Friday, March 30, 2007

Peeper Keeper finally gets a home

Thanks, Steve and Nancy.
Kathleen's Beagle/Bassett peeper keeper was delivered Sunday by Steve and Nancy Rolfsrud and has been hard at work since. Purchased in Tucson, it took a long and circuitous route to its home on Abbey Point. Sharp-eyed readers will point out that the photograph above is obviously staged, because the bed is made. Peeper keepers are for sleeping owners, they'll say. That's true. But Stan was not allowed to take a picture with the bed unmade or with Kathleen in it.

Sunday Steve and Nancy also delivered two rolls of used carpet for our Lake home. Stan got it laid yesterday and it looks TERRIFIC. Thank you so much, Steve and Nancy.

Bricklayers done; occupancy in May

This McMansion on Fairway Drive near here was just a hole in the ground when we left for Tucson in mid-January. Despite a couple of blizzards and record cold, when we returned two months later we were amazed to see the progress. Now the bricklayers are done, the basement floor is finished and the ceramic and floors are on the way. The guy hanging the siding said the house will be occupied in May. Amazing. That's a four-month house. You can hold capital or put it to work, I guess.

Early spring brings robins, Titleist 3

A sure sign of spring arrived on our porch yesterday. Golfers have been swinging away on old No. 14 since Monday morning. Digging, gritting and swinging hard in their pre-season form, the usual errant drives have arrived in good number on the homestead lawn, roof and, alas, winter storm windows.
We try to get the windows down and screens up before the bombardment begins, but this global warming thing has just got us off our schedule. No witnesses have come forward who observed yesterday's event, and no one claimed responsiblity, making it a Hit and Run. Our forensic examination shows that the Titleist 3 gained entry at approximately 4 p.m. and must have been traveling ENE with radical sidespin, gaining entry through the second porch window from the left.

A good-natured email to the golf course general manager demanding that he take responsibility for the horrible golf shot by giving me a list of suspects along with their tee times and handicaps resulted in this response:
"You can have the names and the tee sheet, but, as you know, privacy laws prohibit me from revealing my customers' handicaps."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

4th Quarter report due soon

Readers watching for Emily's Fourth Quarter Report should know that, as we speak, final drafts and documents are being reviewed in preparation for the release of information on the best little one-year-old ever.

With her first birthday looming May 1, no effort is being spared to gather accurate data for publication.

Presently, the book is at the proofreaders.

The tin pan band is in rehearsal for the book party with the pink and blue theme, "Aren't Grandparents Sappy?"

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Free breakfast with poker package

Free breakfast was provided this morning after the Red Wing Publishing managers were wiped out during last night's high stakes poker challenge. The big winner, Laurie Hartmann, didn't stay over and is not pictured. (She lives in nearby Prior Lake.)

Management group: Back row, Rob Davenport, Mark Weber, Matt McMillan; front, Wayne Kasich, Stan Rolfsrud. (Photo credit: St. Paul Katie.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

God is in his heaven. . .

All is right in his world.
St. Paul Katie is playing poker with the newspaper managers.
Top photo, Kathleen with Laurie Hartmann, the boss of the Prior Lake American and Savage Pacer. Lower photo, from left, Wayne Kasich, boss at International Falls Daily Journal; Matt McMillan, boss at Hutchinson and Litchfield newpapers; Rob, General Manager at the Daily Journal. St. Paul Katie, the boss at Abbey Point.

Future attorney-at-law

Breck Rolfsrud has been accepted for admission to the prestigious Hamline Law University in St. Paul, Minnesota. It's a done deal.

She is the youngest daughter of Steve and Nancy Rolfsrud, Mankato. Steve is a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Law. Breck will be attending the same law school as her older sister-in-law, Jenn Rolfsrud.

Congratulations Breck. We predict nothing but success for you.
Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but Bailey Breck Rolfsrud's namesake is an attorney as well, Bailey Blethen, who, in turn, is related to Stan and Kathleen's daughters.
Breck will be living in St. Paul, which is, according to some, the greatest city on earth.

Congratulations again, Breck. And don't pay any attention to those awful lawyer jokes. (Readers please send your favorite Lawyer stories to

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Virg reports on exciting Oracle find...

"I have found a replacement for our hot tub!"
An urgent email report came today from an exhausted and possibly hallucinogenic brother, Virg. After taking a hike in the Oracle State Park this morning, he rushed back to Saddlebrooke and filed this report. Readers not familiar with the Rolfsrud/Tucson home should know that not only is there a leak in the Rolfsrud garage roof, but the sexy Rolfsrud hot tub, acquired as part of the original real estate transaction a couple of years ago, has yet to be used, for a variety of reasons, mostly, because it doesn't work.
Virg has been researching both problems during his most recent stay in Arizona, but apparently today took a break from his endeavors to hike with friends in the nearby Oracle park.
Here is his terse, yet insightful report, written to accompany the above photo:
I have found a replacement for our hot tub.
Hiked up in Oracle State Park today. 4-5,000 elevation. Not as scenic as the other parks, but less rocky and easier ups and downs.

Unfortunately, we don't know how long the park can stay open. Larry Ellison has slapped a trademark suit against the park, claiming theft of the name and theft of his latest technology (see elevated circular fan structure in picture).


And now the news. . .

These four beautiful women lead active, exciting lives. It is only occasionally that we get a chance to catch up with them here at The Home on Abbey Point, but when we do, there's always something fresh to report. Today is no exception.

In the upper left of the Rolfsrud museum file photo is Jenn Rolfsrud. She married Ford. We enjoyed the morning with the couple today, along with Ford's parents, Steve and Nancy Rolfsrud. Steve and Nancy did their bit for Habitat for Humanity when they graciously delivered their slightly used (and freshly-cleaned) beige living room carpet to our Midtown condo on Lake Street. We're grateful for the donation and will feature it in an upcoming post. (Sorry, generous gift not tax deductible, check with Virg.)

We enjoyed our visit. Steve, Nancy, Ford, Jenn and Kathleen checked out the entire Midtown Exchange building, and we all had breakfast at the Global Market downstairs. Ford ordered his from Pedro in authentic Spanish, under the approving ear of his fluent spouse. Unfortunately, Stan forgot his camera at home so photographs of our Norwegians taking mambo lessons from Rene, the Cuban salsa teacher, are not available. Jenn continues to progress at law school.

In the file photo above right is Stan and Kathleen's youngest, Jennifer Kathleen Blethen. She's staying on the Big Island in Hawaii right now, and will be moving to Maui shortly. Having a wonderful time, etc.
Here's the news: Wild horses won't keep her from the Rolfsrud Roundup July 7 as long as it doesn't conflict with two Minnesota weddings she's helping with this summer.
Jennifer says she just loves attending family stuff. And besides, this veteran world traveler has never been to North Dakota. Really.
Paris, France, yes. Wall Drug, South Dakota, yes. London, England, yes. Tip-o-Tex RV Park, Brownsville, yes. Vatican City, yes. Watford City, no.
Go figure.

Sourcing problems
Some very exciting information from Breck Rolfsrud was received second-hand today from her sister-in-law and then breathlessly confirmed by her mother. Breck is Steve and Nancy's youngest. But in all the excitement, Stan failed to get permission to release this information, so readers are now asked to hold their collective breath, while we await proper authority from somebody. Meantime, you may speculate among yourselves as long as you don't start an unfounded rumor.

Briggs Siitari (Steve and Nancy's recently married middle child) also has news, but that may have to be embargoed as well. We'll stand by as we await details and confirmation.

So let's see. Stan forgot the camera and didn't get any information on the record. Sad, isn't it, how the skills depart so quickly.

Well, it paid for breakfast
Here's some late news Stan can confirm. He learned it late last night when he was awakened at 1 a.m.

St. Paul Katie, flush from recent victories at the Lariat Saloon in Tucson, won 36 bucks playing poker with Da Professor, Stat Man, TripsQueen, Money and two other characters I've never even met. She is taking a nap this afternoon, resting up from all the excitement.

No Limit Texas Hold 'em. Shuffle Up and Deal.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

It won't be long now. . .

Ah, Spring. We've had a few consecutive days of warmer than normal weather, the snow is gone, birds are singing, you know the routine: it is possibly the best time of year. The time when your plans can become reality, when things get really busy, but with the longer days you feel like you might actually have time to do them, and have some fun at it too.

The nearby driving range at Stonebrooke is open. New balls. A new golf pro. Neighbor Tom called to see if we could sneak out and hit a bucket or two, then soon called back to say that things are piling up, he just can't dig the sand out fast enough, it just keeps filling in. Tom, among other things, is the neighborhood tax accountant, so that's understandable. He vows to do better after April 15.

Cleaning the garage today and replacing lights that burned out over the winter; bringing in the driveway stakes that guide the snowplows; wondering if this is the year the deck railings will be re-stained; checking the fertilizer supplies. The cycle of life is most evident right now. While cleaning the garage we whiffed a ripe odor, identified it, then set the garbage can outside for the time being. Emily's diapers, you know.

Normally about now we'd be smelling fecund odors from manure rotting on nearby farm fields. No more. Developers have acquired the last feedlot in these parts, gonna turn 'em into condos and convenience centers. While you hate to see the rural character go, it is not ALL bad.

We have plans to keep the aggressive cattails from taking over the silting-in pond; the golf course general manager said they'd be happy to help dig with the course backhoe. The course superintendent wasn't so sure. He (center in photo) gets a bit grumpy come springtime.

Happily, a neighbor got a good result on her Wednesday cancer surgery, we're all optimistic and continue to cheer for her. A new beginning.

Tomorrow Steve and Nancy come from Mankato to deliver their old carpet. Old carpet? It will still be in great shape and we're happy to use it in the Lake Street condo. Danny will appreciate the soft touch in the morning.

Nephew Ford and his wife Jenn checked in this morning. They'll join us tomorrow for some heavy carpet lifting then a light lunch at noon. He's the new Shakopee varsity tennis coach and he's anticipating the first formal spring practice with his new charges.

So it is the season of promise and we're happy to be deep into it.

It is almost enough to make you forget about Virgil's newsy email from Tucson: there's a leak in our roof.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ans: Z's in Wall Drug, of course

I am trying to remember. . .
World traveler Zachary Shearer can't remember all the places he's been. Help him out by guessing the exact location of this snapshot taken by his uncle. Click on the comment below. Big prizes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Grand Kids

Where are these kids having so much fun? At Grandma Bev's Easter celebration 2006, of course. Big doing's coming up again this year on April 7. Be there or. . .

For those of you in to nostalgia and history, here's a photo at Easter, 2005. In case you don't recognize her, look closely, that's Sosie in Sunol talking to Kathleen in the center of the picture.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Why can't they do this in Arizona?

This 4-bedroom, 3-car McMansion is being built in our neighborhood at 567 Fairhaven Drive, Shakopee, Minnesota. When we left for Tucson on Jan. 18, it was just a hole in the ground and some concrete blocks in it.
One blizzard, one heavy snow storm, 3 record low temperatures later, we returned on March 5 to see this. The roof is shingled, the windows are in, the wiring is in, the heating and plumbing is in. The drywaller is waiting on the insulator. They insulated yesterday. They'll drywall tomorrow.
Insulation is not something you hear much about in Arizona. You don't hear much about a project taking less than a year to do, either, despite ideal working conditions -- dry and warm.
The Saddlebrooke Clubhouse had some work done on it. The place was shut down for months and months and all you heard was alibis.
It is not as if there is a lot of time available either. My friend, who has a home in Tucson, tells about his older dear friend who was building a dream home on a golf course. It took all of three years to get 'er done. He died before he got an permit to occupy. Now it is for sale.

Kathleen and Stan went on the Parade of Homes today, always a cheap form of entertainment. We are also scouting ideas for Linda and Ron's new home in Blaine. Virgil and Becky did the Parade last week and spotted one they liked, No. 622 for $750,000. Kathleen and I saw it today. It was very nice. In fact, we looked at some million dollars plus homes and liked Virgil's better.
The Parade is extended for a week, so maybe Steve and Nancy will join us next Sunday for a look-see if they come then to deliver our carpet and, of course, the wooden peeper-keeper.

Roosevelt Inn is filling

Kathleen tried to get the Rough Rider Room for the Rolfsrud Reunion July 7, but it was taken both nights. We were able to get another room, but it sounds like The Roosevelt is filling fast. Is the Rolfsrud Reunion really that big a draw?

FYI to Mary and Joseph -- Steve has a tent, Harold has a stable.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Bully for the Roosevelt Inn

Cousin Rose Veeder has sent out a kind reminder for those of us planning on attending the Rolfsrud Reunion in Keene, North Dakota, July 7. Rose points out that it is not too early to get hotel reservations. She suggests a variety of inns in the area and adds that July is a busy, touristy, family time so getting your name down soon may be a good idea.

May we recommend the Roosevelt Inn in Watford City? Kathleen and Stan stayed there in December and found everything to their liking. The joint is locally owned, and the desk clerk/concierge once tried to date Karen Rolfsrud during high school and management knows everybody's business in the area. Could be a real asset if you're looking for a true story to tell at the reunion.

And besides, we doubt any of the other hotels have such a fine elk rack as the one we found and admired near the lobby last year. Bully. Just Bully.

See you at the Roosevelt.

Here's Rose's email:

For those of you who need a room for the Rolfsrud Reunion:

I've gotten a few rooms set aside at two motels; however, one motel only has vacancies for July 6 (4 Bears). Here are your choices.

1. The Roosevelt Inn, Watford City -- 1-800-887-9170. They have a web page: if you'd like to learn more about them. A single room for 1 is $51.18; single for 2 is $57.72; double for 2 is $62.08; double for 3 is $65.35; and a double for 4 is $68.62. They do have larger, more expensive suites as well. Check-in is 1 p.m. and check-out is 11 a.m.

2. 4 Bears Casino and Lodge, west of New Town -- 1-800-294-5494. They have set aside 5 rooms (3 nonsmoking; 2 smoking). HOWEVER, they are booked on July 7 (unless they have a cancellation) so you can only count on July 6 at 4 Bears. The rooms are double queen and go for $74.20. Check-in is 4 p.m.; check-out is noon.

3. Four Eyes Motel, Watford City -- 701-444-4126. Located on Main Street near the Museum. Don't know their rates or availability -- they are fairly small.

4. McKenzie Inn, Watford City -- 701-444-3980. Located east of Roosevelt Inn on Highway 85. Don't know their rates or availability, only a few units.

I realize many of you will be staying with relatives in the area, but for those who need to book a room, my advice is to do so pretty soon. Summer is the time for weddings, reunions, and other gatherings.

$3 investment yields trophy only

Regular readers of the Rolfsrud blog may wonder how our friend, the left-handed Tom Lehman -- Dick Robertson, fared at the snooty private golf tournament with his college buddy, David, from Bethel College.

The results are in. They're mixed. That's his pal David in the pre- awards banquet photograph, nattily dressed in a navy blazer and creased khakis and Dick, who chose his ensemble at the Golden Goose Thrift Shop...a tan blazer ($3.00), black golf shirt and unmatched pants. So that's a win for Dick.

The three-day golf championship tourney resulted in a really nice trophy for sixth place. The top five places got all the money. Read about all the details of this event in Brenda Robertson's family blog at

She does a really nice job. And she's blessed with a constant source of wacky material.

Nostalgia for Lake Andrew

This is why Stanley still can't do fractions or long division
Skeptics have challenged Stan's claim that he and his siblings walked to a one-room country school. Photographic evidence is hereby offered. The closeups show Steve and Solveig in one shot and Stan and Linda in another. The photo was taken circa 1957. If you click on it, it enlarges real nice.

One of our classmates, Lorlee Bartos, is not in the photo. Lorlee is Roman Catholic. Sometimes she attended the Catholic School in town, St. Something. Which may explain a lot of things, but not some things. Lorlee is still a dear friend and corresponds from her home in Dallas where, among other things, she dabbles in the local political scene and has developed somewhat of a reputation as a rabble-rouser.
As a community organizer (sometimes one-woman community organizer) Lorlee has opinions about real estate development. So it was no surprise when she responded to our publication of the Lake Andrew plan. Her email follows:

We can never go home again, or we won't recognize it as such. It looks like a nice plan - I just wonder where 10,000 people are going to come from and what it is they will do for jobs.
Ah well. Until about 4 years ago, my mom used to live on the corner there at the Lake Andrew Road -- in the house next to the Gulbranson's house and every time I visited when I was there I would take a walk down towards your old house and was just constantly amazed at the new houses that kept popping up.
Then I drove around Union Lake where we used to go swimming -- the east of our farm. It was a tiny little lake with no houses and now it is totally surrounded.
Guess you can't stop progress, but sometimes one wonders what the definition of progress is.
Lorlee got a look at the photo and sent this note:
I recognize most of the kids in the photo -- how nice and nostalgic. Yes, that would have been the year that the Bartos family went to school in town at St. Mary's under pressure from the local parish priest. Don't know if it was the reason I am a lapsed Catholic or not or if it explains anything. Also don't know if it was a better education than the one room where you could soak up all of the lessons going on -- even if you weren't sitting up at the front table.
Somewhere I have the photo from the year before when you and I would have been in 4th grade and when I think we had the 7th and 8th grade back for those few years.
One of these days if I remember where I have it, I will bring it to the office and pdf it to you.
Hey Lorlee: Thanks for the note. Now Bev Roers Korkowski has challenged us to name all the names in the big photo. Can you do it? Check this out:
Row one, front to rear. First grader Tom (The Mouse) Wagner, Dick Halstead, Ronald Klimek, Earl Anderson, Gary Halstead, Harvey Hiebel. Row two, Vicki Karrow, Jane Anderson, Merle Trousil, Steve Rolfsrud, Roger Kluver, Alan Chan. Row three, Maynard Keller, Rodney Hiebel, Donovan Williams, Solveig Rolfsrud (got it, ei-ei-o). Row four, Stan Rolfsrud, Darrell Williams, Carol Navratil, Mary Kluver, Marlow Kluver. Row five, Tom Navratil, Rodney Karrow, Maynard Keller, Doris Kluver. Row Six, Roland Trousil, Linda Rolfsrud, Warren Trousil, Wesley Hiebel (eighth grader).
Teacher is the late Mercy Lovelace Peterson, or -- may the Lord forgive us our evil and may the dear woman rest in peace --, "old Mercy Pester-snot."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Lake Andrew could be park-like, developer says

The Erling Rolfsrud family moved to Lake Andrew, south of Alexandria, Minnesota, in the early 50s. Mom and Dad sold the place around 1980. Most of our childhood memories come from this place. The one-room country school we all attended was located at the far lower right margin of the drawing, below, indicated by a small rectangle.

This week, the following article ran in the local newspaper.

A huge housing development is being proposed on the north side of Lake Andrew.
How huge?

Big enough that over time, in a decade or so, the number of people living there could approach 10,000 – nearly the size Alexandria is now.
Glenwood businessman Larry Zavadil has been planning the project for years, buying his first piece of property in the area about four years ago.
The plan is unlike anything local zoning officials have seen before. “There’s nothing like this anywhere,” noted Tim Schoonhoven of Widseth Smith Nolting and Associates in Alexandria, the engineer for the project.
It encompasses 650 acres of agricultural land that Zavadil has already purchased and could include more property as it moves ahead. He has options on another 350 to 400 acres.
It calls for a mix of uses – affordable housing (in the $90,000 to $120,000 range), assisted living facilities, apartment high rises, single-family lots and a gated community with luxury townhomes.
All totaled, the development easily includes 1,000 units, said City Planner Mike Weber, who has studied the proposal.
It also could include commercial buildings and office space as well.
The Lake Andrew area offers an excellent location – convenience on and off the freeway and close proximity to both Alexandria and Glenwood, Zavadil said in an interview with the newspaper.
With the right infrastructure, Zavadil envisions 9,000 to 10,000 people living in the north Lake Andrew development. “Highway 29 could serve as a mini-freeway,” he added.
Because the scope of the project is so big, it’s hard to even make an educated guess of the total cost. Zavadil estimated the land costs alone will exceed $12 million and putting in streets, curbs, waterlines and other infrastructure could cost twice that much, so the project would be near the $40 million mark without even considering the building costs.
The overriding goal of the entire development, according to Zavadil and Schoonhoven, is to make it as environmentally friendly as possible.
The plan leaves undeveloped open areas that could be used for a city park or “green space.”
Besides protecting woods and wetlands, the plan would preserve 6,000 feet of prime lakeshore. No lots would be built there and the entire stretch would have only one access to the lake, a shared landing that would also include a boathouse.
There’s room enough to put in 40 lots on that part of the shoreline and each lot could sell for about $300,000. So why is Zavadil giving up roughly $12 million in revenue by not developing all of the lakefront lots?
Zavadil, a former member of the Pope County Land and Zoning Committee, said he is tired of seeing developers come in and chop up lakefront land solely for profit without thinking about the long-term benefits to the neighborhood.
“The whole idea is to make the shoreline more of a park and green space so it’s used by more people,” Zavadil said.
Zavadil could have proposed hacking up the lakeshore with lots every 100 feet or so, each with a dock extending out into the shallow, sensitive part of the lake. But he said he wanted to protect the area, not only for the ones who will live there but for future generations as well.
“I thought there’s got to be something better for the lake and its users,” he said. “We should get people off the lakeshore so we don’t have run-off, grass clippings and other issues.”
This resulted in a plan that relies more on a higher density of people living further back from the lake, where they can still enjoy the lake view without each of them having immediate direct access to it, Zavadil noted.
Zavadil said he hopes his development can serve as a template for future lakeshore developments, one that encourages common park areas and beaches and one point of entry into a lake instead of a “whole bunch of docks and boats.”
If everything goes as Zavadil plans, he hopes to start moving dirt within two years.
Weber is impressed with the development’s sensitive approach to the environment.
“This developer has done a wonderful job master planning his site,” Weber said in an interview with the newspaper. “The lake access, the park areas, the open spaces are all thoroughly planned.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Memo to Kathleen:

Kathleen: This is absolutely the last time we leave Tom Story in charge of watering the plants.

The Norwegian responds:

Leno and Steve 6
Jerry and Bill 2

I just didn't want to brag.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

No score yet in Masolini-Rolfsrud match

World class tennis doubles team Leno Masolini and his pupil, Steve Rolfsrud, were scheduled to compete this morning in a match in Tucson. As yet there has been no report as to the outcome. This generally bodes poorly, as both Leno and Steve are usually quick to report success.

The connection has been set on autoreply for the past week so its use is generally discouraging. It has been reset now, so it is hoped that readers, including Steve and Leno, will take advantage of the cleared channel, do that we can report this outcome to our curious readers.

In a side note, Kathleen already reports missing the licks and nips from Leno and Carolyn's new puppy, Mickey Mousolini.

Dogged friend tracks down peeper-keeper

Breaking news
My Jefferson High Classmate Bev Roers Korkowski (Rolfsrud-Roers sat together a lot) reports tonight that she may have found Kathleen's dog. It is called a peeper-keeper and is available on the internet. I checked her link, and sure enough, there's the bassett beagle mix, wearing a pair of glasses.
I forwarded the email to The Boss and she'll be throwing one in her virtual shopping cart soon. This all benefits our good neighbors, Joe and Mina, who now will receive the original peeper-keeper purchased by Kathleen at the Post Office in Saddlebrooke.
Our thanks to Nancy Rolfsrud for her conscientious yet fruitless search in the Tucson PO and gift shop.
Joe and Mina minded our mail while we were away and worked out a glitch or two at the Shakopee Post Office so we could keep our VISA current. They are great friends and all this effort is worth it. So thanks Bev and Nancy for your part in getting Joe's glasses parked properly by his bed.

In other world news. . .