OK So I went to North Dakota. I’ll just kind of give a play by play here, with some little things tossed in for good measure. As I had said, security at DIA was sucky. I had wireless internets there, though, and that was pretty cool. On the flight to North Dakota I got to sit next to this nice girl from the SF Bay area named Karen, who was visiting her Fiance-to-be’s family in Bismarck. She was expecting her boyfriend, an opthamalogist who lives in Oregan, to propose to her over Thanksgiving. She showed me a bunch of photos of their trip to Australia, and next thing I knew I was flying into Bismarck’s Airport. Flying into Bismarck at nigt is very weird. You’re flying along, flying along, flying along and all of the sudden the inky black flatness turns into an airport and you’re on the ground. Fly fly fly fly fly fly fly fly OMFG LIGHTS land disembark. It’s crazy how the city and the airport spring out of nothingness. And I mean nothingness. OK So I land in Bismarck, get off the plane last (I was seated in the very back), get off the plane, and there is the embodiment of awesomeness herself, Amanda. So we hug and kiss and hug and kiss some more, and it was good. Really good. Reunited at last. Then we got into the truck and headed home. Home being her parents’ place, in the basement. Yep, shackin up, visiting in sin. 😀 It was a looong 2 hour drive across the black, black planes of ND until wha-Bam, Minot! I think I napped during the drive. Then we were there. I don’t think we did much Wednesday night besides talk to her parents and snuggle. Oh, we got some coffee. Twice. And I met Amanda’s friend Renee, who is supposedly a lesbian but recently juked fate and married some dude … she worked at the Starbucks that we visited. Oh, and there is 1 Starbucks in Minot. Small Town, USA. Thursday was Thanksgiving! Amanda and her Mom cook like fiends on meth. We didn’t poke our heads up until noon or so, went and got some coffee from the bitter working-on-Turkey-Day starbucks folks. I wore pajamas all day until just before we ate. Amanda also got all done up, but Amanda’s Folks wore pajamas and flannel throughout. That was really relaxing, seeing that they really didn’t care. Dinner was incredible, the talk was incredible, it was all a good time. We watched “Waking Ned Devine” after everything, then got to the snuggling again. Very low key, very relaxing, super duper thanksgiving. OK So Friday came around and it was busy. We had Moxie Java, coffee that is sold only at random gas stations in ND, with Amanda’s friends Krista, Manders (aka Amanda) and Manders’ lesbian SO, Sonja. The coffee was fucking terrible. Krista thought it was the greatest thing ever, but it was actually god awful. Potentially the worst mocha I have ever had. Anyways, had coffee, then went over to Manders’ & Sonja’s place. We hung out there for a while and talked about all kinds of things, from NuvaRing to Boys to college, to family and more. It was a good time and I think I made a good impression on Amanda’s friends :-). So we left Madners’ place and headed home, had some leftovers (mmmm) and then headed over to the Blue Rider, a local bar in ND. I determined two really odd things about ND and it’s bars: 1) There are fifty bazillion of them and 2) 2/5 bars are smoke free, something that is close to extinction here in CO. Anyways, the Blue Rider is a quaint little smokefree joint that serves beer and beer only. It was maybe … 40′ deep by 15′ wide. Tiny place, and slammed accordingly. Anyways, they had a decent Hefeweizen and a *SUPER* local band called [L=http://www.greenmanband.net]the Greenman Band[/L]. The band was comprised of Amanda’s elementary school orchestra teacher, Minot State’s Music Theory prof, a highschool vocals instructor and her husband, an english teacher. All teachers, all cheery, friendly, very nice and extremely talented. Right, so there was the bar and the band, and we met Mike and Kendra there, who are some friends that we know from Colorado Springs! It was like transplanting home to ND, and it was good. Met Kendra’s Mom & brother, Lucas as well, but unfortunately the four of them had to leave pretty quickly.. Stayed, enjoyed the band, then our ride showed up and we headed home. I think we watched a movie Friday night, but I don’t recall which. So Saturday rolled around and we woke up late, as usual. And then … I don’t know what we did. OH right we went over to Amanda’s Mom’s studio in Burlington. Right before that, though, we swung by Starbucks and a bagel shop called the Bagel Stop? and picked up some yummies. At Amanda’s Mom’s shop we met a couple of the family friends, who were all very pleasant and happy to finally meet the much renowned me. From there, we were supposed to hit up Kendra’s pottery show at the Uni, but unfortunately our schedule didn’t permit it — we busted straight from the studio to Garrison, a town ~60 miles south of Minot, for the annual [L=http://www.dickensfestival.com/]Dickens Village Festival[/L]. The Dickens Fest is basically where the entire (tiny) town of Garrison converts into somethhing straight out of Dickens’ Christmas Carol. We walked the entire town, had a smoked turkey leg, had a supposedly famous but not-too-tasty Waffleberry donut, and watched their little parade. Then we went home and stayed up really late chatting … at least 3am or so, but then fell asleep. Sunday. We didn’t wake up until something like 2pm. We had no idea it was that late when we got up, but it was a really good nights sleep. So we woke up, and were supposed to do something … mmm … I don’t recall, but I think it was supposed to happen at noon. So then we went to Grizzly’s with Amanda’s folks and had an early dinner. From there we went and had coffee with Manders, Sonja & Krista again at 4:45. That was a pretty good time, but we kinda had some other stuff to do. Ran a couple errands, headed up, fired up the DVD player and watched `Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants` and `My Big Fat Greek Wedding`. Yes, I already turned in my Man card. Anyways, they were both good movies, and after drinking a gallon of Wassail we snuggled and hit the rack. It was nice having a low key Sunday, being my last full day there and all. Monday is kind of a blur. Woke up to Amanda leaving for class, fell back asleep, woke back up an hour later, took a shower and started packing. Amanda came home and we finished the packing and clean up and all that, and then … mmm … shit I don’t know. I know we had a tasty breakfast casserole, then … something or other, I don’t know. We left Minot around 3:30 and headed for Bismarck Airport — another two hours of travelling the black emptiness of non-city ND. On the way there we stopped at a Lewis & Clark exhibit museum thing. Blew an hour there, and it was pretty interesting. Anyways, we arrived at the airport, spent a while kissing, hugging and crying and really not wanting to part ways. Finished all that, blew through security and that was that. The plane ride home was really uneventul, sat next to an older guy who works for the DoD who was very quiet. I took a nap, arrived in Denver, met James at the airport and headed home. That’s the entire trip in a few hundred words. It was really a great trip — I got to see one lovely young lady for never-long-enough, visit North Dakota and enjoy a vacation. It was a helluva time. I can’t wait to see her again, here, there, anywhere. I’m all twitterpated. Every time I think about her I get this googly-eyed-shit-eating-grin look on my face. She does all these cute and awesome things and just makes me feel like a million bucks. She is unbelievable. I know I missed a ton of things, so please feel free to ask questions or, in the case of Amanda, point out missing things :-). I had a sore throat on Sunday, lived through it on Monday and have been enjoying a full blown chest & head cold since. I’ve been sleeping like crap, and my back hurts. Hence the whole fell-asleep-while-posting last night. Also, the same reason that it takes me forever to type this up — if I focus at something for too long, like a laptop screen, my eyes tear up and I get a head ache. So I’m going to hit the rack.