Sunday, March 18, 2018

West Des Moines

Sister Becky and Al in their beautiful new kitchen. Nice visit Wednesday.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Lots of suspects

Britain Blames Russia for Nerve Agent Attack on Former Spy

Or maybe it was some 400 pound guy who lives in his mother's basement. We just don't know.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

We took the express today

Fearing the loss of affection from her husband, she had him murdered. Fifteen years later, she dumps the killer for a younger man, who turned out to be her long-lost son out to seek revenge for his father’s murder. Just before he’s to marry his mother, they figure it out, have a “eew“ moment, then he forgives her, (she IS his mother, after all) but accidentally kills her while trying to kill the man who poisoned his father.

A made-for-tv movie? Paperback thriller? An R-rated picture?

Nope. Just the plot line for an Italian Opera we saw today, Rossini’s Semiramide, first performed in 1823.

Taking the bus to the opera.
New York’s Metropolitan Opera was live-streamed today to a giant screen in Roseville. Fun. The live performance was aided with subtitles, which made the Italian remarkably easy to follow.

We estimated the Diva came in at over 300 pounds, was delightful and with unbelievable range, as were other cast members interviewed at half-time.

We enjoyed looking in at the New York audience at this sold-out performance complete with close ups of the musicians in the pit.

We took the express bus. $1. Stopped for lunch at Dino’s on the way. (No relation to Fred Flintstone's dog) Senior admission. Most expensive part of the day could have been the popcorn. $21 gets you a bucket and pop. If Stan had known, he wouldn’t have gone out for popcorn at half time. That would be $42 for popcorn for the four of us. If we shared.

He came back empty-handed.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018


As we gaze out the window at the new fallen snow, we remind ourselves that this too shall pass. Then this comes from Sandy and Tom in Florida. "At a Twins game," it says. "You guys should be here." Ah yes.
Twins won, 9-8. We saw Dozier, Buxton, Mauer and more. Beautiful day, great game, lots of action. And ... WE WON!

Thursday, March 01, 2018

That day in 1980

From left, Brendan Suel, Randy Anderson, the late Gary Welch (obscured), Stan, Kathleen, Jennifer,
Marcelline and Melissa.
The man who married us 37 years ago passed away last week; we attended his Shakopee funeral today. It was a time of remembrance in many ways.

Brendan Suel's son, Bob, was Stan's newspaper co-worker at the time, when Kathleen and Stan were struggling to put together a family with three girls. Sure, Bob’s Dad said, he’d be glad to help out, and so we looked around for a place to do the deed. The night before, the Best Man found a big maple that was showing signs of wisdom in Chanhassen’s Lake Ann Park and we were good to go.

Our officiant had founded the Shakopee Valley News with his brothers in 1941, served in Eisenhower’s headquarters surgeon division as staff sergeant in 1943. The founders sold the newspaper, Brendan then had his own Gambles hardware store. In 1980, he was the clerk of court for Scott County, which, like a captain of a ship, qualified him to perform nuptials.

And perform he did. It was a beautiful day, a wonderful ceremony, and we’re still married.

Stan, retired, is the publisher emeritus of the Shakopee Valley News.

Of all the many things Brendan did with his 95-year life, sorry, we think our marriage was the best one.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A couple of dinosaurs

It was a beautiful sunshiny day, the last of February, 45 degrees. A walk down to the Science Museum seemed a great idea, but like most Minnesotans eager for spring, Stan jumped the gun and didn’t wait for the sun to do its job on the snow. The walk was marred with sidewalks full of slush, snow, ice and standing water too wide to leap. He made the trip anyway, it just took longer. A year ago, Stan went to the museum riding a wheelchair on a field trip, an inpatient outing as part of treatment for stroke injury. The therapists made secret notes on how we did on the childhood challenges, like playing the keyboard embedded in the floor, or shooting baskets in the sports area. Stan didn’t do any of that stuff today, figuring the sidewalks were balance challenges enough.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Dave Simpkins, R.I.P.

Publisher Dave Simpkins had had enough. His typesetting equipment was failing again. Getting out the local newspaper on time was up to the spinning wheels on a refrigerator-sized Compugraphic, driven by yellow punch tape, using plastic font strips and expensive photo paper. It was not doing its part.

Steve Jobs to the rescue. In 1984, he introduced the 128K Apple MacIntosh.

Dave saw its potential, replaced his broken equipment, and instantly became a Minnesota pioneer in plain-paper typesetting. Innovation after innovation, he gleefully reported his progress in the weekly Minnesota Newspaper Association Bulletin.

I eagerly took note of his reports, undergoing a transition of my own at the newspapers I ran, but my path went through Bill Gates, in the Microsoft world. I would compare progress in this race to innovate, experiment, simplify, increase the bottom line.

Dave Simpkins died last night. He’ll be remembered as a free-thinking, fun-loving extrovert, always seeking answers to difficult problems, never afraid to lead. Our thoughts are with his wife, Linda.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Four to five inches

Winter's back. Fresh coat on the out of doors.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Kathleen's new car

Her fourth VW. We bought a 2018 Volkswagen Coast edition today. The yellow is gone, replaced by a teal model. Kind of unique color that Stan will feel more comfortable driving. This one has a sunroof too, and other goodies the previous one lacked. Still needs an assist to reach the hatch when it's open.