The Bulletin
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
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Travelogue t

The Bolivian Beat
By Kjirsten Swenson

Buenos Aires is as wonderful as I knew it was. We're able to enjoy it more because it seems fairly likely that we'll get to go back to Bolivia this weekend. As you've perhaps heard, the president resigned (I think he's in Miami now) and life is back to normal. But we have to wait until the Department of State lifts the travel warning...

The food is incredible here, especially in comparison to Bolivia, whose cuisine is less than inspiring, to say the least. Lots of tasty gelato, too. :) Prices initially look comparable to a major east coast city or European capital, but then we get to divide them almost by three. :) Still more expensive than Bolivia, though.

This place seems extremely European, or perhaps east coast US. Different areas remind me of New York, Paris, and Madrid. Nearly everyone is white, drivers obey traffic laws, dogs actually belong to people, tap water lacks dangerous microorganisms ... culture shock all over again. It's beautiful and interesting and exciting, but does make me really glad I chose Bolivia.

The shopping is also amazing, and due to the economic crisis, prices are low. I've resisted... I think Bolivia has made me less materialistic. Or maybe it's just that my backpack is already thoroughly full.

We're skipping dinner tonight in favor of gelato. It is the hour.


Day to Day R
With Donna Mae
Ashby, MN

The CHEERFUL, informative news from Ashby! (You'll get the sarcasm that was stated with, as you read on!)

The Johnson/Chap family and the Grandma D's Daycare have been a sick bunch of people for some weeks now. First a series of messy (that's an understatement) diapers was the norm for a couple weeks. Then the unpleasant task of constantly wiping running noses of highly resisting children; chasing them down became a challenge in itself! Giving meds was a task I generally turned over to Becky, if I had the chance to do so. Others had stuffed up noses, headaches, and coughs, which both Beaver and I managed to get and still have. (At least he wipes his own nose!) I really should buy stock in Kleenex; might pay off this season, alone.

Last week it was vomiting and/or mad-dash bathroom visits. (Beaver and I included in the second type.) Seems most got one or the other. All seemed to have a bad case of whiney, crabby, clingy and demanding personalities, which makes things interesting! Also, with so many sick, including myself, will make for a very lean income month. No sick pay here.

For those who didn't hear, Caity was unfortunate enough to get the vomiting version, which her body can NOT handle. She ended up having a one day hospital stay, while they had her IV'd and giving her meds to try and help her stop. It took a long time, this time. (We learned Becky's first cousin on her Dad's side has had the same problem, since she was 2, so doesn't look like Caity might outgrow it, which was my hope.)

Just when I thought we might be in for a healthy week, FINALLY ... on Friday one of our little daycare guys woke from his nap with 102 fever. Now I had a call from another mother; her little girl has respiratory problems and she's concerned it might be the real influenza bug. So, it goes ... we might not be out of the woods yet!

Hope more of you are more healthy, than we are here! COUGH-COUGH!


The Miss Kitty Letters*
By Miss Kitty

Miss Kitty With Mouse

Lids Are So Limiting!

Thanksgiving week 2003. If the vet's best guess is correct, I'm seven months old now. Though my figure is as svelte and trim as the day I got here, the kitchen scales say I weigh just over seven pounds, so I must have put on a couple. In mid-September I was a hungry, skinny, lost, homeless, 5 lb. kitten, but I have done very well for myself, in my opinion.

I have much to be thankful for: tasty food in my dish, carbon-filtered water in my bowl, a cozy little bed, catnip mice and plenty of toys. I have a Celltei pouch for great views on outdoor walks and rides in the van. I have Miss Jerrianne to look after details, ply me with kitty treats and play with me.

Of course, as a cat, I consider these things to be my just due. I'm patient and tolerant when Miss Jerrianne buries her face in my soft fur and says I smell like I live in a cedar chest (must be those real cedar shavings in the new litter!). If she gets too close while I'm grooming myself, I may notice that she could use a little touch up, too. I usually oblige. I wonder how she managed until I came along to see that she doesn't come unraveled.

I follow Miss Jerrianne like a shadow and participate in everything she does ... or I try to, anyway, but she has this thing about lids ... and doors, which seem to be lids on edge. I find lids and doors vastly annoying to creatures with paws and claws instead of opposable thumbs. Why put cat food in a jar with a lid, I ask, in a cupboard behind closed doors? I'd open my own cat food bags if she'd just leave them out on the floor.

Plumbers install strainer lids over drains in bathtubs. I pry 'em out with my claws so rubber balls fit into the drains. I amuse myself trying to retrieve them. The cookie sheet lid over the indoor grill ... what a nuisance that thing is! A lid on the toilet foils my every attempt to fish in it, drink from it, or dive in. I see my reflection ... I reach out ... a hand slides under me, the elevator goes up, the lid comes down, and suddenly I'm standing on top.

The refrigerator door keeps the cold inside and the cat outside. I'd change all that in a hurry. Doors under sinks hide the trash. Try as I might, I haven't made it inside. "That's not for kitty cats!" Miss Jerrianne says, as I beat a retreat. I've been able to keep my tail out of the way of that closing door, so far, but a couple of times I cut it real close. "MEOW!" I said, caught in the act, as I found myself standing at attention, tail straight up, the trailing ends of each hair on my backside caught fast in the doors.

Laundry room, studio, darkroom, light room, several closets and the garage are all off limits, behind closed doors. I just know they are all filled with kitty adventures that I haven't been allowed to experience. Not that I haven't tried. There's plenty of space under the studio door so I can shove my favorite mouse through the slot and let her hunt for it. Once I crouched over the mouse, right by the opening. When Miss Jerrianne opened the door to check, I scooted through, but she caught me. I need a new plan.

For more Miss Kitty adventures visit my web log:

This and That
by Elaine Wold
Wahpeton, ND

I found this essay in an old clipping -- and thought you might like to read it.

Life was more Predictable
By Marianne Bianchi

Not so many years ago, my mother's week was planned before it started. In fact, I think every day of every week was planned much the same. And if Christmas fell in the middle of the week, it really upset the apple cart.

The week went pretty much like this. Monday was washday. Often on Sunday evenings the clothes were sorted and the machine and washtubs set up in readiness for the morning. (This included grating a bar of homemade soap.) If you drove down the road on most any Monday, every yard had clothes flopping in the the wind on the lines. After all, you only washed clothes on Mondays!

Tuesday was the day to iron. A few pieces of laundry might be folded and put in the drawers as is, but most of the cottons were prepared Monday night by sprinkling, rolling up and neatly putting them in a basket, ready to be pressed. (I thought it was great fun to iron the handkerchiefs and dishtowels.)

Bread baking was on the agenda for Wednesday and hungry school kids could smell the good scent before even entering the house.

Thursday was reserved for going to town. Often my mother went with my dad -- he to get feed ground and she to buy groceries.

Cleaning the upstairs bedrooms was on the to-do list for Fridays, a job I helped with in the summers and hated. All the scatter rugs (at least 100, I thought) had to be carried down and shaken outside. Then came mopping the floors and dusting.

Saturday was a repeat of Friday, only now it was the downstairs, plus scrubbing. Any barn chores would bave been better, as far as I was concerned. The best part of Saturday was baking a cake, but it couldn't be eaten until Sunday!

The next week it started all over again! Not every family had the same agenda, but every family had one -- and it seemed strange if anything changed the order of things!

Here are the answers to last week's puzzle:(question)

# 1.Letters of the Alphabet----------------- 26=L of the A
# 2.Colors in the Spectrum-----------------7=C in the S
# 3.Playing cards in a deck------------------- 52=PC in a D
# 4.Players on a football team-------------11=P on FT
# 5.Squares on a checker board.------------64=S on a CB
# 6.Seats in the United States Senate-------100=S in the USS
# 7. Holes on a golf course--------------------18=H on a GC
# 8.Sides on a stop sign.-----------------------8= S on a SS
# 9.Trombones led the big parade.-----------76= T led the BP
# 10.Signs of the Zodiac------------------------12=S of the ZODIAC
# 11.Numbers in a zip code -----------------5= N in a ZC
#12.Dollars for passing go in Monopoly------200=D for PG in M
#12.Keys on a piano.-----------------------------88= K on a P

Memory Lane

I found an interesting article in the Howard Lake Herald. I thought you would enjoy the trip it takes down the same memory lane that many of us have traveled. It is about a small town business whose products many of us have enjoyed! -- Don Anderson

Recalling the Scheer Popcorn Wagon
By Lynda Jensen

Buttered popcorn, flavored with 100 percent real butter, was the specialty of the Scheer popcorn wagon when it existed for 40 years in downtown Howard Lake, ending in 1991.

Many may remember the little red and white trailer parked at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Highway 12; seeing it at an Orphans game, or at the Wright County Fair, among other places.

The thrill of popcorn was something that appealed to children during a simpler time, when people used to enjoy the band playing at the band shell Wednesday evenings, or enjoy the crunchy treat on a Friday night in the downtown area.

The band shell existed where the city liquor store parking lot is today, recalled Mavis Scheer. She used to own the popcorn wagon with her husband, the late Gaylin Scheer. Gaylin had graduated from Howard Lake High School in 1944 (as had I) and his wife in 1943. I knew them both very well!

She remembers children, standing chin high at the order window, asking for popcorn and counting out their money, The Scheers didn't leave them disappointed if they were a bit short of funds, she said. Her favorite part of the wagon was meeting the people and serving the children.

They added snow cones to the menu in 1971. The Scheers traveled quite a bit with the popcorn wagon, never missing the town baseball team games, she said. The wagon could be seen regularly at Waverly Daze, Good Neighbor Days, Maple Lake celebrations, and at the Hollywood Sports Complex events, (the nearby burg -- not the one in California).

"From April to October, it kept us hopping," Scheer said. The asking price started at 15 cents, and then jumped by nickels until it reached 50 cents, eventually. Snow cones were always 50 cents, she added.

At the fair, the Scheers would go through eight 50-pound bags of popcorn, and then they would also use 64 pounds of block butter to melt and pour on it. This wasn't just any butter! It was butter made by a champion. Grand Champion, that is, since Gaylin Scheer earned the grand champion ribbon at the Minnesota State Fair in 1965 for his 100 percent butter. Scheer worked at the Howard Lake Creamery, which is where the butter came from for use in the popcorn wagon.

The Scheer tradition of street sold popcorn ended in 1991 when Gaylin died. When Mavis was left alone she looked at it from a practical viewpoint and knew she wouldn't be able to keep going by herself -- so the Scheer Popcorn Wagon disappeared from the street corner.

The Best of
The Bulletin :

One of the essays that had its place in "Memory Lane" of The Bulletin in its first year, and that several of you may have missed or forgotten was the one that follows:

Grandma Cleo
by Janie Anderson

Grandma Cleo was one of the most fair people I have ever known. She treated everyone alike -- especially her kids, in-laws, and grandchildren.

And her giving was certainly without hope of praise. She used to go to garage sales when the kids were little and buy baby and little kid clothes just because she thought they were so cute. She'd give us the whole bag and totally forget about it. If I commented about the dress she got for Brenda, for example, she'd say, "I got that for her? I didn't remember!" She certainly wasn't looking for profuse thanks or praise for helping out.

And, of course, we couldn't forget all the good food she always had. Once a year she would fix lutefisk and invite us because she knew Dwight would NEVER get it at home! And she was always so kind -- she'd fix meatballs, too, because she knew I didn't eat lutefisk.



Thanks so much for your story. I had never heard that before. We just don't have storms like that any more, do we?

Here's a request for Doug. Does he have the recipe for those pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting? Or were those Donnie's specialties? I'd love the recipe.


Thanks Mom, that was another wonderful Bulletin! I enjoyed your rescue story, the blizzard part came alive and the tension and danger could be felt. I also loved the descriptions of how Grandma did the washing and the "paper dolls," etc. You opened a window, yet again, to your childhood. I LOVE that! If you can think of more, please share.

Must not forget the rest either ... each contribution was fun to read. Also it's great having Mia "aboard;" the goat story was fun -- looking forward to more about that trip. I had no idea goats would work that well and not wander off!

Have fun with Kjirsten, Mitzi and Sheldon! Give her a hug from all of us and tell her how much we enjoy her letters. She's very good with the descriptions and making you see her surroundings! THANKS for sharing!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all of you. I've yet again decided that less stress in my life is a good thing and a couple choices are, not sending cards AND not baking! So, no I didn't forget any of you!



Another entertaining edition! It was fun to read your story about the blizzard. You describe things so well that I can really picture what it must have been like to be there. It was nice to see an update from Mia too. Who knew goats could be so useful? Keep up the good work



Joke sent to us by Mavis Morgan

A visitor, getting into the spirit of Texas, looked at a watermelon on a fruit stand and asked the clerk, "Is that the biggest cantaloupe you have?"

"Mister," answered the clerk with a straight face, "that's no cantaloupe. That's a Texas grape."

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY: Thinking twice before saying nothing.

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