Sunday, September 30, 2007

Half Moon Lake, Wisconsin

Photos of the newly-acquired Letnes and company lake cottage have been received and are published herewith. Please stand by for more details. This drive-by shooting is all we have presently. A fact-finding probe has been launched with more revealing information and better views anticipated.
Half Moon Lake is located beyond Taylor's Falls, 87 miles from Virgil's house and an easy 59 miles from The Wexford.

These luckies got to go to the State Fair!

Missy, Marcelline, Jennifer; Emily and Max.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The clarion call of a simpler lifestyle

Linda and Ron Letnes, along with some family members, are purchasing a lake cabin in Wisconsin. There's a lot of excitement among other family members who are not investors, but dream that one day they'll be invited over for a fish fry and a dip. This excitement has led to wild speculation about the location and appearance of this real estate acquisition, but no hard information has yet been revealed by the new owners. To damp down the enthusiasm, Linda has mentioned that it is a bit of a fixer-upper and that, as of yet, no photos are available. The photo above is certainly not of the new lake cabin and bears no resemblance to it. No one knows where this picture originated or who took it. When actual photos of the new cabin are produced, they will be immediately published in hopes of alleviating some of this unnecessary confusion.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Looking to buy an Erling Rolfsrud book?

From time to time people will inquire as to the availability of books written by our father, the late Erling N. Rolfsrud. Suzann Nelson, of Rural Route Bookstore, a confirmed Lutheran, is in charge. Here's her information and the link to her web site.:

Erling N. Rolfsrud Books
Rural Route Bookstore is the sole distributor of Erling N. Rolfsrud's (1912 - 1994) books. Eight of his twenty-some books are still available. Seven of these are about pioneering and homesteading in Western North Dakota, and while they are geared to children, they are thoroughly enjoyed by adults as well.
(Interesting tidbit: While going through my Mom's old stuff this summer, my daughter noticed that Mr. Rolfsrud was the keynote speaker at my high school graduation. I had forgotten that, but I have not forgotten reading Gopher Tails for Papa in grade school. Suzann Nelson)

One card draw, no peek

Card tips from Emily: If all you've drawn is one lousy Red Snowman, you might have to bluff to win the big pot. Hide your face and you can still fool some of 'em, even if they think they know what's in your hand. But when playing poker with St. Paul Katie, you're always aces. Raise her big time. Grandma's just a softie and she'll fold just so she can hold you.

Yes, Emily, this is how Uncle Virg started

(This, and a portfolio of Municipal Bonds and No-load Mutual Funds.)

Happy Birthday, Virg!

Besides owning a fine dress shirt, handmade by Beverly Rolfsrud, one of the boys in the photo above owns stocks and bonds.

Click to enlarge your favorite Virgil pix.

Birthdays are fun, it is the morning after that will get you.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A wedding 27 years ago -- simple, splendid

Exactly 27 years ago today, Stan and Kathleen were married on a Friday morning under a maple tree at Lake Ann Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The tree was a brilliant gold, set against the green foliage and grass on a splendid fall day. Scott County Clerk of Court Brendan Suel made it legal. Newspaper photographer Greg Helgeson recorded the action. The City of Chanhassen had no idea we were using its park. Tech students having a fall picnic nearby applauded the outcome.

There's just a stump now where the maple tree stood. One of the witnesses has died. But the love expressed and promises made that day live on and will be renewed this afternoon over a plate of ribs at Tony Roma's in the Mall of America.

The original plans for a big wedding reception fell through when the would-be hostess suffered anxiety attacks over the prospect of having all those guests over. So Stan's pal and business associate, Gary Welch, along with his wife, Georgianne, stepped forward at the last minute and took on our whole ram dam fam.

Three white-haired ladies were the first to arrive on the reception scene in Prior Lake Saturday. Kathleen's two aunts and her mother. Florence wasn't so sure about a marriage outside of the church. Things were complicated. But Auntie Bubbles prevailed.
The Lutheran boy from Alexandria married the Catholic girl from St. Paul in a mixed marriage, even if it wasn't officially sanctioned by Rome.

The wedding package included three girls, so there were a lot of commitments made that day, commitments that continue on, with new ones added, from time to time.

We're grateful for these 27 years together that have brought us so many blessings. Thank you for your part in giving us a rich and full marriage and life together.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The 'Exploding Beer Can, Head Lice' saga

(Our daughter's experience this week with head lice brought a knowing chuckle from her mother. Annually, when the children were in school, Kathleen would get a letter announcing a head-lice outbreak at Chaska Elementary, warning parents to be on guard. This time, it was for real.)
Dear Mom and Stan,
A most blog-worthy evening, Sunday night.
We await photos from friends, regarding Max's odyssey to Mississippi. The coming home events last night seemed more like a sitcom than real life. Max returned from his father's house at the usual time Sunday night. We discovered that we only had a small portion of the school supplies list that was to be brought to school today (Monday). While rummaging around the house we found we did have a few pencils and pens, but not surprisingly most of the required art supplies and some journal books, unused from last years required school supplies list.
Upon entry into the backpack, mom found Odyssey school work uncompleted, that was to be done Monday if not this week…who knows?
So we began to work on the homework together until constant itching of the child's head seemed to stem from more than just thinking.
Off to the bathroom to discover Mississippi School trips can bring home unappreciated souvenirs, like Head Lice.
It's now 11 pm, and after considering our options, Max opted for the Mom's backyard, trash can barbershop over sleeping with bugs in hair 'til tomorrow.
The unique look created by flashlight only proved that acrylics were a much more natural medium for the mother.
This was expressed in about 20 different ways by Max's extended vocabulary which could have bested the "Your Nose is large" scene from Cyrano de Bergerac. Mom was just glad that he had a good sense of humor, since he had been on an intentional "grow-my-hair down-to-my-waist project" and his hair had finally been long enough to put in a ponytail.
After the non-aveda approved haircut, he was off to the showers. What to put on the scalp and bit of hair still left to kill those things until tomorrow? Beer seemed a logical choice, but Mom wasn't sure if she should put it on the scalp and get those lice drunk or just drink it herself…it was already Midnight.
Onto the hair Pilsner Urquell (who said we don't have taste)…..then shampoo.
After Max was dry we checked Marcelline's head for similar friends or their children, and found none.
To be sure, she showered and sent Max running for a beer which he returned with the top still on. "Can you open it?" Says mom, "How?" came from the almost 13-year-old. "Use the can opener." Came the reply from the mother who must be doing something right. :)
A moment later a loud yell confirmed the sitcom quality of the evening "MOM, The beer exploded all over the kitchen."
We spent the rest of the early a.m laughing and relaxing, knowing the child would not be admitted into the school with any possible Head lice….which would give us an additional day to finish that homework, order on-line standard overnight, and have a friend deliver the hair razor so mom could redeem herself as a pretty darn good barber and turn her almost hippy child into a Monk.

Wish we had a camera for it all.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How may we help you today?

Jordan Independent makeover revealed
The Jordan Independent was established around 1880. You could look up exactly when, because the back issues are now prominently displayed in public view in the front reception area of its newly redecorated offices.

The present building was originally constructed about 1955 for use by the U.S. Postal Service. It was a big deal back then. The dedication included an open house, guest speakers and dinner at the VFW, according to a boastful news article of the day. It was built across from the railroad tracks so mailbags could be efficiently tossed off the train, rolled through the big back door, sorted and dispensed to the front hall customer lock boxes.

The original newspaper office was near the post office. That's not by accident. It is fun even today to drive through small towns, look for the old post office and then, sure enough, there will be a newspaper office (probably shuttered) nearby, reflecting an old-time symbiosis.

In 1982 we sold the old Jordan Independent newspaper office and purchased the post office building. The Post Office, now served by trucks, had moved to the old Super Valu store, because Super Valu had moved to the edge of town in a much bigger building. Progress, you know.

We didn't do much to the interior. Just put some typewriters, files and desks into it. The editor sat in the old postmaster's office. There was a crummy government bathroom and little else. In the succeeding years we've fixed the roof, changed out all the windows, put in air conditioning and painted it a couple of times.

This summer we did a complete makeover of the interior, and didn't spend too much money doing it. We went with a 1940s theme to reflect some small town ideals and values, even though Jordan is presently one of the fastest growing towns in the metro area. Someday, the population center of Scott County will be near Jordan.

Just about everybody loves the warmth of the Norman Rockwell family of paintings. His work represents the idealism and spirit of that era.
We bought some 40s prints reflecting newspaper humor, but in addition to that purchased copies of "The Four Freedoms" that President Franklin Roosevelt espoused during the run-up to World War II. The freedoms: "Freedom from Fear," Freedom from Want," "Freedom of Religion," and "Freedom of Speech," were values that differentiated the U.S. from its enemies. Rockwell painted representations of them and helped sell War Bonds.

The prints hang in the reception area, near the new shelving for the decades of historical copies of the Independent. We hope visitors will sense and associate these values with our product.

The building was built for the government without any frills. We added crown mouldings by ripping and routing big 4x8 sheets of medium density fiberboard to good effect and little cost.

Fluorescent lighting was a big deal in the 1950s and the 10 foot ceilings were loaded with them. That was great for sorting mail, or WalMart, but not for reporters working three feet above the floor, staring into cathode ray tubes. So we threw out the rusting, buzzing, flickering fixtures and replaced them with low-cost reproduction retro fancies featured at a local big box and built by Chinese communists. We screwed in some eco green bulbs and we're done.

My partner, Matt Drees, did the painting and just about every odd job, including setting a new ADA Big John. Carpenter Charley Reis cut the vanity in a sexy french swash.
We store 50 banker boxes (two feet deep) of company business records in Jordan, much of it is held as long as the IRS requires and then discarded, only to be replaced by new records. We built a dry storage system to accommodate this cycle.

In keeping with the 40s theme we put a checkered resilient floor in beiges throughout most of the building, with a small amount of carpet in the work station areas. We cleaned and sealed the glass block, an innovation when the building was built and a feature which is regaining popularity. For our purpose, it gives nice lighting to the south side of the building. Sealing the cracks and adding a storm window should eliminate the present need for space heaters in winter.

Left undone is a conference room. Office hours are 8:30 to 3:30 weekdays. Come visit and see what we've done.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday morning breakfast

Neighbors Greg and Phyllis Collier joined Kathleen and Stan for breakfast this morning. Greg and Phyllis had lunch at the St. Paul Hotel yesterday and took in the Ordway's "Rocky Horror Picture Show" play. They enjoyed the weird cult offering, noting that it was unusual fare for this venue. Greg is fully-retired and getting ready to head for their winter home near Phoenix; Phyllis, a fixture at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis, will be honored tomorrow night for her work there. She will join Greg in Arizona later. A stated goal at this morning's breakfast was to get Kathleen onto the links soon. She agreed. This afternoon, Greg and Stan will be staining their respective decks, after half-heartedly watching the Vikings performance.

Friday, September 21, 2007

One thing about an adult community . . .

Children are not allowed to use the playgrounds.
The brand new tot lot was deserted this afternoon, so we didn't have to share nice. Emily is an old hand at the swings now, so much so that she tries mightily to show no foolish emotions when she gets a big push. She's too cool for school, sometimes. Makes it harder to get the grin the blog fans expect. We had better luck at the slide and the climbing deals.

If it looks like Emily has been abandoned, fear not. Helicopter Grandma is just out of the frame on these shots, and you can even see her in action if you click on the images to enlarge. Look closely at two of them.

We took a side trip to the Jordan office today. Stan's summer project is just about done, and in time for the Parade of Homes! We got some photos of the new joint with Emily helping us to show things off. Stay tuned.

So she had a big day, today, and is taking a nap as we sort and post these new photos. Mom will be here shortly from work. Won't it be fun when Emily can actually tell her Mom about the day's adventures?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stan, Opie and Samuel Adams

Chaska Herald Editor Mark Olson was invited over tonight to test out the new beer bar on the Southeast deck. Mark is editor number 14 at the Herald, which was founded in 1862. He's competently run the paper for at least five years now. Started there as a reporter. Stan was Editor No. 6 and Publisher No. 4. Some relatives think he's still the editor of the Chaska paper, though he left the job in 1978.

Mark was chosen to test the new beer bar because of his close professional association with a long line of experienced drinkers.
To wit: Mistakenly thinking his car to be in reverse, a besotted predecessor once pumped the gas pedal until the car finally leaped the curb and crashed through the front window of the newspaper office.

Somehow, although the entire town knew about it by suppertime, the event never made the paper.

Mark's image is a bit more wholesome. Some folks think he looks like Ron Howard and call him Opie. Tonight Mark approved of the table built by his former boss and was rewarded with a steak dinner grilled up by St. Paul Katie.

The project was inspired by Stan's Mankato brother, who hand-built a three-level deck with flying bridge this summer. Ostentatious yes. Some envy here, yes. But Steve's back at work now, so it appears we won't be submitting a joint bid for the I-35 project.

Red warning this morning

We've been warned. The signs are everywhere. Big changes coming. Everywhere the trailboss looked this morning the Master of the Seasons was speaking. "Look out, get ready." Bright red flags were everywhere, boldly telling us to be advised, something is just ahead. Pay attention now.
While yellow and gold cautiously help out, in the end they are just too mellow to really get the juice up. Thank goodness for crimson and maroon.

You know what it's about. It's going to happen real soon.

Suddenly, a cold snap will change everything. Death lurking everywhere in the darkened, chilly corners, awaiting the unprepared. Be aware.

Yes, there's still some time left. Time for a glorious fall season, like the intense showy flourish of a fireworks finale. Enjoy it, but don't linger. Don't get attached. There's a long, cold winter coming. So much yet to do. Follow the signs and. . . good luck.