Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why the Long Face?

All my friends are leaving Medora to go back to school.
Emily left on Sunday.
Abby left on Wednesday.
Jackie left on Thursday.
And work is crazy because there are so few of us left.
I took this picture last week when I went through the park with Corbin and Ashley, who visited me for a few days. We had good time seeing all that there is to see in Medora and we went to Montana for lunch one day too.

Montana Pictures

This is me, Esther, Jill, and Sarah in front of the Montana sign.

This is me and my stuffed buffalo, Wibaux in front of an informational sign about Pierre Wibaux. Wibaux, the buffalo, is covering up the word died.

This is a Montana State Park. We went there for sunset and it was beautiful.

The best part of Montana: cheeseburgers at the Shamrock diner in Wibaux. They are so good. I took Corbin and Ashley there just last week.

Also, at a rest area in Montana, we all picked up an amazing picture that says get lost in Montana and it's in the shape of Montana.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Today, I journeyed to Montana. I will post some pictures and stories soon.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tourism and the American Family

Medora claims to be North Dakota's #1 Vacation (obviously they've never been to Whapeton, which is the only other place in ND I've ever been besides Maddock, which was a terrible trip.) One of the big marketing ploys is that kids get in free to the Medora Musical on Sundays and Wednesday when accompanied by an adult. Everything is supposedly kid friendly. Some of the songs in the musical have been tweaked a little or else it's just overlooked. Lexie works hard and plays harder but her dad is the producer so...we just let her party til her last dollar.

Almost the entire town tries to cater to families from the gift shops to the motels to the other random attractions.

Teddy's Bears, Stage Barn and Cowboy Lyle's Candy Shop all cater to children or the child at heart. Many a child comes out with their newly stuffed animals and the parents with a slightly lighter wallet. Shopping experiences are never a really a bonding moment for families. Kids burst with envy when their sibling gets more than them or get something that they just realized that they wanted too. This results in a red faced, screaming and crying child. Why not take that child to get ice cream?
Medora Fudge and Ice Cream Depot and the Marquis de Mores Ice Cream Parlor both cater to the ice cream need.

There's nothing better than treating a tired and crabby child to whole cone of sugary goodness.
When working the front desk, the best part is when the children run around pretending to be dogs while the mom is hurriedly trying to check in. North Dakota is a large sized state so it's at least two hours from anywhere to Medora. By the time they get here the moms are stressed the kids are hyper and the dads are tired from driving. It doesn't help the kids have been eating junk food for most of the trip either, if they got their way.
Some of the cast of the musical sings and face paints on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons at 5pm to get the kids excited for the musical. The songs include "The Wheels on the Bus" with the lovely line that the bike on the bus goes "I'm a bike."

This is Buffalo Alice painting a child's face.

Tourism really brings out the worst in people. So while everyone coming here is tired and crabby, us employees are just trying to make money to go to college so we'll do anything for tips.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

You Say Goodbye, I Say Chateau

or A Long-Expected Party
On Monday, June 14th, I visited the Chateau de Mores. It's the summer hunting cabin of the Marquis de Mores. He founded the town of Medora, naming it after his wife. The Marquis came to the Dakota Territory to make it rich in the cattle business. He decided that the way to save money would be to process the meat before sending back east in refrigerated railway cars rather than shipping the cattle live and losing meat in the process. The company was shut down after three years because business was not as booming as it had been at first. After losing a lot of money, even by today's standard, the Marquis and family moved back to France. The cabin was named the Chateau, which is French for castle, after the family left.
The Marquis was quite the entrepreneur. After failing in the Dakota Territory, he tried railroads in Indochina. He also led an anti-Semitic movement and ran for Paris city council. He dueled on occasion. He went on to try to unify native tribes into a pro-French alliance in Africa, where he was murdered at the age of thirty-eight. (The museum said that he fought bravely with a gushing head wound. It was my favorite sentence in the entire museum.)
So that's the Marquis.
The ladies who ran the museum were very nice. I think it was mainly because we were young twenty something girls and that kind of folk probably don't come through the doors as often. (I went with Jenny from the Cities area of MN who is about my age, I think.) We started with an art gallery that randomly has a pair of chaps supposedly worn by Theodore Roosevelt himself. Then we watched the video. This is Jenny's favorite part of all museums. It showed off the Chateau and gave some history. The next room we went to was all about the Marquis and his business. We played the informative games too and we sat on some saddle. Jenny didn't realize that her saddle was a side saddle til a nice tour guide told us.
After a quick look around the gift shop, we walked up to the Chateau. About half way up there is a small building with a display about the Civil Conservation Corps that helped to build the National Park and restore the Chateau during the depression. Then we were met by two tour guides on the porch of the Chateau. One them launched into a spiel. Then we walked inside to the dining area and the other guide went into her spiel, telling us we'd just gotten off the train from out east and that after we went upstairs to freshen up, we could come back down for food and then hunt. Then we went through the kitchen. We went upstairs unaccompanied so we broke into a closet and took our time looking in all the rooms. Some things are from the original house because they only took personal items back with them so bed frames and other things are legit.
Then we went back downstairs through the huge hunting room and then the master bedrooms (they each had their own, like I Love Lucy but two separate rooms instead of two twin beds.) We switched tour guides when we got to Medora's rooms. She knew everything about her. The rooms had an amazing view of the badlands that Medora painted. Medora, in her day, ran the household, bought groceries (when they're from the east, it's a big deal,) she also painted and played the piano. She had nannies to care for her children. The guide said she was women's lib before there was womens lib because of all she did and because she married when she was twenty-six which was spinster age back then and also the Marquis was younger than her by two years and she hunted in pants (still side saddle though.)
The last room was the living room. It had a piano, lots of chairs, books, a fireplace, and mounted bison head (not original, of course you would take your hunting trophies with you.) We learned that there are no living direct descendants.
Then we were told that we could make the hike to the stables. We did. It was down hill a bit. There was a horse down there who was not pleased we were in his territory. The live horse was there because there are stagecoach rides you can go on. It's only a half hour ride so it doesn't go all the way to Deadwood, like the Marquis' stagecoach business used to. It was much more of a hike on the way back up.
We arrived back at the museum and had a piece of birthday cake; it was the Marquis' 152nd birthday. The lemonade was fantastic and very refreshing after the walk.
On our way out, a different tour guide lady asked us if we'd been up to the Chateau and the tour guide who had talked with us earlier, I think her name was Karen or maybe Sharon, she said that we been up there and toured the whole museum too. We liked her a lot.
note: the subtitle is the title of the first chapter in The Fellowship of the Ring, which I am currently reading. I felt it was fitting since it was the Marquis' 152nd birthday.
Also, the Marquis' full name was Antoine Amedee Marie Vincent Amat Manca de Vallombrosa.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Medora Musical

The greatest show in the west started last Thursday. It was supposed to start last Wednesday, the 2nd, but it was rained out. I've seen the show three times: I took tickets the first Thursday and then I didn't go again until this Tuesday, and I took tickets again this Wednesday.
The show consists of musical numbers that showcase the singing and dancing talents of the Burning Hills Singers.
Some highlights include Macey Jo, the sixteen year old with an amazing voice, clogging, and a woman in a bear suit. Unfortunately, the Coal Diggers (the band) does not have a banjo player. My goal is to get real good and audition for next summer's show. Towards the end, the show becomes very patriotic. Teddy Roosevelt and his rough riders charge up San Juan hill, they sing "God Bless America" and there's a giant eagle head with spinning mirror ball and finally the amazingly patriotic Neil Diamond song, "They're Coming to America." (I had no clue this was a Neil Diamond song. Abby had to tell me.)
After reading Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, I realized that the Medora Musical, Medorical from here on out, has no story. Story is a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. Buffalo Dale wants a piece of cake and fights Chef Pierre Bear Le Bear to get it? No, there's no story in the Medorical. It's just a show with singing and dancing and awkward transitions. Case in point: after a festive cowboy wedding, Buffalo Alice gets all serious and asks, "so when are you getting shipped out?"
The Medorical has special acts throughout the summer and right now it's Extreme Canines. It is amazing. All of the dogs are rescued so that just adds to the cuteness factor. One dog can do a cool back flip and the the one below, Charlotte, can jump over this other dog. She's a little jumper. There's also an assistant, Tom, who clowns around and then during a break, this cute black and white dog (sorry I don't know what type it is, I'm not a dog person at all) comes out and they play fetch with a ball for a while and he walks on two legs and then he plays fetch with Tom's toupee. It's great.
so...when are you getting shipped out?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Today I drove through the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It is beautiful. Right after I saw the DANGER don't approach the animals sign, I saw a buffalo right along the road. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture. Luckily, I saw another so I got a picture. Next time I go, I need to remember to bring my stalker lens so I can get a close up of a prairie dog.
Next on my list of Medora to experience is the musical, which starts Wednesday. I'm thinking I might go to the Chateau on Thursday, which I have off.
I've started reading The Hobbit after I finished The Blind Assassin, which was a book club book I was supposed to read over spring break, so now that's one book less to read in my box of books. I haven't visited the library yet though.
Work is going ok. I'm more confident in making reservations and selling tickets. On Saturday, I was at the front desk for the first time. It's not really tourist season, so it wasn't too busy but it will get busier as the season goes on.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 4

This is Medora.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 2

I've been in Medora for about two days now. It doesn't feel like it though; it feels longer. I drove the half hour from Dickinson on Monday around 1:30 so I had an hour to kill before check in. The weather was pretty crappy so I couldn't walk around and take pictures for too long but I did stop in the Western bookstore that is full of books about Teddy Roosevelt and Native Americans and it had some North Dakotan art work as well. Check in included paper work and then a brief tour. Then unpacking. I brought in most of my clothes and the things I thought I would need for the night because it was raining and the ground was muddy. I met two girls, Abby and Emily, at check in and spent most of the night with them. We ate supper together and then we went on a brief walk since it was windy and cold and then we played some fast scrabble. It takes longer with three people and one of them tried to make NUDJ a word.
Today was training. Abby and I went early so we could go to the post office and get a box there. Training was interesting. We watched a video about Harold Schafer, the man who made Medora what it is today. Then we started talking about all the different motels and events that guests will be coming to. I'm going to be in the call center taking reservations and the like. I have some more training tomorrow and then I'll be answering calls on Thursday. I think I will be at the front desk of one of the motels at some point but I don't know for sure.
I don't have a roommate yet but I'll probably be getting one within the next week or so, so I'll have to keep making my bed every morning.
Tonight I went to supper and then took a walk around Medora. Then I watched Glee in the lounge. I missed the first fifteen minutes or so because I was thinking in Central Time. Good thing the tv was really loud so I could hear "Bad Romance" in my room.

Monday, May 10, 2010


This is Emma and my presentation for Honor's class (the class I've been learning the banjo for)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ban Jovi

If I was to be in a band, we would cover really cool songs in bluegrass banjo fashion. It would be called Ban Jovi.
This would be in the future of course, since I've just recently started learning the banjo.
From here on (til the end of May at least) I will be blogging my banjo progress.
Scruggs (this is my banjo's name) is finally in tune! My friend, Aubrey, who is wicked cool and in a band, helped me tune him up. No, I have not been playing Scruggs completely out of tune this whole time, he was just in a tuning all his own. This feels like a great accomplishment.
Expect more banjo progress reports to come.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Waiting for My Life to Start

A few weeks ago, I applied for a receptionist position in Medora, ND. And this week, it was Thursday, I got a letter of "pleased to inform you" and I'm going to work there for the whole summer. I'm only planning on one trip back east, so to speak, for a Twins' game with family in August.
This will be the most brave thing I've done since coming to college.
I don't know of anyone else working there. I've never been there before.
Friends and family have been there, though. When I saw the two random signs for a summer job in Medora on campus I remembered how my aunt sometimes has to go there for work and how cool my cousin's Medora t-shirt was.
Maybe it was too rushed of a decision, but I just want to get away. I've lived in Sioux Falls, on campus, since September 2008. And after I wasn't hired as an RA for next year, my love of my school, which was already fizzling, went out, quite abruptly.
Another reason I want to work there is to go. I've never really gone anywhere by myself. And I figured this was my last summer to do something different. Granted, I'm a receptionist here in Sioux Falls but this feels different. I won't know anyone. I could even reinvent myself out there.
The only cons, per say, are 1) doing my own laundry (but let's face it, I probably should be doing that already) and 2) being ten hours away from my friends and family. I will most likely be homesick for a while but I think this job is just what I need.
I'm really looking forward to hearing people's stories and being inspired by them.
So hopefully, being away for three months, will make my senior year easier to swallow.
"Come on Angie, cats can do this." Kate, Tina Fey's character to Angie, Amy Poehler's character, about swallowing a pill.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

This inspired me today

I now have a yellow notebook with "What do I want?" written on it and blank lines.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Winter Olympics

Sometime around the dawn of television the Olympics turned into a celebrity showdown.
Has anyone noticed the ridiculous intro that has the "big name" American athletes standing in their uniforms?
It cracks me up because some of them are wearing the tight, speed suits. And now that one of them was disqualified from her race, I just don't want to deal with the disappointment every time I see it.
If anyone follows Apolo Ohno on twitter, you know that he posts like a teenage girl - all the time and about everything - he even says goodnight. The other day he posted something that I thought was quite motivational and uplifting. It's the Olympic creed.

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

I wish we could go back to the days when the athletes weren't celebrities but at least they're celebrities with passion and purpose.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I've been trying to decide whether or not to buy a banjo. Any thoughts?