Jodi Rae Instad-aka: "The Blonde on the Prairie" - Just a blonde living out her days overcoming all adversity with humor, laughter and learning. Follow her to gain insight, walk in wonder and wallow in wit. She remains perky believing that every situation can be flipped, just like a pancake-from horrible to hilarious!-So walk with her as she attempts to survive her existence on the remote, North Dakota prairie.
Like a soothsayer, it does. And it did. It knew. Over three (3) new inches blew to my valley north of Valley City, ND -USA. The Sheyenne River Valley below me turned into a puritan playhouse of white overnight -giant, elderly evergreens weighed down by the snow that perched upon their needles. The snowman smiled as if to say, “Happy Morning! It is for me.” The snowman likes snow. He doesn’t suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder -thankfully.
It’s a happy morning for me too. The snwoman knows. He also knows the roads. They’re icy in places so he’d like to remind you to view the following link before you travel. “Arrive alive,” the snowman warns. Winter is surely near.http://www.dot.nd.gov/travel-info-v2/
This is the Blonde on the Prairie-*FROM* the Prairie!
I woke up. That’s all I had to do. I woke up washed anew in fresh, powder fallen snow. There is no need for fancy fashion once one chooses to live a simply, albeit abundant life. And so it was. I wandered about like a boy scout despite being a girl. I tugged on my Uggs and tied my purple fleece robe around my red plaid flannel pants. I quickly learned that a bantering deer does not fear that my colors don’t match. It’s mightily quiet once snow insulates an entire river valley. I stood with the deer to my left and this awe-inspiring view of my Sheyenne River Valley below. ~My coffee drinking place for the past 9 years. Just out my front door I watch the seasons change and the storms brew lower than I stand. I watch water spill over the banks of the Sheyenne. I watch it dry up and bloom fields of wheat and other things to eat….. and I watch something form and function more spectacularly than rainbows or the truth behind a butterfly. I watch life.
This has been the Blonde on the Prairie-*FROM* the Prairie-reminding all of you to open you real eyes to realize the real lies of the world. Instead of being busy-be quieted by the weather. Be lulled by not being gullible to the world. Instead -see the creation of the nation through nature! Wow!
Who has ever heard of line-dried sheets in December in North Dakota!?
The day after Christmas 2011 started out excitingly anyway! I woke up to a cabin of clutter and the energy to attack it. That husband of mine and I had 3 Christmases. One in a hotel room -another with a large group of family and then our romantic, alone one sitting Indian-style on our hardwood cabin floors dressed in the red fleece pullovers I bought 8 years ago. We wear them only while we open our gifts and then they go back into hiding until the next year. It’s our way of holding on to our own little -albeit-peculiar tradition. We had returned from 2 Christmas celebrations pulling behind us our luggage and boxes full of gifts, the boxes the gifts came in, the bags the gifts came in and our new commercial model Keurig coffee maker not available in stores.
I awoke not noticing the weather. I was fixated on taking the Christmas tree and all my Christmas decorations down. I used my old Mr. Coffee in order to bump myself up enough before I began. A blonde living on the prairie without her coffee is much more dangerous than a hungry cougar prancing the prairie looking for meat to eat. I drank my French Roast and went to work. That husband of mine would be home soon and I had a whole ambiance to create!
The new Keurig is such a beautiful appliance that I created an entire room around it. It is too spectacular for even the kitchen-and so: Our little den is now our own personal Starbucks or Dunk’in Donuts or Butter Toffee coffee house! A green Victorian loveseat greets whoever wants to sit on it while they choose their favorite flavor on the new swivel K-cup holder! I digress. This is about the extreme weather and not my beautiful appliance.
When my re-arranging and decorating was complete the clock read 1:30 pm. I peeked out the window, “Hmm? Sun. How fun,” I thought to myself.
I let my lovable little Llasa-poo out to tinkle when lo and behold it was just gorgeous out! I looked at the thermometer and 50 warming degrees showed up. The wind was blowing to beat the dickens (whatever the dickens is.) I rushed to my marital bed- stripped the matress and pillows naked of the flannel sheets and pillow cases and sprinted to the washing machine. I used hot water with bleach followed up with Snuggle Fabric Softener for softness. As soon as the beeper of the washing machine alerted me that it as done -I gingerly walked down to the scary basement in our cabin to grab the goods and hang them on the line outside. I can’t remember in my entire lifetime ever being awarded the gift of line-dried sheets in December in North Dakota. To me-their fresh smell -inducing sure and deliberate sleep was a greater gift than my most gorgeous new Keurig!
Though I love the smell of snow-I cannot sleep in it -like I can my fresh, line-dried sheets in December! Now THAT was some extreme weather because as I prepared to crawl in to my sheets around 10 pm on the same night-I peeked out to see raindrops accompanied by giant, wet and wonderful snowflakes falling from the night sky. I rushed out to stick out my tongue to catch them. “Mmmm!” Winter. There is nothing like the taste of winter as I prepare to crawl into my summer smelling sheets with the promise of awaking to fresh brewed coffee! Keurig and snow. What a dreamy life I live on the North Dakota prairie!
No need for stiletto heels when you’ve got a shadow to elongate you!
-4 Degrees (f) with the chill of the wind north of Valley City, North Dakota USA this day. Cold air usually means the “S” word! -SHRINKAGE!
…though -in December in eastern North Dakota with no snow it means the opposite. As fast as I walked up my long country drive I grew and then I grew some more! Dressed in my Eskimo parka -with the company of my walking stick and my shadow -I felt elongated and fine. In such a light I voice with delight, “I do NOT need my stiletto heels!” My feet feel at ease as I enjoy the breeze -walking without talking -feeling blessed to know that I was chosen to NOT ONLYlive, but *LIVE LARGE* this day with no snow in December.
Learn more about “The Blonde on the Prairie” by visiting: www.theblondeontheprairie.com -available to speak at corporate, Christian or public events!
It’s 7:14 in the morning as I drink my coffee outside. I’m 10 miles north of Valley City on my prairie meadow hill overlooking the vast Sheyenne River Valley. The weather is anything but “extreme.” It is 29 pleasant degrees with little to no wind. I spend time in this very place every single day I’m home at my remote cabin. I’m rarely awake outside at 7:14 in the morning this time of year so my view has changed since summer’s delight. I walked to my place and just like I always do-I looked down *into* the valley. It’s as if it was shadowed in dark and I could not see it. Instead I was forced to look *UP!*
My coffee began losing its steam so I set my cup down to take a quick capture of that which awed me.
In the sunrise of a morning in late autumn -my real eyes realized that when life has you *down* -the universe has a phenomenal way to force us to look *up!*
The sun alwasy rises. Even when you can’t see it-it’s there.
Looking down into the valley is a choice. But why would you when looking up yields views so magnificent???
Looking up into the sky may hurt your neck -but the pain is worth it for what you’ll get!
My Siberian husky-"Kisska" readies himself for being harnessed to his sled this winter. He conditions himself by doing the "downward dog" yoga stretch!
I woke up this morning wearing my leaporad print fleece pajamas. Groggily I answered the phone. It was my friend Sherry the cow farmer. She lives pert near 10 miles south of me. “It’s snowing,” she yelled into the phone! I didn’t have my contacts in and had no idea where my eye glasses were. I slipped on the slippers that belong to that husband of mine. He was already gone to work. My foot is a woman’s size 6. His is a manly size 12. I waddled to the window with my friend on my ear. I was sad to say, “It’s not snowing here.” Though the morning light brushed the kind of sky that artistically, mindfully said snow was near-I had none. I listened to Sherry the cow farmer describe it trying to share in her joy despite my jealousy. I hung up to brew myself a cup of java. The leaky windows in our little remote cabin got many peeks inbetween trips to the coffee maker. The only flakes present near me were the “Kellogs Frosted Flakes” in the cereal cupboard. Just like I had no snowflakes -I can’t have Frosted Flakes either. I’m a Type 1 diabetic and I have to opt for less sugar-filled breakfast choices. I digress. That husband of mine phoned to check on me. I waddled in his massive size 12’s to answer the phone. Just then I saw them! Huge, fluffy snowflakes cascading from the grey hued sky! To add to my already ridiculous ensemble -I grabbed my hand-knitted horse sweater cardigan and put on my green Mad Bomber winter had with ear flaps. The only gloves I could find were my burgandy velvet pair with feather boa accents. I hung up on Husband and grabbed my camera to capture the first snowfall of the season! November 14, 2011. My Siberian husky dog, “Kisska” eagerly awaits even more of the flakes falling -building themselves into drifts so he can run with me behind him on the sled with ease! “To everything there is a season!” I wish this to be a season of health-of wealth-of safety, warmth, love -and a significant other that will love you despite the way you dress! Happy First Day of Snow -Eastern North Dakota!
As I type..it is 24 degrees (F) though it feels like 16 degrees. That’s not very many degrees in a world where just a bit ago I was complaining about 93. Never one to complain because that never gets me or you very far -I threw a log in the fire. Granted -it’s not a real, wood log. I ran out already. All I really need to do is go outside my cabin door and chop down some more but I haven’t had my coffee yet. For such instances I keep boxes of the “fake” logs handy. They burn approximately 4 hours which gives me ample time to get all gussied up for my time with the chain saw. More than that-these fake logs give off the most tantalizing, seductive orange flames. Despite it being only 24 degrees this morning on the prairie (though it only feels 16 degrees due to other factors) -I am burning *HOT* with desire! The flames arouse memories in me -stimulating me to the anticipation of thick, woolly sweaters made of mohair and wool. My collection of vintage 1940’s coats tease me just for the peek I take at them hanging there. My bin of mittens and muffs, scarves and gloves stick their pointer finger up and begin wiggling it as if to say, “Here Jodi, Jodi, Jodi!” Silly accessories. Don’t they know I burn equally with desire for all of them? It will take no coaxing. I am primed just by the numbers falling on the thermometer! This is the season that husband of mine gets to smell me in the scent I chose as my favorite. From this date until May I will no longer smell like “Obsession,” “Addict by Dior” or “Beautiful.” My scent is called, “Campfire.” It’s natural and woodsy and it’s all I got. I hope that husband of mine burns with desire for me smelling like this-like I burn with desire over dancing flames, woolly sweaters and winter. Do you love winter? Do you love parts about winter? What do you look forward to? …or not.
10 miles NW of Valley City, North Dakota, USA near Lake Ashtabula ~Dam. ~
A blonde wanders outside when suddenly: 1/2 the sky is sunny-while the other half spins in ominous anger. The clouds whip up darkness like the batter color of devil’s food cake. The air the blonde breathes suddenly turns as iced as the mask she puts on her eyes every morning. And then it happens! (Inject the music from a horror film for maximum dramatic affect!) Lightning strikes! Thunder claps like the blonde walking across her hardwood floor in stiletto heels! The sky begins dumping what the blonde relates to the inside of the cheap stuffed animals she used to win at the Red River Valley Fair back in the 1970’s! Little styrofoam looking pellets fell from the sky in number. 1 1/2-2″ of hail covered the driveway, deck and vehicles owned by the blonde. But it didn’t cover her. She took cover under a giant evergreen so she could update YOU on the Extreme North Dakota weather! -and make sure her pumpkin didn’t die of head injuries. Together, they lived happily ever after! Did you see any hail today? Where are you? What size? How much?
Almost a year ago to this day I snapped this photo. It all happened quite by accident teaching me that there really are no accidents. There are just winks from the universe proclaiming that all is well and right and just the way it’s supposed to be for the moment you’re living in. I was zipping around on my prairie meadow hill in my convertible PT Cruiser with the top down. I was hurried and scurried to get home to my cabin. I felt stressed and just knew there wasn’t enough time in the day to accomplish the plethora of things I had decided just HAD to get done this day. I’ve driven this hill time and time again -always moving forward with an agenda. The agenda is always to get home and get busy. I had gotten just 1/2 way up the hill -my CD player was blasting Italian music by Andrea Bocelli. Though I was singing along in Italian my mind still danced with my “To do” list. I was multi-tasking; adding to my already too-full list with complicated things that couldn’t get done this day even if I tried. “Con te partiro,” I sang as if Andrea was next to me in my vehicle. For some reason I glanced in my rear view mirror. A blonde driving with the top down should never slam her brakes on while going uphill on gravel. But this one did. I had no control over what hit my spirit nor was I familiar with the force of what hit. As the dust of the gravel settled I unbuckled myself to make sure that what was in the rear view mirror behind me really existed. I had just driven through it but didn’t notice it. Now far up the hill I was in disbelief at its wondrous magnificence. We learn in life NOT to look back. “Go forward, look ahead, move on,” the motivations speak. But what if in order to move ahead with love and understanding, with gratitude and forgiveness we must look back to acknowledge something beautiful. As my hurried, scurried day ticked away -when I took the time to look back -my breath slowed. My mind cleared. I didn’t just know-I had a “knowing” -a solid emotion to base the rest of my life on. Autumn was behind me and winter was near. I had no fear because I knew I could look behind me again this year. And so I will. “Con te partiro” (literally meaning, “With you I will leave”)-the Andrea Bocelli CD sang. The current temperature today is 51 delightful degrees. Let’s together leave to recognize the leaves-the trees and sights of things behind and in front of us. For when we do-together-we are alive and living. *Happy Autumn!*
Surreal moments are sure real. Driving home up the long, gravel country road~I looked over to my right and saw me and my shadow in the wheat field. I was driving alone but I felt very UN-alone. The shadow of me in my vehicle felt as if it was transporting me into the light. I live for the light! And while I’m living for it- I watch my shadow in it. You can too!
First of all-allow my introduction if you please. My name is Jodi Rae Ingstad but you can call me, “The Blonde on the Prairie.” I live on a remote, prairie meadow hill above the Sheyenne River Valley. I can see for over 20 miles from my hill -making the change of seasons appear like a Supertron movie screen before me. Beware-I’m overly-perkily enthusiastic about weather. I’m pretty certain my enthusiasm comes from being nothing but grateful. Either that or I was conceived during a weather event and it’s in my DNA. Whatever it is-I’m enthused to be able to share my view with you here. So-I invite you this perfect autumn evening in North Dakota to go out and dance with your own shadow. Experiment with how the position of the setting sun elongates parts of you. Look over your shoulder and see what you see. Let your real eyes realize. There’s lots to see and new perspectives to acknowledge. Better hurry! In a few blinks our background will change. White will soon appear. Have no fear! There is joy in all of that! We’ll find it together!