Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Mom looked great, feels great, and her arm is much better now... doesn't need the sling.
The nation may be in its worst shape since the Great Depression and the electorate may be calling for change, but that doesn't shake our rock-ribbed Republican. No change for her, no sir, she's already voted and she voted straight up, if you must know. She did her research, she says, and, among other things, she's a bit suspicious of that comedian. (Shows just what can happen when Linda is out of the country.)
We talked about her children. She loves that topic. And we talked about the Ford/Jenn challenge to "Name that Baby Girl." We asked Mom what she might name another girl great-granddaughter with the initials KLMR ... then we thought better of it. Check this five-minute movie of our day and see why.
(Yes, I know, the bocce ball win is a little unfair as Leno IS 100 percent Italian.)
I have been here eight days and as of yet have not seen a cloud in the sky. 80s every day with 5 to 10 mph winds except for one day when they got up to 15 mph. There have been strong winds to the east the last couple of days but the Catalina mountain range--seen in the attached pictures--including 9,000 foot Mt. Lemmon, have protected us from that wind. We just see the haze which just makes the sunsets against the mountiains that much more spectacular.
Meanwhile, I have managed to get caught up on my orders while here "on vacation."
Back to reality on Friday.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Thanks to careful instruction by Swing Coach Becky Lynn, (top photo) Virg (left photo) got his stroke back early on during the couple's present stay in Ft. Meyers, enjoying an early season dip into the area's amenities.
They'll join forces soon with Virg's sister, Becky Beverly and her husband Al, who winter in Venice, just north of Ft. Meyers.
Word has it they may combine for a visit to the nearby (and educational) Tom Edison museum.
The view below is from the couple's lanai, which is Floridaspeak for screen porch.
Special note: Virg and Becky, if you want to see the weather you are missing, click on this clip made in Alexandria today and see Stan's classmate demonstrate the power of the north wind combined with a weak mind.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
As a point of pride if not braggadocio, Kathleen has been trying to make it all the way through October without turning on the furnace. Stan has lent his tacit support to this dubious goal, and until now it appeared that, with only minor discomfort, the household would make it through to November.
However, there's a gas fireplace in the basement adjacent to Stan's office. Today Kathleen discovered a fire in it. She called it "cheating."
No matter that the gas dryer and the gas oven have been providing some warmth all along upstairs, oh no, that's different, she explains, acting as both contestant and referee.
Friday, October 24, 2008
All covered with snow,
I lost my true lover,
For courting too slow.
For courting's a pleasure,
But parting is grief,
And a false-hearted lover,
Is worse than a thief.
A thief will just rob you,
And take what you have,
But a false-hearted lover,
Will lead you to your grave.
The grave will decay you,
And turn you to dust,
Not one boy in a hundred
A poor girl can trust.
They'll hug you and kiss you,
And tell you more lies,
Than crossties on a railroad,
Or stars in the sky.
So come ye young maidens,
And listen to me,
Never place your affection
In a green willow tree.
For the leaves they will wither,
The roots they will die,
And you'll be forsaken,
And never know why.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I understand that we're seniors on a fixed income.
I realize that the cost of fuel is frightening.
And I know it is fun to play our annual game. . . but..
Please, Kathleen, it is October 23 for chrissakes!
Could we just turn on the furnace just for a little while?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
This leaves Stan as the sole Minnesota representative for his mother. He would report this oddity to his next door neighbor, but Tom and Sandy are in Kentucky.
Stan, I looked up your web site a couple of days ago and noticed the flare picture Harold sent you. I thought you might be interested in the photo I took of it when they were drilling.
I took this August 18 and assume the well had been up at least 2-3 weeks. I do know that my daughter came home over Labor Day and we drove by it on that Sunday and it had just been taken down; the rig was still there but on its side getting ready to move.
Don't know any other info other than it is evidently a producer with lots of gas judging by the large flare. Think of that as the oil company burning up your money!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
In a booming climactic overture, the world merrily blows up in a joyful explosion of color and leafy fragmentation, reminding the audience to hurry back for next year's concert.
The only thing, in the midst of this cacaphony, sometimes it's hard to find your ball.
Stan, Steve and Ford Rolfsrud took their swings last week in honor of a 58-year-olds' October birth. We hope you enjoy this brief reprise of a beautiful day.
Monday, October 20, 2008
He's been organizing a 12 foot by 8 foot space in the basement for the dust-free storage of memorabilia, seasonal clothing, adult children's left-behinds, stuff too good to throw out for now, and things to decide upon later.
It is constructed mostly of mungo, Keith Olbermann's term for building materials left behind or not used on a previous job. You know, the leftovers leaning on the margins in garages across America. The stuff that wives either ignore with a telling eye-roll or remark about at the garage sale. ("That's not for sale, my husband has big plans, you know.")
Stan had enough mungo to create the entire closet, with recycled french door and laminated shelving, for $100 worth of new materials. This will not get him a half hour on HGTV's Design on a Dime, but it should get him some note from friends and neighbors.
Nothing so far.
When mentioned in polite conversation it is a non-starter. "I've been mudding walls today," invariably results in, "Oh, when you're done, if you're such an expert, come over to my house. I've got some work for you." Nobody asks for a tour. Nobody wants to ooh and ahh, to examine the shelves, feel the eight-foot clothes pole. Pat Minelli just shakes his head, his wife bragging that she's the handyman in the family. Brother Steve changes the subject, Wes says Stan works too hard for a retired guy. And so on.
Other than a supportive wife looking forward to using the new space, the only willing visitor to the project so far has been neighbor Tom Story, who came out of guilt after asking Stan to help move his big televison set and then dropping it on Stan's foot. "This is real nice," he said, as Stan limped around the premises, showing off the seams in the sheetrock and the smooth, shaped 45 degree corners.
There's just no respect for the builder of walk-in closets. He toils alone, quietly bringing order to chaos, mudding and taping and screwing in anonymity.
All of the senses are in play. Of course! We are in Italy. We flew in from Athens on Aegean, the best flight we have taken in years. Leather seats, airbus, and on a two hour flight we were fed a delicious meal with a treat before, beverages with a smile. Wow!
We stayed at Hotel Berna, a business hotel that sells its 4 star rooms for half on the weekends just a few blocks from the train station where our bus from the airport pulled up. We were walked to our hotel by an Italian who refused to take any money for the walk, just asked us to please vote for Obama. That is a done deal. Nice to have a hotel with a complimentary minibar in the room, apples for all at the desk, and beverages available all day long. Free internet too.
Yesterday we had a perfect day. We had slept well in our lovely room and woke early. Took the metro to the Duomo. Almost no one was there, it was so early. The cathedral is the fourth largest in Europe and certainly at least the fourth most beautiful. We worshipped there as it was Sunday, understanding nothing, but appreciating a place to pray. Mosques do not have music, art, nor do the men pray with the women...too many distractions.
This cathedral had music and stained glass windows to die for. We like the Christian model better. We headed over to the Galleria where McDonalds holds as prestigious a spot in the center as the fanciest stores in the Galleria.
Breakfast at McDonalds is a croissant and McCafe. Through the Galleria we went to the LaScala Museum. For a mere 4 euro we were treated to an avalanche of music (on Bose speakers), a visit into the Opera House right above the royal box etc. We were drawn to the special exhibit of Karajan, a modern conductor, who put the orchestra on visual and audio contact with the listener. I sat, teary eyed, listening to one symphony after another, watching the musicians work in a way I have never seen before. Leaving the museum we wandered over to LaRiscentre, a large department store which Rick Steves says is Nordstrom like. Yes, that, and then some. We ate on the rooftop terrace which is mere feet across from the rooftop of the Duomo. We had the best breakfast of our trip, served with class. Motivated by the thickest °chocolate milk ° we have ever tasted, we moved into the market section and bought gifts, lots of them. We have begun filling our second pack with gifts and truly there is no room left. A new suitcase or bag may be in order. Moving back to the Duomo we took the lift half way up and then walked up many steps to the rooftop of this magnificient cathedral. The day was perfect and the sun came out especially at that time. Down below was a protest against world poverty, filling the square. Yes, a Ron and Linda kind of experience. When we felt we had done everything we wanted to do, we headed back to the metro and the Berna Hotel. We got to watch CNN for hours in English, feeling that we are staying caught up.
This morning we took a train to Como, found our hotel, planned out our excursion for tomorrow...buses and boats will get us to Varenna and Bellagio with enough time to explore. We ate a delicious Italian lunch just off of Lake Como with mountains as backdrop and fall leaves dropping around us. I think Italy will be our favorite country of the three we visited on this trip. As I type this, Ron has gone back for as much laundry as he can pack into a daypack. We will do some walking and call it a day.
We have yet to use the umbrella and poncho we brought with us. Maybe another week of this weather.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
We doubt those bad guys have anywhere near the talent of the characters in last night's Chanhassen Dinner Theatre performance, where Leo Bloom cooks the books as Max Bialystock literally screws rich old ladies.
Mel Brooks is a funny, irreverent man. We laughed at his Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, at his 2000 Year Old Man. ("Jesus? Yes. I knew him. A nice man. He used to come into the store. Never bought anything.") For some reason, we had never seen his 1968 movie so we weren't sure what to expect last night.
"It will be hilarious," we were repeatedly warned. "You will laugh!" And it was funny. Some of the character development was outrageously funny. But it was also uneven and needed tightening. The basic premise: -- open a show on Broadway that is so bad it closes in one night and you can keep all the investor's front money because no one will bother checking up on a flop, -- isn't exactly a masterpiece of artifice. You have to be a good sport to go along with it, and by the time the story finally closes with the obligatory values and redemption segment, you're exhausted.
Our favorite Chanhassen comic, Jay Albright, managed to keep his energy high during his demanding role as producer Bialystock, the role taken by Zero Mostel in the movie. Albright (see photo) was the lightweight butt of some flat fat jokes. His vigorous casting-couch humping of an oversexed senior citizen investor momentarily startled those of us more accustomed to the usual chicken Chanhassen, but it was all in good fun and somehow acceptably done. The recruitment of a gay director brought the most audience howls as Roger DeBris (the amazingly versatile David Anthony Brinkley - photo below) and his assistant Carmen Ghia (Mark King) pranced around their purple apartment, satisfying our wildest stereotypes of what we might imagine to be a Broadway lifestyle.
The writing is good, but so good, apparently, that no joke could be left behind. We could think of a few. It's a Brooks trademark to wander around a bit, trying to get all the good bits and references included. But we're not Broadway insiders, and we're older now, and speaking only of myself, just a bit grumpier, crankier, a bit more McCainish these days. So our drive home from Chanhassen seemed a little longer last night, but so was the show -- three hours. We'll hurry back though. Coming in February? "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," Kathleen's absolute favorite. And then? Oklahoma!
All photos by Act One, Too Ltd
(We saw the editor of the Chanhassen Villager -- Download Dick -- and his lovely wife at last night's show, he with a pad and pencil. We promised to post these comments early today, so he would have a chance to cut and paste.)
Friday, October 17, 2008
Brooks took a real gamble when he adapted his 1968 film satire to the musical stage. The story was utterly outrageous: flop covered theatrical producer Max Bialystock realizes the road to his financial redemption lies in producing the worst musical ever written, raising $25,000 of the capital, and pocketing it all when the show is a one-night-only disaster. Aided and abetted by a timid accountant, Leo Bloom, Bialystock options the rights to a "gay romp with Adolf and Eva in Berchtesgarten" called "Springtime for Hitler." Of course, if the show, by some insane stretch of credulity, were to become a hit, Bialystock and Bloom would be thrown in jail. And that’s exactly what happens!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The baby derby is on!
(Shana is Stan and Kathleen's niece. Linda is his sister. Anja and Shana are pictured above at a recent apple orchard outing. Congratulations, Erik and Shana!)
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Petside.com describes the breed this way:
The Schipperke’s name means “little captain” in Flemish, and that well describes the personality of this peppy, confident dog. The Schipperke (SKIP-er-kee) needs to make sure everything is shipshape. He wants to know where people are and what they’re up to. The Schip has a can-do attitude. He is quick-thinking and quick-moving. He is unaware of his small size, and eagerly enters into play with dogs of any kind or size.
Yesterday we got this note from Randy:
Friends and Family,
I was with him last night, and as he lay dying on the pillow on the floor, I hunkered down and whispered into Skip's ear what I always said to him and what he already knew:
"You're the best dog in the whole wide world."
The little rascal suffered very little, and even rallied late last night, as was his spirit -- trying to get up, and fighting for his life. That was Skippy. But in the end, he couldn't stand up anymore, or eat or drink...and so...he passed this morning...as Christine, my ex, called the vet to put him down.
The little soldier was 17 1/2 years-old or so. We don't know for sure, because he was a foundling, rescued off Griffith Park Blvd. in 1993. A vet at the time put his age then at 2 or 2 1/2.
So he lived a long and lucky life, despite a broken leg, attacks of epilepsy, and a propensity to sneak away on a series of "adventures." The only dog love of his life, Lady, an American Eskimo who lived up the street, passed away years ago; and still Skippy, on walks, would cross over to Lady's house, and put his paws up on the bay window, looking for Lady. He never showed that kind of affection for any other dog. And he was loyal to her, even in death. That was my Skippy.
And yet no matter his maladies, Skippy was always a very happy dog, right up to the end. He especially loved it when company was over, because he knew he could cadge a lot of food and get a lot of attention.
And so, with a heavy heart, but also with gratitude for what he brought into my life, I remember...
...Skippy sneaking out onto the cantilevered roof at Griffith Park Blvd. for God knows what reason, and Mark saving him many times from falling off the precipice.
...Skippy digging three peekholes under a fence, so he could get three different Points of View on a smart-aleck cat that lived on the other side of the fence.
...Skippy sprinting in giant, joyous circles on the football field at Marshall High, so happy to be free and able to run, run, run.
...Skippy running far ahead on his walks with Dad, but then stopping on a dime and parking his little black butt on the corner curb, patiently waiting for his lagging Daddy to usher him across the dangerous intersection.
...Skippy growling in melodious dog speak when you tried to take a bone away from him, protecting the bone with his paws like a convict in the prison commissary.
...Skippy going bonkers when Dad said, "Truck"! Knowing he wasn't going to be left behind this time...and then tearing outside and leaping into the backseat and assuming his position, with his head out the window of the SUV, taking in the breeze and all the wondrous smells.
...Skippy smelling a hundred different spots on his walks, "reading the news," and peeing over those hundred spots, reminding the neighborhood dogs who was boss.
...Skippy looking at his Dad, and then turning and trotting down the hall, into the bedroom and onto his little sheepskin sleeping rug...trying to tell Dad that it was time to turn off the TV and go to bed.
...Skippy being right inside the door when Dad returned home, leaping and pirouetting in excitement that all was right with the world again, and he wasn't alone, and that food was on the way.
...Skippy squirreling away scores of bones and treats in the backyard for future usage when a sudden attack of the munchies came on...and then dragging in the soggy, dirty snack and dumping it on the rug.
...Skippy at "The Fugitive" offices, where the staffers always encouraged his Dad to sneak him in so he could perk up their day...and so, as the day began, he'd leave Daddy's office and trot down the row of offices, darting in and out, saying, "Good morning" to everyone...and then one day, he wasn't to be found anywhere, with Daddy asking everyone, "Where's Skippy?" and finally getting the answer: "Skippy? Oh, he's down in editing."
...Skippy hiding in shame, refusing to come out of hiding, when he had one of his infrequent "accidents" and Daddy had to clean up the mess.
...Skippy learning, at an early age, a healthy respect for skunks.
...Skippy, with a little help from his dad, turning from a little street thug into a big creampuff and a huge pushover for love and affection, which he always returned tenfold.
The memories are endless. So we'll stop there.
R.I.P, good buddy. You were one of a kind. Many people loved you and enjoyed a lifetime of shenanigans and joy from you.
Most of all, Skip's dad.
Thanks to all of you, friends and family, for every loving stroke of the fur you gave the boy.
You're buried in my heart, Skip...
...and will always remain...
...the best dog in the whole wide world.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
They are departing Turkey for Greece today and posted this letter, which you may find interesting.
Yesterday was our last full day in Turkey and could have been my favorite. The weather has been perfect for the whole 14 days, today is no exception. Sunshine, but cool, with a gentle breeze, just right for walks along the harbors of Kusadasi, Turkey and the island of Samos, Greece. Notice all the commas? We are back on English keyboards and no longer in Turkey.
Usually we haven't left our hotels until 9, but yesterday we were up earlier and off to Ephesus. We wanted to get there by 8 so that we could skip any crowds. We did. We were the first in the gate and Sidar took us to places most people don't go. Everyone sees the ancient streets and the library, the community latrines; Sidar got us into the amphitheatre and showed us where Paul [left] preached before the community got fed up with him and threw him out of town. [See photo, above] We also got into the ancient homes of the rich. They were something! Built as townhouses going up the hill with courtyards, mosaics, incredible interior designs. We finished Ephesus early thanks to Sidar's expertise and had the rest of the day for choices.
Ron and I chose to go independently to the Apostle John's [right] burial place. The monument still stands, surrounded by the basilica ruins, but the Italians took the bones to Rome about a hundred years ago. No problem, we don't worship bones anyway. We also got to see where John preached and needed to imagine the sea in the place of fields there now. Still the mountains behind him must have looked something like the way they look today. Ron and I found a pharmacy for toothpaste etc., enjoyed a stop for lunch, and took public transport back to the city of Kusadasi. Dropped off for a transfer to the marina, we decided to walk the mile downhill.
Views were spectacular and we were glad we did. We returned to our hotel, rested, checked the BBC for the latest news, and then returned to the streets for shopping. I had thought that Kusadasi [left] would be a dump, but it isn't. All new in the last 30 years, it has a marvelous bay with great walkways, very sandy beaches, cute fishing piers for anyone to use. We snacked there amongst the rocks. We meandered through many streets finding things for the grandkids etc. We bartered and paid what we thought things were worth. Another thing I have noticed about the places we went was the cleanliness of the streets...reminds me of the Disney policy. Makes shopping a pleasant experience. We never eat until 7:30 so we had plenty of time for everything we needed to do. Our dinner was special as we have all become such good friends. We walked back to our hotel and settled in for more music. Someone knew that Sidar could play the piano and yes, he can. Another great night for singing along with various pianists.
After breakfast we said goodbye to the people going to Izmir for their flights and 10 of us were shuttled to the harbor to catch our ferry to Samos. Sidar knew the owner and had arranged an easy transfer for us. Two hours later we arrived in Samos, a town Ron and I had spent time in during 2002 so we knew our way around. We are on the street for the afternoon and enjoying the ambience. This is the second time we have been to the internet cafe today, it's very comfortable here. We found a bank we had good memories of and strolled the harbor and the town, stopping on benches provided everywhere. No one cares that you are loitering, so are many others and provisions are there. Just the right kind of day...no real itinerary. In an hour we will take a taxi to the airport, fly into Athens and an hour later, fly into Santorini [below].
We are very happy we took the RickStevesTour and would recommend it to anyone interested in learning about another culture. I have been told repeatedly that the night we gathered in a lush garden in Antolya (also spelled Anatolya) was the jelling night for our group. Ron was given something that represented a guitar (no Guild for sure, but he repaired it and made it sing along with us). We all sang songs from the 50's, 60's and on. No one had music, no words, but Ron never fails to come through. Every song they threw out, he could play and sing at least a verse of and the group really got into it. I had thought the Cobber hootenany was great, Jon, but THIS was even better. This group can really sing and participate. The younger ones even knew the songs, the older ones had lived through it all and the words came flowing back for many of us. I don't think anyone will ever forget the night.
Our group could really talk politics in an informed way; we laughed so much. All of us care deeply about our country and are very concerned about what we read in newspapers, the internet, or handheld gadgets. I was so impressed with the intelligence, the quality of this group, the healthy attitudes. We carried our own luggage, could walk miles on end, and there was no grouching. No need as the trip was so well paced. Some of the places we stayed were simple homes in villages but we always had our personal bathrooms, we ate in villagers' homes as well as high end restaurants. A wonderful mix. We began and ended in excellent hotels with all the perks. We had time for private exploring, choices of our own, along with all that Sidar offered.
We are content. On to Santorini.
(Decency dissed ----
Hurry home, Linda and Ron. It's getting bizarre here. Yesterday nice Minnesotans booed John McCain when he asked them to be respectful and decent.)
Friday, October 10, 2008
Today's story about the two lost hikers who were found safe in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area reminded Stan of the pile of slides in the office. Back in 1978 he and three others headed into the Canadian Wilderness. One of their party was a 70-something. He's gone now, but he left behind a trove of slides and memories. Five minutes.
We're delighted to have the roughly 75 visits here each day, but we're sorry when we don't have something interesting for you to see when you get here.
To that end, please send something interesting about yourself sometime. We try to make this blog be about others as much as possible, but it is difficult when people are as shy as Norwegian bachelor farmers.
We know its hard to brag, but that's okay. We'll post your goof-ups too.
Thanks again for the visits.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Al and Ruby Korkowski were surrogate parents for Stan (and sometimes Sosie) during his preschool years. They're gone now, but their Brandon area relations thrive throughout the country. This blog intends to bind them more closely and it will be fun to watch.
We have added the new blog to the monitor list below.
Best of luck with your new blog, Korkowskis, as you use high tech to celebrate family ties.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Jeanette died March 12, 2008. She was Kathleen Rolfsrud's mother-in-law for nine short years, but the two never lost touch. Kathleen was always fond of her and the extended family she nurtured over the years.