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Sunday, December 19, 2010
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Winter Begins With Lunar Eclipse

Photo © Jerrianne Lowther
Moonrise on Friday over Chugach Mountains, Anchorage, Alaska.
(Lunar eclipse set for early morning of December 21 on the longest night of the year.)
Lunar Eclipses For Beginners

Updates -

Photos sent to us by Dan Mellon
The turkey in the center is Aiden Montford, from his second grade school Christmas play. His brother Austin (kindergarten) was let out of class to watch. A proud grandma (Nancy Mellon ) made the drive to see the performance!.

Austin & Aiden Montford.

The Montfords: Julian, Anne (Mellon), Aiden & Austin.

Photo © Donna Johnson
Donna Richards, a longtime friend of the Anderson family, is gravely ill, due to complications that arose after breaking her femur in a fall last spring. (This photo is from Bulletin 415, published May 30, after the original accident.) Donna's sister has opened a Caring Bridge web site for friends to read updates on Donna's condition & leave messages for Donna in her guest book.

UPDATE -- Donna Richards rallies, rests after more surgery
by Donna Anderson Johnson
Ashby, MN

Friday evening; Just spoke with Donna R. Her brother and sister have not had a chance to speak with her surgeon yet, but she survived another surgery!

Today's surgery was to remove more of the infection around the wound in her leg, where the rod was put after the femur break. Donna is still in very serious condition, with the doctor giving her a 50-50 chance of making it through today's surgery -- which she did. We are keeping current through Caring Bridge.

She was very "loopy" from the anesthesia and pain medications and very funny in the process, without meaning to be! When she thought we were laughing at her, she told us all we were "not going to be invited to any of her parties from now on -- birthday, Christmas or Hanukkah!" She said, "Yes, Hanukkah! I've converted to Judaism!"

She also thought they were lying to her, as to where she was, and she said I was supposed to hang up and call her right back. I told her she was most definitely in Southdale hospital. Then she said, "And, how am I supposed to believe you?" I said, "Well, Donna, I have never lied to you before; why would I start now?" She said, "Well, that's true," and seemed satisfied.

Earlier this week: It was good to hear her voice, to know she'd survived the surgery! She spent the day visiting and finding out what had gone on, that she'd missed out on while so deeply sedated.

She didn't remember many things, including telling them she did not want surgery or some of the other things they'd taken her off of, including her insulin (which she had refused because in her stupor she thought they said "insulation.") It gave her a chance to tell us what she does want and try and fight to win this war with the infection in her body.

When I called to check on her the next day, her nurse said she was sound asleep. She was being sedated quite heavily again, to help her body heal as much as it can. That, along with the feeding tube they put in, hopefully can help her heal.

Photo © Donna Johnson
Donna Richards & her brother, Steven Richards, & sister, Paula Kurtz. They were as pleased as I was about finding out she'd rallied this particular day. She has since survived another surgery. Everything is very much day to day but her doctor says he is not giving up on her.

UPDATE -- Snowzilla returns -- but he's in Poland!
by Miss Kitty
Anchorage, AK

Did you read about the Polish Snowzilla? He's 31 feet high, has a barrel for a hat and a traffic cone nose! You can read all about him here. OUR Snowzilla previously appeared in Bulletins 237 and 238 and 341 and 344. You can find all those Snowzillas in the Archives or by searching for Snowzilla on this web site. He hasn't made an appearance for the past couple of years. Too many neighbors complained, I guess.

We have plenty of snow this year but it's too cold to make a snowman in Anchorage right now -- it's been 10 below zero at our house. Our yard is full of fresh moose tracks and we saw a couple of moose walking down our street a couple of days ago. They pruned our rosebushes so hard there's no telling whether we will even have roses next summer. Miss Jerrianne swept a whole pile of moose nuggets off the driveway and into the yard today. They'll find their way to the compost pile next spring. She sure didn't want them smushed all over the asphalt in the driveway.

Photo © Sarah Steinhauer
Green Olive & Red Pepper Bruschetta.

Click here to get the recipe for this easy, colorful appetizer on Sarah's Wild Ferns blog.

Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell
Little Man

Click here to see what's new on Ginny McCorkell's Bitzidoodles blog.

Frost on the Brow of the Ox

Photo © Larry T. Dake
The official temperature was -26 degrees F. (-32.2 degrees C.). Scout the Ox was happy to be in the barn, out of the wind, in a well bedded pen. (He's free to choose sleeping inside or outside; the gate is always open unless the night's weather is expected to be severe -- in which case, closing it helps to break the wind.)

Click here for the latest news on LTD's Storybrooke Ripples blog.

Day to DayR
With Donna Mae
Ashby, MN

Photo © Donna Johnson
Last weekend, Beaver told me to go & spend time with my friend Donna Richards, while she is in the hospital. While I was in the Twin Cities, Dave Kuettel & his wife, Megan Kavanaugh, graciously opened their home to me. I consider them extended family, as I helped with their children for eight years. Here, Marissa & Megan were starting a first round of many times of shoveling the 21 plus inches of snow that fell in 24 hours.

Photos © Donna Johnson
Marissa & her brother, David, had already cleared the driveway & my van once by this point, left; it was hard to believe anything had been done, it piled up so quickly. This door onto their deck, right, had been cleared once of about this much snow, earlier in the day.

Photos © Donna Johnson
The view out out the Kuettel/Kavanaugh dinette window was very beautiful, if one likes snow! I should have gotten pictures after the snow had finally stopped, as this was more at the beginning. Very peaceful & proved to be a very much needed "mini-vacation" after emotional days at the hospital with Donna.

Photos © Donna Johnson
Recuperating Beaver, left; the old dog (Buster) sleeps by the fire, right. Buster loves to be in the same room I am; here he is enjoying the fire with me. Midnight, the cat, was sleeping up on Beaver's desk & Tula, the little dog, was sleeping down by Beaver's chair. She has become very attached to Beaver. So, all three of them were sleeping. Caity came & told me I needed to take a picture of them. Too bad it didn't turn out.

Beaver Doing Well After Knee Surgery

Beaver went to Physical Therapy yesterday. The therapist told him he has to make sure to get his leg up more often, as it is far too swollen. So, he's been very good about putting it up since then, as well as icing it when needed.

After his shower tonight, I changed the bandage for him. The wound looks clear and good. Lots of staples! He'll have them removed this coming Monday, when I take him to Alex. The rest of his leg has massive amounts of bruising! The swelling does appear to have gone down a lot, so that is good.

He is a GREAT patient! No complaints, seldom crabby and follows his doctor's orders to a T. He is a little too independent, but is also very polite when he does get help.

We were so thankful for our friends and neighbors Barb Dewey, Judy Stierlan and Judy Bertram for bringing him food, while I was in the Cities. And all the others who have helped us out -- Ben and Ashley for feeding animals, running kids and helping wherever needed; Becky for taking care of the house and dogs, doing Beaver's laundry and even cleaning the cat box!

Wyatt and Jolene for letting us stay with them and bringing Beaver home, as well as sending food and picking up groceries. Chris, Jessy and Grady visited Beaver in the hospital, bringing a huge basket of goodies and books of things to do. He has been keeping himself occupied with the various word books, although he claims his medicated mind makes it more of a challenge than it normally would be!

Shawn and McKenna went to one of Caity's games and gave her a ride home afterwards. Lori stayed home with a sick Kierra. She'd meant to come along and bring food, but decided bringing the flu would definitely not be a good thing!

Weston let me stay at his home, on the way to visit Donna Richards. I arrived at 1 a.m. and was thankful he had a garage code, so I didn't have to wake him! It is nice having city relatives.

Great family & friends! Makes me very thankful!

The Matriarch Speaks W
by Dorothy (Dake) Anderson
Alexandria, MN

Who Is This?

Let's play a guessing game: 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.

Last week's Guess picture

Last week's mystery photo was supplied by Chris Chap.
Send us some mystery photos; we will line them up in our staging area to take their turn.

Editors' Note: Correct guesses appear in bold face type and incorrect guesses in normal type ... generally in the order we receive them, so the first guess received is on top.

I recognize the subjects of this week's Guess picture! The handsome young man on the left is Grady Chap, the newest addition to the Chap/Johnson clan. On the right is his aunt Lori Ostendorf, lending him some support.

Weston Johnson
Maple Grove, MN

The picture is of Lori (Chap) Ostendorf, happily holding someone that I have seen pictures of before, but can not identify right now.

Earl Stahlecker
Gatesville, TX

For the guess picture I know we have no one but our great, great nephew Grady Chap. Now I could have added another "GREAT" in there, but it wouldn't mean a generation "great" but just the fact that he is one GREAT lad. Now his auntie with him, and showing how proud she is of him, is Lori Ostendorf. She has every reason to be so happy and proud for such a wonderful little nephew.

Tom and Mavis Morgan
Hope, ND

The GUESS picture from the previous week all came back to me, loud and clear, when I read the answer. I remember the shipwreck casserole story and that picture well, but could not think of it when I needed that answer.

This time it is so easy. Our pretty Lori Ostendorf, holding Grady Chap. I don't know which one looks happiest.

Betty Weiland Droel
MoundsView, MN

This week's Guess picture

How many can you identify? What's going on?

$  A Long Time Ago   !

A Baby Brother For Christmas
by Jerrianne Lowther

In 1950, the third winter our family lived in the house where Beaver and Donna live now, our father still used the old folding camera that he and his sister Marjory had bought in their teenage years to take black and white pictures. Our mother thought it might be a good idea to buy him a modern 35mm camera for Christmas.

She thoughtfully asked our opinion about this but didn't get much response from Bobby, age 7, or Kathy, who was almost 6. Though I was almost 10 and had bought my first camera when I was 6 or 7 with two Wheaties box tops and 55 cents, I didn't really have much of an opinion about this purchase, either. Little did I know that this was one of the Christmas gifts that year that would have long lasting effects.

Then things took an unexpected turn. I must have known what was coming, but as Dorothy has mentioned a few times in her Memory Lane memoir, some of the details become hazy over 60 years. And in 1950, ladies who were "expecting" weren't likely to say much about it, at least not to their 9-year-olds.

Nevertheless, there was considerable dismay on the day before Christmas when all three of us children, suitcases in tow, were unceremoniously deposited at our grandmother's house in town -- as our parents drove to Fergus Falls for a meeting with the stork to take delivery on a baby.

From our point of view, as children, this was a pretty grim way to spend Christmas, a holiday our widowed grandmother did not observe in any way. We were well cared for but there were no festivities. No turkey roasting in the oven of the woodstove. No stockings hung by the oil stove in the living room, as they had when we lived in that house a few years before. Until I was 7 and a half, our grandmother's house had been our house -- on the farm where Ben and Ashley live now. It was very different then.

I don't know how we spent our time there, though it was probably pleasant enough, with puzzles or board games or building things with "Lincoln Logs" or "Brick Blocks" (a precursor of "Legos"). Perhaps our grandmother, a former school teacher, read books to us. We probably had popcorn or cocoa and cookies or some other treats. The younger kids may have been quite content, but I was ... morose.

Nor did I perk up when our father delivered the news that we had received a new baby brother on Christmas eve. "Oh," I groaned, "did it HAVE to be a BOY?" That just seemed like the last straw.

No one paid any attention. They named the new baby David with a middle name of Sherman, after Dad's friend, and brought him home from the hospital a few days later. Eventually, of course, I realized that he did, indeed, "have to" be a boy and that he would come to be appreciated by all, and certainly by me.

I seem to remember ... with a little prompting from looking through old black and white pictures ... that we received ice skates for Christmas that year. Our father tried to make up for the lack of holiday cheer by taking us ice skating on the slough down the hill below the house where Beaver and Donna live now. I think he took our picture with his new camera, using black and white film, as he always had before.

A few weeks later, Dad joined an amateur camera club and gave up black and white photography in favor of shooting slides. After that, family pictures were in color and we saw them projected on a screen. Dad and his camera were invited to all sorts of social functions. Soon he was documenting Ashby businesses, and the people who patronized them, and giving highly popular slide shows for various and sundry occasions.

I can truly say I received three long-lasting gifts for Christmas in 1950. David, always "busy as a little beaver," became "Beaver." He anchors our family to this day, at the Ashby farm our grandfather bought about 1917 and cleared by hand with an ax. Photography became my hobby and then my career. I loved my ice skates and understood completely when Kyra enjoyed figure skating enough to pursue it for years...

Happy 60th birthday, Beaver! You were a "keeper" all along!

Photo by Donald B. Johnson
Bobby wore new hockey skates; Kathy wore hand-me-down double-runner skates & posed with a cat on a sled. I had new figure skates. We skated on the slough downhill from the house where Beaver & Donna live now. The house is visible in the trees to the left, the barn & silo between Bobby's head & mine, & sheep sheds to the right of Kathy's warm hood.

Travelogue t

Photo © Mitzi Swenson
Graveyard in Oslo (I think).

Scandinavian Heritage Tour: Oslo, Norway
by Jayna Swenson
Salt Lake City, UT

Awoken by an alarm at 7:20, we rolled out of bed and managed to find our way to the free (!) buffet breakfast at our hostel. It had your regular items like cereal, granola, yogurt, bananas, hard boiled eggs, cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, bread and jam, but also had three different types of herring, smoked salmon, spreadable lard and a toffee colored item that tasted like 1,000 year old eggs, but was apparently a type of goat cheese. I passed on that one.

Photos © Mitzi Swenson
You want fries with that Big Mac? left; Kjirsten & waterfall, right.

We found the right T-bane near our hostel and were met by Eisten/Austin a few stops later. He's a local college student from the convention grounds, an hour and a half away, who is studying marketing at the university here in Oslo. He then guided us from the train to a bus and then to a car, where his uncle drove us the rest of the way to meeting.

Photos © Mitzi Swenson
Autumn splendor in Oslo (I think); Kjirsten at right.

The house where meeting was held is in the countryside, about 25 minutes outside of town by car (1 hour by bus), and the area is breathtaking. Every tree on the rolling hills is on fire with golds, oranges and reds. Little colored houses peek out from the trees. Sailboats are docked in glassy inlets that are reflecting the BLUE skies up above. Yes, the sun decided to shine for our Sunday!

Photos © Mitzi Swenson
Autumn foliage was in evidence everywhere.

Meeting was in a nice house that looked like an upscale version of Ikea (read: very clean, bright and modern). It was in Norwegian, but the elder wrote down what people said in English and passed it to us. The family that lives there is in their 40s and they have four kids; there were a couple spunky older ladies (one of whom spoke excellent English); the elder's sister, who just moved here from Copenhagen; Eisten, and a young couple with a one and a half year old and a two week old baby. Everyone spoke English afterwards and were quite funny.

To be continued...

Photo Editor's Note: Photo captions are pure guess work by the editor.

Photo © Mitzi Swenson
Kjirsten poses in front of a Rock Shop.

Celebrations & Observances
From the Files of
Hetty Hooper

This Week's Special Days
December 21---First Day of Winter (and Lunar Eclipse)
December 25---Christmas Day

This Week's Birthdays
December 19---Barb Anderson
December 19---Lisa Boltz
December 20---Jay Pierre Miller
December 21---Melanie Anderson Shockey
December 21---Jonathan Glen Hill (6 years)
December 24---Ken Hellevang
December 24---Arbor Johnson
December 24---Beaver Johnson
December 25---Angela Stahlecker Roberson

Happy Birthday!

This Week's Anniversaries
December 20---Eric and Melanie Anderson Shockey (8 years)
December 23---Harold and Carol Dake Printz (43 years)


More December Birthdays
December 3---Twila Aydelotte
December 4---Sonja Dake
December 4---Carol Dake Printz
December 4---Elaine Anderson Wold

December 7---Aunika Swenson
December 11---Ryan Henderson
December 11---Makaila Belle Gordon (3 years)
December 11---Wyatt Wm. Meyer (11 years)

December 12---Sarah Lynn Dake Steinhauer
December 13---Larry Dake
December 13---Derek Swenson
December 14---Kathleen Dake Stahlecker
December 16---Avery Hope McNeill (2 years)
December 17---Char Morgan Myron
December 17---Austin Printz

December 26---Koen de Been
December 29---Mitzi Johnson Swenson
December 30---Travis Quick

More December Anniversaries

December 27---Earl and Kathleen Dake Stahlecker (36 years)

December Special Days

December 7---Pearl Harbor Day
December 21---First Day of Winter
December 25---Christmas Day
December 31---New Year's Eve

Miss Hetty's Mailbox:

Dear Miss Hetty,

Thanks for the darling e-card. It's wonderful to celebrate birthdays! :)

Char Myron Morgan
Grand Forks, ND

Photo © Donna Johnson
Here is the plant Weston had given to Mom; she sent it here, as it was not doing well. It has been a slow one to grow, but now it is blooming. Very pretty! ( It must have gotten cold while I was gone, as there is some brown on the leaves.)

Keep Us Posted!

Please drop Miss Hetty a line and tell us who, and what, we've missed. And how about a report (photos welcome) of YOUR special celebration?

'Many Thankse

Miss Hetty


Click here to review last week's Bulletin


A cold evening... It's almost like 1989 when Mom passed away. It was so cold at that time. It is hard to believe she would be 104 if she were still living but it is already 21 years since that winter.

It was so cold that when Junior's were here and Lori tried to make a snowman. It just didn't work. The trouble is, it has be in 30's to stick together! And I mean 30 above, not 30 below..

I have been in all day; read papers, did some snail mail, some bookwork, and just had a quiet day. DeLoris stopped in and we had leftover stew for noon and then she read The Bulletin. I can't believe there've been that many issues already! Great job, Dorothy, Jerrianne, and Donna.

And Donna, I have been thinking of you with Donna Richards and wonder how she's doing? And if you are able to get out of the city with 20 inches of snow, too? Wonder if Beaver got home? The storm just "kissed" us, the weatherman said, so we were lucky, except for the horrible wind and cold.

I hope all's well and all are keeping warm!

Take care,

Elaine Anderson Wold
Wahpeton, MN

Last Week's Bulletin Review JKL
by Betty Droel
MoundsView, MN

Our old fashioned Minnesota blizzard has just let up so that the wind gales are not swirling fine snow into drifts blocking us in anymore. It is really a beautiful winter wonderland. We are always so thankful when our electricity does not go out.

We were happy The Bulletin was not delayed, and we were enjoying all the items of interest. As we were reading we were totally ignoring what was happening outside the window here.

The first picture of the playground covered with snow seemed innocent after the many inches we had today. Thanks, Jerrianne, for giving us a look at Anchorage, Alaska's, snow.

Oh, Mason Walker Indermark is going to have to grow up in a hurry to keep up with his brothers and sister. A calm, quiet baby will be a nice change.

So, Shari has another grandbaby. I hate to remind her, but I remember her best when she was the age of her grandchildren.

Now it is Elaine's turn to have a birthday. The years just keep rolling past, and all of a sudden it's some age you never thought you'd live to be; 81 years old used to seem like an old person, but I'm 80 myself now, and funny how you change your opinion of "old."

Beaver, you have had knee surgery, they tell us. I hear that is so much more painful than a hip, and it takes extreme therapy to be able to use that leg normally again. Good thing you have caring family that will keep you company and cheered. That was a great kindness to have let Donna Mae go to her friend Donna Richards at this critical time.

What an update on the lefse by Mitzi! That is a skill to be able to roll out the lefse that thin, and not get black blobs on the finished product. Very interesting to read about the rule breakin' recipe. We settle for the boughten lefse, and have a certain brand that we like best.

I couldn't get over that bowl of mashed potatoes on the Morgan Thanksgiving dinner table. I had to look at that twice to see if it was really, truly piled that high, and yessiree, it was. Even at that, they likely cleaned up the whole bowlful. I tried to see the place cards, and wonder if they were all different?

The guests from London would have been impressed with an American Thanksgiving dinner.

Was that the first time Grandpa got to see baby Oscar Johann Ramso? People feel so comfortable and at home with the Morgans -- that is a gift, to be so hospitable.

Bitzi, I liked your digital textures, and may use one sometime as a background. With this snowstorm, you would have had plenty of down time to play with your project. Or maybe you were out shoveling for tomorrow.

Larry will never run out of material for his part in The Bulletin. Animals and grandchildren will easily give him special stories like this one with Scout meeting the baby. We clicked on the link and were entertained for a long time with all we found on it.

We are thinking of Donna Richards today. We know it is touch and go, and Donna Mae is there for a very special comfort and caring, which will make this phase of Donna's life easier to accept. I was glad for the excellent, very natural picture of her.

The Memory Lane gave us a lot of details that most people would have forgotten. The anticipation of the new husband coming home would have been almost breathtaking. No matter what would happen now, it would be OK, being they were together.

That was such a nice picture from 1951 when their life was just beginning in earnest. Now they have a 60th wedding picture to display. Hard to take this in.

What an accomplishment to rebuild a truck that needed that much work! Roy enjoyed those details, of course.

The Travelogue was most interesting again. The matching jackets added to the interest. At first, I was sure that was an albino peacock in the background, but discovered it was a fountain in Oslo. We have loved the details of the trip, as we have known a few people from that area so can picture it easier through the American eyes. What we really enjoy are the menus from their meals.

I know they have gotten home safe and sound from their travels, as Mitzi is making lefse on a previous page.

What a nice picture of the brother and sister and wife! I'd say the photo editor did an excellent job of pairing the pictures with the stories. Pictures are always a special part helping us visualize the Travelogue experiences.

We're looking out at many inches of new snow here in Minneapolis-St. Paul, but I see the first day of winter isn't until December 21st.

Photo © Betty Droel
No shortage of snow in Minneapolis-St. Paul after 21 inches fell in 24 hours.

Photo © Betty Droel
A neighbor just came & plowed & shoveled us out. We are so thankful for his kindness.

What a lifter that the Quotation for the day was! To keep thinking spring is closer today than it was yesterday.

Thanks again for our Bulletin #443, and no matter what you have had to do to produce it, it was well worth it, as far as your subscribers are concerned.

Betty Droel


Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell; photo by Amy Harrison
Harlie Mae Harrison makes a splash!

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Quotation for the day: My advice to photographers would be -- don't bother. Just enjoy the eclipse with full attention, hoping that later, photographs might be bought. --Alfred Nicholls, retired physics teacher

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.

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