Sunflower Fields

Love that as I go to look up information on sunflower fields in South Dakota, one of the first hits is:

Are there sunflower fields in South Dakota? – Yahoo! Answers answers.yahoo.com › … › May 2, 2012 – Tons and tons of sunflowers!! Plus, despite what a lot of people think South Dakota is a very beautiful state!

Thanks, Steve in NC. I’m certain the Department of Tourism and the people of this great state are sincerely thrilled with that rave review. A review that again, turns up nearly first in any google search on sunflowers in South Dakota. It’s lovely. … Really.

…………..

I failed to mention yesterday in my fawning over the mini-sunflower like “weeds” as the Cowboy likes to call them, lining just about every roadway and field right now .. the actual sunflower fields that cover this great state.

Presho Sunflower Field

We used to marvel at them just about every August as we would drive from our home in Wisconsin to visit family/friends in Montana. But with such a long drive ahead of us, rarely would we ever stop to see them close-up.

Now that I live here …… there is time.

Presho Sunflowers cu

On the drive home from Wall yesterday, we had to stop and fill up the truck. Luckily for us, the tank hit E right before we came upon Presho, SD. An area mid-state where the sunflowers bloom for just about as far as the eye can see..

I’ve been wondering .. where do all of the seeds go? Who or what uses them? What is the main demand for this crop? (Hence the google search I started this with) There are some fascinating areas of research being done on just what this plant may be capable of. For now however, this article from a few years back about sums it up .. currently seventy percent of all sunflowers grown in South Dakota are marketed to the birdseed industry.

Lone sunflower

Some other perhaps interesting facts about sunflowers via the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center:

  • Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are a native North American plant, believed to have originated around 3,000 B.C. in what is now the states of Arizona and New Mexico.
  • Sunflowers are primarily grown in North Dakota and South Dakota, followed by Texas, Minnesota and Kansas.
  • Sunflowers are considered oilseeds. Sunflowers are used for their cooking oil, meal and confectionary products.
  • Within the oil varieties, oil is extracted. Meal, a byproduct of this process, is used primarily as an ingredient in livestock feed rations.
  • Demand for sunflower oil has increased as food processors search for sources of transfat-free vegetable oil. In 2006, Frito-Lay, the country’s largest producer of snack foods, switched entirely to sunflower oil for its potato chips.
  • Food-grade sunflowers are made up of the highest quality seeds, including the largest and cleanest seeds. Ingredient sunflowers are seeds that are still food-grade quality, but they do not possess the characteristics to be in the food-grade category. The sunflower seeds that cannot be used for ingredients are used for birdseed. Usually these are smaller, lower quality seeds.
  • Studies have shown that sunflower oil is healthier than most other food oils on the market.

What I want to know, is how do so many seeds make it to market if they’re so sought after by birds for dinner? Wouldn’t they just raid the fields? How does that work?

After talking about it on the drive home this weekend .. the Cowboy decided when he went in to pay for gas he’d also grab himself a pack of seeds. All the talk about them if nothing else, was making him hungry.

Sunflower seeds

Advertisements

When you can’t control ..

There are a lot of things *worth* making a big deal about in life.

I have an amazing friend that I don’t see often enough, especially anymore because of a move and his retirement, who I can’t believe what he has seen, done and had happen to him in his life .. the loss of two children, a third with severe disability, a major health diagnosis for his spouse, and that’s just to start .. situations that might bring any of the rest of us to our knees.  Yet he gets up everyday, volunteers, goes to work, has the brightest eyes and biggest smile on his face and he just gets at it everyday.

That’s a lot for anyone to deal with.  Those things change you.  They have to.  And they can change a person for better or for worse in an instant.

Most of the time though .. we have little things, issues or challenges, deadlines, tasks, whatever .. thrown at us constantly throughout the course of a day.  And usually, there is little the Universe can truly throw at us that can’t be taken in stride.  That we can’t entrust, if not to God, to someone else.  Or ourselves.

Unless .. we perhaps have some issues with needing control.

There was a time in my life when I used to wonder why life, (I was told), was so bad.  So hard.  I felt horrible because no matter how bad things have ever actually been, I’ve always tried to find the silver lining.  I try to always be open to the fact I can do things better and take ownership of issues that are mine .. deal with them or make peace with the fact they are just my issues and minimize the impact on others.  Like the fact I often try to get one more thing done before I have to be somewhere which often, not always, but often where I feel I might have some leeway, has me running behind.

I have also far too often over the years, tried to take on issues I am told were or are mine.  But they’re not.  It took me a very long time to recognize that.  I used to wonder what was wrong with me that I didn’t see things the way I was told they were.  That perhaps I just didn’t get it.

In some cases, things are a big deal.  And, I try to always give credit where credit is due.

It’s tough though when everyone comes at things from their own past experience, personality and perspective.  So how big a deal something might be to one versus another is all very relative.

But after you’ve been through some actual, real sh*t in life, your realize what’s worth making a huge fuss or demands or threats over and what’s not.

It’s taken me a long time to get to a place where I have learned to better recognize this and  compartmentalize when issues are my own that I need to own ..

And when they’re just someone else’s .. appreciate that fact, and let it go.

Still, no matter how far you may try to remove yourself, sometimes you just keep getting dragged into the drama others need to create.  (And let me just clarify, this fortunately has nothing to do with the Cowboy.  Other than at times we both get to share/swap stories and ponder solutions to the everyday chaos around us.)

…………………….

While I’ve paid good money over the years to understand this and get to this place where I am currently at .. there are some valuable lessons I think in sharing stories, situations or resources.

http://drphil.com/articles/article/320

http://www.compatamate.com/Relationships/control.html

Whether or not it’s from me, Dr. Phil .. or any of the thousands of resources/forums available on Google which I won’t bore you with here .. there are lessons here I’d love for my daughter to learn, especially as she ages.  I hope she more easily recognizes a person with control issues than I can or ever did.

It would help tremendously even in situations like the one she and her best friend found themselves in this past year ..

Where a third little girl who so desperately wanted to be both their friends, did what she could to create chaos between the two, in order to come in and be the one to save the day.  She wanted them both to need her and like her best.  Versus just being a good person to like and love, who looked at herself for the person she wanted to be and stood firm in that .. (not easy for any girl about to enter her teens)

And who they would have welcomed into their circle to begin with.

We had this very conversation just the other night in regard to something said to her by another friend completely outside the triangle mentioned above, her reaction to it and how she might best respond.

Friendships, families, workplaces and relationships shouldn’t be about winning, losing or needing control.  While structure is necessary in some form and if expectations are made clear .. they are best when they can just be because everyone is doing their own part.

If it doesn’t work for some reason, it’s my belief .. take it or leave it, .. that natural consequences are a good reminder perhaps we need to look within and work on what’s there .. first.

Help wanted: Someone who can …

There are about 10 topics I’d like to write about given the events of the past few days .. 9 of them serious, and one totally frivolous but life changing.  For women anyway.  I swear.  About shaving.  A fun fact my own mother never knew, but that I feel .. now that I have had the knowledge handed down to me, I should pass on .. especially as my own daughter starts to consider whether or not she has enough hair on her legs to start.

But I haven’t had time yet to really sit down and write about any of them.  The pace has been non-stop for days.  I think that’s what happens before you leave on vacation in general.  But it’s also because, it’s just been ridiculously busy.  Spring seems to be that way every year no matter what, doesn’t it?  I don’t know why.  Can’t put my finger on it.  But it is.  And I know I’m not alone in feeling this way ….

Regardless.

Because of how busy it has been, the overarching thought in my head the past 3 days has been:

Living on caffeine and out of my car too often ...

(sorry for inside glimpse of my coffee mug .. just painting the picture here)

I would really love a personal assistant.

…………..

I work in a business where you have to be incredibly self-sufficient to get done what you need to everyday.  Not always.  I am surrounded by great people who are hard workers and get a lot done that, I won’t lie, in turn, helps me look good each day.

Don’t most of us, really, in some capacity have that as our scenario?  We’re part of a team that comes together to produce whatever the product is for our business.  Each day.  That’s just what teams do, to be successful.

But like any profession, mine happens to be news… there’s a lot of individual responsibility.

I’ve always managed it.  Not as well as some others.  And far better than some others.  But I’ve managed.

When I look back, I have worked – hard – relying on my own performance since I was probably 12.  I delivered papers.  I mowed lawns.  I babysat.  I worked in a feed mill.  In a cornfield de-tassling.  Shearing Christmas trees.  Waitressed (much of my adult life) for years where I – at times – was the only server on the floor.  I know how to get a job done.  I can and will do what it takes to get a job done.  And I take pride in doing it well.

So when I left news for a few years, went into another profession and was given an assistant to work with ..

I had NO idea what to ask of this person.

………….

I went overnight from having only a reporters notebook, a desk phone, a computer, a small quarter cubicle wall big enough to maybe post a few snapshots in a tiny shared workspace, a deadline daily and people that shouted across the room to each other when they needed something to get done – and now .. to two beautiful, spacious offices, a long range multi-million dollar fundraising project, all of the electronic devices I might need to make that happen, access to some of the most influential people in the field I was trying to raise money for .. and, an assistant to make it all happen.

“What can I do to help you,” my awesome assistant (and he really was) would sincerely say.  Daily.

I had no idea what to tell him.

Ever.

Until …. that is, the day the lightbulb went on and I realized how much better two working together could be .. how much more I/we could get done .. how he could potentially help with the monumental tasks at hand .. behind the scenes .. taking care of the always important little details that I hate dealing with .. so that in turn, I could do what I think I do best and that is focus on the big picture… and that it was okay to ask for help.

But by then, he was gone.

He was working for others who did know how valuable he and the work he was capable of doing and loved to do .. was.  And still is.

And, while I am talking about all of this now in terms of the world of work..

At this particular moment in time .. again, I would give anything for a personal assistant.

…………..

Do people really do this?  Is there a niche career here?  Personal assistants?

Yes there is.  In fact .. I may give http://www.justaskchelsea.com/index.html a call tomorrow now that I’ve finally taken the time to google something I’ve been pondering for years.  Because I’m pretty sure me paying her for one hour .. even two to do something like .. run to the DMV for me would have been far less than the ticket I found on my windshield yesterday for expired plates.  Just one example of where I would sincerely appreciate some help.  A partner of sorts.

Many of you have them in the form of a spouse.

Know that I understand how pathetic it is I feel I could use an assistant.  To help me manage my time/life outside of work.  But I’ve gotten to the point I don’t really care what anyone else thinks in certain areas of my life.  It is what it is at this particular moment.  I am doing what I can to work toward more time with family and friends and less time with everything else.  But much like spring cleaning .. sometimes you have to make a bigger mess in the process .. to get to that cleaner house.  That’s kind of where I feel I am at in life.

Someone to help .. (the Cowboy and I .. I know, would do this for each other, if we actually lived closer to each other .. or in the same place) would not only make the chaos more manageable.  But also, more fun.

‘Want more fun and less stress?  Do less,’ you say.

If it were only that easy.

There is a huge market here.  Why are so few doing this?  Do running other people’s errands stress out those doing it for work, too?  Is there not enough money in the world someone could pay you to run errands because you have enough of your own?

Budding entrepreneurs – just a thought:  If you are looking to start your own business, have a clean driving record, can be trusted, are good with confidentiality, love kids, and are happy to work with people who might really appreciate your work..

Consider.  And please apply, within.

Back in the saddle ..

Since I’ve known the Cowboy .. he’s taught roping.

He’s practiced roping with friends, on occasion.

But I have yet to see him rope.. or heel is what he usually does, in an actual rodeo.

Watching afternoon practice ..

Despite the fact he essentially dropped out of his career as a team roper to get through his divorce a year ago, to be home more and spend as much time as possible with his kids..

He still made the Minnesota Rodeo Association Finals  http://www.mnrodeo.org/ this weekend in Fergus Falls, MN.

Unfortunately…

He didn’t get notice that he qualified, until I had something on the books already for the weekend.

Very bummed about that.

Now … this brings up a dilemma each person/couple/family has to face and make decisions about on their own.  But after years of essentially not worrying all that much about someone else having something on their calendar besides my daughter, that might conflict with my own insane number of commitments .. I wasn’t sure what to do.

I wanted to go..

But at the very least, four other people were relying on me to be not at a rodeo in the middle of nowhere, Minnesota.

Completely torn, I was asked a couple of months ago to make a decision so that everyone knew where I stood and could adjust accordingly.  The Cowboy and I had a long talk .. and for a number of reasons, we decided it was best I kept my current commitment.

“I’ll be roping plenty of times from here on out for you to come watch,” said the Cowboy.

I’m looking forward to it.

And while I’m enjoying the much needed down time alone this weekend in-between commitments..

The kids are with him .. so are his folks.

Selfishly, I am wishing I/we were with them too.

…………….

It is so easy to get caught up in the chaos of a good life .. the opportunities to go and see and do and be a part of .. and there is never a shortage, especially when you live near so many good friends and family.

This weekend however..

Friday night dance after the rodeo ..

…has been a beautiful reminder of how nice it might be..  to not have a calendar completely booked out for the rest of the year.  Or at least time, set completely aside for whatever may come along.  Is it possible?  I don’t know..

But I may just give it a try.

Clay.

One of the hardest things we have to do in life, is trust.

But it’s also one of the most important.

Trust that as children, our parents will provide for us, the basic necessities.

Trust that as we grow, we have what it takes to survive and thrive in an ever changing, often very tough world.

Trust in something.  Someone.  Bigger than yourself.

For me, it is God.  It is what grounds me and gets me through, not always unscathed, but through the challenges that present themselves day to day.

Trust that there is a reason for everything.

And that when it is your time, for life.. for death.. and whatever may lie in between, you will have what you sincerely need to get through.  To get through to that place He, for whatever reason, has in store for us.

I struggle with that sometimes when I really go back and think of the experience we had with my mother dying.

When I really give myself time to remember what it was like to look into her eyes.. hold her hand .. and try to reassure her it would be ok, as she struggled to breathe, very afraid of both leaving us.

And the process of dying.  Would it hurt.  Was there really a place she was going called Heaven.  The why’s.  The how’s.  Mostly, the why’s, although she only once ever said it.

I can’t imagine.. whether it is death, losing someone in any capacity .. or the life some of us feel we have been given to lead,  that most of us don’t feel challenged in our faith on a consistent basis.

Having had so many that mean so much .. come and go in my life in such a short time, I try and just feel blessed I have the people in my life I do, however long it is possible.

……………..

I took the photo above, at our church the other weekend.  The church had been host to an artists conference and there were a few works on display yet that Sunday morning.

Out of everything there.. this one photo stood out to me.

The parallels to life, of clay being molded into something beautiful.  Starting out as a heap.  Slowly being spun.  Not always holding it’s shape, but reminded time and again, turn after turn of the wheel, where it is supposed to go based on the work of the hands.  That it will be ok if it just trusts in what is happening, works with the artist and allows guidance.  The edges are softened.  Eventually, a beautiful pot is made.

…………….

I wrote a blog earlier today walking through some of the conversations the Cowboy and I have had this week.  I asked the Cowboy what was off limits.  ‘I trust you’, is what he most often says.  ‘I have nothing to hide.’

I wrote it carefully as I do every entry.  Well, most.  Sometimes when a post seems relatively benign and just for fun and I’m in a hurry to document something, my grammar is terrible and words are misspelled everywhere.  But whatever…

I did everything I could to be factually correct throughout and provide the essentials of one small moment in time.  This one very small part of a much bigger story of my life which will unfold piece by piece otherwise in any true daily journal.

Because it seemed too much for one quick read, I split it in two.  Tomorrow was going to be the lessons learned from all of this.  Most of which detailed my ignorance to what most other people who lead what might be considered a ‘more normal life’ than I do, find acceptable.  Versus what I consider normal.  (Is there a normal out there anymore?  I ask as I am up writing at 4am after having fallen asleep again earlier in the night with my daughter)  And why I have learned through this I need to get back to a place where I know I have to work on being more considerate.  Because the last thing I want to ever do is hurt anyone, especially someone I love.

I pulled the post.  Even though I do plan to save it for my daughter.  Because the lessons all around still apply.  They are tough lessons.  And one I wish my mom were around to talk with about.  (I have several other ‘second moms’.  A story to be told closer to Mother’s Day I think.)

For as authentic as I want to be always in person, in writing, in life .. the whole reason I am journaling ..

I also at this moment don’t believe it is worth dragging out some of the pain the Cowboy and I .. feel the situation we’ve found ourselves in, worth.

I hope that is authentic enough in and of itself.

I need him to trust I will take care of his heart.  And I am fairly certain, until any of us ever heal from previous unhealthy relationships, hurt or pain, losses in life through things like divorce or in death, that it is tough to lay your heart fully out there to trust anyone again.

We are still being molded.  And I want to take the best possible care of the clay we have been given in the trust it will turn yet, into something even more beautiful.

Insight gleaned from hydrangeas on the floor …

My cat right now is chasing a guitar pick around the living room like it’s the best toy, ever.  Like, it’s on the run from him and he’s totally not going to let it get away.

I’m pretty sure its the first thing to bring a genuine smile to my face since about 8:00am yesterday.

Of course.. it follows him knocking over a vase freshly filled with water to get a drink.

Which makes me smile, too.

Now that I’ve cleaned up the water, anyway.  Because it’s my own damn fault he knocked it over.  I knew he was thirsty.  He had been looking for something for probably the past ten minutes.  I could hear him checking the shower for any residual drops.  I was folding clothes.  He came and looked at me.  I asked if he could give me a few minutes.

He went to the dog dish.  Nothing there.  I’m still folding clothes.  I hear the vase go.  He always goes for the flower vase when I don’t respond quick enough or there are no other options.

I pick up the hydrangeas off the floor..

I pause, before placing them back in the vase.  Go and get some more water.

And put them back on the table.

I tend to buy myself flowers when I need a pick me up.  Or, just because.

Today, I needed the pick me up.

………….

Oh the irony, I think to myself.  The cat knocks the vase over because he needs something.  Something I didn’t get him immediately.  A bit drastic?  Perhaps.  But it reminds me of my day.  When you wait too long to address a situation, it can easily get out of hand.

………….

I received a text Monday morning from the Cowboy about 25 minutes after he hit the road to head home to South Dakota.

“Please call when you drop (daughter) off, need to talk” states the text.

We had just had 48 hours of pretty much nothing but time to talk.  Time in the car.  Hours.  Together with nothing to do but talk.  We had some really fun, wonderful conversations.  So much so in fact, I pointed it out specifically after one very animated chat about shows we each used to watch when we were kids.

“My brothers and I used to not get out of the car unless we could go through the windows,” said the Cowboy.  “Dukes of Hazard.  Did you watch that one?  We loved that show.”

He shared some more ridiculously fun and fond memories about times he and his brothers did some crazy things to be like the Duke boys..

I’m laughing.

“These are really great conversations,” I honestly said to the Cowboy on our return trip Sunday from Chicago.  “Have you ever been able to talk to someone like this?” I ask.

“No,” he said smiling.  “I haven’t.”

I even took a few notes because they are conversations worth journaling.  Internally I’m thinking, how can we make sure we always continue to talk like this?  To keep learning from each other?

‘Need to talk.’

I hear this and think, oh no.. what’s happened.  There is so much going on right now.  So many moving parts in both our lives.  The Cowboy has a big day back home, Tuesday.  Monday was a prep day.  And here I was concerned it was something in regard to ‘said’ meeting.  Or the kids.  Something is horribly wrong.  Someone’s been hurt or is sick.

Nope.

‘I want to ask you about some texts I saw on your phone,’ says the Cowboy.

………….

Besides the whole host of things that might need to be discussed here ..

And mind you, I leave my phone lying around with no concerns about anything anyone might see on my phone because I have nothing to hide

This all started Saturday morning …

It is now Monday.  And he’s left, on his way home.

…………..

I struggled with what to write, if anything at all tonight/today.  Because quite honestly, I’m still baffled about the entire situation.  But more importantly, the Cowboy has enough on his plate and the last thing I ever want to do is upset him or distract him from major life tasks that are imminent and need his focus.

I’m also wondering if stress isn’t playing a major role in any and all issues we’re having right now versus actual problems.

So I’m leaving it at this .. for now.

There are lessons, always, to be learned in our every day.  And there are stories and wisdom I wish my mother were still alive to hand down to me.  From simple things like how she made such awesome rosettes for instance .. to the complex.  Relationships.  Marriage.  Finances.  Friends.  Dreams.  Even cats.  (Yes, even cats.  I’m sure they fit in here, somewhere.)

I feel strongly the situation that has unfolded the past 24 hours specifically holds a lot of food for thought for my daughter, as she gets older and will undoubtedly face similar situations.  So I will figure out how to tactfully write about what has transpired.  Just not now.

……………

Much like the vase tipped this morning.. and the gush of water and flowers on the floor .. some things become bigger messes than they ever need to be.  Or are worth being.  Because attention wasn’t given at the right time.  Or to the right thing.  Sometimes, it can be as simple as someone/something wanting to make a mess.  But usually there’s a deeper cause.  Whatever the case .. in the wee hours of the morning as I write this:  I’m not sure how the Cowboy is.  I want nothing but good things for him and us however .. so we shall see how well we navigate this road.  But the cat .. the cat is the only thing at the moment, I feel I can appease.  And because he let me know very swiftly there was an issue..

Apparently I need to clean my floors again. I know.. I know..

There is now water in every dish.

A content cat on the sofa sleeping.

And a guitar pick that can rest.

……………

I’m off to try and do the same.

Stillwater …

If you’ve never been to Stillwater, Minnesota, you’re missing something.  It is a beautiful .. quaint little town along the banks of the St. Croix River (I thought it was Mississippi but, wrong.) just as you cross the border from Wisconsin into Minnesota.  Or, I guess.. the other way around, too.  Leaving Minnesota heading into Wisconsin.  Whichever direction you’re coming from, it’s just a few miles off the highway.  And well worth the trip.  There is a great downtown and a gorgeous landscape surrounding the small town.

http://www.countryliving.com/antiques/shops-and-shows/getaway-st-croix-valley-1106#slide-1

Lot of antique shops.  Well, a lot of quaint little shops in general to be honest.

Golf courses.  Water recreation opportunities.  B&B’s.  And of course.. some great restaurants.

I’m pretty sure the Cowboy and I checked out each and every one of them in the three hours we were there.  The day we actually met, in person.  Late last June.

Because I was hungry for breakfast.  I had just come from a long run.  And it was past noon.

As we were told, ‘no breakfast anymore’ walking from place to place, we finally settled on a nice bistro on the edge of town (no more restaurants to hit).  We sat in the window at a table for two.  And I quickly realized it didn’t matter what was on the menu.  I was happy to just delve into the person sitting across the table from me.   (Take that however you want.  But at that point it was all about the convo.)

…………..

Another old friend I just ran into and who knew something about someone in South Dakota  said to me .. ‘how exactly, did you meet again?’

………….

Six years ago .. the Cowboy got a call from a friend to show some horses.  He was living in Oklahoma  at the time.  It was to rope at the World Appaloosa show in Fort Worth, Texas for a horse trainer from Wisconsin.  He went.  They won.  They have been great friends and worked together ever since.

Which brings us to a year ago…

That same trainer…

Became my trainer for an event I was asked to do along with some others for the Midwest Horse Fair last April, I believe it was.  We worked together for a few months.  Unlike the Cowboy, I …didn’t win.    But the Trainer and I became fast friends as well.

(He shall from this point forward be called the Trainer.  Because he and his family have now become a big part of both our lives.  Chances are he will make some reappearances in future blogs.)

Fast forward to a Memorial Day weekend trip the Trainer took to South Dakota with a client of his.  They went to the Cowboy’s to have him teach the client how to rope.  They roped.  They drank beer.  And one night the Cowboy got our his guitar and started to play.

“You have to meet a friend of mine,” says the Trainer to the Cowboy.

He bugged him about it again the next day.  The following day on his drive back to Wisconsin, the Trainer calls me and says, “You’re not dating anyone right now, are you?  Even if you are..  I’ve got someone you need to meet.  Go on Facebook or something .. Friend the Cowboy.”

I’m pretty sure both of us laughed and said .. ‘Yeah, sure. Get right on that’… because neither of us was wanting or looking for anything at the time.

Which may be why this has been so good.

We did nothing but talk for what seemed quite a long time.  Great conversations.  Long conversations.  About everything.  Including why neither of us was in the market for a relationship at the point.  Usually it was from about midnight-3am on many a night last June.  And then we thought, perhaps it might be nice to meet.  Because while neither of us was looking to get into another relationship, there was something there.

On a weekend when both our plans got canceled for other reasons.. mine, a trip to Nashville to scope out some potential life changes and him, to North Dakota for a roping school which got rained out..  we decided on a whim, to meet.

But where..

One of my best friends had out of the blue, said, we’re home with no plans, come to Minneapolis and see us.

The Cowboy said, I have a friend who’s been at me to come rope.  He’s just outside Minneapolis.

And on that weekend, we met.  For lunch.  Which turned into an afternoon.. one of the best afternoons of my life, thus far I’m pretty sure.

Other than the distance.. we have been together since.

Stillwater deserves a return trip .. I’m thinking.  And breakfast, lunch or dinner.. will be great.  As long as the company is the same.