Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sea nettle jelly

Kathleen watched a mob of jellyfish today at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The colorful exhibit reminded her that Stan was once bitten by a jellyfish while vacationing in Mexico. Oddly, the victim had since forgotten it. What do you do for a jellyfish sting? Rub some sand on it, the local doctor advised.
Featured today was a special sea horse exhibit. In the photo below, look closely for a camouflaged sea horse. Kathleen is looking directly at what appears to be a branch and leaves in the water. It is not, we learned, as it swam past. Click to enlarge and see if you can make it out.
We lunched at the Red House in Pacific Grove, (Stan had fish) then the ladies shopped while Bill and Stan took in the afternoon sea air.
Home tomorrow night.
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To see the entire Monterey Bay album, click on Sosie's head, below.
Monterrey Bay Aquarium

We honor Joe today

Our good neighbor in Shakopee, Joe Daly, lived all his life in the Bay Area, in Santa Rosa, just up the road from the Golden Gate bridge. Joe retired to Minnesota and loves it there, as he struggles with the winters and making his garden grow. He also loves to tell stories about the good old days in the San Francisco area. He remembers how they used to laugh at the tourists who came to walk across the Golden Gate bridge. It gets very cold out in the middle, as we confirmed during our brisk walk yesterday. But that, Joe says, is a fact often unknown or overlooked by greenhorn tourists. "You could always tell a tourist walking on the bridge because they'll be wearing shorts," Joe scoffs to his Shakopee neighbor.
This one's for you, Joe.
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Bridge to Bonita Point Lighthouse

Only two people are allowed at a time on the suspension bridge leading to the lighthouse on Bonita Point, beacon to the storied entrance of the treacherous Golden Gate shipping channel. A foghorn repeatedly warns seafarers of dangerous shoals. Salt and mist drift past your nose in the chilly sea air as you step onto the swaying steel and plank structure, then look beneath your feet to crashing breakers below. The corrosive Pacific mix has taken a magnificent toll on the rusted metal bridge fittings (above). Gulls dip and fat seals turn on the rocks far below and you wonder aloud just why the sign says that only two can cross the bridge at once. Certainly the bridge has got to be safe, we agreed.
Kathleen went first.

To see the entire Bonita Point Lighthouse album, click on the photo below. See the seals, the Golden Gate bridge, the 150 year old tunnel hand cut through the rocks, the abandoned gun batteries to defend against the war that never came here.
Bonita Point Lighthouse

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Meanwhile, back in Minnesota

Birdie is having a blast with her new pals, under the watchful eye of Jennifer and her boyfriend, Joe. Jenny reports that an afternoon of hijinks ended with a tuckered puppy pack, all taking full advantage of the hospitality at Joe's folks place in Nisswa. Birdie has never had it so good and we're concerned about her willingness to come home with us when the time comes. We'll see.

Aunt Katie of Shakopee society

Among the special guests at Zachary and Jenn's wedding Saturday was Aunt Kathleen Ann, whose delicate Northern European pedigree threatened her with the vapors from the afternoon California sun. She kept cool with an elegant hand fan and floppy bonnet under a shady park tree.
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She's 80

Bill and Sosie's neighbor Pat Stillman arrived in a convertible and was escorted to Jenn and Zakk's wedding by her dear friend and neighbor, Neil Davies. She's using a fan designed by Sosie, with directions to the reception printed on it. Yes, that's a zoot suit, and yes, he's wearing spats.
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pardon me, while I kiss the bride

We posted the wedding album for Jenn and Zakk's wedding today. It was a beautiful wedding and wonderful reception in the park. Lots of fun and photos to share. You'll need some time to do it. Click on the image below to be carried to Zakk and Jenn's Wedding Album. The dog in the photo is Bear, Zakk and Jenn's Yorkshire. He had a role in today's wedding as the ring bearer. Honest.
Zach & Jenn, Saturday

Wedding site

The Water Temple is a curious edifice built by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. Its highest purpose to date, as far as we are concerned, will be the marriage of Jenn LaBrie and Zachary Shearer today, under a blazing California sun. One-hundred-twenty chairs will be set out on the tarmac by the Minnesota delegates at 2 p.m. and removed by closing at 3:30 p.m. Cooling waters flow in a pool beneath the dome, but alas, will be off-limits to would-be dippers.
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Cutting the cheese

Working late into the night, intrepid cheese cutter William O. Shearer diligently sliced the Muenster into delicate triangular appetizers for tomorrow's post-nuptial nibbling. The father of the groom refused to delegate this critical activity, prudently leaving the less demanding tasks to unskilled help from Minnesota. The barbecue itself will be provided by professionals.
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Zach & Jenn's wedding rehearsal

Clockwise from left, the wedding planner; Dustin and Bear, the ring bearer; Larry and Pat LaBrie, parents; Zach escorts Mom and Dad; Zach with his bride; Zach with Bear; the wedding rehearsal at the Water Temple, Sunol.
To see the entire collection of Zach and Jenn's rehearsal photos, click on the photo below:

Zach and Jenn Rehearsal

Groom's Parents -- verrry casual

The groom's picnic this afternoon was a fine event, and fun too. The wedding rehearsal, over at the water temple, was completed under a hot sun, with some thoughts about a possible heat condition tomorrow. A brisk service and then into the cooler park nearby seems to be the order of the day.
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How hard can it be to make a picnic for 36?, Sosie asked herself today. Apparently not hard at all, as she breezed through a pile of fresh fruits procured this morning by husband Bill. There's a rehearsal today, then a groom's picnic in the park for the wedding party. The sandwiches will be catered and the cold drinks delivered. Haven't seen the groom yet. Or the bride. But Z sounds quite relaxed, mom says, as she hangs up the phone.
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Beautiful morning walk today

Just returned from a brisk 4.5 mile hike from Kilkare Road to the top of the Pleasanton Ridge. Uff da. Sosie and the neighbor's dog, Molly, led the way, keeping a wary eye for the possible cougar. We took the "flat" route, but it was plenty steep. Gorgeous views of Pleasanton and beyond from the ridge top, where thoughtful people had planted a bench. Sosie showed Stan where she took a young Zachary to hunt frogs in a ridge-top reservoir. Tomorrow the prince will marry. Back at the house now, we await the arrival Steve and Nancy as well as Bill with his groom's dinner supplies. The excitment builds.
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Sometimes you feel like dancing

The huge ballroom in the Filoli mansion provided ample incentive to set down our bags and dance away our cares yesterday, particularly when accompanied by a gentleman pianist in a ballroom gilded in gold leaf. That's Sosie and Bill in the background on the parquet. Tomorrow we'll dance outdoors with wedding guests and family. This morning Stan and Sosie will take a hike up the backyard canyon trails. We'll borrow a neighbor dog for company.
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Job One Done

We're here in Sunol, California, getting ready for the big weekend wedding of Stan's nephew, Zachary. Just for fun, Sosie and Bill took Stan and Kathleen to fabulous Filoli Estate in San Mateo County for a grand tour this morning. You may recognize the place, it was the mansion in Dynasty, the set of Heaven Can Wait, and used in many other movies. We'll post those photos later. Tonight we got our first assignment completed: string lights in the Sunol Park grape arbor, focal point of the dance and reception Saturday. The band will play stage right, barbecue served on the left, and dancing in the center. The wedding itself will occur in a nearby Water Temple. That's Saturday. On Friday, Steve and Nancy arrive, just in time for the groom's dinner. In the photo below, Kathleen and Sosie admire the spectacular silver service used in the Filoli mansion -- unfortunately not available for Saturday's reception.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Facts of Zachary's Life

We hope to learn a lot about Zachary and Jenn this week to add to family lore. We're prepared for an occasional surprise. Zach only recently learned that he is part Mohican Indian, a fact that was gathered after a trip to his father's roots in Ohio. Zachary is pictured here on top of Crazy Horse monument in South Dakota during a 2005 visit to see Midwest rellies. We did not know his full lineage at the time, but now note his distinctive native bearing.
For their part, Zachary and his father now occasionally proudly refer to "our people," thereby excluding Sosie from the group.

Happy Birthday, Becky Lynn

It's Becky's birthday today. Here she is near their Florida winter home. They're back in Minnesota for the summer. A good time to not be on the western Florida coast, we see by the weather channel. Hope everything is fine there. We're sure there'll be a ruckus in Eden Prairie.

Let the Summer of Love begin

Kathleen and Stan board a Delta Flight this evening, headed to Oakland and then on to Sunol, California, site of Saturday's long-awaited big event, the marriage of our nephew Zachary to his dream girl, Jenn.
We'll layover briefly in Salt Lake City, perhaps gather a brochure or two from local missionaries, then on to the coast, where Bill and Solveig promise to retrieve us from OAK.

Our bags are packed California Casual, we'll check and recheck that the coffee pot is turned off, E-tickets confirmed, neighbor Tom will drive us to MSP and Birdie will be in the loving care of her Aunt Jennifer.

For our part, we've promised to take some pictures, plant chairs in the park and cut up some fresh fruits and vegetables. Steve and Nancy will join us Friday to help fill out Zachary's Mysterious Midwest Relations Contingent. Sosie and Bill have promised to escort us around the Bay Area post nuptials and we hope to share some of that activity here.

Yes, we're California dreamin' now. Excitement and fun straight ahead.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Harold Flint's nephew drops in

This is a photograph of roommates Harold Flint and Erling Rolfsrud, a couple of slim dandies at Concordia College in Moorhead, taken in the late 1930s or early 1940. Two weeks ago we most serendipitously exchanged emails with Harold's nephew. Thought you'd enjoy.

June 7, 2009

I ran across your web site from The Alex Class of 1965. I'm wondering if you were related to Erling Rolfsrud, a teacher at Central in the 1960s.
Rich Flint
Class of 1969
Yes. That's my Dad. Are you related to Harold Flint? He was one of my Dad's pals at Concordia College in Moorhead. I believe Harold was Glenn Flint's brother. Stan

Hi Stan!
Yes Indeed; I was Harold's nephew and I am Glenn's son. I remember Harold speaking fondly of your Dad. I believe they were both aspiring writers at the time; and I know my uncle was involved in writing "pulps" with some folks in Chicago. He ended up working for WLS Radio in Chicago at one time.
I have a copy of your Dad's book, "Extraordinary North Dakotans," which I retrieved from my Dad's library when he passed away. I've enjoyed reading it again.
Very nice to meet you again! I remember you now from Junior High. And thanks for the response!
Rich Flint
Littleton, CO

Hi Rich,
My wife and I drove through Littleton this spring on our way back from our Tucson winter house to Minnesota. What a nice part of the world you live in, although I remember following an 18-wheeler wide-load downhill and not being able to pass it for a very long time before it blew out its brakes in a smokey mess and had to pull over.
I was sorry for the driver, happy for me. And then we took a wrong turn, missing the interstate bypass and driving right through downtown at about 4 p.m.

Other than that, a lovely part of the world.

I remember Glenn, your father, of course. He was the KCMT general manager and would read the news on Sunday nights. His image on the television would prompt an occasional thought from my Dad about his old pal, Hal.
We could receive Clear Channel WLS Radio, Chicago, at nights in Alexandria. Never knew Harold Flint worked there.


Enhanced Interrogation Device?

It was free, butt

It has been three days now, yet the effects of this brutal Chinese device linger.

Brother Virgil thoughtfully donated a bicycle to Stan's new exercise program last week. Virg had purchased the sporty-red mountain 10-speed import long ago and now it just hung upside-down in his garage, a relic of another era. It was gratefully accepted Saturday and immediately taken for a jubilant test spin down the abandoned railroad trail between Shakopee and Chaska.

In the time it took to stand up, turn back and gingerly pedal home, it had become obvious to the rider that the narrow, rock-hard bicycle seat had been designed, long before detente, by cunning communists seeking to target and torture the most vulnerable spot of the American capitalist.

Thus chastened, a wide-bottom defense was soon purchased from Mr. Schwinn, and now awaits installation in high hopes that in good time, the rider can make it all the way to Chaska.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day from Jennifer

Jennifer raided a tourist trap in Nisswa recently and found, as usual, the perfect gift items for Stan. What ever was Jennifer doing in Nisswa, you ask? That's where the new beau hails from. Told you this was serious.

Tender trappings

Jennifer will arrive shortly and she's bringing her new guy, Joe. This affair has very serious momentum, so Stan was sent outside to cut some fresh peonies for the table, as we rush to make our very best impression on the gentleman caller.

It's hot out and normally that's an excuse to leave the oven off. Not today. It was fired up hours ago for Roast Beef and gravy and other man food. Traps are set. Wine uncorked. Feel the heat. Poor Joe has no chance.

It's just the first day in the Summer of Love. Two Rolfsrud weddings ahead and now this. Steamy. Very steamy.

Our Fathers

Erling Rolfsrud and Leonard Neilson shared a cup of coffee in the summer of 1976 in Forada, Minnesota. Leonard loved to fish Maple Lake and many times he vacationed with his family there at Lorraine's Cabins. They would catch and clean huge batches of sunnies and crappies, then bring them back in frozen milk cartons for their eager neighbors in St. Paul. Stan was serious enough about Kathleen at the time to get parents involved. So here they are, in the only photograph we have of them together.
Leonard is remembered for the poetry he wrote to his beloved Florence; Erling is remembered for the prose he wrote for his beloved North Dakotans. We don't know if the subject here was writing, but it probably wasn't fishing because Erling never dropped a line, as far as we know.

Leonard died the year after this picture was taken; Erling died in 1994. They are remembered fondly.

Happy Fathers Day to all you Dads, and think about how you'd like to be remembered. See Lorlee's post below.

Our girls will come to visit today. It will be a hard day for them, they lost their father in May; we'll remember the many happy times.

Lorlee's Memories Published

Our Dallas correspondent and childhood friend (she grew up north of Maple Lake -- referenced in the post above) was published in the Dallas Morning News today. She writes:

I made the letters to the editor section of the Dallas Morning News. They wanted letters about dads. Mine was the only sweet one, all the others spoke sort of badly about their father/stepfathers.

My dad still lives in my mind
My dad is long gone, but never far from my mind. Dressed in his patched striped overalls and laced farmer's shoes, his spirit walks the fields he farmed for more than 50 years. He listens for the soft lowing of his cows on those sands of Hudson Township. He sees them coming out of the darkness and early morning mists at 5:30 a.m., with the birds crying their distinctive "kill dear, kill dear."
He knows every inch of this land from the days he farmed with horses. He can feel the remembered cold in his bones from the winters when chores had to be done regardless of the weather.
He remembers the hot summer days when the sweat dripped from his brow and his face and forearms had their distinctive farmer's tan. It was a real challenge making a living on this land. All that fades away as he eagerly cocks an ear to listen for the sounds of his family. He told his wife that the best crop he ever raised on those sands was his kids.
Lorlee Bartos, Dallas

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Somewhere. . . under a rainbow

A brief shower momentarily interrupted Ron and Linda's summer picnic in Blaine, but didn't halt the fun and good times. A delightful stew of family, old friends and new friends enjoyed a gorgeous buffet spread generously over Linda's kitchen bar and table. Out back, son-in-law Erik grilled brats and burgers as his wife, Shana, busied herself with newborn Milla.

Host Ron, in his trademark short pants, revealed what are arguably the best-looking legs of any ordained Lutheran pastor in the Great Northern parish. He snapped party-goers with his new digital camera, then led a spirited hootenanny with his trusty old guitar. Song selections, out of respect to the predominant demographic, were tilted toward the 60s and were sung Concordia-style, with gusto -- and some harmony.

There was no door prize for driving the farthest, but contenders would have been Steve and Nancy, who motored from Mankato and contented themselves with fine plates of picnic fare. Steve admired the progress of the trees he and nephew Steve planted in his sister's back yard, now growing amidst a bright mix of annuals and perennials in a fertile loose mulch.

Virg and Becky joined a group in the garage to admire Linda's bike with fat tires and wide seat, then offered Stan their unused 10-speed as a contribution to his exercise regimen. Comfort vs. speed was debated as raindrops pelted the driveway, canceling a test spin.

It was a wonderful social event, well-done, and fun for everyone.

Birdie... meet Anja

Last night's picnic at Ron and Linda's gave Birdie the perfect opportunity to mix with their Granddaughter Anja. Lots of neutral grass, lots of curiosity, no fear of accidents. Click to enlarge collage.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Duck White

You can stain your house any color as long as it is Duck White. That's the rule here at Abbey Point and today our neighbors Tom and Sandy were in full compliance. Tom once broke a leg falling off a ladder, so the project was an act of courage on his part. He's no Tom Sawyer either, making only a half-hearted attempt at fobbing the job off to his nosy but unhelpful neighbor.
Tom and Sandy built the gazebo last summer, leaving the wood to cure for a season. The couple was all smiles when the project started this morning, and the neighbor reminded them that doing things together is good for a healthy relationship (except wallpapering). The project is more intricate than it looks, not sure how long it will take, but we are sure they'll have that great feeling of satisfaction for a job well done when it's finished.