Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dunn Brothers Done it right!

Here's a great coffee house for those who value history. Sip a steaming cup of coffee in a charming, homey alcove of the famous Smith Douglas More farmhouse in Eden Prairie with someone you love. We did.

A Grand Lady

Happy 94th Birthday, Mother!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Space

I fell in love with North Dakota again! When one is away from this land as I have been, that ocean of sky and flat endless prairie without a blip on the screen gripped me anew with a delicious sense of freedom and, ah yes, s-p-a-c-e. I am a leave-the-doors-open kind of person and this land breeds that feeling. And, contrary to popular opinion, there are trees in North Dakota. In fact, my mother owns 40 acres of them and I had the privilege of roaming "in the scary woods". I didn't see any wild beasts and only heard the chatter of a squirrel and the occasional squawk of a bird; however, I saw many deer tracks.

To get to this oasis of wooded fairy land, I had to cross a scary bridge made by two fallen trees. It reminded me of my unfortunate experience as a kid falling off a different "tree bridge" smack into the river. This time, fortunately, I didn't fall in, thanks to my agility and physical prowess.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


I am enjoying the book How to Pray When You Don't Know What to Say by Elmer L. Towns. The title caught my attention because I have had many days lately where I didn't know what to say when I prayed. Home assignment (which is the new word for furlough) is always a mix between chaos, stress and pleasure. Imagine squeezing four years of things you haven't been able to do, see, feel, smell, taste and enjoy into four tiny months. I am often torn between the "oughts" and "shoulds" of life; hence the state of mind when I try to pray. I've been scoring high on guilt, but I try to console myself that God understands, knows my heart, and isn't holding a stick over my head. That's where the "daily bread" comes in. Our daily bread isn't just physical bread, but all our needs for each day. We are to trust God to provide not only food for our bodies, but the daily emotional and mental needs as well. Towns says, "God wants us to go to Him, tug on His pocket, and ask Him for the needs on our hearts each day." That helped me a lot. I've given God my Daily Planner because it just got too overwhelming as I hear the clock tick, ticking away to D-Day on October 30th. (P.S. He's doing a bang-up job--just like I knew He would!)

Monday, October 06, 2008


I remember yearning eagerly for the day the S & H stamp book would be filled up. There were so many cool prizes to choose from. And it wasn't just S & H, but the Super Value grocery store stamps and maybe the Red Owl, too. I loved the job of pasting in the stamps and then flipping through the book, admiring each filled page. Ah! Those were the days. And then, just the other day in a shop in Stillwater, I saw an old S & H sign where my hubby and I were devouring homemade pumpkin & apple pie à la mode and coffee for only $3.00 each. What a steal. It was almost like getting a stamp to paste in the S & H stamp book.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


The Psalmist declares in Psalm 133 that it is good and pleasant for brothers to live together in unity. A united family is good, but a united family is doubly good when that family is united "in Christ". We had such a moment tonight at Applebee's, thanks to points from Super America gasoline!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Just a Bit-O-Honey

It's been years since I've been able to eat certain candy bars, so when I come back to the USA, guess what I want to eat? You betcha! I spend time gazing at the candy bar shelf in the store, gathering courage to indulge. And I've been successful. I finally found the one I was most wanting to eat--Bit-O-Honey--way up north at Grand Portage, almost in Canada. There in the Holiday Gas Station I was thrilled to find it (even though they have changed the wrapper without asking my permission.) It tasted delicious! I also found Oh Henry! and I did eat a Nut Goodie that was given to me from my brother's cache. (You see, he can't find Nut Goodies in New York and I can't honestly say how many he bought and ate while in North Dakota!!!!) I am thinking about buying a Butterfinger, maybe an Almond Joy, a Reeses Pieces, but not Hershey's Chocolate Bar (because I have a little piece almost every day...shhh!) I see I have my work cut out for me. Look out, candy bars!!

Which system is better--Brazil's or the USA?

This year I had to renew my Brazilian and my American driver's license. It was an interesting study in cultures. Check this out.

How to renew a driver's license in Brazil (The government has privatized the process.)

1. Go to licensing station to get form for paying at the bank and to find out the other rules.

2. Take form to bank, stand in line and pay for license.

3. Go to photo studio to have picture taken.

4. Take the form and picture back to testing station to make appointment for medical exam.

5. Do medical exam on day scheduled. It consists of several questions and an eye exam with that eye chart we are all familiar with.

6. Go to testing station on Tuesday (a week after I made my first inquiries) to take written test, the only day of the week when it is done.

7. While waiting to be called for testing, I almost miss it because of misinformation.

8. Take test and hope I pass. Results can only be obtained a day or two later by calling up the testing station.

9. I passed! Whew! Now I must call again to find out when the license will be ready. (It was ready and in my hands within a week, but I had to go back to the station to pick it up.)

Cost: $73.00

Expires: June 4, 2013

Restrictions: Corrective lenses

Time required: one week + one week until receive license

This license does not give my address, my eye color, my height nor my weight, nor my sex. It does register my ID number, social security number and the names of my parents.

How to renew a driver's license in Minnesota (run by the state).

1. Go to licensing bureau where I am told I must do the driver's test as well as the written, but am not given the rule book to study. (I ask for it later after observing instructions being given to another.). I do take a form to fill out.

2. Call the Egan Testing Station and leave a message on their system to call me back. (It never happens.)

3. After many weeks, call again and wait to talk to a real person. Now I am told that I do not have to take the driver's test, but only the written and I don't need an appointment.

4. After studying the manual, I feel I must take the plunge and hope for the best.

5. At the Egan Testing Station, I stand in a long line and wait my turn.

6. At the desk, a quick eye exam is executed and I do not need corrective lenses.

7. I am directed to a computer where I take the test quickly and find out my score immediately.

I passed! Whew!

8. I wait in line again until I am called to take my picture right there and right now!

9. I pay for my license and am given a piece of paper as my legal right to drive until the real license comes.

10. I receive my license in the mail almost two months later.

Cost: $24.00

Expires: Oct. 21, 2012

Restrictions: None

This license gives my address, my sex, eye color, height & weight

Time required: 60-90 minutes + two months until receive license

It's your call--which system is better?