Saturday, November 29, 2008

Linda & Sandy with the new car

You have to admit, the body language looks a lot like Stan's sister Linda Rolfsrud Letnes and his cousin, Sandy Chase Rupp. It's not, of course. It is Beverly Brown Rolfsrud (now 88) and her late sister, Dorothy Brown Chase, the parents of Linda and Sandy. The photo must have been taken in the 30s. Beverly and Linda are in the photo in the previous post. Now, who can name the age and model of the car?

Name the folks in Missy's turkey video

Who are the stars in Missy's video?
Most of you know Emily, our granddaughter, of course. Then there is hostess Missy and Jennifer, our daughters. Dan is Kathleen's brother; Marcus is Missy's 4-year renter whose family lives in Florida; Lori is Missy's friend (Emily calls her Lolo) who lives in Rosemount.

Friday, November 28, 2008

All good at Clearwater, Linda reports

Linda and Ron, and son, Steve, visited Mom in Alexandria for Thanksgiving. Here's a part of her report:
Linda writes:
Mom was dressed and waiting, so we took off for Rudy's Redeye Grill. I saw Mom 15 days ago and I can't believe the change in her. When Michelle told me that she might be able to use her walker by Thanksgiving, I shrugged it off. We drove the big car from Blaine to make sure there would be room for the wheelchair, but Mom didn't need it and we didn't take it. She used her walker adeptly with Steve walking behind her to catch her.

It is quite a walk from the front door of Rudy's to the banquet area, but Mom did it. The food was fine, plentiful, and the help was on the job.

Back at Clearwater, we watched football. At the end of the Detroit game, she invited us to the dining room where she and Steve had coffee. Not only was she physically more able, she was mentally sharper. She is delighted that Solveig is coming for four days, and will be here on Christmas Day.

I promised Mom that I would return in a couple of weeks. I will come on a good weather day when I don't take care of Anja. Probably a Wednesday.

Hope all of you enjoyed Thanksgiving Day.

Turkey at Missy's

90 seconds of happy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Angel aid

We started at the bottom of the Christmas tree this afternoon. Emily knew exactly what to do. This will be her third Christmas, you know. We'll go to her house for turkey and the works tomorrow. As a special gift to her mother, we boomers are teaching Emily to say "groovy" as in, "Mom, let's have a groovy Christmas. I would like a hula hoop this year."
To see all 20 photos made in this sunset-washed session, follow this link:
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wishes from a country school chum

Below is a kind old friend's Thanksgiving thought, sent all the way from Dallas today.
Lorlee and I colored our first Thanksgiving turkeys together, on thick buff paper with our first names printed in the lower corner, back at District 460. (It was called Oak Grove School, District 24, when we started.)
Our first grade teacher, Mrs. Lackelt, encouraged independent creativity. What else could she do? She had five other grades to teach as well.
So Lorlee and I had plenty of time to draw stuff on our own, and turkeys and farms and a friendly dog named "Hodie," drawn with a big, yellow, beaming sun in the corner, were among our early creations. We'd occasionally look up to compare progress with Darrell and Carol and Alan. Our best work was hung on the greenish wainscoating, thumb-tacked into the fat chair rail, at just the right height to encourage a first grader.
We had crayolas then, Burnt Sienna, Cornflower, Flesh and all the rest, and chewy pencils and some of the older kids even had ball-point pens that screwed apart and had a tiny spring inside that could be made to fly across the room. We never really knew what those round holes were for in our scratched wooden desktops. The big kids just shrugged and said they were inkwells, whatever that was.
Lorlee could read better than me and kept a neater desk, but I beat her at basketball.
On Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 11:37 AM, Bartos, Lorlee wrote:
Happy Thanksgiving
Hope you have a safe, blessed and peaceful one.
I just wanted to say that one of the things I am thankful for is the work you put in on the blogs.
There is a line in a song [which I couldn't recall for the life of me] -- "If I look like home to you" and that's how the blogs feel.
And I love keeping up with Emily, Anja, Becky and all the rest.
Thanks again.

Linda and Ron went to Italy,

And all their son-in-law got was this apron! The Rolfsruds & Friends blog may have slowed a bit these past few days, but there's always action over at the Shana/Erik/Anja place. This important classic Michelangelo creation, inspired by the Biblical character, David, was featured in a recent, thoughtful post. Check their entire blog, at left, for more from this fun couple.

Friday, November 21, 2008

We visit Max's school; see the movie

Maxwell Harrison Tong, 14, eighth grade, five foot three inches, (five foot four inches tomorrow), invited his Grandma and Grandpa to Lake Country School for "Grandparents Day" today. Naturally, we filmed it.

We hope you learn Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Lake Country School. Four minutes.

Lake Country is a Montessori school. To see our complete Maxwell school album, follow this link:

Lakes freeze on cold still night; smooth as glass

There's plenty of excitement around the lakes in Alexandria today. The lakes froze on a cold clear still night and the result is a mirror smooth finish, perfect for skating while observing under-ice wonderlands. It only occasionally works out this way.
Yes, you have to wait a bit longer before lacing up the skates, but if everything holds, there's skating excitement ahead.
Read Stan's classmate blog, linked at left, to hear some of the oldtimers talk about it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fair warning, Canterbury poker pros

Any smug gents seated at the Canterbury poker tables in Shakopee today should take heed of this notice: The sheriff is back, this time with her deputy.

Kathleen's pal, M'liss, stopped by today. Then the pair headed out to play some poker at the Sit 'n Go Texas Hold 'em tables at nearby Canterbury Park. M'liss is an habitue' at a variety of St. Paul poker venues, but she's never been to Canterbury. Kathleen, aka St. Paul Katie, has cleaned up at Canterbury on more than one occasion.

So M'liss was happy to accept Katie's invite, and expressed her thanks with a cornucopia of gratitude, now gracing our dining table.

Katie taught her childhood chum how to play Texas Hold 'em. We'll let you know if Lady Luck made it a threesome today. FYI. Stan will be making his own lunch.


Katie and M'Liss finished just out of the money today, Katie fourth and her sidekick fifth. Then they spent four hours at Applebee's, licking wounds and plotting new strategy. FYI. Stan will be making his own supper.

Here's an update from D.C. reader

Kathleen Smith writes:

A comedian was seen yesterday having his shoes polished in Union Station.
Just an update from D.C.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mom's range greatly improved

We had a new TV to show Mom; she had a greatly improved range of motion to show us. Take a look. Three minutes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yes. There Really IS a Michelle!

After almost a year of just missing Michelle, Mom's Very Important Person, every time we came to visit, Stan and Kathleen finally connected with her today. We had joked with Mom that Michelle was just an invisible companion, and imaginary friend, sort of like "Harvey." This is not true, of course, Michelle provides vital assistance to Mom and we're all grateful for it.

Today Michelle and Mom both learned how to run the new digital TV set with built-in DVD that we delivered. That shouldn't be too hard, only one remote control is required, and they both picked up on it right away. (See Mom intently workin' the controls, below.)

Now Mom has many more television channels than before and she has instant access to a dozen home movies featuring her family, friends, and a wonderful contralto soloist singing sacred songs with the clearest voice ever.

But the best news today was Mom's checkup. Notice that her arm is no longer in the sling and little by little she is using it again. She employed it to sample Kathleen's homemade chocolate chip pecan cookies, baked for the occasion. So all in all it was a happy day in Alexandria today.

Now. Would anybody like to have a used analog TV owned by a really nice older lady?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Anja is Two 2day

Anja Erickson is two years old today. Check out the family activities on the Eric/Shana/Anja blog below. Anja will have a sibling soon. Which means Stan's sister Linda will be a grandma again!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Got the hot tub running again

Loyal readers of Rolfsruds & Friends know that Stan and Kathleen had a problem recently with their spa. Good news. We've patched the leak, without Joe the Plumber's help, and we're back in business. But times are tough. We won't be buying expensive spa chemicals any more. We're lowering the ph with Arm & Hammer baking soda.
And we're considering the new, greener, redneck model, below, to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Steve sings about a Man and a Horse

We don't have the actual soundtrack of Steve singing about the horse. . . or the man. The movie below has an actual soundtrack of Mom singing Handel's "Thanks Be to Thee." However, in the movie, sharp eyes will spot a curious reference to Steve, a professionally-trained baritone, singing about giving a man a horse he can ride. Really. Little else is known for the record. Steve?
Giddy-up, it's four minutes long.

Meanwhile, on a walk by the pier. . .

From the Jerdee blog, linked below.

What editors do. . .

After repeated unsuccessful attempts, this is the photograph that Kathleen was finally able to make and submit to the newspapers for Stan's retirement story. It is nicely framed and shows what patience and repetition can achieve under difficult circumstances, given the subject matter. Unfortunately, when editors received this beautiful work, they cropped and slashed it beyond all recognition. That is what editors do. So we present the photograph here in its original four-column format, before it received its professional beating.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Emotional roller coaster

We were shocked and deeply saddened this week at the murder of one of Stan's reporters in her Prior Lake home. You may have read about it or seen it. Her husband is held in the Shakopee jail.
The horror of this event and its potential as a drawn-out tragedy was nipped by conscientious managers who notified authorities and insisted on pressing a search when she didn't show up Tuesday morning.
Reporters don't skip work, certainly not Ruth Ann.
Eventually, police obtained a search warrant, found the body, and arrested the husband at the crime scene.
More later on this sweet woman, as feelings sort themselves out.
The awful news was reported in some of the same editions that chronicled Stan's retirement announcement, tempering any euphoria with a dose of gratitude for simply having been allowed a healthy and useful life, surrounded by people and love.
Copies of the paper will be mailed post haste by Stan's good wife to any interested parties. She's got plenty of envelopes and postage and pride.

Happy Birthday, Becky!

Here's our birthday gal, Becky, sharing a cold one with her brother, Virg, during a recent outing on the West Coast of Florida. Becky continues: "After our Saturday of finding Old Florida, we stopped at Pop's, an Old Florida outdoor restaurant on the edge of the intracoastal highway. Great for boatwatching and having a Margarita at the end of hard boating on the Myakka River and driving through Casey Key. Allen thought it would be nice to take a picture of Becky with her baby brother. We were just sitting there watching boats pull up to the restaurant's dock while we made up stories about the people driving the boats."
Happy Birthday from all of us in snow land, Becky! Readers who want to keep close tabs on the Jerdees and their kin, may check out their blog, linked below.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

You would have to say it glows.. .

Only six Wednesdays left before you know what. For now, just a pinch of Rudolph in today's Dr. Seuss stew.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quilter's dream team

Zakkk, Jennn and Bear remind their kin to complete the assignment and send in their quilt pictures for Mom's quilt movie project if you haven't already done so. The couple recently snuggled under their own quilt, somewhere in northern California, to have this promotional photo taken. Shooting on the epic movie begins sometime next week, so there's still time to be in the cast.

Veterans Day, 2008

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

On Veterans Day, we pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the men and women who in defense of our freedom have bravely worn the uniform of the United States.
From the fields and forests of war-torn Europe to the jungles of Southeast Asia, from the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, brave patriots have protected our Nation's ideals, rescued millions from tyranny, and helped spread freedom around the globe.
America's veterans answered the call when asked to protect our Nation from some of the most brutal and ruthless tyrants, terrorists, and militaries the world has ever known. They stood tall in the face of grave danger and enabled our Nation to become the greatest force for freedom in human history. Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard have answered a high calling to serve and have helped secure America at every turn.
Our country is forever indebted to our veterans for their quiet courage and exemplary service. We also remember and honor those who laid down their lives in freedom's defense. These brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for our benefit. On Veterans Day, we remember these heroes for their valor, their loyalty, and their dedication. Their selfless sacrifices continue to inspire us today as we work to advance peace and extend freedom around the world.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Another great pic from Gramma

Kathleen took a ton of photos at the Ford/Jenn baby shower on Monday, including this one. If you want to see her entire album, click on the link below: You can download your faves.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Veil lifted on female ritual

Honored mother-to-be, Jenn Rolfsrud, having a laugh today with organizers Breck Rolfsrud and Briggs Siitari

By Yelnats Dursflor
Lifestyle Editor

Ritual natal celebrations with overt gender restrictions naturally mystify the excluded sex. Anthropologists agree that no cultural event is more misunderstood than certain female tribal gatherings where a private circle of celebrants ritually adore a pregnant female with arcane chants, generous offerings and, in some rare cases, tummy-rubbing.

Traditionally excluded, men have understandably mythologized the routines and protocols of these enigmatic orchestrations. We shall endeavor to correct this and unravel at least the edges of this mystery, sort out the confusion, and give some insight to the enchantment of the secret cultural phenomenon known as The Baby Shower. And all without ever having attended one.
TO BEGIN, there is no baby and there is no shower. Oddly enough, the baby is yet to be born and the participants will generally shower long before the event begins. (The photo, at right, is not a shower. It is something else that is best discussed another day, another time.)

According to Wikipedia, in the Hindu culture, this event is set to occur during the seventh month of pregnancy. In some societies, phases of the moon and stars will proscribe, or, locally, norms will dictate that rites not occur mid-week.

The date and location is chosen by wiser and more influential members of the pregnant woman's kin. Ritual communications will go to blood and extended family members, relatives, friends, influential advisers and others. (Photo at left -- Linda Letnes, Nancy Rolfsrud, Kathleen Rolfsrud, all in-laws to the honoree) Great care is taken to exclude those who would not expect to be invited, all the while being careful to include those who do. Carelessness may result in loss of face. Over the years, anthropologists tell us, these cleverly-contrived communications have been dispatched in a variety of ways as clan members disperse themselves more and more into open society. The latest means is an innovation called an "e-vite."
The chosen are expected to return their intentions and begin preparations. Great care is taken in gathering the proper offerings; broad hints are often given by elders and more knowledgeable members of the social hierarchy.
On the day of the event, giddy celebrants cleanse their bodies, rub expensive oils into their skin and paint colorful markings on their lips and eyes. Ornamentation of the ears and neck is also considered, but not required.
(Photo, right, Grandma Mickey, Jenn and mother, Diane)

Generally speaking, these are jovial events, if not ribald. Traditional games are played, oral histories reviewed, news and guidance exchanged, and jokes told. Sometimes there is music and dancing. Offerings are presented with great fanfare, particularly in societies where fancy, machine-made goods are coveted. Females, seated in fire-pit fashion, will bob their heads, cry out, and applaud at the more notable items. Depending on the mood of the day, the circumference of the pregnant female abdomen may be measured again and again with lengths of toilet paper amidst joyful shouts. Names for the unborn may be freely proposed and rejected.
(Photo above: This is not a game. From left, Hostess Briggs Siitari, trying to lean OUT of the photo of sisters, Jennifer Blethen, Marcelline Harrisonfields and Melissa Blethen, who is trying to lean INTO the picture.)
Unusual and creative food and drink items will have been produced by appointed clan members, chosen by lot, not skills. Nothing larger than a forefinger will be offered at any one time, using small, colorful, flammable platage. The weight gain of the pregnant female will be discussed, with the more experienced tribal mothers passing down their opinions and beliefs.

That's about it, I think. We've left out a lot, but it's really for the best. Well, would you believe us if we told you that they actually melt a variety of unwrapped chocolate candy bars into baby diapers and then pass the soiled diapers around, asking guests to sniff and name the brands?
We didn't think so.

"Yeah. The transition is going pretty good over at the White House. I heard today that Dick Cheney even offered to take Obama pheasant hunting."

Friday, November 07, 2008

New video for Mom's new TV

Mom's getting a new tv that includes a built-in DVD, making it easy to switch from Cable to Discs without fumbling with a couple of remotes, etc. Here's a low-quality copy of a video we made today of some high-quality snow. The DVD looks great on Mom's tv. Trust us. We are test driving it in our bedroom first.

First snowfall, joy or sorrow?

The neighbor's tail light wore a seasonal expression this morning as the first snow came to Abbey Point.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Ford, Firestone, Edison were original snowbirds

Virg, our education reporter, filed the following report from Florida today:

Fort Myers was a center of innovation a century ago. Thomas Alva Edison purchased property on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River next to the settlement of Fort Myers in the late 1800's to get away from the cold of Michigan. He was joined there by Henry Ford and Harry Firestone of automobile and tire fame and fortune. Not only did they enjoy winter weather here, they built a laboratory to study the best sources for rubber, a product that had many applications in each of their industries (Edison had many businesses as a result of his prolific inventions).

Sunday, the Jerdees and Rolfsruds journeyed to the site, owned by the city of Fort Myers. In what was to be a museum-like experience that should only hold the long attention of Al and Virgil, the day actually worked out well for Becky and Becky. (It did not hurt that there was a shop on the premises to occupy BLR's interest.) BJ was quite impressed with the enormity of Edison's influence on not only inventions (over 1,000 patents), but his extensive and successful business interests that resulted.

Beyond his prodigious mechanical renderings, Edison was seriously interested in botany. He planted a great number of species imported from all over the world on his property. We began our journey with lunch at the Banyan Cafe (see photo), named for the largest banyan tree in the continental USA. It was planted a century ago from a cutting from a tree in Africa brought by Firestone for his friend Edison. The local tree currently covers an acre. Its mother tree now covers 14 acres.

Quite an enjoyable day for all. Al and Virgil, always the gentlemen, cut short their meanderings to relieve BLR of her duty to sit and wait in the Florida warmth among flora and fauna, feeling the gentle ocean breezes on her face. One can only take so much of that torment!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

So, where's Joe the Plumber?

With Stan's retirement and the winds of November on the horizon, yesterday seemed the perfect time to re-activate the hot tub in our backyard. We bought a fine Canadian-made Arctic Spa in 2003, but never really have had the time or inclination to use and enjoy it.
We drained it last fall and let it hibernate over winter. This summer we tried to sell it, but nobody wants an empty old tub. So yesterday we started to revive it, cleaning a season's worth of dust and grime before running the garden hose into it.

Alas, after running for about 10 minutes, water started to ooze out the wooden hatches on the side. We removed the covers and another tragedy of 30-below Minnesota winters revealed itself. Apparently the tub was never totally drained, with just enough water remaining to burst a plastic fitting one cold winter night. We were unaware of this unfortunate occurrence until puddles formed under our feet yesterday.

Now Stan's striking a retirement pose, tipping back and earnestly seeking professional help. Plumbing connections have always been above his pay grade. No responses yet to his voice mail pleadings.
You'd think Joe Wurzelbacher would be available.
Breaking news
Scott at Arctic Spas Midwest returned my call. He's a busy boy, it would seem. In the fall, people are like squirrels, gathering and planning for the winter. So the furnace guy gets a lot of calls and so does: Scott the Hot Tub Guy.
Not to worry. Scott will rush me a 2 inch snap nut, catalog no. RPL1-20-208S. I will screw it on and refill. He says it's all within my abilities and --- the $2 part might be warrantied. Easy peasy.
Eat your heart out, Joe.
(Photos by Kathleen, who doesn't do plumbing either.)

Dampa, Dampa!

Dampa! Dampa! TV, TV!

Grandpa dropped his newspaper and ran to the kitchen, as he always does when summoned by his granddaughter's urgent sounding voice.

Look! Obama! Obama!

Sure enough, our next president, Emily's first president-elect, was on the screen.

We wonder if she'll remember this day.


Moments ago we received an excited phone call from Ingeborg Wessel, a 65-year-old friend from Hannover, Germany, where much of the populace has been up all night watching the returns and were now celebrating.

We hosted her son at Chaska High in the 80s and she visited us in subsequent years (photo, left). She loves America.

"What a wonderful day," she gushed to a surprised Kathleen as she scrambled our breakfast eggs. "We think of Americans much." Obama drew 200,000 when he appeared in Germany and she, and 78 percent of Germany, are big fans.

Remarkable communications. And her English ain't bad for a foreigner.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Birthday, Briggs!

We elect you Queen for the Day!
(Don't forget to Vote)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Books by Erling Nicolai Rolfsrud. . .

"Books by Erling Nicolai Rolfsrud Sold and Autographed Here," the sign says, in what looks like Mother's calligraphy. (She once took a class in it) She made this picture in Fargo in 1993, a year before his death. Dad left behind a neatly-organized chronology of his life. Kathleen typed it up yesterday and we have linked it as a reference to this site. You can find it below, left. We will add to it, from time to time. There is still interest in Dad's books, etc., and a simple Google search by interested researchers should now hit this.

More news from Florida

Virg sends these photos along with his gratitude to the many motorists who have contributed to the carbon dioxide in the air. According to his message, these emissions have raised the temperature at his rented Ft. Meyers domicile just enough to increase his level of personal comfort and afford more pleasant morning tee times. The recent lowering of gas prices should add to his pleasure as demand, and dioxide subsequently increase. Meanwhile, in a nearby golf hazard, a man-sized creature, below, makes his presence known to our Florida snowbirds. We note what appears to be a nine-iron in the gloved grasp of the cautious observer. May we impertinently suggest that he is probably under-clubbed. It appears that a three-wood, at minimum, would be required.