Red roses for breakfast!
Coni with a floral valentine: a dozen red roses.

UPDATE -- Coni's Valentine's Day
by Weston Johnson
Ashby MN

Coni's recovery from her surgery is still progressing well. She has felt much better most of this week, which helped us have a very nice Valentine's Day evening together. The day started on a high note, as Coni received a delivery of roses. Then things went downhill (but only temporarily), as I had to work and Coni had to visit the dentist to have some old fillings replaced.

By the time I got off work, the feeling had returned to the lower half of Coni's face, so we went out for dinner at our favorite pizza place (Boston's in Maple Grove), which has also been our most frequent date location.

When we returned home we exchanged gifts and cards; then I presented Coni with the Valentine cards that so many of you sent her over the past week. She had already read The Bulletin, so it was not a complete surprise, but we were both surprised and touched by the number of cards she received and the heartfelt, personal messages that were included in each one. Thank you to everyone who took the time to send a card. Reading them was a great way to end a very special evening!


Weston and Coni will return to the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, next week for her first round of chemotherapy. They will fly out on the 20th, for tests and scans on the 21st before starting the chemotherapy treatments on the 22nd. The treatments will continue through the 25th, and they will fly back on the 26th. Let's keep those prayers and good wishes going!

UPDATE -- Zach Bratten's Navy Graduation
by Don & Patty Anderson
Isanti, MN

Zach Bratten

Zach Bratten (youngest son of Don and Patty Anderson) graduated on February 10th from Great Lakes Navel Recruit Training Command. It was quite a sight when 1,047 recruits marched in, flags waving, band playing, mothers cryin' -- you get the picture! Don even had moisture at the corners of his eyes when we were finally able to join Zach for some long overdue hugs and congratulations!

Zach kept us laughing with his stories of boot camp: They announce, "Snow Watch, do it, do it now," over the PA when it snows, to get each division to send two recruits out to shovel continuously.

On the night of the first significant snow, they asked for all recruits from Hawaii to go along also. The next morning there were snowmen everywhere you looked on base. So now you know the rest of the story -- and what they had Hawaiian recruits do all night long!

Zach was a section leader in his division and near the top of his class academically. He is now at the Meridian Naval Air Base in Meridian, Mississippi, for six weeks of schooling before he gets assigned to a ship or Naval base overseas. We are very proud of him and our hearts go with him wherever he sails.

UPDATE -- Kurt and Jeni Larson
by Jeni Larson
San Diego, CA

As many of you may recall, I announced back in December that Kurt and I would be expecting a baby in July ... my first, his second.

Unfortunately, we have some bad news... We found out at our doctor appointment a few days after Christmas that we had lost the baby. We knew that this was a definite possibility. When we first conceived, we were pregnant with twins. We weren't aware of this until our first ultrasound (at seven weeks), when they told us that there was good news and bad news. The good news was that we had a healthy baby developing inside of me. The bad news was that up until about six weeks pregnant, we were pregnant with twins.

We were very sad at the loss of the first twin, yet happy that the other twin was still doing well. The doctors told us that in instances like ours, where one of the twins has passed, that there was about a 40% chance that the other twin would also not make it. We tried to think positive, remembering that there was also a 60% chance that the other baby would be just fine.

We had another ultrasound scheduled for a few days after Christmas (13 weeks). At around 11-1/2 or 12 wks, I "felt different." I called my doctor to see if I should come in before my scheduled appointment. She kept asking me questions, like, "Do you have severe abdominal pain?" and "Are you bleeding?" told her that although nothing was severely abnormal, I just "had a feeling" that something was not right, that I felt different. She assured me that I was inclined to feel different at different stages of the pregnancy, and that she would see me in a week.

When she performed the ultrasound, our worst fears were confirmed. No heartbeat. They estimated that the baby died around 11 weeks. Although we knew this outcome would be a definite possibility, it was still harder than we had ever imagined to accept. It is amazing how much one can bond with their unborn child in only a few months.

Both of our babies made a huge impact on our lives. We wanted to honor their memories by giving them names. Although the gender of the babies was unconfirmed, we named them according to our "gut feeling" about their gender. We decided that the first one felt like a boy, and the second, a girl.

We named them Kasey Leo (after my deceased Grandpa Leo) and Kylee Blanche (after Kurt's deceased Grandma Blanche -- Dorothy's sister). We know that our grandparents are taking care of our little ones up in Heaven for us until we can get there to be with them again.

God Bless.
Jeni and Kurt Larson

UPDATE -- Snow Day in Wisconsin
by Tami and Jason Hunt
Madison, WI

Hi! It's been a long time since I've contributed so I thought I'd better write again.

Earlier this week we had 50 degree weather and it hasn't snowed for many weeks so everything is bare. Well, last night and today we got 10 inches or maybe more, so it definitely is winter here again. I hear it's supposed to get colder, also.

I had a few days off and went in for a few hours today, but they actually closed down the mall. I guess they don't do that very often. Jason took a half day also, so we enjoyed a day off together. They said this morning we got six inches of snow in just over two hours. That seems like a lot to me! Other than that, we have been working as usual.

No other news to update. Have a great weekend!


P.S. Our cat's name is Phoebe.

Tami & Jason & Phoebe Hunt

UPDATE -- from the Oregon Johnsons
by Richard Johnson
Lowell (near Eugene) OR

Hello Everyone,

As usual, I've been having too much fun trying to keep up with all the stuff we dream up to do around here to get around to writing anything. I did get the rather broad hint from The Matriarch about three weeks ago, so I added it to my "to do even if I don't have time" list. I must admit it's really just a matter of priorities. Mia, Wiley, Arbor and I are all goofing off in our own ways, and working just as hard at it as we feel like working.

Mia and Arbor are Nordic skiing in the mountains today, Wiley is staring at a computer, and when I get done with this I'm going to do some chores, maybe trip over an ant mound (see Border Collie Training story below), and do some water rescue training with the volunteer fire department.

Day to Day R
With Donna Mae
Ashby, MN

Friday evening we went out to eat with Coni, Weston and Coni's parents, Diane and Albert Waltzing. It was fun to meet them and we enjoyed our visit. It was also good to see Coni up and about, although getting around is still painful for her.

More Weekend Visits

Lisa and Rachel Boltz (Gert's daughter and granddaughter) spent Saturday night at our house. Lisa and I talked all night; it was amazing how the time flew! We had years of catching up to do, though, so shouldn't be surprising! Rachel and Caity got along wonderfully and were busy playing while we visited. Rachel is almost exactly a year older than Caity, as her birthday is June 16th and she'll be turning 11 this year.

Sunday, we had Melanie, Shea, Brandon, Brianna, Peggy, Eddie and Linda over for brunch. They brought along half the makings for a delicious waffle feed. Fortunately, Mel brought her waffle maker, too; the idea was to speed up the process. However, hers ended up being the only one that worked. For some reason mine decided to quit cooking after a couple of waffles. (Beaver packed it up to return, as the company said they'd replace it for us.)

For Thursday's game, Caity Chap & Meredith Turner did some cheers, left; Cousins, Caity Chap & Rachel Boltz, right. (Notice the Alaska sweatshirt Rachel is wearing. :-)

Weight Loss Support Group Update

Our support group is doing a great job! We have 24 members at this point. Some are new and just getting adjusted to a change in their lives, gearing up towards healthier living. It takes some mind changes to make it work, or at least I find that to be true for me!

The "lightbulb" moment for me was, when I realized how much my thoughts determined my actions. So more than just grappling with food, I am trying to channel my thoughts into positive from the negative I used to have bouncing around in my brain. I would NEVER talk to others the way I berated and abused myself! Of course, long time habits take time to change to new habits, so this is NOT an overnight process, by any means.

We, as a group, have lost 117-1/2 pounds! (Don & Patty have added the biggest amounts!)

If anyone would care to join us, we'd love to have you. Just write to me: We weigh in on Wednesday mornings, only sharing our weight loss (hopefully). You do NOT have to share your weight. We also share thoughts, ideas, and support with one another. On Thursday morning I send out the results to the group. Here's to a wonderful year and a healthier you!

Day Care Insight

I told Ganon to spit out his gum this morning.
Cecilia asked, "Why?"
I told her I did not want gum getting on my carpet or furniture.
She asked, "Why?"
Now I know that we are more than likely on the roll with "whys," so I figured at this point just to not answer.
After a few seconds, she said, "Because..." and walked away!

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

Good Memories ... Of A Trip to Visit Ens

As I read the first paragraph of Frans's report on The Netherlands, I was there again in memory, Volendam on the Ijsselmeer (Zuider Zee), trying out the Pannekoeken 't Huisje, right next to the Fish and Chips Restaurant!

We had gotten there by crossing on the Afstuedtdyke ... the 20 mile long dike that keeps back the North Sea. That was the trip we took to see the part of Netherlands that was made by draining the sea.

My Howard Lake third grade students had a lesson unit on how man changes his natural surroundings (environment) to make it fit his needs -- and the specific example they used was the making of the polder land of Ens, Netherlands. So we took a side trip to Ens.

One of the more interesting parts of that day was a personal tour of one of the earliest farms opened up by the Zuider Zee Draining Project. Ary just thought it would be fine to drive up to a farm in that area and explain why we were on this trip. And that is how we met a very nice man named Hendrik, of Ens, the Netherlands.

In the photo I took of Hendrik, Ary, and Don, we were standing near a large barn that was no longer in use. The white painted rod above their heads shows the depth of the Zuider Zee at that part of the man-made polder, before it was drained. This had been a very lively dairy farm at one time but now was being used for other types of farming.

Farmer Hendrik told us that, because the lake that has been left behind the dike is no longer salt water, it has been renamed Ijsselmeer -- and is used for conservation of fresh (perhaps I should say sweet) water, and for all the fun water activities of the modern day citizens and tourists. The Polder land has been made available for many projects including the city of Ens (and other towns, of course) and has many acres of crops fitted in between the canals that still are needed to carry the water away from the land that is below sea level.

The Afstuedtdyk (dike) and the North Sea beyond it, left; Hendrik, Ary, Don beside Hendrik's barn, right. The white painted rod above their heads shows the depth of the Zuider Zee at that part of the man made polder, before it was drained.

Framing The Farm Mural

I thought you might like to see our project. Don had some left over pieces of old barn wood ... and I had the birthday present I received in 2004 from Gert: the pencil drawing of the Mellon-Dake Farm -- done by Ardis Quick.

So today Don measured it up and found with a little patch work he could get a frame for the 52"x8" mural. He had a nice, smooth board that he could sand to make it smooth and clean.

I then took the mural, which was done on what we used to call butcher paper ... and I made guidelines on the smoothed boards to show me how much to glue. I coated that area completely with Elmer's Rubber Cement and let it dry completely while I did the back of the picture. It had to dry, too. After it was dry, I kept it in a very loose loop, and then with the board on the table, I let the picture down so the two glued surfaces were together. It went together smoothly and was mounted safely.

The training I had in the class of Library Upkeep I took in Teacher's College really helped ... as mounting can ruin a picture if not done smoothly and carefully.

Next, Don took it to his shop and trimmed the extra board from the work I had done and put the mounting in the frame. He brought it up and put it under my window for viewing. He actually screwed it in place, as I wanted it like a mural, not like a photo.

The Mellon-Dake Farm mural, mounted and framed.

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.
(Send us some to run; we will line them up in our staging area to take their turn.)

How many can you identify?

Answers to last week's mystery pictures (click here to review them):

As to the mystery picture this week ... I'm not sure about the little girl on the left, but that's a wedding picture of Charlie and Ardis Quick on the right.

Carol Dake Printz
Sidney, NE

The GUESS pictures have us stumped again, although both Roy and I recognize that groom as a Quick ... which one, we can't say. Actually, they both look familiar. Beautiful scenery and beach -- but who is the little girl?

Betty Droel
Moundsview, MN

The cute little girl is Amy Dake! It is a picture taken in Oregon!

LeRoy Dake
Blaine, MN

No LTD Storybrooke this week, but we do have a story about dogs and sheep -- and goats!

Panda practices helping Richard round up the ewes.

Border Collie Training
by Richard Johnson
Lowell, OR

We have about 50 goats now and our old border collie, Curly, is getting too slow to keep up with them, so we are training Panda, our year-old border collie, to be a goat dog. I trained Curly on some wild range cows we had when he was a young dog without having any training myself. We could usually get them to the corral with the help of Iko, a border collie that was trained on sheep before we got her. We did have to retrieve cows from the blackberry thickets in the farthest corner of their pasture many times due to Curly's overexuberance.

Iko had to take an early retirement due to a spinal embolism that left her without the use of her back legs. She became a "city dog" and now runs the bike paths on two legs and two wheels. By the time that happened, the cows were convinced that we would not give up until they went to the corral, so Curly and I could manage them.

We want Panda to be more skilled, in order to help manage our growing goat herd, so we have been taking her to a sheep farm for basic training. Sheep aren't as stubborn as goats, so it's easier for a young dog to move them. The sheep farm also has flat ground and small pastures that make it a much better place to learn the basics.

It turns out that the training is needed for us, at least as much as for Panda, but we have progressed to working her with 10 yearling Katahdin ewes we have here. Our land is almost all hillsides and much of it is covered by woods and blackberry patches. The open area in the pasture we have the sheep in now is a wet meadow with ant mounds up to two feet tall scattered through it. Tripping on an ant mound in wet weather usually means I go flat on my face in an inch of water.

Sometimes those wild little yearlings decide to hop through the electric fence when Panda pushes them too hard. Then we get the challenge of getting them back through the fence. One day, after we had moved them to a new pasture, some of them blew through two fences to get back where they had been. Panda and I got them out of there, but they started running around the outside of the house, finally eluding her and going back into the wrong pasture.

We went and got them again, and when we got them to the fence again they just ran up to me and let me catch them. They seemed to be saying, "I don't care what you do to me; just call off that dog." I usually give the sheep a little grain or hay when they stop near me, so they're starting to get the idea that the game ends when they stop running away and come for their treat.

I don't know how well-trained Panda will be, but we are getting lots of exercise doing it. The idea is to have the dog bring the livestock to us, so we run around training the dog instead of running after the goats and sheep. If we get it right, we won't have to run after the goats and sheep. If not, at least we'll be in better condition to keep up with them.

Panda, left; learning to help Richard herd sheep and goats, right.

By Beaver

Each squadron at Keesler occupied a block, similar to a residential block in a city. As luck would have it, our squadron was across the street from the WAF Squadron. We shared a mailroom, at the opposite end of the block from their squadron. There was a rule that WAFs couldn't walk through our squadron, so they had to walk around our block on the sidewalk to get to the mailroom. Whenever we were outside, we kept an admiring eye on the sidewalk traffic. Most of us never so much as said a word to any of the women passing by in their blue uniforms.

We had one fellow in our barracks who never passed up a chance sit on the grass near the sidewalk and hurl insults at every woman he saw walking by. I can't think of one thing he said that I would care to repeat. His insults were raunchy and he had a wide variety. Several of us had told him that we didn't appreciate his antics, but it did no good. We figured he would get in trouble for his nastiness, but when he did, it was in a most unexpected way.

One sunny day, I was sitting on the front steps of the barracks polishing a pair of boots, when I heard the mouthy one yelling insults. There was a short pause, followed by sounds like hail hitting the wooden siding of the barracks. Insults changed abruptly to cries of pain, mingled with female shrieks of glee.

I peered around the corner to see a large group of WAFs, armed with all the rocks they could carry, pelting the mouthy one from the sidewalk. They were making up in quantity what they lacked in quality of aim, so the barracks was taking a beating, too. By the time they ran out of ammunition, he was wedged under the barracks floor, with no room to dodge or duck. If they hadn't run out of rocks, he might not have survived the attack!

That ended the WAF baiting by our mouthy barracks mate. I suppose, nowadays, the WAFs would have sued for harassment, but stoning seemed to work pretty well. It was a long time before I heard anybody from our barracks say anything less than polite to a passing WAF.

$  A Long Time Ago   !

A dozen years ago I met Ruth Miller Collings, one of our father's first cousins, in California. Her father was our great uncle Edward William Miller, a lad of German descent who grew up near Ashby, Minnesota. His father, August Miller (no relation to the other Miller families who subscribe), operated a grist mill on Mill Lake. Ruth gave me a copy of a manuscript her father had written of his growing up years (1890s) there. This week, with the Winter Olympics in full swing, I thought you might like to read about how our dad's "Uncle Edward" made his own skis. --Jerrianne

by Edward W. Miller

Sometime about the latter part of October or early November, the numerous lakes would freeze over, an indication that winter had begun. As soon as the ice was thick enough to be safe to go on, there would be skating parties nearly every evening. This would last until the first snow came. Some years, it might be several weeks before the ice was covered with snow. Other years, there might be an early snow, and the ice skating season was cut short.

With the snow came the time for skiing. Instead of being called skis, they were always known as snowshoes, although the real snowshoe is an entirely different thing and used for walking on top of loose snow. Every Scandinavian boy had a pair of snowshoes, but I did not. An old gentleman had an extra pair that he had made and offered to sell them for one dollar. I wanted them in the worst way, but I did not have the necessary dollar. He finally lowered his price to seventy-five cents, which I thought was reasonable, but still did not have. I made up my mind that I had to have a pair of snowshoes, somehow. The only way possible, that I could see, was to make a pair myself.

I went out into the woods and hunted around until I finally found a tree that suited me. It was a birch tree, tall and straight and about 4-1/2 or 5 inches in diameter. I cut it down, carried it home and secured it in a wooden vise on the work bench. I had to rip it straight down through the center. There was no such thing as a power tool to do the work. All I had was a two-man, crosscut saw. By standing on top of the bench, I could pull the saw up and then push it down.

It was a slow way, but little by little, I succeeded. It was a long way from the starting end to the far end. After several days, I finally finished and had two halves with the flat sides fairly straight. By that time, spring was beginning to set in, and there was no hope of having them to use that winter. But there would be another winter coming.

The next step was to get the two pieces shaped into boards about 3/4 of an inch thick and 3-1/2 inches wide. I took off the worst of the round side with an axe and finished up with a draw knife. The finished job on the sides and edges was done with a jack plane. That finished, I thought I had two pretty good pieces, but I was still not done. A difficult job was still ahead of me; that was to bend the two front ends.

The material was still green, which would be of some help, but I let the two ends to be bent soak in water for a few days. I cut a notch on the bottom side near each end to be bent. The next step was to place the two pieces with bottom sides facing each other and with a cord around the rear end to keep them in that position. Next, I put a short piece about 9 inches long between and just back of the notches on the front end. That gave a wedge shaped space between the two pieces.

About 12 or 15 inches back from the front end, I wrapped a straight cord, drew it as tight as I could, and tied it. Using another cord next to it, I managed to draw it a little tighter -- then back to the first cord to draw it up a little more. By repeating the operation several times, the two bottom edges were brought together.

By this time it was spring, and warm weather had come. There was no need for snowshoes that season, and I laid my two pieces away to dry out during the warm summer. By the time fall had come, my two pieces would hold their shape, and with a few finishing touches, I would have a pair of snowshoes.

It so happened that the coming winter brought an unusually heavy snowfall, and I made good use of my snowshoes in travelng the 2-1/2 miles over deep drifts to the country school.

Travelogue t

Greg Dake and Sonja Maness left Raleigh, North Carolina, for Shanghai, China, on January 6th and returned January 28th. It was a business trip for Greg and Sonja went along. They took extra time for sightseeing while they were there. (Greg is the son of Ernie and Carolyn Dake, grandson of LeRoy and Vonnie Dake, and grand nephew of the Matriarch, Dorothy Dake Anderson.)

View across Huangpu River, Shanghai, China.
Lunch on Monday

(posted by Greg)

The team (14 people) went out to lunch on Monday to a local Chinese restaurant. We took a mini-van with 15 seats plus the driver; wish I had a picture, as it highly resembled a clown car. Once we got to the restaurant, we got a table for the group. It was round table, about 6 feet across ... maybe a little less ... for the whole team. 

Lunch was actually pretty good, all kinds of things I couldn't identify and probably wouldn't want to. A little odd, as the ranking guest has to eat a little of everything first and I think they must have ordered one of everything on the menu. Among the selections I had which can be described:

Beef and green beans that were so hot they would turn most Mexicans red... Never had anything that hot in the states, even in a Thai restaurant.
Little pastries with egg custard
Shredded bamboo with long (3" stem) white mushrooms
Sea Bass (pass on it)
Puffy green thing made of flour, about the consistency of stall marshmallow, with toasted sesame seeds
Shredded pork with garlic in little puffy bread ... kinda like a mini-taco (really good)
Rice and chicken baked in leaves
Cross cut pork ribs
a billion (well, probably 20) other dishes and...
Barbecued chicken feet. They aren't much different than chicken wings, really, about the same ratio of bone, skin and meat. If you want some, I could probably make them for you sometime, just ask. :)

Further Adventures In Shopping
(posted by Sonja)

Today, Tuesday the 10th, has already been an adventure, all right. It started out the same as yesterday, with the alarm going off at 7 a.m. (which would be 6 p.m. Monday for y'all back Stateside). We got up, went to breakfast, and Greg took a taxi to work to the site. I changed into shorts and T-shirt and went back to the fitness room, determined to take advantage of the exercise equipment. This time I was flagged down by the employee at the desk nearby, asking me my room number and to sign in. Didn't have to do that yesterday.

I did some warmup stretches in the room to the side with a wooden floor that looks like an aerobics or yoga room. I tried to remember some of the breathing exercises we used to warm up in aikido class, but it's been two years since I was there. Since nobody was around to see anyway, I did what I could remember. I put in another 30-minute treadmill session, then went to the club lounge for juice and to give the maid time to finish cleaning our room. She got a later start today, though, and it was almost 11:30 by the time I got back in the room.

I talked to my dad online a few minutes, then Greg signed on Yahoo and I talked to him a bit as well. Then I went on my first solo Shanghai shopping adventure. The first leg was very easy, just walk across the street to the health and beauty store and get a few toiletry items. Then it was back to the hotel to stash those purchases in our room, and back to the lobby. There was a hotel employee who was a European man near the concierge desk, so I had someone who spoke English to help me decide where to go shopping. He said for cheap clothes, the Fashion Market was the way to go. Since I want to find some silk items to buy cheap here and resell back home, I went there.

It was 32RMB for the taxi there, as it was on the other side of the river and a ways past it. That is about $4 USDollars for a taxi ride almost all the way across a large city. I got there about 12:45 p.m. and walked around until 2:30 p.m. I only made one purchase: two red xl "Shanghai" T-shirts. I think now I could have got them cheaper if I'd shopped around more, but I still only paid 50RMB or $4.50 USDollars each for them.

It was also an exercise in haggling down sellers as they originally said 250RMB for the pair. I actually did laugh out loud at that, without meaning to. I started to walk away and they said "What you pay? what you pay?" I said, "I'll look around more, zaijian." As I walked away one of the girls ran after me, all the way to the end of the aisle of the market, saying "How much you pay? You pay 200 yes?" I kept walking. She grabbed my coat sleeve and tried to drag me back to the booth, saying, "You get cheap price, what you pay?" I said "100"; she said "150." I said "100"; she said okay. I probably could have got them even cheaper, but it was still pretty cheap.

I knew ahead of time how aggressive the market stall sellers could be, thanks to the guide book we bought back home. I knew it wasn't unusual for them to follow you way past their booth or hold your arm to get you to stop and buy stuff. There were actually very few that did that to me; this one girl was the most aggressive. And well, she made her sale, didn't she? :)

I also looked a bit for a hat for Greg; there were several booths with Nike and North Face knit hats. I asked one person the price, just to try to get a baseline idea. He said 85. I said "Okay, I'll look around some more." As I walked away he went from 75, to 50, to 30. I suppose I should have turned back then, and started to haggle, but I really wanted some more prices elsewhere first. I looked at a few more but didn't ask prices.

By that time I was quickly running out of energy. I hadn't eaten since breakfast and even though there were several hot food stands in the market, none of them looked very clean. I left the market and went back out to the street. I walked the length of the block, on the lookout for either a restaurant that looked clean, or a taxi back to the hotel, whichever manifested itself first. By the end of the block, neither had appeared.

I crossed the street and continued my search. I passed a Kentucky Fried Chicken, of all places in Shanghai, but it was very crowded. My tolerance for crowds was very low at that point. I also passed a Mr. Donut, but I wanted something more substantial than donuts. I got to the end of the block again and crossed back to the side of the street the market was on. I got halfway back to the market when I saw an empty taxi from the same company I took from the hotel. I had to actually run into the street to get his attention, but he was happy to give me a ride.

OK, so now is where I tell you about taxi rides in Shanghai. First of all, I have no idea why they bother to paint lines in the streets here, to differentiate the lanes. Nobody, and I mean nobody, private or public vehicle, seems to see them or be aware of their existence. The taxi driver from the hotel to the market seemed to make a point of straddling at least two lanes, sometimes more.

Second, red lights don't get much attention paid to them either. If there's no car actually blocking the way or traffic moving where they want to go, drivers run them.

Third, American drivers will generally, when they see brake lights up ahead, slow down and maybe begin to brake. Shanghai taxi drivers SPEED UP when this happens. They are trying to get ahead of the cars beside them so they can slide over a lane or two in hopes of not having to stop. This caused many cases of slamming on brakes to avoid rear-ending cars ahead when the plan didn't work out. Also, if there is one inch of room between cars in a lane, the taxi driver WILL make his car fit in there. We were many times so close to cars that not only could I have touched them if the window were open, I probably could have reached the steering wheel and driven the car beside us.

However neither taxi driver got us in any wrecks or hit any pedestrians or bicycle riders, in spite of numerous near misses. Greg told me earlier today that the taxi driver that took them to work this morning was a bit crazy but got them there in one piece. I think that's about the extent of their goal.

So that is that for my first solo shopping adventure. Tonight we are having dinner with the site executive that Greg is working with, at a restaurant near our hotel. Perhaps I can get some tips from the people at dinner on what are good prices on things and where to find them.

Zaijian for now!

to be continued...

Looking east on Nanjing Lu from People's Avenue.

Photo Editor's Note: We are serializing Sonja and Greg's web log and illustrating it with the photos they are posting, but there is far more photo material available than we will be able to fit in The Bulletin, so we will also provide the links to the blog, for those who are interested:

Web Log:

Illustration © Virginia McCorkell; photo of Larry McCorkell by Angie Gelle

Don't Believe Everything You See...
by Ginny McCorkell
Blaine, MN

We recently went to Monterrey with our friends Dave and Angie Gelle, as we often have done in the past. They arrived a little before we did so they had everything in order by the time we arrived. We met at a little restaurant for the evening meal and were seated at a nice, quiet booth ... at least we thought it would be quiet.

After a bit of discussion with our young Mexican server ... young being relative to how old you are, yourself ... we finally placed our orders and sat back to converse while we waited for our food. And that is when the quiet faded away ... Angie and Dave had planned a birthday surprise for Larry. Packages appeared out of nowhere...

He received a blanket with a Chicago Northwestern engine on it from the route referred to as the Route of the 400's ... from Minneapolis to Chicago ... 400 miles traveled in 400 minutes. There was a box of chocolate ... there were pictures taken and soon our food arrived. It was outstanding ... as it always is there.

As we were enjoying our meal, the restaurant slowly began to fill but we did not notice as we were enjoying the conversation at our table. After we had visited for a while, something caught my eye in the back of the room. The employees had all gathered and were discussing something and looking over their shoulders in our direction. When they took the big sombrero off the wall, I knew what was going to happen. I watched with great amusement as they gathered up their instruments and headed our way.

Larry never saw it coming ... until they arrived at our table ... by then there was no way of escape. The Big Blue Sombrero was perched on his head. They all gathered around our table with their guitars and various instruments and began to sing ... a bit off key but with great enthusiasm ... much to the enjoyment of all in the room. We couldn't understand a word of what they were singing ... Angie speculated that it was "Happy Birthday" in Spanish. They did finish up by singing "Happy Birthday" in English.

And then they came out with this enormous birthday treat ... Fried Ice Cream! Can you imagine eating ALL of that after a huge meal? But disappear it did ... and so the party ended.

The man with the yellow guitar was our server.

(Beware of Mere Implications...)

In actuality, this event was really not that much of an event. We didn't go to Monterey, Mexico ... the four of us went to Monterrey's in Circle Pines, Minnesota, for Mexican food. There were other people in the restaurant, but they weren't there for Larry's birthday party ... it was just the four of us. And no, the Fried Ice Cream was not that large ... and Larry has not grown another mustache! :D

Skinny Recipes  6
from Dorothy Dake Anderson
Alexandria, MN

Don, Jr. is a wonderful cook -- he will be sharing recipes with us. Don's recipes will include a difficulty rating (1=easy, 5=more difficult).

Salsa Chicken
Difficulty rating: 1
This quick, simple recipe is served over rice or as a filling for a tortilla wrap.

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tsp. taco seasoning
cooking spray
2/3 cup salsa
2/3 cup reduced fat shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (4 oz.) can of green chilies, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
2 Tbsp. sliced green olives

1. preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2. season chicken with taco seasoning, brown in a skillet with cooking spray about 4 minutes.
3. place browned chicken in an 8" square cooking dish coated with cooking spray, top with salsa, cheese, chilis and olives, bake at 475 degrees for 8 minutes.
4. top each serving with 1 Tbsp. of sour cream.

Servings 4, calories 207, fat 3.5g, fiber 2.1g (not including rice or tortilla) W.W. points = 4 per serving

Note: Be careful when choosing tortillas; they vary in nutritional value! We use "Don Pancho" high fiber, low fat, whole wheat wraps: calories, 60, fat 2g, fiber 5g.= 1 point

Any Questions?

Celebrations & Observances
From the Files of
Hetty Hooper

This Week's Special Days:
February 20---Presidents' Day

This Week's Anniversaries
February 24---Jess and Louise Cloyd (61 years)

February Birthdays:
February 1---Kathlyn (Johnson) Anderson
February 4---Cameron Birkholz
February 6---Melody Printz
February 6---Kelli Nicole Mellon (7 years old)
February 7---Rylie Johnson (3 years old)
February 28---Eric Anderson
Happy Birthday!

More February Anniversaries
February 18---Roy and Betty Weiland Droel (13 years)

February 26---Tim and Char Morgan Myron (23 years)
February 28---Junior and Doris Anderson (44 years)

February Special Days
February 2---Groundhog Day
February 12---Abraham Lincoln's Birthday
February 14---Valentine's Day
February 20---Presidents' Day
February 22---George Washington's Birthday

Miss Hetty's Mailbox:

A Mexican Birthday Party Surprise
by Larry McCorkell
Blaine, MN

We went to eat at Monterrey's early on a Saturday eve but my bd wasn't until Monday. So as we were walking in with Dave and Angie she says to the host, "It's his birthday." I said, "No, it's not." So we eat as I am eyeing this big Mexican hat hanging on a post. We were almost done when all of a sudden about two tables away I see this whole gang of waiters and waitresses coming at me. I knew I was in for it, thanks to Angie. They put the big hat on me and sang hb in Spanish, which was really nice as I had never heard it, and then in English. They brought some fried ice cream, which Ginny and I ate. It never dawned on me why Angie said, "It's his birthday." I'm sure the whole room enjoyed it. I hardly got embarrassed as it doesn't affect this old geezer as much as it used to. End of party. Actually that was all the party I got. lm

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

I enjoyed The Bulletin, as usual. In answer to your question of where the Bill Dake family picture (in front of our infamous Chevy station wagon) was taken, Donna, it was in Waco, at some of our friends' home after Sunday morning meeting. And, yes, it was cold! Texas can "feel" pretty cold in the winter because of the high humidity ... a damp cold. Just as a matter of interest, the reason it looks like there are leaves on the trees is because they were possibly "live oaks" that don't lose their leaves in winter.

Ginny, your illustrations are just great ... and believe it or not, I've been meaning to say that even before this week's picture featuring our grandson! :>) We certainly have a great variety of talents contributing to The Bulletin.

Harold and Carol Printz
Sidney, NE

I thought I could feel his tobacco-laden little breath on my neck while I was preparing dinner... I hoped I was just experiencing negative childhood flashback syndrome, but then my worst fears were confirmed. Are we never free of this grubby little anomaly?

Oh yeah, and it was elk, not steak.

The Traumatized Chef
Douglas Anderson
St. Cloud, MN

Editor's comment: I would suppose that one could have elk steaks?

First of all a happy Valentine to you Dorothy, busy working inside my house and good news will get my new camera tomorrow. Should have bought one earlier but glad the new one is coming.

Will be able to make pictures and will send you as soon as everything is installed.

Got new windows and doors to the balcony and busy painting them. The rest of the week I'm off so will be able to send you an article for coming week.

All is fine here.

Greetings from the Netherlands,

Ary Ommert Jr.
Maassluis, the Netherlands

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

I could hardly wait until I had enough time to sit down and write this LTTE to you editors, as you are waiting, breathlessly, I am sure, for our comments after all the work you put into each and every issue.

Well, the little animal blowing kisses won't make anyone jealous, that's for sure, and I'm sure there were enough to go around to all your subscribers. I knew immediately it was one that Bitzi had created, as she has a certain style she usually follows. Only pink, no purple this time, but that was fine for a Valentine.

We are feeling more confident that Coni will be improving faster than they expect her to. Think of all the backing she has with Bulletin subscribers that care. Thank you so much for keeping us posted, and hope she was shocked and happy for the avalanche of valentines she would have gotten. At first I thought, "WOW! Weston has this huge bus." But, then, I read it and found out it was one with his name on. Good thing, as gas for that one would take all the $ he had.

Thanks to Kristi Indermark for using her few precious quiet moments to write for The Bulletin. We needed that update, and look forward to the travel pictures you'll be taking this month.

Talk about proud looking happy people with that new baby, Brock. Another addition to The Bulletin family.

Not being a farmer, this week's story Larry told us leaves me without a comment.

The Travelogue was an accomplishment, to continue to write it when so much was going on. The incentive was reading it in The Bulletin, likely, and you would know we are all interested, and glad you didn't leave out the menus. We needed to see that Chinese water to really appreciate our pure (?) crystal clear water. You'd need a bath AFTER that bath, by the looks of it.

And we continue to learn about Netherlands. Thanks for the links to click on to learn even more.

So, the hunt continues for the Carribean Coral, or is it Caribbean Coral? I am going to keep looking for a color picture of it, likely a slide, and by that time everyone will have forgotten what even brought up the subject, I suppose. I think it's been a fun challenge, anyway, to bring back to mind a '49 car. That was a surprise and a very nice gesture for Dan Mellon to take time to write what he did. I read it with great interest.

I wonder if you know how much we liked the QUOTATION FOR THE DAY, with the thought of underestimating the power of touch, smile, listening ear, honest compliment or the smallest act of caring. We all need that reminder that really caring about another person can turn a life around.

Roy and Betty Droel


Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell
Move on Garfield ... this piano isn't big enough for two of us.

This is Murphy, who is part of the LTD household at Storybrooke Farm. The picture in the background is one LTD painted of the big barn that was on the Kuhlman farm where Ernie, Larry and I spent our grade school years. Mom and Dad rented the farmhouse. --Bitzi (Ginny McCorkell).

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Quotation for the day: Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so. --David Grayson

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

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