Saturday, February 28, 2009

Left in charge

Kathleen and Stan left for Minnesota this morning, leaving Solveig and Bill in charge of Casa de Golfo in Tucson. They will be assisted in this endeavor by their faithful guard dog, (right), J.D. They are pictured, above, in front of El Minuto, a Mexican restaurant in downtown Tucson that received good reviews from this discriminating California couple. They have agreed to check out the Sunnyside Up Cafe and Claire's of Catalina as well before their departure.

Friday, February 27, 2009

New apron at Cafe del Solveig

Kathleen's favorite thrift store in Arizona is The Golden Goose, a well-run volunteer enterprise that recycles tons of household items. Volunteers there dart about in bright aprons, organizing and marketing all sorts of donations. These aprons caught Kathleen's fancy, but for years she has been disappointed that they just aren't for sale. This week, however, persuaded by a surrepetious application of cash and shameless begging, the store manager bent the rules and rummaged a serviceable cast-off from the back room. Three Shouts and a wash-and-dry cycle later, the item was gift-wrapped and this morning presented to the surprised and thrilled service person at Cafe del Solveig. The photo above includes all four members of this morning's sunny group. The photograph was made possible by the proper application of a time-delay feature, and a used tripod, purchased this week for $12.... at the Goose, of course!

You snooze, you loose

Sosie's much anticipated, much ballyhooed World's Largest Tiki head has been located. She had awarded the concrete head a prominent position on her carefully prepared "Things To Do While in Tucson" list. Unfortunately, the massive head is still cased and crated, awaiting its ultimate erection at a watering hole in the University of Arizona off-campus area. The supine condition of the head failed to disappoint the Tucson tourist, as Sosie simply proudly laid claim to being way ahead of the curve in the Tiki world. Next "must do?" The legendary Sonoran Hotdog, of course.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Aloe there. . .

This South African aloe specimen bloomed yesterday in the Botanical Gardens near the busy intersection of Grant and Alvernon in Tucson. The exotica provide surprising respite from the surrounding traffic din.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mission accomplished!

One of our goals today was visiting the 300 year old Spanish Mission south of Tucson. We got there just in time for Ash Wednesday noon mass. Kathleen celebrated inside with a churchful of the devout. Meanwhile, the unchurched posed outside and nosed through the museum, gift shop, candle store, fry bread stands and moneychangers. Then they plotted the next move in a busy day.
That was to be the city's Botanical Gardens, a not-so-well known green spot that was once a family home surrounded by an amazing collection of plants and cooling trees. Today a special butterfly exhibit was offered for an extra four bucks. Too rich for Katie and Sosie, two retirees on fixed incomes hoarding cash during desperate times, so they just peered through exhibit windows (right) hoping for a free peek.
Then it was off to Mi Casa to shop Mexican imports, an art gallery to gape at native antiques, the Tiki God head in the University area to laugh and finally to El Minuto to enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine, adjacent to El Tiradito, a shrine (left) erected to somebody who got shot for making it with his mother-in-law back in the 1800s. It's all true. Check your wiki. In the evenings locals light candles in hopes of creating life-changing events. Our Spanish-speaking waiter said it was all a bunch of B.S. (How do you say that in Spanish? El Toro?) The city-owned shrine can be reserved for weddings. (Do Zach and Jenn know about this?)
We didn't stay for the candlelighting. Downtown Tucson, with its many detours and roadblocks, is confusing enough in the daylight. (Why does it take so long to get anything done in Arizona? They have a 365-day construction window. Inquiring Minnesotans want to know.)
Below is an Elysian Park that used to be a spring-fed glorious oasis in Tucson. Progress destroyed the springs so now they just pump it in. See if you can find Sosie amidst the posies.

Our Tucson adventures continue unabated tomorrow.

Welcome to Cafe del Solveig

Sosie enjoyed her first breakfast this sunny morning on the patio named in her honor. Kathleen whipped up her famous waffles while Bill expertly fried the sausages. Stan and Sosie took an early walk, culminating in a stop at the fitness center to watch an 85-year -old great grandmother in short shorts throwing weights around like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

We're off to the Golden Goose, the legendary thrift shop, then Sosie is hopeful of getting a look at the world's largest Tiki God head, which for some reason is located in downtown Tucson.

St. Paul Katie sweeps house

Thirty-one hopefuls gathered at 6 p.m. last night at a dusty bar in Oracle Junction, down the road from where Western legend Tom Mix crashed and died in his Cord automobile Oct. 12, 1940. Management had set out tables and chairs and invited all comers to a poker shoot out.

As coyotes howled outside under star-lit desert skies, St. Paul Katie taught the locals a lesson in No-Limit Texas Hold 'em, closing out three tables by 8:30 p.m. This singular triumph was witnessed first-hand by Sosie and Bill Shearer, who had motored in that very day in the family van, loaded with supplies and vintage sufficient for an indefinite stay at the nearby Rolfsrud Bros. Casa de Golfo.

While Katie stacked her chips, J.D. the dog snoozed in the car and Sosie, Bill and Stan drank beer and ate sandwiches, accompanied by a curious mustard/pickle- based version of potato salad favored by Arizonians.

Today's Ash Wednesday schedule will take a more religious tone, with the penitents slated for a pilgrimage to the famed San Xavier del Bac Mission in Tucson, a day of observations downtown and candlelight vespers at the El Minuto cafe in the barrio.

The San Xavier del Bac Mission was built between 1783 and 1797 by the Tohono O'odham tribe, under the direction of Spanish Franciscans. The mission opened Tucson's first public school in Nov. 7, 1864. There is no record of the monks teaching the Indians to play poker or run casinos.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stone Canyon 2009

Arlin hosted Stan and his swing coach, Dick Robertson, Monday at the exclusive Stone Canyon golf course. Nearby is Dove Mountain, location of this week's Accenture PGA Match Play event featuring Tiger Woods in his first outing since his knee injury. This two minute clip captures a rare event, with Stan besting Robbie (a significantly better golfer) on the Par 3 Signature Hole at Stone Canyon.

Steve, Becky and Virg

Becky Jerdee and her brothers, Steve and Virg, took a moment in the Florida sun today during Steve's visit to see his siblings living there. These photos were taken by Becky Lynn near Virg and Becky's new home in Ft. Meyers. There are other Rolfsruds in Florida these days: our cousin Harold is fishing somewhere around there with members of his extended family. His daughter, Kelly, lives with her husband, Jiro, in Florida.

Home again

Our eldest, Melissa, has returned safely from Mazatlan and is back at work in Eden Prairie. Eager to max out on the sunshine, she overexposured and brought home a bit of a burn. (Our dear granddaughter, Emily, was kept out of the harmful rays and managed quite well.) Below is Missy with the parents of her "adopted" Mexican family, swimming with their four children in Missy's timeshare pool. Over the years, Missy has given much to this family; their youngest child is named "Melissa" in honor of the kindness of their Minnesota benefactor. And Emily learns her Spanish from native speakers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunsets 'R' Us

A record 91 degree day brought some interesting clouds and colors tonight as we looked southwest from the patio at 6:15 p.m. We took a ton of sunset photos, of course, but this was a favorite, all the classic southwest colors. We hope Sosie and Bill are here tomorrow in time to enjoy another show. In the photo below, a bright light appears to be coming from Dove Mountain, where Tiger Woods and his pals are sharpening up for this week's Accenture Match Play.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lucy, the wonder dog

Kathleen's always got a treat in her pocket and Lucy, our neighbor's little Jack Russell terrier, knows it. When she detects Kathleen on the other side of the big high wall, Lucy just has to have a look. Soon it's treats all around. 30 second clip.

Boys being Boys

Blake and the Tiger Cubs of the Blue & Gold followed the age-old tradition of getting goofy for the camera in this photo on the Underwood/Jerdee blog, linked at left.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Breaking News!

After 14 days, Steve's marigolds have broken through the earth's crust and have begun their rise to glory. Steve had hoped these plants would greet Sosie and Bill, and by George, they will.

The marigolds are sort of a science experiment. Steve believes that the myriad rabbits, deer and other local herbivores will eschew the tender blooms in favor of other flora.

We shall see. For the record, Kathleen has been faithfully watering, as per instructions. Let the record show that the seeds have germinated and responded favorably to her care. If there are no plants when Steve gets here to inspect in March, it ain't her fault.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Yes, he actually said this. . .

Actual conversation in our driveway as Kathleen was taking our picture today.

Kathleen: Hey Doug, I'm glad you guys are going golfing today. Stan needs practice before he goes to Scotland in March.
Doug Mackenzie: Yeah. Are you going to Scotland too?
Kathleen: No. This is just a guy thing. He's going with six guys.
Doug Mackenzie: Really? When I went to Scotland, I took my wife along.
Stan: Gee, thanks a lot, Doug. Can you shut up now and drive the cart?

Six degrees of separation

My neighbor, Leno, saw our Sunday blog entry (below) that included a mention of brunch guest Jesse Sixkiller, the fiance of my classmate's daughter.
Leno breathlessly reported today that he once spent an afternoon chatting poolside with Jesse's dad, Sonny Sixkiller, here in Tucson. Leno's son's best friend, noted quarterback Hugh Millen, introduced them.
That's sorta conincidental, isn't it?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Breakfast guests

The chairman and the vice-chair of Minnesota's Red Wing Publishing were breakfast guests today. Stan spent 35 years with RWP and was the president of the Southwest Division before retiring last fall, so there was plenty to chat about. Arlin and Marilyn winter in Tucson now. Arlin had tried to contact Stan for a round of golf earlier this week, but Stan's new high-tech magic internet phone wasn't responding to Arlin's repeated calls. Fortunately, that's been straightened out now and Stan and Arlin and a lucky third will be teeing it up on Monday.
Photo by KathleenAdd Image

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Love story

Grandma bought a singing stuffed animal at her favorite Post Office store in Saddlebrooke. The gift shop there does a great business catering to doting grandparents. Last year Kathleen bought Simon the Centipede. This year she brought home a singing frog for Emily. . . but now, well, she may not be able to give Frankie up.

Here's your 45-second day brightener.

Reclamation Tuesday

A Minnesota snowstorm separated Sosie from her luggage during her Christmas time visit to see her mother in Alexandria.
Stranded at IKEA with her brother, she enjoyed the Swedish meatballs, then was forced to fly back home to California without first picking up her stuff in Shakopee. Uff da, that storm was fierce, freezing traffic on I-494.

Her stuff was carried to Arizona in the back of the Rendezvous. Today word was received that Sosie and Bill will be arriving in Tucson next Tuesday to be reunited with the luggage... and have some fun while they are at it.

Monday, February 16, 2009


A hungry sparrow swiped bread bait set by Kathleen yesterday to entice shy and skittish Quail to visit our yard for a closeup. Fortunately, the fearless sparrows left enough behind to attract a nice flock for the camera. The result is the two and a half minute clip, below.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Katie's Quail Convention

A handful of waffle crumbs thrown out back draws a covey of quail in just a few minutes. Quail are very shy and skittish. They mostly just run on the ground but are capable of short flights. We turned the sound up on this video so you can hear their warbly clucking. We're not sure what that comb thingy (at left) is for, but it is most distinctive. (Click on the forward icon to start the short clip.)

Visitors from the North

Carol and Gary Lussier flew here from Minnesota for a weekend visit with their daughter, Leah, and her fiance', Jesse Sixkiller, who are attending law school at the University of Arizona in Tucson. The foursome drove to Saddlebrooke for Sunday brunch and a good chat before departing for an afternoon at the Desert Museum. Carol and Stan were classmates at Alexandria, but courteously avoided discussing inside baseball. Gary is a principal in Minneapolis, Carol teaches music. They keep a summer cottage in Alexandria.

Happy Birthday, Cherice!

Hope you have a terrific day, Cherice!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Game

Playing golf with Dick Robertson isn't quite like playing golf with anyone else.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


We know about the bobcats, mountain lions, javelina, mule deer, coyotes, quail, hawks, fox, rabbits, roadrunners and rattlesnakes using the no-man's land dividing our backyard from Catalina tee box No. 22. Now add coati to that list.

Admittedly, this discovery doesn't match the excitement expressed by my pal, Wayne Kasich, retired publisher of the International Falls Daily Journal, who last week reported a dead moose beside the railroad tracks running behind his northern Minnesota home. The moose was the apparent loser in a bout with the north-bound Canadian-Pacific. Within hours, predators had thoroughly cleaned the crash site, leaving only flash-frozen moose dung behind. This trace evidence was eagerly scooped, wrapped and mailed by U.S. Postal Service to Wayne's deer-hunting friend for close examination, speculation and discussion about the late moose's eating habits.
Mr. Kasich chose to include us in his study group by simply sending a brief email with the particulars. At 75 degrees and sunny, we are grateful for this.

Our good neighbor in Tucson, Dick Krueger, is no less dedicated to the outdoor arts. From time to time he can be seen in his backyard, busily sweeping and grooming a patch of ground. Initially, we ignored this curious behavior, allowing him the dignity and privacy earned after a life-long career at a major corporation. After all, if a gentleman in his golden years chooses to sweep dirt, stare at the ground and mumble, is that any business of ours?

Fortunately, Dick eventually approached us with an explanation: He and his Jack Russell, Lucy, keep a patch of loose ground cleared to track the critters patrolling the neighborhood. He's sleuthed a wealth of clues from the usual suspects. But on Jan. 29 he noticed a particularly puzzling set of tracks. He's made a study of what to expect in these parts, but wasn't certain of this find. So as any competent detective might, he consulted authorities with his photos and an opinion. Yesterday, Janice Przybyl at the Wildlife Linkages Program, Sky Island Alliance, confirmed to Tracker Dick that he had, indeed, tracked a coati.
If you don't know a coati from a coyote, check your wiki:
The coati, genera Nasua and Nasuella, also known as the hog-nosed coon,[1] snookum bear, and the Brazilian Aardvark, is a member of the raccoon family (Procyonidae); a diurnal mammal native to South, Central, and south-western North America. The word "coatimundi" (pronounced /koʊˌɑːtɨˈmʌndi/ [2]) is a commonly used misnomer applied to solitary adult male N. nasua. The term is reported to be derived from the Tupi language (Brazil). Reports that this term is from the Guaraní language are likely untrue.[citation needed]

We're thrilled to know of a new, night-time neighbor patrolling the area. But despite all the wildlife, things are not as primitive here as one might think. After all, Dick simply took some digital photos of his discovery and emailed them to the authorities for confirmation.
No mailed samples.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Tucson landscaper Ted Navarro snipped some top branches today from the wind-damaged acacia tree torn by Tuesday's snowstorm. (See story, below) Owners were relieved to learn that the landmark tree should survive, after some prudent trimming, rebalancing and sealing off of the exposed wound.

Ted and his helper lopped, trimmed, tidied and were on their way, leaving Kathleen to put a thick coat of beige latex paint on the sorry gash. The result is a lighter, more compact version of the original specimen, but hopefully a more resilient one.

After the completion of the project, a reporter from the Saddlebrooke Times, below, arrived to get the whole story and close yet another exciting chapter at The Cafe del Solveig.

2000 hits

Mom's YouTube video of her singing "My Heart Ever Faithful" has been viewed 2000 times. That may not make her a rock star, but it does make her an international treasure.
Here's Mom singing "I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes to the Hills," Psalm 121, accompanied by a montage of Tucson snowfall photos taken yesterday. Enjoy it. 2 minutes and 52 seconds.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Can this tree be saved?

This Tucson acacia sustained major damage in last night's snowstorm. Tomorrow at 1 p.m., renown landscaper Ted Navarro will arrive to render his professional opinion on its viability. What do you think? Can the tree be saved or is it too tattered to regain its glory. Should we cut our losses? Can it be saved?
For additional views, click on:
Comment below. Your vote could make the difference. Joyce Kilmer will thank you.

Disaster strikes Cafe del Solveig

Our stately acacia tree, lovingly selected and planted three years ago by Brother Virg, sustained serious damage last night during a rare Tucson snowstorm.
The fast-growing native specimen was quickly becoming a neighborhood landmark and already provided excellent privacy from the street. Last night's wind and snow were too much for this well-endowed acacia, and it surrendered a massive limb to the tempest, opening a nasty gash on its lean, supple trunk and exposing itself to all manner of pestilence.

The branch crashed directly onto the adjacent Cafe del Solveig, covering the chairs and the table where breakfast is served on happier days. Fortunately, the cafe was closed at the time, so no patrons were threatened by the catastrophe.
A workman is scheduled to begin cleaning the mess this afternoon.
There would have been two workmen assigned to this unpleasant task, but unfortunately, the other workman flew back to Minnesota, just in a nick of time.

To see full coverage of the beauty and trauma of this extraordinary winter event, view the entire photo exposition, entitled Tucson Snowstorm 2009, by clicking on this:

World's Unluckiest Golfers

Rick and John flew here from Minnesota for a big adventure in Tucson, sunny days golfing with Stan in preparation for St. Andrews in Scotland. Today they're understandably confused as to just exactly where they are.

This morning a special event surprised them, and it wasn't Kathleen's waffles: a rare snowstorm hit Tucson and closed all the area links. It looked just like Minnesota everywhere, in fact, the temperature, humidity and dew points were identical to Minnesota's this morning.

Not to worry. Today the forty-something, footloose pair are visiting Tombstone, the Pima Air and Space Museum and the Boneyard. They eschewed the Gem show. Maybe shoot some pool at Pockets near the ballpark. Dinner tonight with Kathleen and Stan at Bub's Grub. Tomorrow the sun returns to make all the snow go. They have noonish tee times near the Phoenix airport and, if their luck turns, they will get in 18 before flying back to Minnesota.

For more photos of the rare event, click on this web album: