resourceful funny blog let me upgrade your WordPres  Account to Premium Status for free.”


Just Kidding!!!  emoticon1

I actually identified my audience in the first assignment. As confused and chaotic this world is, it is crystal clear to me that we all could use more humor in our lives. When I write and post a blog I sincerely just want to bring some happiness, smiles or laughter to someone or anyone. I am extremely thankful to anyone and everyone who does read my blog. I am indebted to each and every one of my readers who leaves me a comment. I really want to identify my audience as HAPPY!


or in the best case scenario:


Right Nik?




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Who Am I and Why I’m Here

Who I Am and Why I’m Here

polarbearBear with me my “blends.” [blog friends] if you are still out there. At one time I think there were 50 of you. Those of you that have been my faithful followers know that in the past I have sworn off statistics. I may have to take back my swear and revisit those damn statistics.

And here is why:

I am going back to school.   Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have just thrown that out there. Some of you are thinking “OMG, she is really going to do it. She is selling her house in Dickinson, North Dakota (where it is currently 19 degrees Fahrenheit) and going to go to the University of Hawaii and get her degree in “Advanced Sun Tanning.”   [I would have to get the Advanced degree since my skin age is, well let’s just say over 50] To clarify my new education adventure; I am going back to school for Blogging. WordPress offers a free on-line course called Blogging 101. I am so excited!   I need something to kick start my Blog writing at this time. The “teacher” in me says. “If you get an assignment, you must do it.” The “old” in me says, “if you get a writing idea, you must first take a nap and think about it.”

Here is my first assignment: “Who I am and why I’m here”

With these two assignment questions in mind, I again ask my “blends” to bear with me. They already know who I am and why I write. So my dear friends, throughout the course of this course if any of the structured assignments result in boring, tedious, repetitive reading , please stop reading. Otherwise, feel free to read on. Blogging 101 is my own personal journal journey but you are welcome to come along for the ride.


Question One: Who I am

This is actually not a simple question.   I am assuming that at this time it is acceptable classroom etiquette to ask the teacher a question.   My question to this question is “Does anybody really know who they are?” I am Mickey Renner. Actually legally I am not Mickey Renner. Mickey Renner is the name I write under. It isn’t technically a pseudonym either because both of these names really do belong to me. When I was born my mother gave me a perfectly beautiful, feminine first name: Michelle.  .  My grandfather nicknamed me Mickey.  Nobody seems to have asked my grandfather why he gave me this nickname. I have a couple of my own theories.  Maybe my grandfather wanted another grandson even though he had lots already, so when I was born he nicknamed me Mickey. Or when I was born I looked like such a drowned rat he named me after the most famous Mouse ever. [Unfortunately I still have a few of those drowned rat features] Anyway,  the nickname stuck and I never was called Michelle.  Wait, I was called Michelle when I went to Catholic School and not having a saint name was sacrilegious.  After Vatican II, even the nuns conceded to my nickname. I know that my grandfather (God rest his soul) never considered that with this nickname I was doomed to receive countless numbers of “performance enhancing drug” offers in my e-mail each and every day. Some of these e-mails get past my junk mail filter. I am assuming that at this time it is acceptable classroom etiquette to ask my classmates a question. Here is my question: Should I take it as a bad sign if my first assignment e-mail ended up in the junk e-mail box?” I am somewhat superstitious . ( I got this from the same Grandfather) I got the first “kick off” email that introduced me to the Commons Community and the directives that the introduction directions and the first assignment would be appearing in a couple of hours.   Many, many hours later after not receiving either e-mail it finally occurred to me to check my junk email box. When I found the very important emails “junked” I thought that maybe this was a sign from the blogging gods that I should not be doing this. But here I am anyway.   I guess if smoke starts to pour out of my computer I will take the sign more seriously and “clog the blog” and become the first blogger dropout.


Question Two: Why am I here?
This question is easy.   I want to write. However, my self-discipline and self-motivation skills suck. I have 3 sisters and 4 brothers who can attest to this fact.   But I am also here for one other reason. I seriously want to brighten another person’s day by hopefully providing them with the opportunity to smile.  If my writing makes just one person smile or even laugh my heart is filled with happiness. My personal observation is that there is not one person on this planet that couldn’t use more humor or more happiness in the their life.

Thank you Word press for this opportunity to be a part of Blogging 101.

I hope my first assignment is Write on!

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Father’s Day 2015

Dear Dad:

On this Father’s Day I want to thank you for teaching me the rules to drive a car

And then by your example showing me the important life lessons they really are

Rule 1: Think to fasten your seat belt even if the distance you are traveling is short

Lesson: Think of the seat belt as angel wings wrapped around you for support

Rule 2: Choose the right key for the ignition, turn the key and listen for the engine to start

Lesson: Choose the key things in your life that ignite your purpose and bring joy to your heart

Rule 3: Check the dashboard lights for anything that my need attention

Lesson: Check in on your loved ones often, even the ones that cause you tension

Rule 4: Adjust the mirrors so that everything you need to see is in plain sight

Lesson: Adjust your attitude so that your life mirrors what is good and right

Rule 5: Note the gas gauge and if it indicates that you have enough fuel to get to your destination

Lesson: Note your gratitude gauge and never miss a chance to show your appreciation

Rule 6: Put the car gear in “D”rive, press slowly on the gas pedal and turn carefully onto the street

Lesson: Put drive into your life’s goals and don’t be afraid of any dips, bumps, or detours you might meet

There are many more ways you have taught me to navigate through life that I did not mention

And I bet you anything; you thought I wasn’t paying attention

Happy Father’s Day, Dad

Best Dad Ever [Thank you Jodi, for the perfect caption]

Best Dad Ever
[Thank you Jodi, for the perfect caption]

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Picture 002Picture 005

Who are these people and what are they doing?

These are my parents, Marie and Ted Renner.

They are playing on their i-pad

They belong to a new generation of i-Padders

(Parents Are Defining Different Entertainment Rules)

In October my mom announced that she wanted an i-Pad for her birthday. Woman to woman I would never reveal her real age but she was born during the Great Depression.  I was shocked when she asked for an i-Pad.  I didn’t even think she knew what one was.  But evidently all her friends have an i-Pad and she wanted one too.  I remember telling her that just because everyone else had one it didn’t mean she had to have one too.  But she argued that Lucy, Loretta, JoAnne, Jan, and Gisela all had an i-Pad and she was the only one in the whole group that didn’t have one. (Somehow the whole conversation sounded familiar)

All of us kids (there are 8 of us) chipped together to buy my mom and i-Pad for her birthday.

After she opened her gift and acted surprised my brother and I asked what she wanted to learn first on the i-Pad. Her answer was that she wanted to play slots.

MY BROTHER, JAYME:  “We bought you an expensive complex, computing system so you can play slots?”
MOM:  Yes, and you should be glad.  It isn’t real money.

ME:  And let’s keep it that way.  NEVER (do you hear me) NEVER put your credit card number into this machine no matter how nicely it asks you to or how many times it asks you.  Do you understand what I am saying?  This is important! (Again the conversation sounded familiar)

Thus, the “slots-fest” began and my dad even joined in.  At Christmas time my mom cornered each and every one of the grandchildren and asked them to download new slot games for her.  My parents are having the time of their life.   I confess, at first I was skeptical.  One day I called my mom to tell her about an incident that happened at work.  I was rambling on when I realized I heard clinging and clanging slot machine noises in the background.

ME: Mom are listening to me?

MOM:  Yes dear.

Me:  But you are playing on your i-Pad aren’t you?

MOM:  Yes, but I can do both.

ME:  Ok, what did I just tell you?

MOM:  You were whining about something.

ME:  That is just a guess.

MOM.  An easy guess, you are always whining about something.

ME:  Mom, could you please turn off that i-pad and listen to me.

MOM:  Not now dear, I just won 135 free spins and am only $200 away from your Dad’s all time record high of $19,350 dollars.  Can I call you back when it is your Dad’s turn to play on the i-Pad?  (Again, the whole conversation sounded so familiar)

I hung up the phone.  My first reaction was hurt and disappointment.  But then I thought about it for awhile.  Here are two people that grew up having to play with sticks, rocks, and little pieces of discarded twine.  That is if they had the chance to play at all.  My parents (like their friends) mostly worked hard all their life.  At a very young age they worked hard doing chores on the farm.  Then they had to work hard to provide for their own families.  They worked hard to provide us kids with food, clothing, shelter, and to put that one special toy under the Christmas tree that we wished for all year long.   No, this generation has earned the right to play.  And only this generation would have the ingenuity to take such a complicated device and turn it simply into a toy that brings them some joy.

I say i-Padders Unite!   Don’t let anyone (especially your kids) define your entertainment.  If free spins, bonus rounds and the clinking of imaginary coins collecting in your imaginary bank brings you the fun and happiness you so much deserve, I am all for it!

And truthfully, I much prefer you asking for a fifty dollar Apps gift card, then a condo in Florida where STD’s are running ramped among Senior Citizens.

To my mom, dad and all their friends I say:  Generation i-Padders, You Rule!

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I Meant

Hello all my blends! [Blog Friends]   Did you give up on me?  I apologize for the absence of new blog alerts showing up in your e-mail.

I would first like to thank each and every person who reads my blog.   A bloggers words are meaningless until someone reads them and they spark thoughts and emotions.  In my case I hope that my words bring you humor and happiness.  Two things I believe this world can use more of on any given day.  I would especially like to thank all of the wonderful people who have complimented me on the articles.  Your comments bring me happiness and encouragement.  Two things I believe any writer can use more of on any given day.

The last two months of 2013 I have been living a Lemony Snicket life: a serious of unfortunate events.  Let me just say:  airplane travel, anarchy, and antibiotics.  With 15 days into the New Year of 2014 I am still hanging on to new hopes.  Just for your information I let go of any resolutions I made for the New Year by 7:00 am on the 1st when I ate 2 chocolate sprinkle donuts and hot chocolate (not low fat ) for breakfast.  Those extra pounds I ate my way through the series of unfortunate events are here to stay.   One resolution I wish everyone would make and keep is t NOT to TEXT and DRIVE. I actually would prefer if people didn’t talk on their cell phones and drive, but that is now so common and out of control there is no turning the clock back on that one.  As you are driving to work or to exercise or to your morning coffee group just count the number of people on their cell phones that are driving.  I guess I have to be thankful that most of the people are just talking on their cell phones.  They could be talking on their cell phones, eating a breakfast burrito with their other hand, and steering their vehicle with one knee on snow packed, ice covered roads in the now famous Dickinson traffic.   But let’s get back to texting.  I personally do not text and drive because I can’t sit perfectly still at the table and pound out a coherent text message.  I am pathetic.  My whole family is learning to decipher a “Mickey-text”.  My son was home for Christmas and he was appalled that I was still punching out texts with my single right index finger. With the texts he has received from me he was positive that I was texting with my toes.


Here is the conversation we had:

Nik:  Have you tried texting with your two thumbs?

Me:  Nik, I constantly hit the wrong letters with my one skinny index finger.  If  I use my 2 thumbs which are twice as fat as my finger, I  would have 4 times the errors or in my case basically gibberish.

Nik:   I hate to be the one to tell you mom, but most of your texts are gibberish. I have no choice but to practice tough-love texting on you.

Me:  What is that suppose to mean?

Nik:  From now on I will respond to your tests literally from what you typed instead of trying to decipher what you really meant to type.

Me: Geez isn’t that sort of over the top?

Nik : It may seem harsh, but mom it is for your own good.  How else are you ever going to learn to proof read before you hit send.  One of these times you may text something to your boss that could get you fired.

Me:   You are right.  My boss wasn’t very happy when I texted to everyone that she had a really good staff infection that she wanted to share with everyone.  I actually meant staff in-service.

Nik:  That is my point.  It doesn’t matter what you meant to send.  What counts is what is being read after you hit send.

Talk about role reversal .  I rolled my eyes and said, “Whatever”

Here are some of the snippets from my tough- love texting lessons:

Nik:  Mom, now would be a good time to tell me who my real father is.

Me:  What are you talking about?

Nik:  You just texted me and said I was the most wonderful “sin”

Me:  Son, Son, I meant, Son

Nik:  Mom, I have 150 test papers to grade, a business lunch meeting with the Business Fraternity, class from 3-7 and a 5 page reaction paper to write.  There is obviously no time for “lust” today and even if there was what in your wildest dreams makes you think I would tell you.

Me:  What are you talking about?

Nik”  You just texted me what is on your “lust” today?

Me:   List, List, I meant  List

Nik:  Goodnight mom, I guess some deciphering does have to be done with your texting skills.  You just wished me goodnight and sewer dreams.  As my mother I am guessing you were wishing me Ninja Turtle dreams and you aren’t wishing me to dredge up dreams of filth and stench.

Me:  Sweet dreams, Sweet dream, I meant Sweet dreams.

The next day I was totally frustrated with my dumb phone.  The time was 23 minutes off.  I texted my son.

Me:  My “Fri King” phone is 23 minutes off.  How can that be?

Nik:  “Fri King” What is a “Fri King”

Me:  Fricking, Fricking, I meant Fricking

Nik:  With the gibberish you send out over the cell towers your phone is probably being monitored by some KGB base in Siberia.

Me:  OMG.  Can they do that?   Are you “kicking” me

Nik:  No I am too far away to actually “kick” you.

Me:  Kidding, Kidding, I meant Kidding

Nik:  Seriously, maybe your phone is receiving signals from the Star Wars planet Naboo and any day now you might get a text from Jar Jar Binks.

Me:  Sin, U R  Fri King hilarious



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Beyond Be-Leaf


Ah, Autumn, that awesome time of the year.  Some people even proclaim Fall as their most favorite season.  They love the smell of cool, clean, crisp air as opposed to the dusty, dry, stale air of summer.  I have to agree it is pretty amazing that Mother Nature actually lets all the drab trees change into more blazing dresses of color.  Staying to the true nature of a mother, a mother that just has to retain that last bit of control, only reds, oranges, and yellows are allowed.  No blues, pinks, or periwinkles unless you are a tree in a Dr. Seuss book.  Sadly, the trees only get to show off their golden wardrobe additions for such a short time.  It seems overnight Mother Nature strips the trees down to their bare branches and the next morning the elegant leaves lay tattered and torn in a withered brown heap at their feet.  Those poor trees have to stand outside bare branched all winter long.  Man that is some harsh parenting skills.  If trees could talk, I think I would have gone into tree psychology.  There is bound to be some deep rooted problems out there.  Wait, my topic seems to be branching out on me.   What was I talking about?  Oh yeah, a lawn full of leaves that now become a problem I have to address. Because of Mother Nature my entire front lawn is an ocean of leaves.  But a special thanks to our City Father’s who passed an ordinance that allows the citizens of Dickinson to rake the leaves from their yards into the street.  This makes the whole fall raking leaves job a whole lot easier.  You can just grab one of them broom rakes and sweep all the leaves into the street.  Better yet, you can blow the leaves into the street with one of those neat leaf blowers. I actually got a really neat one this last summer at a garage sale.  But now, as I am looking at it in the back corner of my garage I realize it is too neat for me.  What I mean, is it is too complicated for me.  I see a handle that is attached to a cord which probably implies pulling the handle hard and fast in order to start a motor.  To me, motor means gas, which may or may not be a mixture with something else.  I am trying to remember what the guy at the garage sale said about the gas.  If I am remembering correctly he started up this fantastic leaf blower which was so loud it scared away all the small animals living on the east side of Dickinson.  Plus I didn’t hear another word he said about the gas or how to safely use this mean looking leaf blowing machine.  Now looking down at this complicated, dangerous, monstrosity, I wonder why I bought it in the first place.    Oh yeah, I remember he told me I would never again come across this much machine for such a small amount of money.  I stood staring at my deal-of-a-lifetime leaf blower playing out in my mind the Murphy’s Law scenario. Here is how that would go.  I would drag the leaf blower out onto the lawn.  I would pull the handle to start the motor but nothing would happen.  So then, I would pull the handle much harder and much faster three times in a row.  The fourth time the motor would spark, literally.  It wouldn’t start, but a spark would fly up and land on a whole pile of dry brown leaves.  It would take the flame about 2 seconds to find the path of gas I spilled when I drug the leaf blower out of the garage and onto the lawn.  It would ignite a path of fire across the lawn, into the garage to the spot where the blower was sitting next to the lawn mower.  I would hear the explosion before I could dial 9-1-1. Nope, me and Murphy and mixed gas and motors is just too risky.  I would have to use the broom rake, old fashion muscle power and later on plenty of Bengay.   Ah, then I remembered that my Dad had a much simpler leaf blower that you just plug in.  I drove over to my Dad’s and was thrilled to see that his leaf blower was light and uncomplicated.  I took it over to my house, plugged that baby in and started blowing leaves like the Old North Wind.  Truthfully, it was more work than that.  I had to laboriously and methodically blow rows and layers of leaves towards the street.  I never imagined my front yard being so immense.  I was knee deep in leaves, ready to blow them into the street when I realized the extension cord was just not quite long enough.  Lucky for me I had another longer cord in the garage.  I got the other cord and plugged it into the blower.  I pushed the “on” switch and nothing happened.  There was complete silence and no more air flowing out of the blower.  I looked back to the house to see if the plug fell out there, but it hadn’t.  I tried the “on” button five more times thinking that it just had to work.  I was just at the point of getting to blow a ton of leaves into the street.  I was so disappointed.  I so wanted the satisfaction of blowing a bunch of leaves into the street.   Plus I was calculating in my head how much a new leaf blower would cost and that doesn’t this always happen when you borrow something.  The worst thing was that now I had to use the broom rake to finish the job.   As I stomped back to the garage to get the rake, I noticed that I now had two extension cords lying out and a glimmer of hope passed through my mind.  Yup, you guessed it.  I plugged in the wrong extension cord!  With much joy and satisfaction I plugged in the correct cord and blew the leaves off my lawn and into the street.  However, it was late by the time I finished.  I knew that the chances of the city’s leaf vacuuming vehicle driving by before tomorrow morning was slim.  I begged Mother Nature not to blow up an East wind that night so that the next morning I wouldn’t have to see all the leaves blown back onto my lawn.  That would suck! Which by the way, I think my fancy garage sale leaf blower can “suck” up leaves too, but I don’t plan on finding out for sure any time soon.

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Veterans Day 2013


November 11:   A Day of Patriotism and Honor

All the decisions and choices

That I will be allowed to make today

All the thoughts and ideas

That I want to share or say

All the prayers to the God of my choice

That I want to pray

All the words I want to write

That will not be changed in any way:

Will be because of all our enlisted soldiers

Who will be working tirelessly this day

To make sure these valued freedoms are here to stay

Just as the millions of military veterans before them

Sacrificed everything for the greater good of the USA

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you

For the dedication, courage and patriotism you always display,

And know that I honor each and everyone

On this special Nov. 11th  Veterans Day.

A Special Salute to my heroes:   Lt. Col. Theodore F. Renner USAF (Retired)

Master Sergeant Mary C. Mercado  USAF (Retired)

Sergeant Major Jodi R. Renner   Army National Guard (Active)

Please feel free to add in the comments section your loved ones who deserve special recognition today.

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Barkkin in the Bakken

Barkkin in the Bakken


There are so many issues of living in a Boom Town other than the obvious.  I feel obligated to inform the general public of these little annoyances.  I feel this way mostly because of the whole “misery loves company” aspect. When we think of the influx of people we don’t automatically think of the influx of dogs that they are bringing with them.  Many of the oil field workers have a dog to keep them company.  Because of the nature of their work every day is “bring your dog to work day.” All these dogs are BIG dogs.  I am talking about dogs that you could put a saddle on and the ones that when the let their tongues hang out of their mouth it is about the size of an elephant’s liver.  While their master is in buying groceries, Mr. Man’s BFF is hanging his head out of the window and his slobbering tongue is hanging out of his mouth.  All the while the dog is thinking, “Please, please, please buy me a package of hotdogs for lunch.”   Meanwhile a fair size pool of dog dribble is collecting in the parking lot. This is one of those subtle annoyances that we wouldn’t have thought about BTB [Before The Boom].  We would swing into the parking lot and jump out of the car with no worries.  Now it is highly important that before you step out of the car that you open the door and look before you leap.  You need to do a very thorough visual scan for tobacco spit, coughed up phlegm, upchucked chimichangas, puddles of dog drool or a dump of doggie do-do resulting from eating a whole pack of hot dogs for lunch.  The other day I was in the grocery store parking lot and sure enough there was a BIG dog waiting in a BIG white oilfield pickup.  This particular dog was not drooling out the window, but was actually sitting very stately on the driver’s side with a paw on the steering wheel. It was creepy how the dog was looking around as if he was studying the parking lot traffic.  When he caught me looking at him I swear his eyes told me that of course he was the designated driver and he winked at me.  I so wanted to march over to that pickup, stick my finger in that dog’s snout and tell him his BFF was inside the grocery store eating free brats and a banana split.  But I didn’t do that.  I would like to keep my pointer finger if at all possible. 


Besides the BIG oilfield dogs there are also lots of families that have moved in with their cute little dogs.  In fact if I do some quick guesstamation math, Dickinson probably is home to 4000 additional pooches.  When I think of such statistics my next thought is that these precious pouches have to poop someplace and you can bet it is not in their own yard.  I would wager to guess they are doing their business in your yard.  If you don’t own a dog and you go to mow the lawn you don’t think to do a doggie doo-doo check.  After you blade through a couple of fresh canine clumps the whole lawn cutting chore turns into a crappy experience. 

Many years ago my ex and I were traveling from Germany to Davos Switzerland.  A couple hours into the trip I had to pee.  My ex told me we would stop at the very next rest area.  The very next rest area ended up being 3 hours away.  By the time we pulled in my eyeballs were floating and everything I saw had a yellow tinge to it.  I got out of the car and bolted to the restroom. I didn’t get very far when I noticed there was no building.

ME:  Hey, where is the building?

EX:  What building?

ME:  The one that would house the toilets.

EX:   This is a Bio-rest area. You just walk back into those bushes and squat.

ME:  You have to be kidding me.

EX:   Nope, the Europeans don’t kid about the ecology, especially if the Green Party is in power.

          Besides “IT” is all biodegradable.

ME:  Biodegradable my ass.  I can guarantee that anyone who was her 10 minutes ago and took a

        dump IT is still in its disgusting unbiodegradable form.

EX:  Yeah, you just have to pick your way carefully through the bushes watching where you

          step.  Oh and watch for Kleenexes.  They are usually a good sign that you maybe want to

           avoid that spot.

I tip toed around hundreds of Kleenexes until I found a spot where all of the Kleenexes were at least still white.  Not knowing any better I took my position a little too close to a huge leaf of some kind.  The leaf ended up acting as a deflector so I successfully soaked my right shoe and sock.  The whole experience was the most stressful, unrestful rest-stop I ever made in my life. Needless to say one shoe and one sock had to ride the rest of the way in the trunk of the car. Ironically, when we got to Davos we took a walk among some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world. 


At first I didn’t notice but at one point I saw a woman with her dog pull something out of a little box mounted on a pole with a small garbage can attached. 

ME:  What is that lady doing?

EX:   She is taking a plastic bag.

ME:  Isn’t it against some law to take wild flowers and plant them back at home like it is in our

         National Parks?

EX:  The plastic bad isn’t for flower samples.  It is for cleaning up after her dog. 

ME:  You mean to say that there are stations that has everything you need to clean up after your

         dog, but your rest areas area an excrement mine field?

EX:  Yeah, it is only polite that people clean up after their dogs so other people don’t have to

         constantly watch their step but can confidently look around and enjoy the scenery.

ME:  I am impressed.  That is a great idea.  We should have those things in North Dakota so we

         could enjoy the scenery

EX:  What scenery?

ME:  Oh come on.  There are many beautiful areas of scenery in North Dakota.

EX:  Yeah, but a lot of the exceptionally nice trails are also the ones that people tend to ride their

         horses on.  If people are going to be cleaning up after their horses they are going to need

         one hell-of -a plastic bag.

ME:  Good point.  Besides we would still have to watch the ground for rattlesnakes. 


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Rooster At Large

When I wrote about Birds in the Bakken, I certainly did not have this in mind.  Driving into the mall parking lot this weekend this is what I saw:


My garbage eating feathered fouls paled in comparison. Amidst all these dark, elegant, impressive and decorative lawn ornaments was this giant white rooster.  Talk about sticking out like a sore cockerel. Even the bright pink flamingos blended in better than this monster rooster.  I confess I laughed out loud.  If only I could have just laughed it off.  But I could not get this enormous rooster out of my mind.  Once I saw it, all these thoughts and questions kept tumbling through my mind.  Thoughts would lead to questions; questions would lead to answers; [some of which are not printable] and answers lead to more questions.

The first question of course was:

Who would want such a massive rooster as a lawn ornament?

I came up with two answers:

1)      Someone who’s religious beliefs involves worshiping a rooster deity that represents fertility and prosperity.

2)      Someone who really loves roosters A LOT.

Next question:

Who really loves roosters that much?

I had a difficult time coming up with an answer to this question.  I mean who doesn’t love baby chicks and mother hens.  Remember when you could get baby chicks in various Easter colors?  Seeing tiny blue, green, pink and purple chicks running around in a box was like watching a 3-D Easter Kaleidoscope.  It was a sight that thrilled and amazed young and old alike.  Any mother that is compared to a “mother hen” takes this as a compliment and a statement of endearment.  I cannot think of one endearing quality of a rooster.

First : Roosters are noisy and the noise they make is annoying.  They obviously don’t just crow when the sun comes up.  I think we can all safely say that we have heard a rooster crow and how many of us have been on a chicken farm at sunup. I have heard many roosters doe their “cock-a-doodle-do” thing. Speaking of which, who came up with the term “cock-a-doodle-do” and how does it really relate to the crowing of a rooster?  Unfortunately, I have a sneaky suspicion that the answer to this question is also unprintable.  But back to their crowing, you have to admit they are not quiet about it.  A person would think that all roosters had the lungs the size of an elephants.  Talk about the need to draw attention to themselves.  I think we are talking about some serious deep psychological issues here.

Second: Roosters just ooze of conceit. They strut around the farmyard and you know what they are thinking in that bird brain of theirs.  They want you to know how many hens are in their harem.  Not only that, all the hens are basically complaisant (they are chickens after all) and mostly quiet.  When a rooster looks at you with one eye you know he is asking if you are capable of establishing such a controlled female flock.  Obviously even Kody Brown from Sister Wives doesn’t have that sort of control. [Now that I think about it, maybe Kody would be one person in this world in the market for a Rooster lawn ornament of that size.]

Plus, I think that besides God, only a rooster knows which came first: the chicken or the egg.

Third: Roosters are so aggressive.  Yeah, I get the whole protecting their flock thing and that is commendable.  But I am talking about the deeper aggression issues that go way beyond your average angry bird.  I am talking about the existence of a multi-billion dollar gaming industry of cockfighting that exists all around the world.  One would think that a rooster with that many hens at his controllable disposal would be mellower or at least more tired

As my thoughts of giant rooster continue I realize I must put aside my prejudices. My thoughts have led me to the realization that roosters are pretty darn important.  Without roosters there would be no baby chicks. Without baby chicks there would be no hens.  Without hens there would be no eggs.  And really, what would life be like with no eggs.  I personally cannot imagine breakfast without eggs-over-easy, omelets or French toast.  What would 1.34 billion people in China eat for lunch if there wasn’t any egg drop soup?  Personally, I shudder to think of a life without cake, cookies, and caramel rolls.  And just one more “food for thought;” where would Buddy, the Cake Boss be without eggs?  Not vacationing in Italy that is for sure.

I will be beyond surprised if I drive by the mall parking lot and the colossal rooster is gone.

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