Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Bottom: Grandma and Grandpa (first time) Steve and Nancy Rolfsrud. Steve reports that Ford has diapered Kaia twice already and shows great technical skills. Congratulations all around. See other details in post below.
Father Ford says that Jenn is doing great. They are resting comfortably at Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville, Minnesota. Grandma and Grandpa will be heading there this evening to try to get a picture through the nursery window. We hope to see it posted soon.
Congratulations Ford and Jenn!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
But just for fun, last night I made some internet inquiries, and thus comes this cascade of coincidences that I want to tell you about.
When we land in Scotland, we'll be a couple miles from Riccorton, a suburb of Edinburgh. According to a geneology prepared by Cousin Nancy Clary that she kindly emailed to me last night, that's where my great-great-great grandparents, John and Betsy Jackson, raised their son, Peter, and his brother, James. Peter was born in 1813. They all eventually immigrated to America, with Peter and his brother heading to the Minnesota Territory in 1855. The two spent their first night sleeping in a log, near the Minnesota River in Scott County. True pioneers, they took raw land from the Mdewakanton Sioux on the edge of the Big Woods. Peter and his brother would later be figures in the 1862 Sioux uprising.
For the past eight year years, Kathleen and I have lived in Shakopee, in Scott County, just a few miles from where that log would have been.
In 1857, Peter married Nancy Ives by George Lake in Jamestown Twp near what is now Mankato (Stan's brother Steve lives there now) He returned with her to St. Peter, making the last leg of their journey to Belle Plaine on a steamboat. I like to think they booked the honeymoon suite. Nancy was a nurse, and became known throughout the community for her caregiving. They raised my great grandmother, Ella Belle (1858 - 1918).
Today, when Kathleen and I look west out the window of our Shakopee home, we see an area just beyond Town Line Road.
It's named Jackson Township.
We often pass the Jackson Town Hall. We had no idea of our relationship until last night.
High on a bluff over nearby Belle Plaine sits the Valley View Golf Club. I meet my two brothers there for a round from time to time, a sort of central meeting point. Below the golf course, alongside Highway 169, is the Belle Plaine cemetery. We've never gone into it.
If we did, we would probably see a headstone with the name "Jackson" carved on it, along with the graves of Peter Jackson, his wife and brother. Our forebears.
Our great grandmother Ella Bell is said to have stuck a pin into a visiting Native American chieftan, possibly just one of a number of insults endured at that time. Ella grew up to marry a German named Wendelken, thereby introducing a new nationality to the mongrel Rolfsrud-Brown mix.
In March, I will reverse Peter's route to Minnesota from Scotland, no doubt with greater ease, if not anticipation.
The golf courses we will play (St. Andrews - Old and Jubilee -, Crail, Scotscraig, Fraserburgh and others) are all within an hour of great-great grandfather's hometown. -------------------
So Mom's a Scot. Now I must learn to roll an "R", drink Scotch, eat haggis and say "aye laddie." My purebred golf partner, Douglas MacKenzie, says I am just a Scottish "wannabe." Haven't seen HIM in plaid lately.
(Photos are all examples of Jackson plaid. Not sure what that's all about. The Clan colors or something. Peter Jackson was a salesman for a time before immigrating to the U.S. and becoming a farmer. Wonder if he pitched the clan pattern to Macy's?)
This morning three uglies grumbled across Ridgeview Road in front of us, snouts down, single file, in an awkward trot. Apparently this peccary patrol remembers Fridays as trash day in that unlucky neighborhood.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Fortunately, it is not all just grumpy old Republicans down here. There's a ton of wildlife that can make a hiker's walk very interesting.
Yesterday a mature bobcat ambled across the main drag, paused on the center line for a good long look at the approaching hiker, then lightly sprang to the top of a backyard fence, presumably with high hopes of spying a tender puppy doing his daily morning business unattended. The cat had a "bobbed" tail, not a long swishy one like the mountain lions.
Today a pair of mule deer moved up the hillside, crossing the hiker's path and watching him huff and puff up the steep hill. The pair was fresh from a big breakfast down at the driving range, where they favor the grass growing just beyond the reach of a well-struck 3-iron.
The hiker has yet to cross paths with the javelinas. It is just as well. They travel in rude, odiferous packs on garbage day and are often smelled before they are seen. Recently a European got bit by one near here. He filed suit last week for $400,000.
Here's the Associated Press story about that.
"A tourist from the Netherlands who was attacked by a javelina at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has taken the first step to filing a lawsuit against the Tucson facility and Pima County taxpayers.
"Rene Zegerius filed a claim for $400,000 over last summer's attack.
"Zegerius was visiting Tucson with his family and was attacked by the javelina as he stood inside the museum grounds.
"The animal tore muscle and nerves and severed veins and arteries in his right calf and left hand.
"Zegerius spent eight days in a hospital, and says he lost money on hotel and travel reservations. Medical expenses came to $70,000, and a last-minute ticket back to the Netherlands cost more than $15,000.
"Robert Edison, the museum's executive director, says the javelina that attacked Zegerius did not belong to the museum."
And so it goes.
(Readers may recall the photo of the neighborhood bobcat, above, that Kathleen shot last year. For details on her hunt, type "bobcat" into the search box, above.)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Steve's Mom (Stan's sister, Linda) was quite taken by the young lady and offered these exclusive photos to Rolfsruds & Friends.
Monday, January 19, 2009
No. Those are not golf scores. They are the high temps for the past five days in Tucson. Brother Virg did actually shoot a 72 here in Tucson a year ago, but he's doing his business in Florida right now, so it has been left to the likes of Stan and his neighbor, Dick Krueger, to carry the ball forward here. Today our foursome (we added Mac and Leno) enjoyed another sunny round, retiring in time to watch the sun set in Krueger's back yard, visit with his wife and sister-in-law, marvel at the stars and drink the German beer that brother Steve had foolishly left chilling in the fridge.
Tomorrow we hit the Barcaloungers for wall-to-wall inauguration coverage, then back to the links.
A question from Arizona, where two retired folks ponder the day's events, particularly the excitement on the national stage, where Obamamania rages.
Question: If the baby comes on inaguration day, will plans go out the window and the tide of emotion result in Baracka Michelle Murman Rolfsrud?
Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 9:44 AM
My Saturn, without a garage or headbolt heater, STARTED. That's as exciting as it gets.
Monday, January 12, 2009
The pair recently enjoyed a housewarming glass and lunch, cementing the foundation of the Southern Edition of the Ladies Who Lunch Club while seated on a concrete floor. We trust future meetings will involve more tables and chairs, but no less cheer.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
We swept through the windy Great Plains states on the bias, turning the Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico pages of the Rand McNally Atlas like a New York Times best seller. Gas is so cheap we admired the sexy SUVs and Winnebago rigs and thought about our future.
Yes, it's flat and boring and alone. That's why you've got a CD player. The prairie preachers and the right wing talkers dominate the radio waves, but no matter. We screeched out the BeeGees falsetto riffs like Vienna Choir Boys, then swapped for Willie when we hit the Texas border.
It was a hard day, we're tired now and will sleep late on our double doubles. Tomorrow we'll be home in Arizona with plenty of time left for vespers at Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Latest hurdle was supplied by that jewel of American Free Enterprise, the unregulated, unfettered Comcast Cable Company, providers of our internet connection to this blog.
We had the temerity to attempt to suspend cable service and save $200 during our anticipated absence. We've spent thousands of dollars and many years with Comcast and its gobbled predecessors. We understand the dangers and the rules of the game but decided to risk it anyway. These are, after all, desperate times.
So, well in advance, we cautiously notified them of our date of departure. The date was duly recorded by Comcast in our account file, accessed by a representative somewhere in a St. Louis, Missouri.
Comcast allows itself a "two-day grace period" to perform this service. This is a secret, of course, and the grace is extended to benefit the company, not the customer. Therefore, two-days before our departure, when all arrangements, communications and plans are peaking, the cable company found it convenient to suspend our service.
Comcast also provides us with cable tv. Strangely, this service soldiers on, unaffected by the "grace." Earlier, Comcast had indicated its desire to provide us with our telephone service as well. We are confused by just how this might work when the cable fails, as it did last summer when an aerator was run over the lawn. Do you go to the neighbor's house, knock on the door, call the cable help number and then hold at their kitchen table?
We used an 800 number to communicate with a series of lovely, low-paid representatives in a St. Louis sweat shop. Their apparent purpose is to buffer the corporate offices from the unwashed and their inconvenient requests. They have no tools to actually do anything, but they are authorized to write-up work orders, suggestions and such and then place them in a 72-hour queue for action elsewhere. You get that, and, of course, profuse apologies, promises of adjustments, and whatever else from embarassed workers grateful just to have a job, even if it is with the cable company.
Cynics might say that the cable company hopes you will be so thoroughly disgusted with their suspension process that next time you leave town you won't bother them again, you'll just pay them hundreds for service to an empty house. In this free market enterprise motivated by good greed, it would seem that neglect and bad service has a financial reward associated with it.
Corporate offices seem to be located somewhere in the City of Brotherly Love, where the scandalized Adelphia cable company once practiced its artifice. Others are in undisclosed locations.
If you wish to call the corporate number to express your deep-seated feelings of hostility, you may do so at your convenience. There is a special line. It is unknown if this line is connected to an electronic wastebasket or an employee paid to act like one.
Some, like my good brother suffering under a different cable company, believe the mythology that your local government actually regulates this monopoly. This is done, he explains, by simply shutting down the cable company and awarding a franchise to its better.
Does this ever happen? He doesn't think so. Apparently everybody just loves the cable company and understands its ever spiralling costs for the timely, high-def delivery of Andy of Mayberry and Sean Hannity.
We're trying to get to Arizona. Here's hoping we can get back on-line when we get there. If you don't hear anything . . . please call that Philadelphia number for us.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
(Ford does the video hosting, Jenn's behind the camera.)