Friday, November 27, 2009


We hosted Julie and Ashley in Albert Lea for Thanksgiving and have since returned to our Bloomington home. I had to get all of my dictation done before we leave for Tampa tomorrow. I am required to attend the National Health Corps orientation there, as I have a two year contract with them. Harvey will be coming along for some much needed rest and relaxation. Julie and Ashley are shopping at the Mall of America (I think) and we are busy packing suitcases and going through mail. We plan to go out for appetizers tonight at a local restaurant that offers dueling piano entertainment (Ashley had a spectacular time last time we took her there!).


"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the people who walked
through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of
bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient
proof that everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last
of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of
circumstances, to choose one's own way."
--Viktor Frankl (1905-1997)


The photos are from Cindy at Thanksgiving, with Grandma Lila and her grandkids--very nicely done! Looks like they were having a happy time!


We talked to several family members on Thanksgiving, and learned, among other things, that Derek is recovering well from his shoulder surgery, and is hoping to go back to work on December 14. He has had quite a long period of recovery, and is anxious to get back to his regular activities.

Dara has a new job, actually a very nice promotion, that will give her more responsibility in the school system where she works. She is, of course, quite excited about the new opportunities!

Maureen and Mat are delighted that their unbeaten University of Montana football team is in the playoffs for the national championship, and has a game on Saturday (which they will attend in Missoula) with South Dakota State. Maureen goes to Washington, DC, in early December for a week of training meetings. She is supervising three Vista workers who have been very busy helping first-time homebuyers take advantage of the tax credit so as to acquire a first home that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

We had a delightful visit on Thanksgiving Day with our great friend, Ellis Burcaw, who remains quite active and fun to talk to at age 88! He is a retired museum specialist who taught for many years at the University of Idaho.


Bill and Marie

Sunday, November 15, 2009


The photos are in a beautiful local park created as a memorial to a young girl who was killed in an auto accident. She loved butterflies, so her parents had a sculptor create a huge butterfly image in the center of the memorial, along with some other colorful art. The occasion for us was the 83d birthday of a long-time friend, Zaye Chapin (see photo), who we hosted for a picnic in the park with her mate and another old friend (pictured by the fountain). It was fun to enjoy their good company for four hours in such a gorgeous setting.


Yesterday was Dione's birthday, so we had a long phone conversation to catch up with their busy lives. Dione said it was a good day for them, with a long walk in a beautiful nearby park (where we have walked with them several times). It was getting cool there, so they had the fire going (they heat their house with wood fires) and were having a relaxing day at home after the hike. Mollie was playing the piano when she wasn't busy doing homework.

Dione is enjoying the teaching a lot. She has gifted students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, all very bright and stimulating, but with a separate preparation for each grade--keeping her very busy. The school provided her with a much improved class room this year, which makes the environment more pleasant for teaching, as compared to last year.

Saul has a new president (and boss) at Antioch McGregor where he teaches, and is much more satisfied with the way the university is being operated. He thoroughly enjoys the teaching, as well, and is stimulated by a lot of good graduate students.

Mollie is thriving in her school. She recently completed a theater workshop involving a professional actor and some other distinguished theater teachers, and she is auditioning for a play, so will soon be going to play practice. She has several wonderful friends that she loves to hang out with--one of whom just finished writing a book, and another who will participate in the Christmas Nutcracker performance in Dayton. They are a very bright and talented bunch.


This has been a very "social" week for us. In addition to the picnic on Monday, we were invited to some great new neighbor's (he was born and raised at Rugby, ND!)for dinner on Wednesday, and are hosting some delightful former neighbors for dinner this evening. Retirement life hasn't yet become boring, by any means!


Bill and Marie

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Beet harvest was successfully concluded on Friday, after a very long and painful process delayed several times by cold and rain, according to Will. The annual celebratory party was Friday night at the Double Barrel in Fairview for the 15-person crew plus family. The yield was generally good, with one field going 35-ton per acre. Mavis said it got to be really scary because at times they were not sure they would be able to finish the harvest.

Mavis and Ron went to a country music concert last night (Saturday night) at the Four Bears Casino east of Watford City, and saw several new oil wells along the way. Apparently, there is some prospect of more drilling around Cartwright as well.

Dad is doing about the same, and enjoyed going to church this morning. He is having some trouble with swollen legs, and gets ever more forgetful--not unusual for his age.

Ron and Mavis are thinking about traveling, now that harvest is done! We hope to see them in Arizona come January.

Julie saw Lila and Cindy on Friday in Bismarck and said Lila seemed to be doing pretty well.




We are doing well--October was a busy month with fun things as well as work. We had the jazz festival in Kalispell, which we always enjoy, and then I met up with some gals I used to work with at Fannie Mae (one from North Dakota, one from Kentucky) in Las Vegas. We went to see Bette Midler, and also did a helicopter trip into the Grand Canyon. It was fun, although I could never go to Vegas again and be perfectly happy.

Mat just returned from a trip to Florida. Friend Justin had a conference at a place right on the beach, so Mat decided to tag along and hang out for a few days. It ended up being a long ways from everything, but I think he enjoyed the relaxation.

Sorry to hear about the rosacea--along with the eye problems. I am having enough trouble with my eyes that I think I can be very compassionate! Mine seem to be either so dry (but lots of goop) or running non-stop. Drives me crazy.

Right now we don't have any plans to be down there-Mat's annual conference is in San Diego this year, but he is not sure whether he is going to go or not. I think there may be a May conference again this year in Phoenix, but will let you know as soon as I do.

Did I tell you we are going to Costa Rica in March? We are going on the "windstar" cruise line. I can't wait.

I am still so busy at work I can hardly keep my head on straight--but I love what I am doing, so that helps. My three AmeriCorps Vistas have really added to my capacity, but also to my workload--a bit of a mixed blessing but I think the program is so amazing.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

Love, Maureen


I am adjusting to having a malady called Rosacea, making my face red and also affecting my eyes. A Mayo Clinic ophthalomogist put me on three medications to deal with eyes and face, including an antibiotic. Fortunately, the only pain/discomfort is the eyes part.

On Monday we are hosting a picnic to celebrate the birthday of a long-time friend of ours here who was one of Marie's colleagues at UI. Attending will be another of Marie's former colleagues, as well as Zaye's mate. They are all very intelligent people who love to talk democratic politics as much as we do!

We have been spending a lot of time in Scottsdale for Marie's follow-up appointments, and with my eye and throat exams in mid-November and mid-December. We have especially enjoyed Kierland Commons, an "urban village" in north Scottsdale. It is an appealing spot.


Bill and Marie

Monday, November 02, 2009


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Fwd: Emma turns 4 months old!

Emma turns 4 months old this past week. She weighed in at 12 lbs 10oz. The doctors say she is healthy, but petite. We made the trip to Miles City for her first Halloween, so she could trick or treat with Ben, Gavin and Hope. She was dressed up as a hot pepper. She is chowing down the baby cereal now and has moved into sweet potatoes. Hope everyone had a fun Halloween!





We celebrated Halloween in a little western town south of Tucson called Sonoita, with lunch at the famous Steak Out Restaurant(see photos), right next to the Sonoita Mercantile. People come from far and wide to dine here. Some of the area residents are pictured as they were having lunch next to us. We had a delicious meal of the famous Sonoita steak and baked potatoes, with lots of fresh salad!

The place actually reminds me of Cartwright many long years ago, when there was still an active mercantile and bar on main street. Even the people looked somewhat the same! The difference is that Sonoita is about 50 miles from the nearest town and has been able to servive with some basic services and tourism. It is surrounded by large ranches, and some smaller ranchettes occupied by people who like the picturesqe countryside near some high mountains. Several wineries have sprung up nearby because the climate is good for growing grapes, at about 4500 feet elevation.


Unfortunately, beet harvest is still proceeding slowly, with roughly 350 acres still to be dug. Because of all the rain the fields are muddy, causing the machinery to keep breaking down. It was beautiful there today Mavis and Dad said, so as soon as they get the digger repaired they can go back to their 24-hour days of lifting beets! They were up in the middle of the night last night moving machinery from a field south of the farm to the Berry farm over in the valley. Ordinarily, Will runs the digger at night and Luke in the daytime, each with a different crew of truck drivers.

Mavis said she had lots of dressed up visitors trick or treating last night, all cutely dressed up for the occasion. Some of them even came from north of Cartwright (the Paulsons).

Dad saw the doctor last week for his bladder cancer, and got a good report, thank goodness. Hope that keeps up. He had a bit of a crisis though--because his electric razor quit and he couldn't shave until Mavis took him to town for a new razor! She found him one day sound asleep in a chair at the counter where he eats his meals.

Dad and Mavis went to church in Cartwright this morning, where Dad said there was a nice crowd. He says the problem with the beet harvest is just a farmers plight! And, he says he is doing okay for an old man, and can't complain!


Bill and Marie