Bye Bye Bemidji

A belated but better late than never goodbye to Bemidji.

Hi, my name is Ori and I’m addicted to…moving? I’m not. I really hate moving but the facts don’t lie. Since moving out of my parents’ house at age 19: I’ve packed my things 12 times, lived in 6 cities (if you count Viking as a city), moved home twice and to my brothers once.

It’s definitely nothing to brag about. Quite frankly, it’s kind of embarrassing that I can’t find my footing anywhere I land. And it’s not like I’ve lived in 6 different cities around the world. They’ve all be within a 2 ½ hour drive of one another.

We moved to Bemidji last October for what I thought was the last time before “settling down” as they say and buying a home. But that was also 2 moves after I thought I was where I was going to be. We did our best to fully embrace all that Bemidji had to offer. I transferred within the company from my job in Grand Forks.

It’s a beautiful city and a handful of lakes are around the area. That’s what lured us in, the lakes. We don’t agree on many things but one thing Channing and I could always agree on was living on or near a lake. We worked with a realtor and looked at dozens of houses all hoping that “life” would work out in our favor.

Some would say that we didn’t give it enough time. I can see that I guess. But how much time do you give a place before you decide yay or nay?

Since leaving the house going into my 2nd year of college, I haven’t lived anywhere for more than 13 months. My shortest stint was 3 months in a shitty trailer and even shorter when I moved back home and to my brothers place.

I think if I was a single adult, some of my choices would have been different and I’m sure I’d be in a totally different area of the world, pursing a totally different career path, who knows. But I’m not living the single life and I’m glad I’m not.

I’ve made sacrifices being in a relationship, I think you have to. There is no world where you always get your way. Those that think so are full of shit and should end up alone. Life..love..they require compromise and it goes both ways.

Moving to Bemidji was a mutual decision. Channing wasn’t super happy with his job in Forks and there was an opportunity for me to transfer within the company I already had dedicated 2 years of my 20-something adult life to. I loved the people I worked with, but I needed a change. I wasn’t growing professionally where I was and there wasn’t any room for me to from my point of view.

We didn’t do the “research” when moving. Our thought process followed something like this:

  1. Ori can transfer, that’s great.
  2. We’re going to live in a beautiful city surrounded by water.
  3. This feels right.
  4. We don’t know the job market for Channing but it’ll be okay. Trust that it all will work out.

I mean, it kind of did. I’m not going to lie. It was a pretty city. I liked my job for the most part. Our realtor was one of a kind. We were pre-approved for a mortgage loan, ect ect. But it just wasn’t right, none of it felt right. Channing made just as much as a 16 year old working at McDonalds and finding an employer that offered health insurance for him was a bitch. We were pre-approved for a loan but it didn’t get us anywhere near what or where we wanted.

We’re not settlers. We have no interest in getting a fixer upper. We have no interest in living in a shitty neighborhood or an arm’s length away from our neighbor. Some will say we’re too picky but are we really?

So we talked and we talked and we talked some more. What are we going to do?

It was scary moving to Fargo. But exciting. Channing applied at a load of places and landed a pretty decent one. It was a tough but not so tough decision to move. I’m a pros and cons type of person so believe me when I say that I had my notebook with list after list of why we should or shouldn’t stay. There is so much more to every story ever written. Some people understand and some don’t. It is what it is I guess.

The decision was made and we jumped ship.

Fast-forward a month or so later, we’re now living in West Fargo and became cat parents. I transferred (thank you Lord) through the same company I’ve been working with the last few years, Channing found an alright job and we’re doing well.

House Hunting Happenings

Sorry that I’ve been a little MIA lately. I have a few posts that I have sitting in my drafts waiting for me to finish. They are the type that I feel need time and effort put into them and I just haven’t had that laying around lately!

We’ve started looking at houses in the Bemidji area. It’s not an easy task, I can tell you that much. I don’t know if we’ll ever feel that we have all the information that we need to own a house. It’s like this whole world of grown-up-ness that you have to jump into without knowing how to swim.

Millions of people do it, I’m sure we can handle it. It’s scary though; mortgage, escrow, down payment, house inspector, wood stove….the list goes on. My dad thinks I’m too picky, he’s probably right. For the first few weeks, if I saw a baseboard heating register or a wood stove – NEXT! And for (in my opinion) completely sane reasons. First, I do NOT want any critters, rodents, or snakes for heavens sake to come through a register. (Yes, it’s happened and yes to me.) And second, I’ll probably somehow blow my house up or set it on fire if I have to rely on an actual fire in my house. Thanks for that, mom.

I’m trying to keep an open mind though. I know that with regular maintenance and actually taking care of and knowing the house that you live in, horrible circumstances should be far and few in between. Channing and I are ready to own a home though. Apartment living got old the second we signed our first lease years ago. No privacy, no creativity. I’m tired of white walls and not being able to have a pet or a yard to lounge around in. I want something to call my own and I can “screw it up” any way that I want!

We’ve looked at a few the last couple weeks and they’ve been alright but nothing that makes us want to jump on it right away. We have time though. Our lease isn’t up until the end of October so if all goes according to plan we can figure something out by that time. Hopefully not too much sooner because we (being unestablished beings) couldn’t possibly afford a mortgage payment and rent. Right?

I downloaded a few realtor apps including one called Zillow. Whenever there is a new listing, I get a notification. 21st inventions are cool. Am I right? Anyway, check out this link and let me know what you think. When I saw it, I was like “perfect!” It was one of those “this is it” moments. We’ll be looking at it tomorrow and sometimes photos are deceiving but based on the provided information, it’s the closest to what we’re looking for in comparison to others we’ve researched that are in our budget.

Stay tuned..

Sunday Drive.

I did a lot of driving today. I hate driving. I needed to get out of the house. I’ve only worked 5 out of the last 14 days because I needed to use some vacation time since I’m not accruing it anymore. Unfortunately, it was kind of a last minute decision and I didn’t really make any plans to do anything. I thought I’d be content hanging out at home and diving into Netflix full force – which was fine for awhile. I don’t know. Cooped up all day when it’s freezing outside gets me thinking and nothing I thought about was very positive.

2015-01-04 14.07.05I kept thinking about our recent decisions that landed us to where we are. Was it a mistake? Why did we decide to come here? All that pity party jazz. So, I decided to bundle up for the 15 below zero [who knows what the windchill is] weather. I popped in Taylor and just drove. I drove and stopped to take pictures. I took my time. I don’t think I’d ever been passed so many times in my life! I guess that’s my fault – 30 in a 55 probably isn’t legal.

It was a refreshing drive. Although I still don’t know if we made the “right” choice by moving here, I felt better after getting out of the apartment for awhile. My mom told me to enjoy every single minute of every single day as much as possible. I really should take her advice more often. Moms always know best.

Today, I fully enjoyed the two hours I spent singing to Taylor Swift as loud as the radio would go. I enjoyed driving like a tourist in Bemidji admiring the beautiful homes and scenery. I enjoyed pulling over and baring the cold air for a good picture. I enjoyed driving even though I hate it.

I also decided that I’m going to look into a few things over the next year. I love photography. I’m no expert and I don’t even know if I’m any good at it in the terms of being a “photographer.” But I do know that it’s my meditation. It makes me happy and it helps me capture beauty the way I see it. It helps me to tell a story that I have no words for.

2015-01-04 14.13.25

So, I want to spend a little money and send some of my favorites to get printed on a larger scale to see how they look. I’ve only ever printed small scale stuff but it’d be really cool to sell my photos down the line and if they don’t print well now, I need to teach myself how to take photos that will print well.

Second, I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember but I don’t know what exactly I’d write about. After venturing to a few bookstores in the last few weeks I’ve seen a lot of imagery themed books. I would probably refer to them as table top books. I’m sure some in the literary world wouldn’t consider the title of “author” to be an accurate definition of the books creators but it’d be a great way for me to combine my images with some small passages. I don’t know, just a thought. But my plan would be to gather 50 or 60 photos that I’ve taken and pair them somehow with text. I used to work with a gal that has published a book of her own and I’d probably ask her advice once I gather some material together.

Thanks mom for getting me thinking. You really are the best. I took these pictures today with you in mind.

2015-01-04 09.48.23

Nostalgia.

10891799_10152947100593363_8204990569162125994_nI should have left the house sooner than I did today. The snow was fresh and fallen. We didn’t get as much as was forecasted but that’s okay. I drove to one of my favorite spots in town; Campbell Park.

I haven’t “discovered” very many places yet but this is one of the first that I came across a few months ago. The last time I was there, we had a crisp blanket of snow but the ice wasn’t frozen over yet. It was probably one of my favorite photos that I had taken in quiet awhile. The sky was bright and blue, the water was shining. By clicking here, you’ll be able to see it on my other blog; A Working Title II.

I wanted to capture winter in Bemidji. We haven’t had much of a winter (not that I’m complaining) but there’s something about a winter scene that brings a sense of warmth and security. I’m calling this on “Nostalgia.”

2nd Day Of Christmas: ‘Tis The Season Of Giving

IMG_7437Today’s story comes to you in the form of a good deed done by my mom. My mom’s heart will always be the biggest of anyone I know. She has this uncanny way of being accepting and compassionate even towards those who least deserve it. She has the ability to look beyond the surface without judgement. She’s who I want to grow up and become because there really isn’t anyone much more wonderful than my mom.

If I’m correct, my mom has been donating to the Grand Forks homeless shelter; Northlands Rescue Mission for awhile now. $10 or so here and there whenever she could. I don’t think it’s been too regular or anything but I think the mission sends out donation requests periodically and if she can afford it, she’ll throw a few bucks their way.

Bags-of-Blessings-2014-231x300Recently, Northlands Rescue Mission sent out flyers with the tagline “Bags of Blessings.” As we all know, Christmas is definitely coming. Those [believers] of all ages, races, and income levels in some way, shape, or form have Christmas on their yearly bucket lists. Whether you have the money or you don’t; Christmas is special. ‘Tis the season where miracles are possible and kindness is spread.

My mom took part in being someone’s Christmas miracle this year. Instead of tossing the flyer she received like I’m sure a lot of people would do (sadly, myself included) she decided to spread the wealth. Good karma if you will.

On a routine trip to Grand Forks she picked up all of the items on the list including a sweatshirt, socks, shampoo, deodorant, and a few other things. She also bought a gym bag as asked and marked the front of it male also noting the size she had bought for. All that was left was to bring the bag with the items in it to Northlands Rescue Mission and that she did.

The total cost of all the items purchased came to $72 and some change. When I asked my mom what her reasoning was for helping the homeless shelter more than she usually does, she left me with this:

Matthew 25:40 “What you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” ~Jesus Christ

I’ve been one to judge too quickly and assume things that I do not know.  I’m sure that many people in homeless shelters across the region and country are truly in need of generous help from those like my mom and I hope that I can find the empathy needed towards causes like that. My mom deserves a round of applause not only for buying a few things and donating it to the shelter but for being a damned good person. Coming from someone (myself) who finds it hard to see beyond the grime and the dirt on the surface and actually wonder what the story behind the homelessness is – it really takes a heart of gold and compassion to donate towards a cause that faces so much ridicule.

IMG_7970If you’d like to donate to your local homeless shelter please do so; I’ve listed both Grand Forks and Bemidji’s contact information at the end of this post. They need more help than any of us are probably capable of even understanding. If you chose not to donate towards the shelter, find a cause that you feel comfortable donating towards even if it’s just one time a year.

In an effort to embrace the season of giving and to do some good; I’ve decided to do some research myself and donate a little bit this Christmas season as well. I fully believe that rehabilitation is one of the key factors to solve many of the homelessness cases in the area. I’ll be looking online and around the area locally for a non-profit rehabilitation program to donate towards.

Northlands Rescue Mission – 420 Division Ave, Grand Forks, ND 58201
Village of Hope – PO BOX 1035, Bemidji, MN 56619

Merry 2nd Day of Christmas!

 

A Working Title II.

Wow! To say “it’s been awhile” is a bit of an understatement. But I come to you with fabulous news! As you know (or you should know) I recently moved to a new city and started a new job.

I also received approval to start a Featured Staff Blog at the local newspaper that I’m working for. This is exciting news for me! I love to write and I would love it if my voice could reach more than the small handful I’ve received with this blog and my previous blog. But please, don’t fret. I won’t be abandoning this one.

This blog is going to remain the same. It will include my random ramblings, critiques on life in general and everything in between. My new blog, creatively dubbed “A Working Title II” will be a little more straight forward and to the point. I won’t be going in deep on the personal front or posting anything borderline offensive. It’ll be clean cut I guess some would say and I’m okay with that. It’s a foot into the right direction for me.

Since I didn’t go to school for journalism or actually anything even close to that; I feel that any opportunity I have to get my voice out there is an opportunity to take. I’ve posted a few times on my new blog and I plan to post the link for those posts periodically on this one so that you always have access to them.

I hope that you continue to see what’s going on in the wonderful (kind of boring) world of Ori as well as start a new trek to my new blog! If you have any questions or would like to you know…publish me – my contact information is updated on the appropriate page.

To visit my new blog; A Working Title II, click here.

As always, enjoy!

Why Bemidji?

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve regularly blogged.  A lot has happened. A lot of “unexpecteds” I suppose you’d say. We’re moving to Bemidji, MN.

SAY WHAT!?

I know, I know. Quite the change huh? Grand Forks has it all. A growing young city, a great college reputation, stores galore. It has a pretty decent mall, great eating establishments, excellent coverage of local happenings, you name it. I’m a perfect fit for this town right? An eager, 24 year old? Sure, on paper.

I’ve had more people than I can count say “Why Bemidji?” since they’ve heard the news of our moving. And it’s not the typical “Good for you! What made you choose Bemidji” chatter. It’s more like: “Really, Bemidji? What’s there?” Ugh. I’m sick of it.

I’ve had more people look at me like I’m a moron than take it as it is and accept that maybe I don’t care for the legendary night life in GFunk. I like shopping, sure. But I don’t go regularly enough to where I need it to be the staple of the city I live in. And have you seen the water attraction of the city? The river that splits East from Grand? It’s a milky, polluted brown. I wouldn’t let my imaginary dog go in there.

So, with that being said. I’m moving to Bemidji because I want to. I want to live in a smaller (not so busy) city. I want to live where “lake life” is a day to day lifestyle not just a weekend getaway in the summer. I want to live where the tourists flock (because I am a tourist). I want to live in Minnesota again. I want the home-town feel instead of the Canadian invasion whenever I go uptown. I want to find my “home” and I can’t do that in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

I hope that’s good enough reason for those of you who don’t get it.

And who knows, maybe Bemidji won’t be my final resting place. Maybe I’ll want something more. Maybe I’ll regret it. Maybe I’ll miss GF. Maybe I’ll want to run away to New York or duck down in the woods where no one can reach me. Maybe I’ll want to live where Judy Garland grew up or where I can see Lake Superior out of my window.

I have time to figure it out. Some people don’t get it and some people do. I’ve just learned from this dramatic change to be more accepting of peoples choices regardless of what I think. We all have a reason for the things we do and even if we haven’t verbalized why to you; it’s in your best interest to respect each my decision even if you don’t get it.

My Memorial Day Weekend Was Memorable.

10410096_10152414310318363_1536059176270689246_nAs you can see, I haven’t blogged in a good two or so weeks. I don’t know where to start. We went on what I’d call our ‘first real vacation’ over the holiday weekend. I’ve been to a few places before. My parents, boyfriend, and I went to Eau Claire over Labor Day last year so I suppose I should also classify that as a vacation too but..anyways.

10308161_10152414310113363_7604619791352627641_n“C” and I went to Duluth, MN for a nice 4-day getaway. Set aside the backseat driving, our time there, during, and back was absolutely wonderful. On Friday, we didn’t have anything planned since we took our time to get there so we mosied our way down and through Canal Park. This is officially one of my most favorite places in the little bit of the world that I’ve seen. It was almost movie like. Kids were rushing with melting ice cream cones to watch the ships enter the harbor. A little old man was feeding seagulls bread. Tourists were gawking over the lighthouse at the end of the strip. The temperature was 72 degrees with a breeze.

10169411_10152418652473363_927707804006529661_nOn Saturday, we toured the well-known Glensheen mansion and took a cruise aboard the Vista Fleet. With my camera acting as a necklace, I couldn’t stop snapping memories one by one. Don’t worry, I made sure to cherish the moments as well. I know that some people will tell you to live in the moment which is great advice and I like to live by that. 10363843_10152418651168363_3801365417157104304_n But moments aren’t forever. They fade. They are lost. Days, weeks, and years drift by so quickly that we could never expect our minds to remember the little things. Those moments are the ones I photograph. I don’t need to remember my face or his on those days. I don’t need to remember the breeze on my back. But I do and I will need to remember the view. The images that I see will always bring me back to the moments even when I’m old and wrinkly.

To end a beautiful day on the water, we ventured to Enger Park. It’s at the tip-top part of the Duluthian hills. You can see it from Lake Superior as a little thimble at the top of a hill but when you’re up there, after your ears have popped, and you’ve climbed the six flights of stairs, you feel like you’re on top of the world. It’s absolutely breathtaking. To be able to take in North Shore to the Areial Lift Bridge on Canal Park, out into the emptiness of Lake Superior, over the railroad tracks and to Wisconsin is just beautiful. There isn’t any other way to describe it other than that. Simple and peaceful. Life isn’t so hard when you’re on top of a hill looking at all there is to offer.

10265637_10152418646438363_7302329799456455428_o

1554408_10152418647558363_7867321417357191154_nSunday, oh Sunday. It was an adventure to say the least. We traveled about 45 minutes to the north of Duluth along the scenic North Shore route 61. Our first stop was Gooseberry Falls. And to sum it up in one word: breathtaking. I know it sounds like I’m repeating myself adjectivally throughout this post but everything really was “that amazing!” Gooseberry Falls is one of those places that everyone should have on their Bucket Lists. Once you make your way through the little bit of a hike to get there, you’re presented with children and families embracing all the Falls have to offer. It’s gorgeous. We sat on a few rocks right near the underside of the falls and just listened to the water crashing below. 10406759_10152418655333363_957176214802948853_nI sat quietly observing the children playing and the adventure seekers climbing the cliffs. I watched as a man and his dog fitted with booties hopped from rock to rock. We climbed our way down to the “rapids” and slowly but surely took a walk through the water, over the slippery rocks. Feeling the pressure on our ankles and calfs, moving against the current. Moments like those are the ones you smile at while looking into the nothingness off your deck after a long day at work. It was something that I hope to never forget. We would love to make another trip to eastern Minnesota just to see these again.

10312838_10152418653823363_4341966486862979581_nReady for another awe-inspiring view? Split Rock Lighthouse is only about 10 minutes from Gooseberry Falls. How can two of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen be so close in proximity? Jackpot! Lighthouses are my weakness. Really anything sea or ship related to be quite frank. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the history or the mystery. Whatever it may be, bring me to a lighthouse, show me something with an anchor on it and we’ll be best friends until the end.

10298877_10152414309893363_3234319371217711934_nThis past weekend was filled with so much love and laughter, that I can’t even express it in a blog post but I have learned one thing: ENJOY IT. I feel so often that I worry too much about the future and over-analyze my past. I compare myself to others constantly and am afraid that I’m not living my life to it’s full potential. I’m making a proactive effort to change my way of thinking. I’ve been reading so many “find yourself” articles lately, that I really do need to find myself before life continues to drift on by as quickly as it has been. Screw what everyone else is doing. I don’t want my biggest regret to be worrying about everyone and everything else, not going on those trips or spending that money. Not buying that lake property. Not moving to that city and getting that promotion.

So, after a long awaited much deserved (if I do say so myself) vacation to Duluth, MN – live it up people. Make memories with those you love. Take pictures. Take tons of pictures. Laugh, slip, fall down, and get back up. Climb that extra flight to get to the top. Fight for your happiness and make damn sure that smile is real.10309209_10152414281593363_8809544577189953159_n

Much love. -Oar

Forget Me Not.

My completely random thought of the day occurred on the way back to work from a relaxing lunch break listening to the best of the best Afilio hits. I’m no scientist, never will be and I actually hope that extensive research has already been done but here it goes:

Alzheimer’s and/or dementia is one of those silly things that I fear. There are so many things in this world to ultimately die from or some disease to get..heart disease, ALS, tumors, cancer, etcetera. But what could be worse than literally losing your mind? Losing the memories. Losing the ability to function day to day. How to dress yourself or know who your children are. It’s absolutely debilitating.

My great grandma had Alzheimer’s. Now, I don’t know if that’s what she actually died from, I was young. But I do remember her before the onset of the disease. I don’t know when it started, I don’t even know how old I was when she died but I remember her remembering me. I remember the buttered saltine crackers she gave us every time we came over. I remember her showing us the secret hiding caves in the upstairs bedroom. I remember her clothes and her cookies.

I didn’t think about it then or even in the years since she died..about why or how she died. Recently, I’ve been thinking about memory loss because it scares me. Is it hereditary? I’m almost afraid to do the research on it but I will. There are moments where I don’t know what I want to say so I say something else instead. It doesn’t happen often, really it seems to only happen when I’m at home. The other day I asked my boyfriend to get me some ice cream and ketchup when really I meant ice cream and a spoon. Why did I say ketchup? There was no ketchup in sight. Does my brain turn it’s dial down when the door to the apartment unlocks at precisely 5:17 each week day? My boyfriend calls me out on it whenever it does happen but what’s the matter with me? Is it concerning or is my brain just not trying hard enough when I’m lounging on the couch? I know what I want to say but my voice doesn’t seem to be connected to my brain.

I kind of got into a rant there. What I’m wondering is if the science world has asked about music in relation to memory loss. I’m sure they have. They had to have, right? As I said, I was listening to “Enjoy” by Afilio on my way back to work this afternoon. As soon as that track came on it immediately brought me to the street you turn by Domino’s Pizza in Bemidji. I flashed back to the lost search for the hilly road where the concert was. It was held in some dudes garage. I remembered the damp grass and the gravel driveway. Where we parked, who we were with. I remember standing two feet away from Rob Matrious. I remember it all.

Listening to “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” by Eminem brings me back to sitting in the front seat of the car with my mom and Nick. It was in Warroad by the beach. And she told us that we better never EVER talk to her or treat her that way. That way that Mr. Mathers talked about his mom. I remember when I first heard “Without Me” at my aunt Angie’s when she had that office/scrapbooking/reading room. There was a door leading out to the backyard and the river.

Hearing the Marilyn Monroe version of “Happy Birthday” brings me back to the earliest memories of my uncle Troy singing it to me in person. For years, he’s called me on the phone. For years!  But before that, when I was in young, it was in person. Maybe it was only once, I don’t know. But I remember it.

Music brings me back. I couldn’t imagine hearing a song from the past and not connecting it to something. Even the most absurd of songs; “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix A Lot,” it brings me back to the Roseau lunch room. Kristi, Alyssa, and I were sitting at a round table in the middle of the room and Kristi would recite the song word for word. She was wearing one of those velour t-shirts when they were cool.

Everything, everything can be brought back by a song, a lyric, or a beat. Can’t it?