Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Head Chive addressed the mob

.... and whipped them into a purple mass of conformity. Meanwhile (below), a lone pickpocket slipped through the crowd, taking whatever he wished from the stupid, mesmerized chiveheads.

Lorlee's got annuals

Lorlee Bartos writes from her home in Dallas:

I love nasturtiums, but you have to plant them by February -- and with another week of hot weather -- they will be gone.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

'toon transfixion

The screen porch is a nice place to hang out, now that grandpa moved the big old couch up here. But May mornings can still be cool and dampish, so a snuggle in the Lenzen Chevrolet souvenir blanket while watching cartoons keeps our little world fresh and cozy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We're ready to spread

The 2009 Rhubarb Jam campaign is over. Jars have been carefully sealed and dispatched to designated fridges. Toasters are heating, excitement is rising. Early signs indicate this will be a great year for jam spreadulation. Won't you come by for a taste? Anytime, but hurry. Supplies are limited.

Monday, May 25, 2009

No little man in here

Don't worry. This isn't another Korkowski Kontest to see how long it takes you to find the little man in the picture. These are today's choppings from an afternoon in the rhubarb pits, as we ready another batch of jam. The tart pile steeps overnight and tomorrow it will mellow and sweeten in a boiling pot before being poured off, cooled and delivered. (If you can't read the recipe on the card below, you can email Kathleen, as Bev Korkowski did. She was so inspired by the idea she is making "Sandy's Rhubarb Jam" as we speak.)
We watched "Henry Poole Is Here" this evening. It's a feel-good movie about an image of Jesus that appears in a stain on the stucco on a dying man's house and a sort of miracle happens. Or not.
So now, after the movie, we review our rhubarb picture. Please scroll up and look closely in the upper left corner. Honest now. Doesn't that one particular piece look just a bit like Our Blessed Mother?
(Click to enlarge photo for closer study.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kathleen

There were six ladies in the house today if you count Birdie, all here to celebrate Kathleen's special day. The girls have been going through some tough time with the recent passing of their father, so it was good to get together as a family and enjoy each other's company. The girls brought dinner and Kathleen baked a cake. Stan stayed out of the way and took these pictures.

Jennifer's computer took the one below remotely, (she's firing it with a hidden mouse) so everybody got to be in it. (Stan can't remember how to do time delays with his unit.)

Oops. Let's try that again.

Busy Letnes Weekend

Buff and hearty, Stan's nephew, Downtown Steve Letnes, walked his lovely girlfriend, Hannah, through the Minneapple Friday, along with his pleased Mom and Pop.
That was one of many family activities the Letneses enjoyed this weekend, and included a visit to party with Our Mother of Alexandria, along with Nancy and Steve and Michelle (with mom at left).

Here's a nice email Linda found time to send out this morning:

Hi Stan,

The week-end is only half over, but we have some pictures to share.

On Friday, Ron and I drove downtown to our son Steve's apartment where we parked the car. We walked down Nicollet Ave with Hannah and Steve to the Sculpture Garden just across from the Walker Art Center. Great walk, great talk. The weather couldn't have been nicer.

While we got a shot of Hannah and Steve at the "Cherry and the Spoon", we made sure that we found the sculpture where Shana and Erik were engaged. Ron and I are in front of that one.

We wandered through the flowers at Loring Park, lovely, and then found the dandelion fountain near the Hyatt on our walk back to Steve's apartment.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with Shana, Erik, Anja, and Milla. Good family time. We look forward to Hannah's next trip from Boston.

Saturday Ron and I drove to Alexandria for Mom's 89th birthday where we met Steve and Nancy at Clearwater. It was such fun seeing them again, certainly not enough time to visit. Michelle came over after we had had lunch and the six of us went off to the VFW for Iver's party.
At 90, Iver was manning the guest book and greeting all his guests. Iver calls Mom his "twin sister" though he is older by exactly one year. It was fun to see Brian and Blaine again after more than 50 years. It was a week-end for family, for remembering, and it's not over yet!

Love, Linda

Saturday, May 23, 2009

When you come to the fork in the road, take it

High winds were blowing us south through Nebraska on Highway 81 last January and we took refuge briefly at a rest stop somewhere south of McCool Junction. Besides free water and a clean restroom, the place was chock-a-block with junk designed to catch the bored traveler's eye and create an impulse purchase.
The trap snapped as Kathleen picked out the perfect, must have item: An old silver fork with its tines bent to accommodate a recipe card. "I have always wanted a stand to hold my recipes!" the poor deluded girl said. Stan just rolled his eyes and watched four impulse dollars change hands, absolutely certain that would be the very last anyone would ever see of that old bent-up fork. He was still shaking his head as they clambered back into the car to continue their boring exit of the plain states.
He couldn't have been more wrong about that sudden purchase, he discovered in amazement today. That old bent fork from Nebraska has found its purpose in Minnesota.

Farm market adventure

Early risers headed to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market this morning in search of the perfect rhubarb for Kathleen's annual Jam Fest. Daughter Marcelline has a weekend job there with a food and coffee company, so we had added incentive for this adventure.

We inspected all sorts of fruit, vegetables and flowers and walked the souvenir aisles that reminded us of the State Fair. It smelled like the State Fair too. Did you know that you can get a ShamWow and mini-donuts at the Farmer's Market? Versace knock-offs? Tie-dyed tee shirts? Slinkies? Leather purses? But no sign of Little Orvy, that famous refrigerated dead State Fair whale.

Stan was quickly drawn to the corn, his natural associate.
Meanwhile, after selecting some crispy organic rhubarb from a helpful Hmong farmer, Kathleen chose a big carmel roll to share with hubby, who by now was on his second cup of regular, black.

We invited ourselves to a picnic table occupied by three young ladies, one from Iowa. We discussed Des Moines, butter sculpting and the difference between Holsteins and Guernseys.
Then a couple of Litchfield high school sweethearts, Josh and Mindy, sat down, now married for six years. She struggled with an unruly fish taco while he expertly folded and devoured the breakfast burrito wrap purchased over at Marcy's stand.

Tipped by his Cobber sweatshirt and Soli Deo Gloria ring, we learned he was a baritone in the Concordia College Choir, circa 2001.
Meanwhile, Mindy went to journalism school at the University of Minnesota and learned to edit video, so Stan could trade stories from both of his Alma Maters. We assumed they have no kids. Otherwise, how could they be running free on a Saturday morning? Right, Ford and Jenn? Erik? Shana?

We met Marcy's boss too. Friendly Delano lad. The name of the company is Untiedt. Huh? It was easiest for Marcy to just show us the name on a bag of their coffee.

Happy Birthday, Mom

Mom's celebrating her 89th birthday today. Plans call for a special luncheon at Clearwater Suites in the "big room." Then into her car to join Iver Gulbranson's shindig elsewhere. Mom and Iver have the same birthday. She'll be accompanied by her son, Steve and his wife, Nancy, daughter, Linda, and her husband, Ron, and Mom's regular companion, Michelle.
The photo above is of Mother with her date, Iver, at the Senior Prom last year.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Slipping to fourth, fifth?

Regular readers will recall the controversy surrounding the Mathematics prize awarded in 1960 something to Brother Virgil for winning the Mu Alpha Theta math brainiacs contest. (See previous posts)
Readers may also remember that Virg's older brother, Steve, took some small comfort from the fact that though he lost to his baby brother, at least he scored a third place award.

The following note arrives by special post from another classmate, Mary Jo Bartos, originally thought to have tied for third with Steve.

She writes:
"Actually was digging thru some stuff…. And Steve Rolfsrud and I were not tied. I was tied with another Steve. And Steve Rolfsrud came in behind us."


Her big sister, Lorlee, adds this post script:
"Looks like Steve just can't catch a break on this one."
Now do the math.
We report. You decide.


Not every sign of spring is welcomed here at Abbey Point. Barn swallows are intensively working the area again, hoping to raise their young in mud nests on our white stucco. Vigilance is imperative, this nest startup (right) was built overnight, says a disgusted Katie. It must go, she says. It will. She rules their roost. We don't care if they eat tons of insects.
The barn swallows are as persistent as Mormon missionaries and return immediately after each scraping to reattach mud.
We've also got a nest of robins under the deck. They can stay. Different rules apply there. Overhead, a fascinated Birdie monitors developments, listening for departures and arrivals and sniffing fecund aromas wafting up the cracks.

Across the way, neighbor John Gerken favors dousing his barn swallow hangouts with Pine Sol, full-strength. Says the dirty birds are repelled by such a clean odor. He's pictured here with a newly-awakened grandson, Joe, who is a neighborhood regular.

Speaking of Joe, that's Joe Daly, at right, working over his petunias as he does, daily. Yes, every day he mounts his step ladder to tend to the colorful blooms that greet us as we come up the cul-de-sac. His roses get the same fussy attention. He keeps the barn swallows down by a daily swishing of their favorite targets.

Our lilacs are due anytime. They are perennial late-comers to the prom, suspicious of anything happening too soon in Minnesota, unlike the eager flowering crab over on the corner. Those gorgeous blooms were whipped, beaten and lost in Wednesday's 50 mph blow. Shingles were ripped from rooftops. Homeowners Association President Bud detailed Stan to photograph the damage. Bud will now seek compensation from our insurance carrier for the rude May surprise.

It is calm today, we'll get out the pressure washer and chase barn swallow stains, then apply Mr. Clean.

Want more signs of spring? The shady boys from Prescription Landscape (below) are here this morning to get the sprinklers activated. It's finally 72 degrees and sunny in Minnesota. It's about time.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Adam Jerdee!

Adam is Stan and Kathleen's Iowa nephew, he lives in Des Moines with his wife, Kim.

See if you can spot him in the Earth Day activity below. (Waldo helped with an arrow)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Still photography?

Combining a three-year-old and a 15-week-old puppy in a photo with grandpa is a challenge even for a grandma on her hands and knees. We squirmed our way through it this morning on a windy deck. Birdie is now 6 pounds, 3 ounces. Click to enlarge the action.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Historians all, we play the Old Course

Golfing the Old Course at St. Andrews is not about the golf, it's about the experience. After all, it's just a public utility. Seven guys from Minnesota swap highlights from this storied venue. Click on the Play button to see it.

Six Centuries of Golf
Golf has been played on the Links at St Andrews since around 1400 AD and the Old Course is renowned throughout the world as the Home of Golf. The game grew in popularity and by the 19th century it was part of the way of life for many local people, whether as players, caddies, ball makers or club makers.
As the 600 year history of the Links has unfolded, one simple track hacked through the bushes and heather has developed into six public golf courses, attracting hundreds of thousands of golfing pilgrims from around the globe. St Andrews Links is the largest golfing complex in Europe.
Golf Banned
Golf was clearly becoming popular in the middle ages, as the game was banned in 1457 by King James II of Scotland who felt it was distracting young men from archery practice. This ban was repeated by succeeding monarchs until James IV threw in the towel and in 1502 became a golfer himself.
18 Holes
In 1764 the Old Course consisted of 22 holes, 11 out and 11 back, with golfers playing to the same hole going out and in, except for the 11th and 22nd holes. The golfers decided that the first four holes, and therefore also the last four holes, were too short and that they should be made into two holes instead of four. This reduced the number of holes in the round from 22 to 18, and that is how today's standard round of golf was created.
Rabbit Wars
In 1797, due to 'temporary impecuniosity,' that is to say bankruptcy, St Andrews Town Council lost total control of the Links, allowing rabbit farming to challenge golf for pre-eminence. Twenty years of legal and physical war between golfers and the rabbit farmers concluded in 1821 when James Cheape of Strathtyrum, a local landowner and keen golfer, bought the land and, in his own estimation, 'saved the Links for golf.'
Double Greens
Golf started to become more popular at St Andrews in the middle 19th century and the course became more crowded. The result was that golfers playing out began to meet golfers playing in, at the same hole. Not surprisingly, this led to difficulties and disputes. To solve the problem, the decision was made to cut two holes on each green, with white flags for the outward holes and red flags for the inward holes. This was the origin of the famous double greens.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club
In 1754, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club was founded under its original name of the Society of St Andrews Golfers. This club, originally composed of 22 noblemen, professors and landowners, now governs the rules of golf everywhere except the USA. The club also runs the Open Championship and important amateur championships. The New Course was built by the R&A in 1895.
The First Links Act
St Andrews Town Council re-acquired the Links in 1894 following the passing of the first Links Act by Parliament, thus safeguarding public access to the Links for locals and visitors alike. The Council built the Jubilee Course in 1897 and the Eden course in 1914.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Shana and Breck!

Happy Birthday to our nieces Breck Rolfsrud and Shana Letnes Erickson.

Breck (top) is Nancy and Steve's;

Shana is Ron and Linda's.
They are busy leading productive lives. Shana just gave birth to her second daughter; Breck will marry in August. (We'll be sure to grab a new photo of this pair at the wedding.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Join the fun

The Korkowski Kith and Kin blog is linked to this one. Stan's classmate, Bev Roers Korkowski, runs it. She's also Linda's pal. Bev recently posted a set of Man Rules on her blog that you might find interesting. Stan enjoyed the rule about the toilet seat and that's all he's saying. And what's this photo about? Find the man in the coffee beans. Then click on the Korkowski link at left to see why.

Dressed for success

Stan's long-time business associate, Shelley Dery, left, showed up for a sales seminar recently and jumped to the head of the class. Our street warrior got ahead of everyone, as you can see in this photo with the visiting trainer.
(Yes. Stan is fully-retired and doesn't come to these events anymore. But he still has moles inside the company, looking for cool stuff to send him.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cultural exchange

Just a wee bit up the coast road from Aberdeen graze a fold of Highland cattle. Our driver was happy to oblige his restless riders so we hopped out and got just close enough for a shaggy bull story. From left, John "Little Stix" Schatz, Rick Maxa, Stan Rolfsrud, John Bull, John Dovolos.

Linda's weekend

Good Morning Stan,
We had a busy week-end even before the wedding in Moorhead, Mothers Day in Alexandria and Mothers Day in Blaine. The first picture I sent is of Ron and two of his nieces, Sandy to Ron's left and Alison on Ron's right, from Fort Worth.

They are standing in front of the tree Steve Rolfsrud and Steve Letnes planted in memory of their father and Ron's brother.
The next picture is of Letneses at our house, the night before the wedding. Ron's sister-in-law, Buckie, and her daughters Sandy and Alison are seated. And then we have Shana with Milla Letnes Erickson in the carrier, Ron, I am holding Anja Letnes Erickson.
The last picture is our first stop in Alexandria with Mom.
Love, Linda

Thanks, Linda!
(Linda is Stan's older sister, a retired schoolteacher.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Our Mothers

The late Florence Neilson and Beverly Rolfsrud
Below, Marcy's baby, Maxwell Tong, with Grandmother Tong, and Great-grandmothers Mrs. Rolfsrud and Mrs. Neilson. Standing is Max's grandmother, Kathleen.