Sunday, October 14, 2007
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Update -- welcome, Greta Veronica Shockey
Dwight stopped by and said he's grandpa again! Eric and Melanie have a girl, born Wednesday evening. Her full name is Greta Veronica Shockey. She was born October 10th, weighed 6 lb. 13 oz. and was 19 in. long. There is a picture on Melanie's blog.
Dwight and Janie plan to go this weekend sometime to see them.
Editor's Note: We found a picture and more on Melanie's blog:
Since the baby didn't seem to be interested in making her appearance on Saturday, we decided to go for a drive around the countryside. Our travels took us 45 miles south to New Ulm, where we happened upon the community's Oktoberfest. We spent some time walking around the quaint downtown area and purchased a pound of fudge (pumpkin walnut, chocolate walnut and chocolate peanut butter).
We decided to mosey 30 miles east of New Ulm to Mankato, but stopped at Minneopa Falls on the way. We took a little "hike" down to the bottom of the waterfall and sat on some rocks to enjoy the fall colors of the changing leaves.
We looked for a place to eat supper in Mankato, but couldn't really find anything too exciting. We decided to drive around the campus (MSU-Mankato) and found out that the college's homecoming was this weekend; UND had just beat them in football (go Sioux!). We found an extremely busy Chipotle to eat at, surrounded by many drunk and obnoxious college students.
We returned home in the evening, the baby happily (just assuming!) kicking away, with no plans to interrupt our lives anytime soon...
Update -- New Home Base For Rich & Marlene
Rich and Marlene Johnson and family arrived on the convention grounds a little later than we did on Thursday. We got in a nice visit. They had been busy in Moorhead. They rented an apartment and are now Minnesota citizens again. This will make it easier for schooling for the kids. They can travel with Rich when the time is right.
Rich will do lots of flying as an overseer of projects: two in California, one in Wyoming, one in Texas and another prospect in Texas. Redding is probably not where he will park the trailer but he is not sure yet.
They chose Moorhead because of the overbuilding that has been done. (The college does not let freshmen live off campus ... a rule they just instituted.) They found a brand new apartment -- which will even have a pool when it is finished (at least that is promised in their advertising) and reasonably priced.
Update -- chips off the old block find treasure in trash
I just thought I would send you some pictures of something we found in the trash. There were these four chairs in the dumpster and we dragged them out and put new fabric on the seats. All together, I think they cost us about a dollar per chair, at the very most! Grandpa, you taught us well!
Update -- Brooklynn turns three
Brooklynn got to have a couple of birthday parties, the first at Grandpa John and Grandma Donna's house last Saturday. There we had cousins, aunts, and uncles, with some great pizza and Dairy Queen ice cream cake
The second birthday party was Tuesday at Chuck E. Cheese with Scott (Jolene's brother), Joy, Hannah, and Connor, as well as some friends who also have three daughters, near the same ages as Rylie and Brooklynn.
Brooklynn really is coming out of her terrible twos now. She's developed such a personality, and knows exactly what to say to make us laugh. We're doing everything we can to avoid "middle child syndrome" with the new baby in the house and Rylie starting Kindergarten. She can be a handful sometimes, but that's part of what makes her Brooklynn!
Rylie, Brooklynn, and I are going to the NDSU Bison football game this Saturday afternoon. The Bison are ranked number two in the nation, this is homecoming, and the game is sold out, so it should be a lot of fun!
Update -- blog reveals new Swenson adventures
Shane here. Somehow at the end of our summer of retirement I got a job, and Jayna got a vacation to Thailand...
Update -- a bird in the hand
by Betty Droel
Some people befriend cats. But others befriend little birds. I was sitting in my favorite chair reading e-mails when Roy came in from outside holding something in his hand.
Here was a little bird that had hit the window and knocked himself out. Roy went out and picked him up. He was so content to just sit in Roy's soft, warm hand. He was in no hurry to even move. After he came to, he just stayed there and, no matter how long Roy held him out the door, he didn't want to leave. I decided The Bulletin might need a change of subject, so I would take a picture and send in this bird story. Finally, Roy had to sort of shake him off and he flew away just fine into the nearest tree.
Roy had been a machinist so his hands were calloused and well used, but after his long retirement they are smooth and soft and warm, which was just ideal for this little bird to settle into.
Day to Day R
Caity Meets More Of Her Extended Family
Caity, Becky, Beaver and I made a trip to Wanamingo last weekend, to attend Caity's nephew's fifth birthday party. We all had a wonderful time!
After meeting Caity's sister, Bec McGuire, last summer (Bulletin 266, the July 22nd edition), she'd been waiting anxiously to meet her brothers, which proved to be a test of her patience, as it was a long time in happening. Originally, they'd been going to try to get together at Valleyfair this summer, but that failed to pan out.
Then came an invitation, quite some time ago, for us to come to Wanamingo to join Bec and family for her son (Caity's nephew) Colin's fifth birthday party. Caity spent many days waiting with much anticipation, and possibly a little trepidation and nervousness, to meet her brothers.
Both brothers welcomed her with many gifts and happy smiles, a beautiful first time meeting! They, and their families, were also very welcoming to the rest of us; it was decidedly a VERY successful, happy weekend.
Mike McGuire fixed Caity's guitar strings and he and his father promptly sat her down and proceeded to teach her three chords to practice. They also played a few tunes together, much to my enjoyment. (Each time a group gets together to sing and play, it takes me back to those extremely fond memories of when my Dake cousins would come to Minnesota and entertain us. I loved that time so much!)
Caity's long awaited weekend proved to be over much too quickly; as she commented on the way home, "I've waited so long for this weekend and now it's over already!"
The Matriarch Speaks W
Who Is This?
Let's Play a Guessing Game: Whenever it is handy to do so, we will run a picture of someone of the subscribers or staff members of our e-magazine. Tell us who you think it is -- we will let you know who was the first to guess it right -- and the correct guess -- in the following week's Bulletin.
How many can you identify?
Editors' Note: Correct guesses appear in bold face type and incorrect guesses in normal type.
My guess for the little family is Gert (Dake) and Loren Sigman and their daughter Ardis.
I'm sorry that I am late this week but we have been at our mountain cabin since last Friday and I just now got to seeing the mystery picture. That looks like Leslie Benson and his wife (I think her name is Doris). Anyway, I had to send in my guess, even if it was late...
We went to the cabin on Friday (October 5th) and had some rain at about the 3,000 foot level. The temperature was 33 degrees and it started to snow. Only 12 miles yet to the house, but a climb of 2,500 feet and the snow continued. Glad for 4-wheel drive! Snow continued for almost five hours but the ground was dry and warm so it melted very fast ... only got about three inches deep but lasted on the trees until noon the next day. Took some pictures and if they are any good I will send some.
Editor's Note: It's Leslie Benson, his wife Virginia and Debra, the older of their two daughters. Their other daughter, LeeAnn, died of cancer just last year ... a very sad time for them. We have run a story or two with Leslie Benson in it. --DMA
For some reason I couldn't make out the GUESS picture this time. Too dim and sort of blurry. So, I will pass this time.
It was a surprise that it was Doris Wilson beside Henrietta last week. I didn't think it looked like her at all, but then she was a much younger person at that time.
Betty Weiland Droel
All the pens, like tight pants on an expectant woman, appeared ready to burst; they were pregnant with thousands of ewes and lambs. Lots of babies, calling lots of moms -- lots of moms, calling lots of babies.
In the bum lamb pen, the population fluctuated from twenty-five to fifty, or so. Bottle feeding a bum lamb is a wonderful and heart-warming experience. Bottle-feeding scores of bum lambs was a chore.
Who better to recruit for the job than the ranch cook? In addition to feeding around twenty men for dinner, and several extras for breakfast and supper, Sherry was spending five or six hours a day in the shed. Sarah and Amy helped with mixing the milk replacer and feeding the lambs. They used real baby bottles for the smallest lambs, glass pop bottles with big, red, rubber nipples, for the medium lambs, and they had started to train the oldest lambs onto nipples attached to a plastic bucket. (The carpenter had assembled this for us.) The bum lambs got cold milk in the bucket, so they wouldn't drink too much.
Sherry and the girls had become adept at holding several baby bottles at one time. The lambs that had tasted mother's milk before being bummed didn't have a taste for milk replacer; the others (usually) drank heartily -- causing the girls to giggle. But the lambs would overeat and die if allowed to overindulge, so the milk replacer was portioned out to each lamb, according to age and size. The youngest lambs needed to be held while they sucked the bottle -- this was strange, as I'd never seen a ewe hold a lamb while it nursed.
The bummers were an unthrifty lot. The whole bottle-feeding process reinforced our belief in the benefits of breast-feeding babies, especially those of our own kind.
Because of the foot-rot, many ewes would lie down too much, resulting in increased numbers of ewes with mastitis. Jackson brought me intra-mammary tubes, with which I'd been injecting antibiotics. So far, the results hadn't been encouraging. The bad udders resulted in more bummed lambs.
Esteban had shown us that when lambs were out cold, and had to be tubed, a little coffee in the milk helped bring them around. (Too much coffee and they'd go spastic.)
Many of the lambs had a disease called sore-mouth; contagious, it spread to the ewe's udder, making it painful for both the ewe and the lamb to nurse. I rubbed off the scabs with a stiff brush and dabbed the sores with iodine. The result of the painful lesions was more starving lambs. Inevitably, some of these also ended up being bummed.
Sherry came down with the sore-mouth disease, too; she had swollen glands and the same unsightly, scabby sore that the lambs had. Her sore was on her chin. The doctor prescribed an iodine cream to apply. This left a blotch of yellow stain, the same as on the lamb's mouths. The rest of us escaped getting the infection.
In addition to helping Sherry with the bummers, Sarah helped me move ewes and lambs out of their jugs and into mixing pens.
Domingo confided to Sherry that he missed his Peruvian señoritas. He was quitting! He was going home to dance with them. This was making Esteban sad; he'd be left alone, with two more years on his contract.
"I'm Esteban's Peruvian amigo," Domingo explained, "He is lonesome in America." He asked Sherry not to tell anyone he was quitting and we honored his request.
With no phone, no TV, and no wife -- seven days a week -- Brad seemed like he wasn't going to stick it out. We arranged for his wife, Heidi, and their baby, to come out and live at the ranch. This helped Brad a lot and he hoped to get a job on the ranch after the lambing was over. They had a tiny room above the pantry of the grand old ranch house. The room had sloped ceilings and an outdoor entry with a narrow stairway. They had an oil lamp for light. Otherwise, there were no accommodations, other than the bed.
The ranch house, being full of expensive antiques, was only opened for rare occasions, so Brad and Heidi lived with us during the day and slept above the pantry at night. Being all of sixteen, Heidi was learning to take care of "baby" and to wash clothes. She found Sherry to be helpful and reassuring.
Sherry's day started at six in the morning and she worked late into the night, cooking and baking from scratch. What would we all have done without her?
Photo © Birgit Swenson
Sherry, Sarah & Amy bottle-feeding orphan lambs.
Where In The World Is Weston? S
"Well Portland, Oregon and sloe gin fizz
As I returned my seat back and tray table to their upright and locked positions, Loretta Lynn's bawdy tale of a wild night in Portland was stuck on repeat in my head. I wouldn't say that the song is a favorite of mine, and I could probably think of a few definitions of love that don't involve alcoholic beverages or Northwestern metropolises. No, the imprint of this song on my brain was due to the fact that the Northwest jet on which I was seated was preparing to touch down at none other than the Portland International Airport.
I figured we must have been nearing Portland when Mount Hood became visible through my window on the left side of the plane. It was an odd sight to be at eye level with solid earth from a plane that was still flying high above the clouds. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the beauty of the mountain, whose snow-swept summit was framed by the crisp blue sky.
Soon, however, the plane descended into the clouds, which accomplished the Copperfieldian task of making an 11,000-foot mountain disappear. "Bye bye, blue sky," I thought to myself as the previously sunny morning was replaced by Portland's perpetually gray April skies, "see you in a few days!"
About two and a half days, to be exact. The plane touched down at 10:30 on Wednesday morning; I would be in the Portland area until Friday afternoon. My company had been hired by the City of Gresham, a large suburb immediately east of Portland, to perform a feasibility study for a youth sports park. In the past, I would have worked under a manager on this type of project, performing the day-to-day research while my superior handled all of the client interaction. However, this project marked my first opportunity to lead my own study, which necessitated my travel to the great Northwest.
The majority of my first afternoon in Gresham was spent meeting with representatives of the City's Parks and Recreation Department to kick off the project. Because this was my first project management experience, I was a bit nervous about meeting with the clients and attempting to convince them of my expertise in the field of youth sports complexes since, in reality, I had relatively little experience with this particular type of project. However, I was relieved to find that my contacts with the City were all friendly and seemed comfortable with my credentials.
Following the initial afternoon of meetings, I checked into my room in Gresham's Pony Soldier Inn, a Best Western hotel that was apparently named in honor of the cavalry soldiers of the region's pioneer days. The name "pony soldier" conjures somewhat less intimidation than that of the buffalo soldiers, but I suppose they were courageous and heroic all the same.
While the Pony Soldier Inn offered pleasant accommodations at a reasonable price, I didn't really want to spend all evening in its cozy confines. As luck would have it, the Twins were in Seattle that evening for a game with the Mariners, whose games are carried by the Fox Sports channel in Portland. I found a restaurant near the hotel and watched the game, enjoying a taste of home with my supper.
Thursday morning brought more meetings. I spent most of the day interviewing representatives of local youth sports organizations to learn about their needs and expectations related to the park. Each individual, whether speaking on behalf of soccer, softball, baseball or volleyball groups, expressed a dire need for additional fields and facilities at which to hold their practices and games. The tricky part would be separating those whose needs were legitimate from those whose wants were not really all that pressing.
After a long day of these meetings, I had a free evening on Thursday. When I have time to kill in a strange town, I always like to check out the local sports facilities, so I decided to make the drive to PGE Park in downtown Portland, where the Class AAA Portland Beavers would be squaring off against the Sacramento River Cats.
The game time temperature was in the low 50's, the kind of cold, early season evening that generally causes would-be fans to stay home and wait for the warmer evenings that are more suitable for the summertime sport. Tonight was no exception. The crowd was sparse, save for several hundred rowdy college-age kids, who I presume were there primarily to partake in the discounted beer prices offered on "Miller Lite Thursdays." Now, Loretta Lynn's voice returned to my head, but I imagined her singing from the perspective of these collegiate revelers:
"Well Portland, Oregon and Miller Lite
"Well Portland, Oregon and Miller Lite
These are the types of things I think about when I'm sitting at a baseball game by myself for three hours, especially a game at which only a few of the players' names are even vaguely familiar.
As the contest pressed toward the middle innings and darkness enveloped the areas not illuminated by the ballpark's flood lights, I began to wish I had worn something warmer than a polo shirt with a light windbreaker jacket. Despite the cold that had already caused my bones to begin to shiver, I decided then and there that I would stay for the entire game, just to prove that I could do it. Some people run marathons or climb mountains. I test my endurance by staying to the bitter end of baseball games, even when the initial warning signs of hypothermia are making their presence felt before the seventh inning stretch.
At one point, I was distracted from the cold when someone grabbed the baseball cap I had been wearing. I suspected that one of the aforementioned drunken college kids may have been the culprit, but when I turned around I found myself face to face with an anthropomorphic beaver. I had been pranked by the Beavers' mascot, who proceeded to return my hat to its rightful place (although backward) and slap me a high five.
It was only after he began to descend the steps in front of me in pursuit of more mischief that I noticed the name sewn onto the back of his oversized jersey: Boomer. Boomer? The fact that a team named the Beavers would name its mascot anything besides Beavis was incomprehensible to me. They are missing out on a comedy gold mine! (Again, these are the things I think about when I'm at a baseball game by myself).
Anyway, back to the game. As I said, I had decided to stick around for the whole game, so of course, it was tied entering the bottom of the ninth. As I debated whether sticking around for extra innings would result in the loss of any of my extremities to frostbite, the Beavers mounted a rally and plated the winning run, much to the delight of the 20 fans who remained in the stands.
I returned to the hotel room to thaw out and get some sleep, before returning to City Hall on Friday morning for more meetings. Soon, I was headed to the airport to catch my flight back home to Minneapolis. Five months later, I would make my triumphant return to Gresham.
To be continued...
Celebrations & Observances
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More October Birthdays
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+ LETTERS TO THE EDITORS?
About Kyra's mirror ... amazing! You are certainly not afraid to tackle something new. I love the results.
Jess Cloyd, I'd thoroughly enjoy hearing more of your stories. Well done.
Sheldon, that pizza looks very yummy ... now brick oven PIZZA might be the pull to get Beaver there again!
Weston and Rachel, thanks for sharing your trips and pictures; it's my "armchair" traveling. Rachel, only thing ... wish you'd give us more pictures and stories, in the upcoming Bulletins, as Weston does. Anyone else agree? The picture with the breathtaking view in Spain was so lovely!
My goodness, Jett has gotten big! What a darling little guy! Appears as though he had a super fun time at Grandpa and Grandma's place. I think you should share the golf cart story, Mavis. I still chuckle about his comment!
Donna Anderson Johnson
Just enjoyed The Bulletin again and thanks so much to all of you who put so much time into it to make it so very interesting!
Dear Aunt Dorothy,
I haven't forgotten your request ... just haven't had a chance to write something for The Bulletin yet. I'm working now, and we've had a number of visitors (including Eric) the past few weeks, so couldn't seem to fit in other things. But I will get an update on our family activities done before long.
Carol Dake Printz
Last Week's Bulletin Review JKL
We hear that, being it was such a dry summer, the colors of the leaves won't be very bright this year, but Bitzi found a beautiful October picture entitled with the appropriate "Remnants of Summer." Very typical of what we are seeing out our window: also that we know we will soon have to rake up.
The Johnsons' update was very interesting. What a huge construction to be responsible for! It almost seems impossible that one could oversee this kind of building project, and sounds like Rich won't get to see the completed project with siding and roofing on if he moves on to Redding. Am sure your management, Rich, is very appreciated with such an honest, diligent man to work for them. So it is no wonder at your promotions.
Marlene, thanks for updating us on the coming trip to Kim's and the progress of the casts Mark has to put up with. Let's hope he can get them off for good, and that there won't be any lasting complications from such a bad break. He may be able to forecast the weather. Does he smile and think about not being able to shovel?
I can not imagine young folks striking out to backpack in Spain, but then I am old, and they are young. So nice to have an agreeable and compatible travel companion. It will be interesting to learn what they see and where they go. A trip we would never take ourselves so we enjoy hearing about someone else's experiences. To be studying Spanish means there will probably be more trips ahead!
Grandma Mavis and Grandpa Tom know how to give a little boy life-long memories. A trip to the chicken house, gathering the eggs and even frying them and eating them. He looks pretty satisfied with the taste of his cooking. Actually, I was admiring the sewing machine Sugarfoot was on. Her eyes reflect the ecstasy of being petted. The cat and horse and mule and dog will miss Jett when he has to go home again.
We just used Jeff and Evelyn Swenson's motor home for five days, so was nice seeing the write-up of Jeff's brother, Sheldon, and his creation for the wood-fired pizza. Hope he doesn't forget to write up the permanent unit he plans to replace it with. It is worth your time to click on the 10 photos link. Excellent pictures of it all.
Thanks, Donna Mae, for the recipe for the peanut butter bars. They sound rich enough to really be good. Jayce is always having such a great time with his friends.
What a great story this time, LTD Storybrooke! I had to laugh at the presumptuous boss of yours thinking he could improve on the struggle and strain that had been put into that pile, which wasn't half bad after all, evidently. Again, it was written so graphic and vivid that we thought we were right there in the yard with you. We got a little disgusted with that boss and felt sorry for that newcomer.
The Memory Lane feature was truly a vivid memory brought to life by Don's story. I love it when The Bulletin strikes a chord, making memories to be shared with us.
The Travelogue was very interesting. We keep wondering, Where in the world is Weston? And we eventually find out. Can't second guess his next tripping, though. I think he must have an exceptional camera. All his pictures are so clear, from the far background to the close up front. The one that's supposed to be Weston on the tour boat does not look like him. Anyone wanting an experienced groomsman, just call Weston. Too bad we had to miss his speech.
That was fun seeing the picture of Lori and Keith. Am sure their two years have gone all too fast. I know our 14 and 3/4 have. We know it's one more and one less, so we enjoy every single day.
I am not into dogs so could hardly find a positive comment on the CHUCKLES this time. I'm sure they are someone's favorite kind, so please forgive me.
I like the safety of the shore, so the Quotation for the day about needing to lose sight of it for a very long time sounded adventurous -- for someone else.
We were gone since last Wednesday, and now getting back home on Sunday evening left a lot to get done so I didn't get to write this LTTE for a couple days. Unless I can write it quite soon after The Bulletin comes it seems to lose a sparkle, but I sort of wonder if it even gets read. Anyway, it is our very sincere thanks to our Editors for another great issue of The Bulletin, which we really appreciate getting.
Roy and Betty Droel
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Quotation for the day: Family faces are magic mirrors -- looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future. -- Gail Lumet Buckley
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