Doug and Raoul in 1996
Goodbye to an old Friend
In Loving Memory of Raoul, 1/89 to 10/03
I first met my sweet and eccentric cat, Raoul, in 1990 as we were rescuing him from the animal shelter where he was doing time on "Death Row." He was a very wayward kitty, indeed, and his index card "biography" was checkered with words like "vagrancy" and "neglect." Someone had given him the less-than-inspired moniker of "January," which was promptly changed to "Raoul," after the word he kept yowling in the car all the way home from the shelter.
Raoul was a bit of snob. If he happened to catch a whiff of the "human food" I was eating, he would dry heave. I guess with a name like "Raoul," you should expect a cat to develop an attitude to fit the name.
Raoul was the only cat I have ever met that actually "petted himself." Everybody's cat will lick their paw and rub their head. Raoul would sit and make circular motions on his head with his paw (without licking his paw) and purr like mad.
Once we noticed Raoul was missing for a day, or so. After an extensive search of our property, we discovered His Highness snuggled up cozy under our sauna with a woodchuck! His nickname became "Woodchuck-lover" for a while after that. Oh well, I guess it might have been that French name again.
Raoul passed away in his sleep on my fortieth Birthday, ending a 13 year friendship and leaving a hole in my life that I will never even attempt to fill. He was a sweet cat, very affectionate and playful, even into his golden years. His Siamese brother, Loupe, and I will miss him very much.
by Kjirsten Swenson
Editor's Note: Several of you know Beaver's sister Mitzi and her husband, Sheldon Swenson. Mitzi has given me permission to run a letter from their daughter Kjirsten. Now, so you know a little about the author of the letter, I will give you a "thumbnail sketch" of the student reporter, done by her Mom.
Kjirsten is studying in Bolivia this semester and finishing her cultural and social anthropology degree. As part of the program they travel to different parts of the country. I have more letters with adventures from her too. After Christmas she will likely stay there up to 1-1/2 years to volunteer, teaching English or working in a clinic or hospital, as she is an EMT Intermediate. She plans to attend Baylor Medical School in Houston, Texas, starting in the fall of 2005. Kjirsten was 20 in March. Mitzi
Subject: Save the Rainforest, because it's amazing!
Understatements of the trip:
1. There was a bug.
2. I was sick...........
Use your imagination ... but do know that I'm not sick anymore. (Cipro made me better!) And nearly all the bugs that feasted on my tasty and nutritious blood aren't the sort that carry malaria.
We flew into Santa Cruz 10 days ago and immediately escaped to the jungle. This involved many hours on an air conditioning-less bus in appropriate heat and humidity; after being sufficiently steamed, we were deposited at a research camp on the border of Parque Nacional Ambors. The camp is a very tropical place ... mango and papaya and pineapple growing in the yard, thatched-roof cabins, and just enough hammocks to make us really happy. We swam in the park's rivers and explored during the day, and spent the evenings stargazing and eating bananas in the hammocks. It really was that wonderful. :)
Although it's not yet the wet season, it rains occasionally and the park is incredibly dense and green. The trees are beyond description; they seemed to have been inspired by Dr. Seuss. We also saw some disturbingly large beetles and lots of blue morpho butterflies. They're as spectacular as I remember from Derek's butterfly book. Apparently, the park is also one of the richest bird sanctuaries in the world. We heard them constantly, but they hid from us in the thick coverage.
Other than playing in the rainforest, we explored a few Jesuit mission towns and spent a night in Santa Cruz. The directors booked us into a swanky 5 star hotel for that night, thanks to some deal that combined airfare and hotel. So we enjoyed such foreign luxuries as showers with lots of hot water, hair dryers, and a massive swimming pool. But just for a night ... at the moment I'm on the way to find a present for a cousin who's turning 15. (Quinceaqeras are major occasions here; the guest list for tonight's party includes 200 people!)
Off I go,
I thought I’d send an update and let you know how my Lasik surgery went last week. After a few months of debating getting it done and checking out different clinics, I finally went in for the procedure on Friday morning.
They require you to have someone drive you home afterwards, since you aren’t able to see well for the first few hours, so Ben gave me a ride to the clinic in Maple Grove. When I got there, they gave me a Valium pill to help me stay relaxed during the surgery, and several different eye drops, including drops to dilate my pupils and numb my eyeballs. Finally, I met briefly with the doctor who was to perform the surgery, then headed in to the surgery area.
Once I got in there, they had me lie down on a table and immediately they taped my eye lashes to keep them from getting loose and getting in the way, and placed braces under my eyelids to hold them open (I figured they'd just use toothpicks to hold my eyes open like in all the old cartoons, but they actually had a specially designed contraption. I suppose the toothpicks would have gotten in the way of the laser).
The next thing I knew, a suction mechanism descended over my eye, causing my vision to go black and a pressure sensation to build on my eyeball. This only lasted a few seconds, after which the vacuum lifted and I could see the blurry red light on which I was to focus for the next step of the procedure, which involves the laser itself doing its job.
While this is going on, a computerized voice chimes in periodically, letting you know how much longer the laser will be doing its work. Meanwhile, I could actually smell a burning smell, which I guess was caused by the laser on my eyeball. Not a very pleasant thought, but luckily I couldn't feel anything.
After about a minute, the laser stopped and the eyelid props and eyelash tape were quickly removed; then they did the same procedure to the other eye.
Before I knew it, the whole thing was over and I was being whisked out to a waiting room where the doctor checked me over and declared me fit to go home. Ben had returned from his shopping just as I was finishing up (missing the chance to watch my surgery on the TV in the waiting room), so we headed for home.
My vision was pretty blurry and I was very light sensitive at first, and by the time I got home, the numbing drops were wearing off, causing my eyes to burn. After a two hour nap and a couple more hours spent blinking a lot and avoiding all light, I started noticing an improvement.
By the time my friend picked me up at 5 p.m. (7 hours after the surgery), to go to the Gophers football game, the light sensitivity was gone and I was seeing more clearly than I ever had with my glasses or contacts. Pretty amazing.
All in all it was a very quick and relatively painless procedure. And for the first time in 17 years, I don’t have to start each morning by reaching for my glasses.
Day to Day R
With Donna Mae
Today I was busy, as usual, with the lunchtime rush. I had one baby in the high chair and another in a little reclining child's chair. She wanted her bottle. I had it ready, but no available hands and she doesn't hold it herself.
Missing Caity's willing help, I asked Jayce. He seemed more than happy to help me out. He really does love the babies, and especially little Anissa, the one he was to feed.
He stood by her chair aiming the bottle toward her mouth, hitting his mark the majority of the time, chattering to her the whole while.
After a rather short stint of bottle holding, he suddenly leaned over and putting his hand on his back, he dramatically exclaimed, "Oh, oh ... my BACK!"
After Beaver and I got over trying not to burst out laughing at him, I informed him that was not going to work, however; he still had to hold the bottle ... maybe he could kneel down, which he did, and grinned at me. Nice try, buddy!
Guess he's amply in tune to his surroundings! I certainly say that enough myself :-)
Miss Kitty - My Cheshire Cat
The Miss Kitty Letters *
By Jerrianne Lowther
I suppose I should have known that acquiring a cat would turn into an educational experience ... somehow, with me, everything does. Miss Kitty is my teacher, but so are my friends and neighbors ... and what did we do before Google and the Internet?
My annual trip to the dental hygienist brought out stories about a stray cat she recently adopted ... with Bengal ancestry, apparently. She urged me to look up her cat's wild ancestors, Asian Leopard Cats, on the Internet. Well, let me tell you, those cats are WILD! They really do look like miniature leopards. And one thing leads to another on the Internet ... so the next thing I stumbled onto was an interesting and detailed discussion of coat colors, specifically, "Torties, Calicos and Tricolor Cats," by Barbara French in Rochester, NY. www.fanciers.com/cat-faqs/tricolors.shtml
Sure enough, Miss Kitty seems to be a Tricolor Cat, like my daughter's Calico ... but different, in two distinct ways. Miss Kitty is a "tortoiseshell," which means the coat colors are well blended, rather than patchy. Also, her colors are "dilute": instead of orange and black and white, in cat fanciers' lingo, they are cream (dilute orange/red) and blue (diluted black), touches of white, a "blue cream." This opened a whole new perspective.
Tonight, as I crumbled bleu cheese into sour cream and mayonnaise with garlic and wine vinegar to make salad dressing, instead of seeing Miss Kitty in terms of blended beige and gray, I was seeing her as dressed in rich creams and blue ... like Roquefort cheese ... and Stilton and, of course, Cheshire ... which is known for its blue veined yellowish cheese ... and for one very special cat, a cat that disappeared, leaving only its grin behind.
Now this little essay should end right there, but on the premise that anything worth doing is worth OVERdoing, I'll add one more historical footnote. Perhaps what caused me to remember the Cheshire connection in the first place (since Cheshire is best known for its CHEDDAR cheese) is that there is another Cheshire known for its cheese in Massachusetts. We visited in '73 as we hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine:
Cheshire, a valley town 10 miles north of Pittsfield, boasts ... one of the most unusual monuments anywhere, which celebrates the 1,235 pound cheese presented to President Jefferson by Cheshire farmers.
"'The Great Cheese' symbolized Cheshire's satisfaction with the election of Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency in 1800. The idea of creating this monster among edibles was put forth by a baptist clergyman of Cheshire, Elder John Leland. A friend of Jefferson, he thought the town should send the new executive a testimonial of esteem." [The Berkshire Hills, by Federal Writers' Project, © 1939, Berkshire Hills Conference, Inc.]
Many Appalachian Trail through-hikers receive mail and provisions at the village post office.
Read all about Cheshire, Massachusetts here:
Miss Kitty's web log is here: www.jlowther.com/Pages/kitty/index.html
The Family Cookbook
Well, well, look who's back, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen. That's right! It's me. bold and brassy, Texas-style! Release the hounds! Alert the media! Stop me, before I cook again!
Sorry, lost my composure there for a second. I am so overwhelmed at the prospect of writing for you again, that I'm afraid I slipped into the "happy chef" zone for a second, but I'm all right now.
I am pleased as proverbial punch this week to bring you something you can really USE! I mean, Duck au Chambertin is nice, but not always that practical. Today's recipe is a little more realistic. I also like this recipe because it sounds vaguely reminiscent of something My Mother used to make... Hmm...? Do you suppose there could be a correlation...?
But I digest. That's not a typo, I just ate. It's not too late for you, however, so save your appetite for:
Patty Dee's Cheesy Rotini Italiano
2 #'s of homegrown beef (I prefer the beef from Beaver!)
1 package of turkey pepperoni (cut into 1/4's)
brown these ingredients, salt to taste.
Cook a package of rotini noodles (may need only 2/3 package)
mix meat mixture and noodles together
add one can of "4-cheese" spaghetti sauce and one can of pizza sauce
add mozzarella or Monterey jack to your preference.
This can then all be heated on the stove or packed into single serving
sized containers and sent off to college to be microwaved at another time.
Mama mia! That's-a-some-hotdish! Perhaps Gypsies spirited Patty away as a young girl and taught her the secrets of Roman old school cuisine! She seems to have some of the spicy Latin in her blood!
Apparently, this recipe is one of Dan's favorites, as he requested it last time he was home from college. Thanks Patty, for the great recipe. Feels good to be back. Say... I bet YOU've got a recipe kickin' around that needs some exposure! Don't be shy, send 'em along! See you soon, I hope!
From the Files of 5
Hetty Hooper --
the Family Snooper!
I'm back, dear public; I had about "thrown in the sponge" and then I read The Bulletin last week and that Janie that wrote me a letter put some hope back in me and I am ready to make another try. I do need some of my sources to buckle down and help me here --You do know I can't do it all by my lonesome.
Here, guys, are some assignments: I need more information (and pictures -- where is Wyatt when you need him??? -- remember, just because you got a good picture of Ana and Weston -- and got your own picture in the paper, too, I notice -- doesn't mean you can sit around and take compliments.) ----I need a good picture of Chris and his girlfriend (Jenny, I think her name is) and how about one of Gina with Dan? -- Just because the immediate family has met them doesn't mean it wouldn't make good reading and viewing for the rest of the readers!!
Now as to what I do have (and remember my sources may be just a tad unreliable), I heard those two high school girls that went up to North Dakota are now busy with correspondence with some of the fine young fellows from the Dakotas. (It would be nice to get some evidence. ***)
I have another item I wish someone would check out for me. You remember Tami being in New York during the "blackout"? I understand she had her sister with her AND a nice boy extra than her Jason, so I am wondering what came of all that!? Does anyone know? Not one of my sources was able to confirm this rumor for me. I will have to depend on a volunteer. I asked the Boss about it, but she has not heard from Barbie for a long time -- is she just too busy?!!
Now maybe I am kicking a dead horse on this next item -- I really don't know! My Boss told me to lay off Doug! And anyway, my sources tell me that Gwyneth Paltrow is allergic to corn -- so surely she can't be too serious about him. Anyway, information on this romance is still being accepted.
You will notice I am trying to stay out of trouble -- but if you know and are willing to share items, how about contacting Hetty!
This and That
by Elaine Wold
Fall has been so pretty. I wrote this poem while still on the farm. May I share it with you?
DAKOTA AUTUMN DAY
It's autumn in Dakota! what pleasantness to know
The beauteous hues of nature from God's palette now bestowed.
The reds, the golds and ambers display the various hues
As brilliant leaves reflect against accent of skies of blue.
The goldenrod is whispering in the breeze-swept prairie grass
To Black-eyed Susans, answering, by bowing as they pass.
Lazy , fuzzy caterpillars, sleeping in the sun--
Squirrels gathering , hoarding, friskily they run.
Distant sound of tractor brings the smell of new-plowed earth,
With bounteous harvest ended, and gratitude its worth.
The fragrance, too of burning leaves as smoke curls to the sky,
While long-necked geese make silhouettes as they pass, honking by.
The corn hangs ripe. Its rustling leaves are crisp, and crackling dry.
And down the lane the apple trees with red-cheeked fruit hangs high.
Bright plumaged pheasants darting as yellow school bus passed,
While warmth of autumn's sun recedes as lengthening shadows cast.
A chilly breeze in evening comes, with spiders spinning webs,
And darkness comes more easily as shorter days now ebbs.
It's autumn in Dakota! See the sun's last sinking ray!
A tranquil, restful feeling comes to end a perfect day!
Editor's Comments &
Mine, that is!
I have some very good pointers for mothers on the subject of discipline. I always knew this would be my strong point -- in that I had read so much good advice on the subject and had seen all the things to avoid by observing some mothers I knew -- let's not say which ones! So here is what I had observed and intended to do faithfully as that "perfect MOM."
First and foremost, "there is to be no smart mouth sassing of authority." I really do think that still seems right, as it not only protects authority, but it keeps kids out of deep trouble. We all learn to bite our tongue, count to 10 before we speak, and keep our opinions to ourself, if they differ from authority, (or we lose our jobs) -- so why shouldn't kids learn that lesson early? I would suppose that all five of ours did a lot of sassing in their mind -- or under their breath. I do think we raised five pretty pleasant kids.
Another really important thing is "Don't Yell at Your Kids." That one brings to my mind something I heard my Dad tell my Mom one time.... He came home from the west forty and informed her, "Amy, I could hear you yelling at those kids from the far west end of the field!"
I don't remember her answer -- but after I had charge of the discipline of five at a time, I became aware of a deep sympathy for her!!!
I ask you one thing, isn't yelling better than murder? Consider: What if you came into the living room and found your two little daughters busy shampooing each other -- or whatever -- and you see they have emptied the shampoo in a huge puddle by the davenport onto the carpet. I doubt I even gave it a thought about what was correct discipline. I screamed at them -- ranted at them -- and then I decided to fit their punishment to their crime. I told them (no, yelled at them) YOU WILL WASH THIS ALL UP!
Well another thing I have since learned, is don't make the punishment impossible to accomplish. Have you ever tried to wash a puddle of shampoo off a carpet? I don't think it can be done. They would still be there, trekking back and forth with pans of water, scrubbing, emptying and then doing it all again, if they had indeed cleaned it all up!
I still do feel that most yelling at kids does no good in making their behavior improve -- but have since forgiven myself (and my mother), knowing that sometimes to keep one's sanity you have to release steam, so you YELL. And as long as you don't do it often, AND as long as you make it plain that "THAT was a stupid thing," NOT "you are a stupid thing," you will probably do fine -- and raise nice kids, too!
I guess there are lots more things that could be said about discipline, but it pretty well comes easy to know, if you truly love your family, that certain things need sympathy and a hug instead of scolding. It is so easy to blow up over spilled milk, torn clothes, and squabbling kids! Just step in and help clean up, or mend them, or listen to both sides (with all the tattlers present) -- and that works pretty well with other adults, too!
Enough of Grandma's advice. The most important ingredient in good discipline is LOVE -- and it is the one ingredient that, though you give all of it to one child, you still have it all left to give the next one that comes along.
Useful Things to Know
(Thanks to Barb Dewey)
Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.
An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.
If quitters never win, and winners never quit, then who was that said, "Quit while you're ahead?"
Get the last word in: Apologize.
Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.
Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they use to?
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?
How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
+ LETTERS TO THE EDITOR?
Thanks for The Bulletin again. I love Jayce's "Little Jenna" story... What a doll.
Most of you know by now, our plans are to move back to Minnesota. We are thinking of being there by May of 2004. We will "take the bull by the horns," as they say, and I think of the well known slogan, "If you cannot lick them, join them."
We have fought this decision the past two years. Family ties are important and being closer will be best for all concerned. We chose Alexandria, Minnesota, as our final choice; this is because it is centrally located among our families.
We know when leaving Missouri we will get acquainted once more with new problems like snow and cold in winter and the pesky state bird, the mosquitoes. If things get too tough during the winter, it is only three hours to bask in the Arizona sun, via Sunbelt airlines. We don't fancy driving long distances anymore.
We are looking forward to this new adventure and it is hoped we can get together more often. We regret to leave the Springfield area where we have truly enjoyed the time here since 1987.
Upon hearing of us leaving, people have bought up various degrees of responses, like "Sorry to see you go," ... "Good riddance," ... "Come back and see us," ... "You're nuts," ... and things I am not allowed to publish.
Glad to hear you are moving back to this beautiful part of the country. I haven't seen much around Alex, but it sure is pretty up by Donna and Peggy's. Still enjoy your newsletter. Great reading Diana's contributions, too.
Oh yes, and did Doug tell you that one of my grandsons is working where he works? Wesley's boy, Danny. Talk to you later. Love,
Yes, Doug has mentioned meeting him -- though I understand he works in another area.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY: If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging --Will Rogers
EDITOR'S POLICY: If you wish to subscribe to The Bulletin, simply send me a statement of that fact. If you wish to keep receiving it I hope you will contribute to one of the columns that are running in this family epistle (at least occasionally!). My e-mail address is email@example.com
This Bulletin is copyright Dorothy M. Anderson; the contents are also copyrighted by the authors and photographers and used with their permission, and the contents are not to be used for any commercial purposes without the explicit consent of the creators.