A Spoonful of Sugar

It’s crazy windy today and, because my office is situated directly across from a brick building that is separated by a narrow walkway, that breeze is howling through the eaves. Sounds like a congregation of tortured souls screaming for mercy.

Yikes. Too much Ted Bundy for me.

I’m referring to the Netflix series, Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, that began live-streaming on the 30th anniversary of his execution last week. I have long been fascinated with the notorious serial killer and remember watching the television miniseries about Bundy, The Deliberate Stranger starring Mark Harmon, back in 1986. I think it’s the idea that somebody so intelligent, witty, articulate, and unassuming can commit such depravity. Then again, I also closely followed the Green River Killer case and Gary Ridgway is the complete opposite of Ted Bundy, so maybe it’s just an overall lurid interest in true crime. I am a self-admitted Dateline NBC addict, after all.

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In any case, I devoured the four-part special over the weekend and paid for it in my dreams last night. Not a nightmare per se, but a strange narrative in which a nameless and faceless “they” were trying to strap me to equipment and kill me and I kept trying to escape, eventually finding freedom by simply walking out the front door. Pretty easy to match up that symbolism with the Netflix doc I’d just watched (the electric chair/Bundy’s escape out a window). The psyche is a powerful thing.

All I know is, I need to watch Mary Poppins or something equally wholesome tonight.

Aside from watching documentaries about psychotic bipolar killers, our weekend was fairly low-key. Spent most of Saturday at the Journey Museum and Learning Center, the perfect way to while away a 37-degree day that was spitting snow. Regular admission is $12 but they were selling movie tickets for $10 that included free museum admission. We could have bought the movie tix, skipped the film, and still come out ahead, but we decided to check it out – and were glad we did! “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” is a drama adopted from an acclaimed novel and is about…

A white author who is summoned by a Lakota Elder who asks him to write a book about his perspective. After a blundering false start, he is all but kidnapped and sucked into a road trip through the heart of the contemporary Native American landscape.

Cutting and pasting was easier than explaining in my own words. It’s not like I’m a writer or anything! Oh, wait…

In any case, we enjoyed the film quite a bit. It’s poignant, emotional, and humorous. And very much a South Dakota movie, filmed on location at the Pine Ridge reservation. The book has 4.3 stars on Goodreads and is the first in a series, so I may need to pick it up sometime.

Afterwards, we grabbed an early dinner at Sickie’s Garage, a small regional chain that boasts over 50 burgers. After much deliberation, we chose the following:

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Both were excellent.

Sunday was super warm; the temperature approached 60 before gusty winds kicked in. A few hours later, it was snowing. So typical of this area! It will be 13 degrees on Tuesday and 48 on Friday.

At least there’s plenty of variety as the temperature swings between kinda cold, cold, and cold AF.

 

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One Down, 49 to Go

One year ago today, we went public and shared the news that we were moving to Rapid City, South Dakota. Via social media, of course, because this is the 21st century.

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We actually made our decision weeks earlier, on the first full day of our quickie weekend road trip out here. But there were i’s to dot and t’s to cross before we told everybody. Hardest of all was our parents, who really didn’t want to see us go. But we were committed and there was no changing our minds by that point. Those eight months we had to wait between announcing we were going and actually going felt like they were going to drag, and at times they did, but here we are one year later and now it kinda seems like it flew by, ha.

It also totally feels like home.

I kind of feel like we left just in time, too. I was talking with my parents on the phone a couple of weeks ago and they mentioned the Proud Boys, an alt-right group that is clashing with members of the far-left Antifa movement on the streets of Portland, resulting in a whole lot of bloodshed. And I thought, that is not the Portland I knew and loved.

They went on to talk about the homeless criss, which was always bad but now seems to be spiraling out of control. And the escalating traffic issues and rising prices. It all just sounds so unbearably bad. I’m not bashing Portland. It’ll always have a special place in my heart, and going back to visit will be lots of fun. It just doesn’t hold the same allure for me that it once did.

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This, by contrast? It’s exactly where we were meant to be. I’m not saying South Dakota is perfect or suited to everybody. But it’s just right for us, and that’s all that matters. I keep hearing “but just wait until winter!” and all I can think is, I can’t wait until winter! I think that’s the attitude you need to have to really enjoy it out here. Plus, you’ve got to enjoy a small(ish) town and be willing to sacrifice a few things (like Trader Joe’s and Costco and farmer’s markets teeming with deliciously juicy berries and Darth Vader-costumed, bagpipe-playing unicyclists). If you’re okay without those types of creature comforts, you just might thrive out here in the Upper Midwest.


Last Wednesday, we (OK, Tara) came up with the impromptu idea of driving out to the Badlands to catch the full moon. It was rising at 6:25 p.m. and we thought that would be a perfect opportunity to set up our cameras and capture some good shots in a ruggedly scenic landscape.

It was a great idea in theory, but there were just enough clouds on the horizon to mess with the view. Plus, the moon ended up rising over the parking lot instead of the craggy cliffs we’d been hoping for. And it was super windy, which made it really cold, especially once the sun went down.

But. We had the whole place to ourselves, and that alone made it kind of magical. There’s a lot to be said for going out there in the off-season! And while the moonrise might have been a dud, the sunset was spectacular.

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It was late by the time we left, and later still when we got back to Rapid City. 8:00, and neither of us had eaten in hours. So we decided to grab a bite to eat at Sickies Garage, small regional chain of restaurants (five locations in the Dakotas and Minnesota) that advertises “50 burgers, 50 brews & More!” They’re not exaggerating, either. On any of those counts. Loved the decor, the food was great, and the prices were unbeatable. Most burgers are less than $10 and include a side. In fact, dinner for the two of us – including a couple of hard ciders – was only $38.

I’m sure we’ll be back plenty of times. After all, there are 49 more burgers to try!

All in all, it was a great Wednesday, and a nice break from the regular weekday routine. Normally we’d be watching “The Price is Right” with a purring cat sandwiched between us while balancing a plate of food on our laps.

This was better.

I highly recommend getting out and living a little. It does wonders for the soul.