by Ben Johnson

Happy New Year Grandma -- and everyone else! I think I have a few minutes to update you on my doings before I get kicked out of the office.

Work has been going good lately, but now it is coming to an end. Just as I am really getting the hang of all the routine things and some of the not so routine things around the shop, I am getting ready for another two month stay in the cities, which isn't too bad of a thing.

I will be moving back down there on the 10th, after the Xmas get together at Donnie's. Then I will start school on Monday, the 12th, and my semester will end around the 19th of March.

Well I better surrender my position at the computer, but I am looking forward to seeing everybody who is attending the Xmas get together on the 10th, and also you and grandpa after the move back north the following weekend. Good luck with the move, and hopefully everything goes well.

Don and I will be off line and unable to receive mail starting on 1/14/04. We will send out a message to you all upon our return!

Day to Day R
With Donna Mae
Ashby, MN

"Little Man's" Golden Birthday, January 5, 2004

Well, it was a big day in our household today, as Jayce turned five years old. He was one excited little guy. I'd waited to wrap his birthday gifts until yesterday, so he spent last evening going down to our room and looking at them and turning them over (except the bigger ones-he couldn't budge them) He was very impressed with the Spiderman wrapping paper, right up his alley. Today he woke up with a smile and many questions, when could he open his gifts, eat his cake etc. Anticipation is a good thing :-)

While he was sleeping this morning I made a cake and decorated it with some Buzz Lightyear and friends little figures, another favorite of his. He was TOTALLY impressed with my creation, hmmmm, lucky he's five :-) I dug through the drawers and luckily found some candles, as he'd asked about having candles on his cake. At lunch he was talking to his two little daycare buddies about how much he liked his cake (suppose it did beat last year's cupcake, without a contest!) And they were too, one little guy even asked his mom to have one for him on his birthday.

Peggy stopped by with four card games in a nice tin for him, thanks Peggy! Which was a really fun thing for him, as he got to open a present earlier that way.

Then finally, after nap, it was time to get on with the show. Grandpa got the digital camera out and I tried running the video one. I've decided I really do need to read the instructions so I have a clue as to what I'm supposed to do, hoping I actually got some video on the thing!

We got the daycare kids and Caity to sing Happy Birthday to him, then he blew out his candles after giving it a few good trys...all of which seemed to please him immensely. (to be happy with so little :-)

He could hardly wait to pile into opening the gifts. He got bubbles, pencils, a little firetruck, playdoh from one of his teachers. Caity gave him a fireman and policeman with all sorts of accessories. >From Beaver and I he got an old fashioned looking bike (great sale last fall), helmet, kneepads (more sale items :-) , a box with a small tent, sleeping bag, binoculars and a little camp chair (you guessed it..). He jumped up and down saying how "cool" his gifts were!

They did take the time to eat some cake and then started playing with the new toys, the daycare boys wanting the bike opened-but that will have to wait for a while (now isn't that cruel?)

This evening he went to Burger King with his Mom, Caity and Kenny. Sounds like they had a good time, I wasn't there early enough to see him open his presents from his Mom, so haven't seen what they are yet. He was still playing full tilt when I arrived. I brought Caity and Jayce home to bed, as they have school tomorrow.

I'd say he considered his big day a total success!

We have to remember to open the card from Great Grandpa and too busy today and forgot, this way he'll have something for tomorrow. I haven't told them about all the pennies Great Grandpa is giving them either..that will be a big hit!

So, a golden birthday, come and gone. Happy 5th birthday Jayce!

Grandma Johnson

Wyatt's Photo Correspondent Report - December 27, 2003

My mom works at Viking Valley Hunt Club near Ashby. This year, for Christmas, she gave Weston, Ben, and me a pheasant hunt at the hunt club. We went out on December 27th and got 15 pheasants! The hunt club gets pheasants from a nearby game farm, then they put the pheasants out in a field.

Since we don't have our own dogs (don't think Atley would be a very good bird dog), one of their guides came with so we could use his two dogs, a chocolate lab and a black lab. We walked twice through a field, with the dogs out in front to flush the birds.

In a normal pheasant hunt, once a bird is flushed, you must look first to tell if it is male (colored) or female (brown), since you can only shoot males. In this case, we could shoot either one, so as soon as they got up high enough, we could shoot away!

After we were done, they even cleaned the pheasants for us. They gave us some already cleaned and frozen ones to take home and eat!

It was a great time, and the beautiful weather (over 40 degrees!) made it a perfect day to be out.


L-R: my stepdad John, me (Wyatt), Weston, my mom (Donna) and Ben.

The Miss Kitty Letters*
By Miss Kitty

Miss Kitty's First Christmas

Christmas 2003. It's probably just as well that Christmas comes but once a year. I've thoroughly enjoyed my first Christmas, but let me tell you, I'm exhausted from all the excitement. On the day before Christmas, the mailman came with a present. (Cookies from Kyra!) He rang the doorbell and I streaked for the closet. I had barely been coaxed out of hiding when the FedEx man brought more packages and rang it again.

When things settled down a bit after supper, Miss Jerrianne lit a crackly fire in the fireplace and tuned in a concert of Hanukkah music on the radio. Then we listened to Christmas carols. Music interests me very much, but it keeps me awake ... especially when it has sound effects like barking dogs and jingling bells. Of course I wouldn't want to sleep through the midnight marshmallow toasting, though I didn't get to participate.

The snowstorm that went on for most of a week finally ran out of snow and Christmas Day dawned bright and sunny ... a little before noon. There's not much warmth to the sunshine this time of year and the temperature dropped down below zero, but sitting in my chair in the sun room, those sunbeams felt soothingly warm on my ears.

Miss Jerrianne helped me unwrap a present from Santa Claws ... a catnip kit! Now we can grow catnip just for me. I think that's a splendid idea! We got a wonderful new wall calendar, too, with charming pictures of kitties ... one for every day of the year. I checked it out thoroughly and of all those hundreds of beautiful kitties, not a single one looks at all like me. I guess I really am an original. I don't mind that one bit. I like feeling I'm special.

After breakfast, I wore my harness and leash until it was time for me to get into the pouch. In no time, I had wound that leash around a wicker chair and begun chasing the wrist loop on the other end. Around and around the chair I went, but no matter how fast or how slow I ran, or how hard I tried to pounce on the loop, it stayed just a few inches out of reach.

We spent Christmas afternoon with Pretty Kitty and her people ... Miss Jerrianne's sister Miss Kathlyn and her husband, Mr. Argyle. They took me in when I was lost and couldn't find my way home last September and they found me a good home with Miss Jerrianne. I really enjoyed seeing them again. I must say Pretty Kitty wasn't nearly as enthusiastic about spending Christmas Day with our family as I was, but Miss Jerrianne brought some kitty treats along and she politely shared them with me.

Miss Kathlyn and Mr. Argyle gave me a new toy mouse that they had kept in their catnip jar. Mmmm! Good! That really made my day. I chased it all over their house and had a wonderful time, though try as I might, I couldn't coax Pretty Kitty into playing toss the mouse or chase the bouncy balls with me. She really is a pretty kitty, much older and bigger than me, with long white fur, flame red "point" markings and bright blue eyes. She's a pound pussy, too, very territorial. (Just like me!) She is the boss there.

After dinner, Miss Jerrianne and I went to Reiki Circle, with me in the pouch. A big black dog saw me through the windows and wanted to come inside and chase me. They lowered the blinds so the dog couldn't see me and I lived to tell the tale. I discovered that dogs and cats live there, and birds, too. (I would love to explore that further.) I met some nice people, very complimentary. And then we came home. As soon as I'd eaten a few kitty crunchies, I climbed into my bed ... and in no time I was fast asleep.

For more Miss Kitty adventures visit my web log:

Miss Kitty

Catnip Growing Kit: A Present From Santa Claws For Me!

The Family Cookbook
Culinary Heirlooms
Jerrianne's Mudpies

        I'm back, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen...  Today's recipe is just the thing for those of you who are watching your weight... watching your weight DOUBLE, that is.  Oh well, there is more to life than just eating sensibly, so lose those reservations and dig into:

Jerrianne's Marvelous Mudpies

1/4 cup melted Crisco type shortening (love those awful trans-fats!)
2 squares baking chocolate (the bitter kind)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (added one at a time)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking power sifted with
1 cup flour

Chill and roll into balls. Roll each ball in powdered (confectioner's) sugar. DO NOT flatten or add more flour. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees ... don't overbake them. As they bake, the surface will crack so they have a white crust with deep cracks revealing the chocolate centers. They really do look like mud cracks.

Chocolate macaroons are delicious cookies ... you bake them just until they are set enough that you can get them off the greased cookie sheet ... and they are so very soft and chocolaty with that pure white surface. One thing that really messes them up is putting them into a container in layers after they cool, because the powdered sugar falls off onto the cookies below and they get all dusty looking. I imagine we at least doubled the batch, but doubling it twice might present storage problems.

I think it was our father who said they looked like mudpies ... and the name stuck. Our father liked descriptive names ... and he may have come by this honestly. He said his mother once baked a pie from black currants (possibly skunk currants) that grew by the lake. His father said they tasted "just like bedbugs." My father wondered to his dying day how his father could possibly have known what bedbugs tasted like!

       Well, now, got all that? Stay tuned for that "Bedbug Pie" recipe coming up, and recipes with even MORE colorful names! Thanks Jerrianne, for the calories... I mean, memories. I'm sure they will remain with us forever!
        How about you? I sure would like to know what's cooking in YOUR kitchen, so get off your stool and send me something yummy at  See you next time!

The Matriarch Speaks W
by Dorothy (Dake) Anderson
Springfield MO

On Moving

This is the kind of moving we are now engaged in -- that of picking up all your belongings and then taking them elsewhere -- throwing away, giving away, sorting out , and then reassembling them into a new home. Now I feel I could almost claim to be an expert in this particular activity. And lest you consider this presumptive on my part, let me explain.

Back when The Bulletin first was in print I authored a column called,"Let's Ask Mom or Grandma." One of the questions I fielded was from Donna: How many houses total did we live in, while I was still living at home?

I spent a few hours recalling them all. (If you want to hear a description of them, you can make a request to have the column re-run in the "Best of the Bulletin" series.) I came up with 15 that we lived in while Donna was part of our family. When you count the three that we lived in before she joined the family, and the six we have lived in since the family left home, you can see that Don and I have quite a bit of experience in this sort of thing.

Except for our large oak family table that slid off the load in one move, and a couple dishes that arrived in more pieces than they started out, I would say we have done quite well at moving. Here then, are some tips on ways to promote a "good move."

Develop friendships wherever you go -- choose good, solid people, ones who can move pianos! Have lots of good, strong grandchildren. As you grow older, they are especially handy. (I really can't give you the secret of how to accomplish that tip.)

Don't be afraid to advertise the move. The neighbors might be especially anxious to give you help in moving if they know you are going. (Good neighbors are an asset in providing a place to rid yourself of unwanted furniture, fruit jars, ill fitting clothes and etc.)

Be sure to feed your voluntary work force .A couple dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts (that is per grandson!) make good incentives.

Move to neat places at odd times (like to Minnesota or Alaska in the middle of winter) -- that creates interest and produces awe for your bravery, or maybe more like sympathy for your mental state.

Begin packing early -- you don't have to keep house if there are boxes everywhere. Of course. there is a slight disadvantage in not being able to find the necessities of life that are not labeled or are at the bottom of the stack.

There may be other things I should tell you about a successful move, but they seem to have slipped my mind -- which I packed somewhere in that stack of boxes! I guess you will have to "wing it" on your own, Lori, and whoever else might be contemplating a move at an inconvenient time!

Travelogue t

Chapter I

Attention: Management of Charles St. Hotel Johnson

Request for reservations:

As previously mentioned in a former correspondence, we will be requiring lodging, as long as the weather cooperates. Here are the final details, as requested.

We have five members of the Anderson Relocation Mission team, that would be seeking lodging on the evening of January 15th. They will not be needing refreshments. (They will also provide their own pillows, sleeping bags, etc.)

The following will be needing sleeping space:

Mr & Mrs. Wyatt Johnson
Mr. Weston Johnson
Mr. & Mrs. David S. Johnson.

This will be for a one evening stay only, with early departure the morning of January 16th. They will be requiring a wake up call from the establishment.

If there are any details that this mission team should be apprised of, please contact me personally. Thank you in advance for the use of your fine establishment and the services rendered to our team. We look forward to Marlene Johnson joining our mission and making our team complete.

Donna M. Johnson
Johnson Team
For Anderson Relocation Mission

Mrs. Johnson forgot to add that we promise not to steal the towels or shampoo!

When I first started reading this, I thought it was an e-mail to a hotel down in Missouri for the night we're down there. The first line that struck me as odd was "as long as the weather cooperates." I thought, "That's weird, does the hotel really care?" Then when we were called the Anderson Relocation Mission team, I thought "Yikes, this hotel will think we're some kind of weird group." (Well, OK, they'd have been right on that one.) At the line, "They will not be needing refreshments," with us providing our sleeping bags and pillows, my mind was screaming, "What kind of hotel is this?" It was at that point I finally realized that we were talking about staying at Marlene's place.

For being smart, I sure can be dumb sometimes!

That was some quality writing, D!



Will look forward to the fine dining and welcome by friendly staff!

For parties of 6 or more, is a 15% tip automatically added to the bill? It's probably worth it. I hear the service is top notch!

The Bolivian Beat
By Kjirsten Swenson

I spent nearly all of my time observing and helping at the local hospital located a five-minute uphill walk through a potato field from the center of the village. Although it serves a regional population of nearly 40,000, the hospital is very tiny and often quiet. It consists of a consult room; a separate procedure room where babies are born and cuts are stitched; a tiny nurse's office containing a cabinet that serves as the pharmacy; a blocked-off area with three beds for overnight patients; a kitchen; and the dentist's office.

A waiting area equipped with the only TV and VCR I saw in town serves as the informal cine. Once I counted 16 kids crowded on the floor and steps watching a terrible Jackie Chan movie.

The hospital is also home to the entire staff; they live in rooms in the basement and maintain separate houses in Cochabamba.

The staff consists of two general physicians, a nurse, a cook, an "ambulance" driver, and a student dentist who mostly pulls teeth at a price of $1.30 each. They're all really wonderful people and I consider them my bestest of Bolivian friends. Lucky, 'cause I was with them nearly perpetually for a month and will soon be back for much longer. My lack of knowledge of double meanings and other Spanish subtleties makes me particularly vulnerable to their endless jokes, but I'm learning.

The hospital contains nearly nothing in terms of medical technology. Care is really basic ... most of their patients are pregnant women who come for free prenatal exams. Deliveries are free, as well, thanks to a government insurance program designed to combat maternal and infant mortality rates, which are among the highest in the world. But a lot of reasons related to culture and fear prevent women from giving birth in the hospital. I think there were only five births while I was there.

Other than that, people come when they're too sick to work. Lots of back pain, respiratory problems, occasional gashes needing stitches. My favorite patient was a super old woman who declared that a bug had been living in her ear for the past three years and was preventing her from hearing clearly.

The purpose of my investigation was to study manifestations of the indigenous Quechua-Andina culture in the space of a western hospital. Western medicine has only been available in rural Bolivia for roughly the last 20-30 years. It was imposed on a cultural context in which the indigenous people maintained notions of sickness and cure that differed, and still differ greatly, from Western perspectives.

They had developed, and continue to maintain, a system of traditional healers who employ herbs and ritual to cure. I found it fascinating to observe the encounters between patient and physician. The negotiation of language, culture, and treatment is really amazing. Traditional healers have intriguing relationships with the hospital, too, in which they occasionally bring their "healed" patients to the hospital after treatment rituals in search of IV's or injections. Fascinating stuff!

I also helped in whatever way I could. Mostly that meant injecting people, but I assisted on two births when the only other person in the hospital was the doctor. :)

After completing my investigation in Morochata, I returned to Cochabamba to write up my results, in four days of furious typing, and prepared a presentation. All of us foreign students met at a hotel outside of the city, where we spent an additional four days presenting our work. The course is now officially over and I suppose I've unofficially graduated!

Immediately following the conclusion of the course, I headed to Chapare, a tropical region that produces a lot of bananas and cocaine. From there I returned to Morochata for a two-day visit. Now I'm back in Cochabamba and getting ready for the upcoming Chile/Argentina adventure.

Sunday morning I fly to southern Chile. Monday I'll take a bus to Torres Del Paine National Park, where I'll meet my parents. We'll backpack together for about 10 days before they return to the U.S. and I fly to Santiago to meet Tami. We're going to travel from there to Buenos Aires in time for her Jan 9 flight back to the States.

I'm allowing myself until the end of the month to end up in Bolivia. At this point, it seems most likely that I'll return to Morochata to help implement a project of free elderly medical care and, hopefully, help them set up a donated computer from the U.S. and make it useful. I'll teach English to anybody who wants to learn and continue to help at the hospital with patient care. They let me do anything I want. The doctors are teaching me to stitch and deliver babies.



Last Friday and Saturday were very busy. More people than last year came [to the Garden Center in The Netherlands] to buy new plants and some tables were almost empty. I placed my biggest order for new plants as far as I can remember. In the coming week, I will be alone, starting Wednesday. My colleague will be on skiing vacation in Austria. I do have help for pricing and unpacking plants, but it will be hectic.

Ary Ommert, Jr.

Thanks, Mom, for another great read. It seems like awhile since we had a college kid update. What's with that, are they going quiet on you? I sure enjoy those impressive, professional quality photos!

I have a few errands to do and am not relishing the thought of going out into the horrible cold!


I heard from a subscriber that my note to you made it into the Bulletin -- not a problem! I don't get The Bulletin, but I would like to. It's snowing hard again today, so most of Portland is shut down. The university is closed, too, so I don't have to go to classes today! --RDA (Rick Anderson)

That was a pretty picture of the plants at Ary's place of business. Makes me think of Mom, and how much she would have enjoyed looking at them.

Enjoyed reading one of your memory stories. The one about the doll that Grandma Mellon had, and evidently you weren't big enough to get it. I remember about two dolls in my young years. Grandpa Greer gave me one like a Betsy Wetsy doll, and I was so happy with it, and with Grandpa Greer for giving it to me.

Then when I was about 10, Grandma Mellon was going to give me my last doll. Being it was going to be the last one I would ever get I thought it would be beautiful. Evidently Grandma and I didn't think along the same line, because I was heartbroken when I opened the package and it looked like some kind of a clown doll made out of chenille bedspread material. I hated it! Was even a little bit upset with Grandma Mellon, but didn't take too long to get over that, because she was a fun Grandma -- and then there was Grandma Greer--

Had a full house for Christmas. Good fun and good food!

Your sister Gert


THE EDITOR---------------------------------------Dorothy M. Anderson
PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR---------------------Jerrianne Lowther
ST CLOUD CORRESPONDENT-------------- Douglas A. Anderson
ASHBY CORRESPONDENTS---------------- Donna and Beaver Johnson
SOCIETY COLUMNIST-------------------------Hetty Hooper
WAHPETON CORRESPONDENT--------------------Elaine Wold
ALASKAN CORRESPONDENT--------------Jerrianne Lowther & Miss Kitty
REPORTERS AND CONTRIBUTORS--------Any one that sends anything
for publishing in THE BULLETIN

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY: Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. --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

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.