Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Watermelon, then a nap

Today Kathleen brought home a watermelon and Emily.

Strawberry Angels

At this posting, there is no word as to where the monthly Ladies Who Lunch event was called to order yesteday. Kathleen had mentioned the Cafe Latte, and since it was her birthday, she probably got her way. Kathleen's out of the house at the moment in order to collect Emily for the day, leaving the trailboss to suss the forensics. Only clue was a camera containing two images: 1) a pair of ladies and 2) a cake. Hmm. With no crumb residue or sugar spatter detectable in the suspect's kitchen, it appears the strawberry-laden marvel was simply wistfully admired from afar for its inherent seductive and aesthic wonderment, and not actually purchased as a late birthday take-home. Darn. But that being the case, we exhibit it here, along with the image of Kathleen and her good friend M'liss, believed to be snapped by a willing, well-tipped waiter.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Flowering crab in bloom

Our flowering crab on the corner of the house is in bloom and it makes us very excited. Here's a walk around the neighborhood Stan took this morning with George Handel.

One minute, 15 seconds

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Flowers, ribs and cake

Kathleen's Big Day in one minute

Kathleen's birthday plans. . .

Katie discusses her plans for her birthday today. Two minutes.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Could you hit this window?

We're home today, cooling our jets, because we are expecting a delivery from UPS.

Last night a computer called and said "this product must be signed for" and told us to expect the UPS delivery "between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m."

We anticipate yet another on-time delivery.

Happy Birthday Mom!

It's Beverly Rolfsrud's 88th Birthday today.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Congratulations Breck and Mitchell

Steve and Nancy Rolfsrud write:
Dear Trailboss:
Here's some news from tropical southern Minnesota:
Bailey Breck Rolfsrud is engaged to marry Mitchell Wallerstedt! They just got engaged an hour or so ago. (Mitch had previously requested permission of us so it was not entirely a surprise.)
A little bit about the engaged couple:
Breck just finished her first year at Hamline Law School.
Mitch is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato with a double major in computer management information systems and philosophy (no such combination in any previous Rolfsrud that we know of).
Mitch is employed by Minnesota State University, Mankato in the IT department as a Desktop Support Specialist, Information Technology Specialist II, which means he knows a lot more about computers than the rest of us.
He recently was recognized for his stellar work efforts by receiving the 2008 Achievement Award (which even came with some additional compensation).
Steve and Nancy are both excited about the announcement.
No wedding date has been set.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

We are presently negotiating. . .

Katie Kam is presently in negotiations with noted composer and pianist Steven Letnes for the use of his music in Katie Kam soundtracks. We shall keep you informed of licensing developments as soon as he answers the phone.

Emily's Rose

You knew it would just be a matter of time. Katie Kam meets Emily. Now here's the video.
This morning Kathleen brought home a wheeled toy and Emily for the day. Our neighbor Joe, the native Californian who retired to Minnesota because he was in love, watched the goings on and soon he and Emily got acquainted and bonded.
We shot an hour of stuff just as it happened, then cut it tight to 4 minutes. So please indulge the grandparents and click on our video. Emily's having her nap now. She'll watch it when she gets up.

Cul-de-sac comedian John Gerken

The neighbors across the cul-de-sac, John and Mary Gerken, just got back from a quick and fun trip to Nashville. Last night John joined the tarmac crowd for a jolly outdoor neighborhood party while his wife cared for a grandchild. (Photo above is from a previous tarmac party). John told about their recent Opryland experience and regaled the gathering with an old knee-slapper they had just heard from that sacred stage: It was told by an overweight female entertainer whose name has already been forgotten.

"I see a lot of married women out there," she says. "Married women are heavier than single women. Do you know why married women weigh more?

"When a single woman comes home at night, she goes to the refrigerator, then goes to bed.

"When a married woman comes home, she goes to bed, sees what's in it, then goes to the refrigerator."

Happy Birthday Adam Jerdee

Stan's nephew, Adam Jerdee, celebrates his birthday today. He got started celebrating early (photo) this weekend at the Jerdee/Underwood May 17 get together in Des Moines, Iowa. He's the manager of the Jerdee Family Blog, linked below, and employed by Wells Fargo.
Don't let Al Franken steal your spotlight, Adam, it's his birthday too. He's running for Senate up here in Minnesota.
Happy Birthday, Adam.
And, as always, best wishes to his wife, Kim.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Our little yard guard

Sosie’s old story posted below, about the raccoon in her yard, reminded me of our days on Canyon Ridge in Eden Prairie.
Our two-story walkout perched on the edge of a ravine. A small fenced back yard provided an exercise area for our little black poodle, Daisy. Kathleen would carefully monitor this yard with a plastic shovel, tossing any discoveries randomly over the fence to spread down over the ravine, where it would recycle in nature’s way of dealing with this kind of thing. Very ecological, very convenient. But we had no idea at the time of all the benefits.
Our next door neighbor didn’t have a dog, but he did have raccoons. He fought as diligently as Sosie did. But no amount of bungee cords, lights or devices would keep those 'coons off his back deck. The marauders intruded constantly in a way we thought most comical, because right next door we never had a problem with raccoons violating our turf. We had no idea why this was, until we thought about it years later.
Daisy never weighed more than eight pounds and was certainly no match for a raccoon. But apparently her ever-freshened widely-scattered patch of business cards packed a very powerful message to would-be interlopers.

Raccoon and the atomic bomb

Kathleen was clearing some files yesterday and came upon a couple of items too good to throw out. The first was a certificate of "appreciation for effective service" that her uncle, Melvin Nagle, received in August of 1945 from the Secretary of War, Henry Stinson. It commends him for his part in the Top Secret Manhattan project, which produced the Atomic Bomb, bringing about the destruction of two Japanese cities and the conclusion of World War II.

The second equally curious document was what was known as a "letter," written in September of 1993, before its use was replaced by email. The letter uses the same alphabet as email, so it was easy to translate. (Click to see exquisite detail) It contains an all-time favorite story written by Sosie to her siblings. It is repeated below. The letter, along with the commendation, will be saved as artifacts.

Sept. 8, 1993

Sosie wrote:

All goes well here and my battle with the raccoons continues. When we got back from vacation, the pond and patio area looked like a war zone. So we hooked up the electric fence around the pond. At midnight I checked and saw six raccoon, ambling peacefully in and around the pond and electric fence. So I called Bill to see our ineffectiveness. By the time he got downstairs, they had wandered over to the oak tree. When we walked around the deck near them, they came running down the hill TO us. So Bill got his pellet gun again. Stood four or five feet from them and hit each one until it walked away.

Then yesterday my Yard Guard came in the mail. This is a device that emits high frequency sounds that are supposed to make these creatures uncomfortable. The brochure says that it may take a little while to retrain the animals. Well, I guess. Last night they unplugged the device. They are never going to learn anything if they do that!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Katie Kam cut loose in Cub Foods

The newspaper company purchased some video cameras for use by reporters. They're very easy to use, very user friendly. About the size of a cigarette pack. (Remember cigarettes?) To demonstrate their ease of use, Kathleen was given a camera and an assignment this afternoon: When you're shopping at Cub Foods, document what you see with the flip camera. Stan edited the footage in the Windows Moviemaker that comes with Windows. Here's the result:

Iowa Norwegians party too

The Jerdees and Underwoods gathered at Allen and Becky's in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday to celebrate the Norwegian Constitution Day. "Not only was it a good excuse to have a party on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, but it was a nice chance to recognize our family heritage," says Stan's nephew, Adam.

There's a beautiful story and photos of the party on the Jerdee blog. Just click on the link below, left. (Speaking of good looking, that's Stan's oldest sister Becky in the photograph at right.)

We mentioned earlier that the Norwegians over at sister Linda's also had a big hoop-ti-do, and you can see that on the Erickson blog.

So Sosie, when do your Mohicans loosen up?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mom Sings On YouTube

Linda recently filed a complaint that Stan is getting a lot of mileage out of one measley visit to see his mother this spring. Linda, you ain't seen nothing yet. Check out this little video. We're experimenting with some things and threw this together today. Just click on the play icon. The images are weak, but Mom's voice is as strong as ever.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Preakness Syttende Mai

Thank goodness for Erik and Shana's blog. Without it, we may have missed Syttende Mai, the Norwegian Independence Day, when our forefathers threw out those oppressive Swedes. Here is their daughter, Anja, one and a half, with her classic Scandinavian features, wearing a traditional outfit. If you want to know more about the Norwegians and the big day, click on the Erickson blog, linked at left.
If you want to know about horse racing, see Kathleen, a Swede. She took her big brother to the Shakopee track today to view the Preakness and to bet on the live races.
As she left the house, Stan sagely advised her to put money down on Big Brown, because that's Mom's maiden name. All very scientific, don't you know.
Brown won, but of course everybody else bet on that horse too, so it didn't pay out much. $2.40 on a $2 bet. Now Brown is vying for the Triple Crown on June 7.
Kathleen did score some other winners, but that is to be expected. A few years back, she hawked pink tip sheets at the track for two bucks apiece. She competed with Jake Mauer, who sold his own green tip sheet right along side her, as the patrons entered the gates of Canterbury Downs. Jake is Joe Mauer's granddad and he still handicaps the ponies, but he's not at the track so much anymore. He's got other fish to fry at the Twins ballpark.
(For those of you who don't know, Joe Mauer is the catcher for the Minnesota Twins and won the major league batting title last year. We saw him do it in the metrodome, going 3 for 5 on his final day of the regular season, besting the Yankee contender, Derek Jeter, and somebody else. This singular achievement is all well and good, but Joe is from Kathleen's hometown, which alone had already elevated him to sainthood.)
Kathleen won some money at the track yesterday. Didn't say how much. Hope it is enough for Sunday breakfast.
Her brother will be eating peanut butter sandwiches all week.

Wow. Gary & Carol's young man!

Today Stan and Kathleen received an invitation to Gary Lussier's graduation party, to be held June 7 in Wayzata.
Gary is the son of Carol Engstrom Lussier and her husband, Gary. That's right, sports fans, Carol was Sosie's classmate throughout junior high and high school, and she's got a son about to graduate from high school. Mother was pals with Gary's late grandmother, Thelma. Rolfsrud legend has it that Mom had her first taste of a special beverage in Thelma's kitchen on Broadway in Alexandria.

Gary is not only one good-looking kid, he has talent. The co-captain of his football team at Breck in Golden Valley, he sang and took a role in "The Music Man," plays Lacrosse, and enjoys film and literature. He'll attend the U of M in the fall.

That's where his sister, Hannah, is a junior. This summer she'll be in Washington, D.C. on a Morris K. Udall Internship. Her sister, Leah, just finished her first year of Law School and will work at Faegre and Benson this summer. Leah's boyfriend, Jesse, will be working at the Jacobson and Buffalo firm across town in St. Paul.

Carol and Gary, about to be empty-nesters, write: "We are trying to comprehend how the years from babies to young adults have flown."

The couple have a summer cottage on Lake Darling in Alexandria. Congratulations go to the entire family of over-achievers.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mom's Birthday Suit

Mom's birthday isn't until May 23, but when Nancy and Steve get there to party it up, Mom will be fresh in her new summer-weight capri outfit. The seersucker pants are complemented by a smart blue top, featuring a floral motif stitched by quick and clever Chinese. (Click to enlarge detail.)

At right, Kathleen Rolfsrud adjusts her trim mother-in-law's garment, making sure it will flow properly on the big day.

Because of the passing of Ron Letnes' sister JoAnn this week, Linda will not be able to attend the birthday festivities, but will be there in spirit, as will the rest of Beverly's loved ones.

Everyone reading this item should please consider sending Mom a greeting, short and sweet, on her day. It would be great to flood her little computer with happy messages from family, friends and people she's never met but hope she has a fine 88th. Her email address is

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Breck and Shana

Happy Birthday to nieces Breck Rolfsrud and Shana Letnes Erickson. Breck (top) is Nancy and Steve's; Shana is Ron and Linda's.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pop is one year older in Yuma

Somewhere just north of the border in Yuma, Arizona, St. Paul native Tony Brewer is celebrating his birthday with his family. Tony is Kathleen and Stan's nephew, her sister's only son. Tony does some sheriffing in that No Country For Old Men, but he's still young... course today he got a year older. Tony is pictured with his wife, Yvonne, son Andy, daughter Evelyn, and, of course, his Aunt Kathleen. Happy Birthday Tony!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Explosion on Abbey Point!

As predicted on this blog just three days ago, eco-riots have broken out in the struggling tulip beds of Abbey Point and elsewhere, with numerous explosions interrupting the placid landscape. Color-starved Minnesotans, suffering from extended winter-time blues, welcomed these outbursts, but no one moreso than Colorado ex-patriate Linda Rolfsrud Letnes. It is mid-May, after all.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

St. Paul Katie has a Big Night

Wearing her lucky Durango sweatshirt and Mother's Day corsage, St. Paul Katie skillfully worked the felt last night, winning enough to buy a tank of gasoline. That's Da Professor, Sheldon Anderson, in a defensive posture, protecting his stack, but alas to no avail, as eventually he left the game, chipless. Dave and Nancy Smith hosted the event and spread a tasty players' buffet in their south Minneapolis kitchen.

Happy Mother's Day

Thanks for tending the nest. (Photo by Stan)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Oops! Midtown Dan got the Queen of Spades

Kathleen's brother, Dan Neilson, checked out the new computer/office table being put together in the Midtown Chicago Lofts condo today. It still needs a bit of trim. Hai Dang loaded an assortment of computer games on an old Dell computer and Dan is now whacking away at it as we write. There's Hearts, pinball, Solitaire, Free Cell, Minesweeper, all the goodies.

The MDF faux marble desk and top was finished and polished earlier this week and hauled downtown today. Didn't come out as good-looking as we had hoped -- the one in Arizona came out better -- but it will work just fine. Chose the wrong base color. Of course, God always does a much better job on his marble creations, but then he always wants so much for them.

Curious Abbey Point neighbors inspecting the mess at the Rolfsrud Garage Marble Works are most polite, but privately think the whole thing a bit odd.
Oh well.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Attn Bakken Shale fans:

You gotta hear this idiot reporter on Fox News explaining the reason they haven't been drilling in North Dakota until now: It's because the oil was buried under the big lake! Now that science has figured out a way to get under Lake Sacajawea, the Arabs are screwed. Hilarious. Click on the Bakken Shale Link below, then click on the Fox video for a good laugh.
Also see the dry comments from the locals who saw the report.

Hey Bud, let's see what you got

In the most frustrating spring season in recent memory, the Minnesota cold has frozen nature's song. Until now. Bulging tulips tip off an imminent crimson show, while eager Black Hills Spruce swell fat, juicy knobs of sap. Please stand by, Linda, we're about to explode.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Double for ol' Grandad

Our Arizona winter friends, Dick and Brenda Robertson, have just learned they'll be grandparents in December. Pictured is an understandably emotional father, photographed by his wife, as he is told the exciting news. Their Rebecca and Manuel, (below) who were married last summer, have announced that they will be parents of TWINS in early December.
St. Paul snowbirds Dick and Brenda make frequent appearances on this blog during January and February. Dick golfs with the Rolfsrud boys and Kathleen is teaching Brenda and her sister, Sue Krueger, to play poker.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Anything from Bismarck today?

Doris is the boss at Clearwater Suites. Let there be no doubt about it. She runs a fine show and takes great pride in the satisfaction of the residents. Mom loves her Clearwater Suites home and Doris just wouldn't allow it to be any other way.

She manages a challenging environment and does so with a smile. One clever way she keeps in touch with everyone? She has assigned herself the task of mail carrier. That way, no matter what the distraction, she must see every resident at least once a day and keep herself informed of their individual situations. A masterful idea and a hallmark of good management.

Here she has Tuesday's mail in hand. "Anything from Bismarck?" Mom jokes. They're drilling for oil on Mom's mineral lease in western North Dakota, and Mom knows that if there is ever to be any news about it, it will be postmarked "Bismarck, ND."

Over here on Abbey Point, we await notification from The Publisher's Clearinghouse.

Nothing on that, either.

Chain extends to Manhattan

It all started with a simple idea. Good, solid Mexican food at affordable prices with lots of coupons and two-for-one deals. People noticed. Carefully building on this tidy idea, he saved and saved his money, investing wisely only in good ingredients, an extra powerful dishwasher and scrupulous training in sanitary practices. Success came, and he said, "Why Not Manhattan? I can make it there. I'll bet New Yorkers would love my steaks and chops: dried, butterflied and well done, of course, with nary a trace of juice or blood."
Our thanks go to East Coast Bill, husband to the lovely Briggs Rolfsrud Siitari and special assignments photographer to the Family & Friends blog. Were it not for his alertness on the streets of The City, we may have missed this opportunity to yank Bro.Virg's chain.

I got it! It's Ed Prchal, Mom! Ed Prchal

We would have been right on time for Mom's picnic, but Guy Rolfsrud got everything screwed up. We Rolfsruds pride ourselves on promptness, some of us even to the point of driving around the block for fear of arriving early.
Stan was lathering up for a quick shave when the phone rang and it was Guy over at the Flying Cloud Airport, looking for a playmate or at least a lunch. Guy is the son of our North Dakota cousin, Harold Rolfsrud. Guy lives with his family on a lake by Cottonwood, near Granite Falls, and is a charter pilot for an executive flying service. So, occasionally, when he has time to waste during a Minneapolis turnaround, he gives Stan a call.
Guy was immediately told that he was interfering with a finely-tuned schedule, and that mother would be informed of this fact, but he just went right on talking anyway.
He was talking up Mom's oil well in North Dakota so there really was no good reason to cut him off prematurely. Mom would want to know this. Guy says he knows nothing about the situation, so that makes his story all the more interesting as speculation and imagination are thus permitted to run wild. This it did. With oil at $120 a barrel and with a wellhead potentially yielding 200 barrels a day, it becomes very important to know what your share of all this could be. Which no one knows, of course. It boggles.

Mom did admit to having some anxiety about our late arrival when Stan and Kathleen showed up at the Clearwater Suites fifteen minutes late, despite having taken advantage of the secret Osakis cutoff. Actually, Mom thought we were a full hour and fifteen minutes late, apparently having slipped off daylight savings time momentarily.
She was patiently awaiting us in the stuffed and striped hallway chair outside her room and we felt horribly guilty as we trudged up the incline, baskets and coolers and gifts in hand.
Before we had a chance to blame our tardy arrival on her nephew's son, we were introduced to her neighbor, two doors down. Well, not exactly introduced, because no one could remember her name. But Evelyn quickly supplied it and we all laughed about how much trouble we have recalling the easiest things.

Then Nola, the next door neighbor, pulled up. That name was easily remembered because of a fantastic memory hook: She is the former proprietor of Nola's Ark, a pontoon restaurant that once plied the mighty waters of Alexandria's Lobster Lake.
"Are you the oldest one?" Nola asked Stan. "No, but I am the oldest boy," he replied with a smile.
Mom was ready to eat as soon as we got there, but first we had some gifts to open. This done, we proceeded to the outdoor courtyard with the cooler and basket. We gathered some chairs, spread Danny's checkerboard tablecloth, and put down plates and lunch, all the while realizing our rapid movements were creating some buzz behind the many courtyard windows.
Nola ambulated herself out to our table to say a few things. Kathleen had an extra sandwich and we invited her to stay. She couldn't stay, she said, because she hadn't signed out. Stan spotted the friendly face of an attendant at the courtyard door.

"I am so sorry," he said to her, " But I cannot remember your name." It was Peggy, of course, he had met her many times before, and now she happily excused Nola to join us for lunch. Then Peggy took the formal group photo for the family and friends blog.
The four of us sat remarking on the lovely weather this rare day in May. Mom chuckled and talked oil business, trying her best to remember the name of the other farmers on that section of land by the old place homesteaded by Stan's grandparents. We talked about Leo, a family friend who had had a chain saw accident on our farm and was friends recently with Mom at the Suites. Did Mom say he had passed on? Stan remembers every minute of that terrible day after the tornado, but he couldn't remember Leo's last name.
Nola asked if Stan was the oldest one. "No," Mom said. "But he is the biggest."
We sat, genuinely enjoying the sweet company in the warming, breezy courtyard. Life is good at the Clearwater, we agreed. Nola confessed to being a bit lonely now, but accepted that as part of life's challenges. It is hard for old friends to come by often as she would like them to, she remarked.
We agreed. It takes eight hours and a tank of gas just to have a two-hour lunch with Mom, we said. It is sad, but these things do make a difference. Mom mentioned how fortunate she was to have her companion, Michelle. As soon as dessert was cleared, in walks Peggy and.... Denise. (It is Denise, right?) They brought fresh desserts from the cafeteria: a square of brownies, a bright red cherry and a dot of ice cream. Mom said she'd save hers in her mini-fridge. Stan wolfed his.
We retired inside, putting the courtyard back exactly as it had been. Kathleen took a picture of Nola's Ark, framed in Nola's room, near the handmade Lobster Lake dish towel stitchery.
"Are you the oldest one?" Nola asked Stan. "No, but I am the smartest one," he replied, proud of his best response of the day.
Mom looked a tad tuckered, while claiming that visitors don't tire her and that it doesn't matter if she misses her nap. We stayed on.

Bud Chan
Mom's getting all wound up for an 88th Birthday on May 23, conveniently just one day before Kathleen's birthday. Convenient, because it makes it so easy for Stan to remember it.
We visited a while in Mom's room, trying to remember to speak softly to Mom and loudly to Nola.
For some reason, Mom wanted to talk about this man. This man had helped build the Farwell house. He was a very nice man. He worked with Bud Chan. "Oh, I know who you mean," Stan said. "He was a hero to Darrell Williams. Darrell was always talking about him. What was his name?"

"Yes," Mom said, "He didn't have children. I just can't remember his name. Darn." Frustration hung heavy. We just wanted to remember the name.
"It will come. It will come," Stan comforted Mom. "Yes, I know," she nodded, "but you will be gone."
"Have Michelle email me the name when you get it," Stan suggested.
On the way out, we stopped briefly at the manager's office. Doris guessed all the male names that might fit. No match.
It wasn't until Stan and Kathleen were half past New Munich that it came.
"Ed Prchal. Ed Prchal. It was Ed Prchal." It just felt so good to say it, a sensation of redemption that all is not lost, that there are still active memory fragments.
"Yes, so what about it," Kathleen asked. "What did your mother want to say about him?"
"I have no idea. But I remembered the name."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Hey Bev. . .

Didja hear the one about the Irish Catholic. . .
Beverly Rolfsrud and her daughter-in-law, Kathleen, enjoyed a chuckle over picnic lunch today at the Clearwater Suites in Alexandria. Sunny skies prevailed with an amazing noon time temperature of exactly 72 perfect degrees. The picnic basket carried chicken salad sandwiches, assorted fruit, white cheddar cheetos and Arizona iced tea from Shakopee. Oh yes, a bite of lemon cake dessert too, of course.

The neighbor has yet another birthday

Happy Birthday, Tom Story!
I asked Kathleen to bake you a birthday cake last night because she makes a really great cake. Then I got busy at the clubhouse and I came in kind of late. I would have brought the cake over then, but I forgot. Anyway, this morning we are heading to Alexandria to have a picnic lunch in the courtyard with my mother at the Clearwater Suites. Use the secret password on the garage door and let yourself in. The cake is in the fridge.

Happy 61.


(Leave the beer.)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Full coverage now available

Check out the Jerdee blog, linked below, for full details and photos of Adam Jerdee's graduation.

Thought for the Day. . .

If you are going to cut corners. . .
It helps to have a crooked ruler.
This tool came in very handy yesterday for mapping out the irregular shape of our marble counter top. You just sort of bend it freely as you go along. It is just stiff enough to stay in place while you mark off the curve with a pencil.
Of course, if you want to draw precise curved figures, like an oval or a curve that are mathematically sound and geometrically correct, call Ford Rolfsrud.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

She's Two!

Emily Kathleen celebrated her second birthday with a party today at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Her aunts, Marcelline and Jennifer, as well as Great Uncle Dan and her Godparent, Marcus, joined mother and child for a Saturday afternoon gift opening, cake and romp.

Marcus drove from Green Bay and received a golden trophy, scavenged from a neighbor's dumpster, for traveling the longest distance.

Never to be outdone, Missy slipped away to a neighborhood garage sale and wowed her sisters by procuring $19 worth of toddler clothes, originally purchased for an estimated $300 by rich people with spoiled children.
(Click to enlarge the garments and see all the fine needlework. You can also see Missy's beautiful fingernails.)

A special birthday candle that was supposed to play "Happy Birthday" as it burned, misfired, a dud. But a lusty homemade chorus in full birthday harmony easily made up for that.
The biggest controversy of the day occurred when Emily, who still refers to Stan as "gamma," had no trouble at all pronouncing "Danny."

There was so much fun and excitement that we missed the Kentucky Derby all together.