I’m a little bit . . . something? [Sheri #1]

Do – and why do – you consider yourself a city or country person?


Yesterday I was nominated for two Liebster awards by fellow bloggers – and surprise! Today it happened again! It’s raining Liebsters, hallelujah!

My policy on awards is complicated and conflicted, like a microwave bean burrito (the ones in the green wrappers) that you can’t get to heat up just right. I’m glad to get them, and so much gladder for the readers and fellow bloggers who bestow upon me the honor. And what I really want to do is support the effort the awards are making – to help my readers get to know me, to provide some interesting reading, and to support the community.

To achieve those ends and to honor the awards and the awesome bloggers who gave them, I will pick a Liebster question a day until I get through and / or skip them all. I’ll write a post on that question, and in some cases I may be lucky enough to get in a cross-post with the Daily Post prompt. Today’s question comes from Sheri Edwards at Pause 2 Play.


I grew up in the suburban jungle: Ferndale, Michigan, or just outside of Detroit. After having seen a few other states, I can say with confidence that no two places are exactly the same and so when I moved to Bismarck I found myself in a city that covered eight times the space of my hometown, and yet it sports that suburban feel throughout most of it. The outlying areas have a more rural chic, being large swatches of farmland where they grow crops like corn, sunflowers, soybeans, etc.

The suburbs, outlying communities with names like Lincoln and Linton, are big-house, big-plot-type developments full of new construction and are growing in popularity as the state attracts new blood from the opportunity-poor parts of America; beyond those, it’s Midwest country, baby. Twenty minutes out on highway 10 or I-94 East get you to Sterling, where they produce our favorite milk, the organic and all natural Bessie’s Best. Another twenty minutes gets you to Steele, which is little more than a truck stop and a crossroads with a handful of streets.

Mme. Ross and I lived in Steele when we were married, and dealt with it as best we could. The truckstop had really good pizza, hot or take-and-bake. There was an AMVETS with good beer and burgers. We had a grocery store, a park, a church, and a handful of other businesses and that was pretty much it. I could attribute the move back to Bismarck to my torturous forty-minute drive to and from work, fighting narcolepsy the whole way. I could say we wanted to be closer (geographically) to friends and family, too, but to be honest the big deal breaker was that it was just too inconvenient to live forty miles away from everything we didn’t have – like a hospital.

Here’s a little secret: Mme. Ross and I love Target – with a capital “L” – Kohls, Old Navy, Famous Dave’s, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, Papa Murphy’s, the zoo, the river . . . we needed to be conveniently close to these things, even though my heart is in nature – be it the farm, the woods, and of course the beach. I’m a little bit Donnie and a little bit Marie, and not nearly as confused as that might sound.

The world is a miraculous place, and so is civilization. Where I’m happiest, I think, is an admixture of both to a satisfying degree. Being from Detroit, it’s almost painful to not be within shouting distance of an auto mechanic, and yet I love being able to see all the way to the horizon; plus, there’s more stars here.

On the Mandan side of the river, where we now live, the West begins. It has a more distinct rural flavor than Bismarck, and yet has much of what we need close at hand – with Bismarck being just ten minutes’ drive away. Heck, I could run there! And the hills, boy – if anyone tells you North Dakota’s flat then they are just plain crazy, I can’t wait to go running in spring, with all the hills around town.

So: give me some city, give me some nature, and give me some waves to surf. That’s where I want to end up… just don’t give me a hard time if I get too distracted to blog daily!

How about you – are you city or country, and why?


Maldives - Fesdu: favorite place  40.098.03
Maldives – Fesdu: favorite place 40.098.03 (Photo credit: Juergen Kurlvink)

For what it’s worth, that’s also where I would like to be on day 211 this year, which is July 30th. If life smiles on us, Clan Ross will be on a Pacific Northwest impromptu tour and I will go surfing!

That last portion of this post was prompted by today’s Daily Post prompt.

97 others had something to say:

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39 thoughts on “I’m a little bit . . . something? [Sheri #1]”

  1. Congrats on your award, Rob.

    I love the city, but I need to spend time in the mountains to think. Our travel is a mix of urban and wild destinations. I don’t think I could live in the country full-time, but I do like to visit it.

  2. I’m like you, Rob. I’m a bit of both. I love the country and the quiet, but not the kinds of work that come with it and I like to be reasonably close to my favorite grocery stores.

  3. I guess I lean a little more country than Cimmy does– she isn’t as enthusiastic as I am about gardening, home preserving and canning, or the other little things I feign to call “homesteading”.

    We are within city limits, but we’re still living on the edge of farm country, where neighboring areas are unincorporated county. There is a sweet cherry orchard within walking distance, right along the road where Cimmy takes Boy to school. If I take certain small rural roads a minute or two away, my kids can see plenty of horses, goats, llamas, and so on.

    We also live in a city area that urbanites call “The Tri-S***ties”, “The A** End of Nowhere”, “Nukieland”, “Cultural Wasteland”, and other unflattering names. Whatever. Even my friends that took off for Seattle eventually went off to the neighboring suburbs. Phhhhttt.

      1. Because of DOE-Hanford, Rob, just north of Richland, WA. The fuel for the Fat Man dropped over Nagasaki at the end of the Pacific conflict of WWII was produced there. Do you remember the news about WPPS? It was such a PR-fiasco they renamed themselves “Energy Northwest” (and that’s where a churchmate of mine works).

        Much of the higher-end employment in our area relies on Hanford contractors, even though there have been attempts at diversification. Before Bill Gates and Microsoft, the highest concentration of people with PhDs was in southeastern Washington state, NOT Redmond. Tons of roads in Richland are named after scientists, and the ties get more obvious the closer you get to the Hanford site.

        There’s a reason why I follow DOE-Oakridge on Flickr even though I’ve never set foot in the state of Tennessee. So many of their archive photos mirror a LOT of what I remember and have seen (in archives) about Hanford.

  4. Thanks, Rob. It’s the beach for me — a lake or river though, not the surf. I like the gentle lapping of subtle waves on the shore, a good stick for the dog, and grandkids balancing on an old log. Winter teach. Summer beach. As long as there’s an uncrowded beach with 80’s temp part of the year, I can live anywhere. For the last almost thirty years that’s been a very small town with the boat ramp just two miles away and a beach for the locals that allows dogs. Yeah! I love the hills of Western North Dakota — rolling prairie or fields. I accepted my teaching position in this place because part of it looks just like the area around Bismarck, along I-94 headed west towards Glen Ulin and Almont. I do miss the northern lights and fireflies though. We do have stars! Thanks for the awesome response for the Liebster!

    1. And thanks for the opportunity! Coincidentally, my mother in-law spent a lot of her childhood in Almont, and so Mme. Ross and I have been there a time or two for family functions – the mom-in-law has a jillion cousins, it seems – and I just love the country going out that way.

  5. Country all the way here – as long as it’s within a few hours of a city. I am a small town girl, happy to have moved my family back to the place I grew up. The town is steeped in happy memories and I love being surrounded by corn and soy bean fields with big hills/tiny mountains off in the horizon. It’s a balm to my soul. I would love to live on a few acres with an enormous garden and learn to can. That’s the goal right now.

      1. I have not – but I do have a mom who is all over that stuff. What I need is a way to take off work during the summer to spend time learning wonderful processes that have been passed down from generation to generation. It’s my turn to have some fun. 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion though, very nice of you to share!

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