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WILLISTON ... LIVING THE DREAM: The Mothership Christmas, er, 'Holiday' Party

WILLISTON ... LIVING THE DREAM: The Mothership Christmas, er, 'Holiday' Party

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third in a series of columns based on the corporate takeover of the opportunities that exist in the Bakken oil patch. Check out thee prior two week's columns which were Parts 1 and 2.
WILLISTON, N.D. - Continuing on with the explanation of the The Mothership culture. Here is a little look into the Mothership "Holiday" (Christmas) Party. Hands down this is the worst social event in the history of large corporate America. If you can politically avoid it, do so. Here are some helpful tips to survive the Mothership "Holiday" party:

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COLUMN: Christmas prank on mother takes some thought

COLUMN: Christmas prank on mother takes some thought

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- My mother’s the Christmas queen. She decks the halls with beautiful wreaths, handmade wooden cowboy Santas, twinkling white lights and matching Christmas bulbs. The tree stands upright, symmetrical, and perfect in the corner of a family room, glowing in the light of the subtle cinnamon candles flickering and highlighting the decor neatly placed on every surface. My mom’s Christmas is kind of like her, a woman who’s known for only taking one bite of a bite-sized Snickers bar and wrapping the other half back up to put it in the fridge for later. Yes, the woman has self-control. She understands when enough is just perfect enough. And so it goes with her Christmas decorations. Visit her house on the holidays and you will find fudge cut in perfect bite-sized squares on a simple red platter.

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COLUMN: It’s OK to be a little sad, grateful during the holidays

COLUMN: It’s OK to be a little sad, grateful during the holidays

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- Early last month my uncle from Texas arrived. Pops took some time off work, and the entire Veeder Ranch turned into a hunting camp, just like it does every year at this time. There’s something about being out with the men who grew up here. My dad and his brother walk the draws they know so well, doing what they’ve always done. That’s always been comforting to me. Since dad’s health scare early this year, each tradition spent since his recovery has been regarded a little more precious than before. And as much as it’s made me grateful, it’s also made me shaky, a little hard and more aware of an unfair and imperfect world.

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WILLINGSTON ... LIVING THE DREAM:

WILLINGSTON ... LIVING THE DREAM:

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second of a series of columns based on the corporate takeover of the opportunities that exist in the Bakken oil patch. Check out last week's column which was part one.
WILLISTON, N.D. - Seriously, there are opportunities for young people to survive and thrive in a large, corporate environment, but it's imperative to understand "Mothership culture," terms and worst practices. Here are some basic fundamentals:

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Coming Home: On the hunt for something wild

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- I’m 10 or 11, and I’m bundled up with Carharts over my red barn jacket, over long underwear, topped off with a knit scarf, mittens, a beanie and a too-big, blaze-orange vest sort of dangling off my shoulders.

Calendar model: One-eyed pet gets enough nurturing to be featured as a cat of the day

Calendar model: One-eyed pet gets enough nurturing to be featured as a cat of the day

BISMARCK, N.D. -- Terra Cotta, named for her coloring, arrived at the Central Dakota Humane Society in June of 2006 with severely infected eyes and weighing a mere 1.1 pounds — far from being picture perfect. That is where two animal lovers, Lee and Jolene Podoll, for the first time met the cat that is being featured in a 2015 cat calendar. It’s called the Workman’s Publishing “365 Cats” calendar, with a cat photo for each day.

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COLUMN: Surviving the Mothership

COLUMN: Surviving the Mothership

WILLISTON, N.D. - Three to four years ago, it was real easy getting things done around here. Roughnecks came by the hundreds in their F350s or Silverado Duramaxes, pulling campers and squatting in the Walmart parking, or a field, or wherever. Local company offices were usually a 12-by-18-foot, wobbly box trailer with a propane tank, a water hose and a flex sewer line, and who knows or cared where it went. These pioneers were hard working and productive, returning back high value to their companies who just left them alone.

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COLUMN: We don't depend on the weatherman out here

COLUMN: We don't depend on the weatherman out here

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- I took my last ride before the snow fell last Saturday. Even before the weatherman told us it was coming, we knew it. We have ways of knowing out here even before the air turns cold: ribbons of geese flying south in the gray sky, the thickening coats on our horses, frost on trees and a film of ice on stock dams in the morning, an ache in my left wrist, arthritic from a fall off a horse that broke it in eighth grade, hunters out in orange, sneaking and waiting for a deer to fill their tag at their freezers.

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FACES OF THE BOOM: Musician tries to capture life in the Bakken

FACES OF THE BOOM: Musician tries to capture life in the Bakken

WILLISTON, N.D. -- Keesha Renna is drawn to stories, and in her adopted city of Williston, the tales of struggle, heartache and loneliness are boundless. Intrigued by a story she read on North Dakota’s fracking boom in Harper’s Magazine more than a year ago, Renna first landed in Minot for a few months, then moved to Williston in September 2013. Armed with a degree in anthropology, a stint as a bartender and three years as a music promoter, the 27-year-old from Boise, Idaho, is hoping her musical take on the Bakken will reflect the many perspectives she has experienced in “one of the most pivotal moments in my time.”

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COLUMN: Tape up pant legs, the mice are taking over

COLUMN: Tape up pant legs, the mice are taking over

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- Last week, Pops was out on a beautiful fall afternoon ride, saddled up for a mission to ensure the cows were in the right places. He had been out there for a bit, covering ground, trotting through the fields, when all of the sudden, Pops’ right reign lay limp in his hand, no longer attached to the bit at the horse’s mouth.

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Coming Home: Some gifts just can’t be bought

Deep in photo albums tucked away in boxes under the steps in the basement, there was a photo of me with my arm around a boy.

Williston store may be sign of retail boom

Williston store may be sign of retail boom

WILLISTON, N.D. -- With the opening of their second retail store set for the end of November, brothers Jeff Hafner and Lenny Johnson hope to be on the leading edge of what Williston’s mayor predicts will be the year of retail for the Oil Patch hub. In a part of North Dakota known more for Carhartt than hip fashion, Hafner and Johnson are opening Starboard stores, with clothes and accessories aimed at women, men and children. Hafner and Johnson founded Starboard in 2009 and opened their first store in Dickinson in March 2010 in the Prairie Hills Mall.

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COLUMN: Who will take care of this place when we’re gone?

COLUMN: Who will take care of this place when we’re gone?

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- The house seems especially quiet this morning. The sound of my fingers clicking across the keyboard is all there is to hear, really. My husband’s off to work, and I’m tackling a to-do list that includes finding homes for toy dinosaurs, books and superheroes, sweeping glitter and cracker crumbs off the floor and rearranging the dozen crayon-drawn pictures on the fridge. It might be quiet now, but evidence of the weekend spent with our nieces and nephews, all five of them, all between the ages of 4 and 11, all by ourselves, is lingering in every nook and cranny of this house.

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FACES OF THE BOOM: Williston native goes from square bales to drill bits

FACES OF THE BOOM: Williston native goes from square bales to drill bits

WILLISTON, N.D. -- Western North Dakota’s energy boom has lured workers from around the world, but for Kevin Mischke, the oilfields got him off the farm but kept him close to home. Mischke, 39, grew up on a farm and ranch northwest of Williston, played sports, worked on his family’s land and took every chance he got to “get out of having to haul square bales.” A friend of his dad’s asked Mischke to work with him an oil and gas company. With some college courses under his belt, the then 19-year-old thought, “cool, I got a job.” “I started at the bottom and worked my way up to a toolpusher,” Mischke said recalling his 11 years with Nabors.

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Social advertising: Convention and visitors bureau pays bloggers to come to Grand Forks

Social advertising: Convention and visitors bureau pays bloggers to come to Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Amanda Hofland started blogging almost on a whim. But with about 1,500 unique visitors to her blog every month, the Fargo resident said she is now attracting readers from across the country, nearly all of them she doesn’t personally know.

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