Friday, July 31, 2009

Multi-tasking Rolfsruds

Virg and Stan are having their picture taken. Sosie is on the phone with Linda making arrangements for the coming Big Day in Mankato. Sosie and Virg saw the James J. Hill mansion and Summit Avenue in St. Paul. Then Virg sold a clunker and Alex got a brand new car. We all enjoyed dinner tonight, along with Kathleen and Becky Lynn.
Tomorrow there is much to see, much to talk about, much to do. We'll rest tonight.

Sosie sighting

Brother Virgil reports from his Eden Prairie estate that our sister Sosie has arrived via the Sun Country Red Eye from California. She's taking a nap at Virgil and Becky's house as we type this, but the energetic boomer and ultimate tourist will rise shortly to tour the James J. Hill house in St. Paul and then walk Summit Avenue to gaze at the mansions and imagine the lifestyles enjoyed there.
By 6 p.m. she's scheduled to arrive here in bustling Shakopee, just in time for a drive-by of Derby Days.
Then Virg will tag off to Stan and Kathleen and join them as well as Becky Lynn for a roast beef dinner. After laughter tonight, we'll tuck Sosie to bed to reboot for The Big Day in Mankato, where wall-to-wall Rolfsruds will compete with the Vikings as the main attraction in the river town.
Not that hard to do, now that Farve is out of the picture.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wait Room?

In a desperate attempt to put off the start of an ambitious weight training regimen, Stan has elected to first build a training room in this former cold-weather workshop space in the basement. The winter shop has moved to Arizona, sort of, so the tools are now in the garage for summer putzing.
The hope was to have this work out room finished by the time Sosie got here this weekend, but that ship has sailed, as the project had to wait for a variety of other excuses, up to and including broken doorbells, towel bars, movies, weddings, company and a puppy that needs training.

The green on the wall is not the eventual paint color. That's just left over from a brush-cleaning moment years ago. A cheerful yellow and energetic tomato red trim are more likely choices for the motivation that will be needed in this room, once the bowflex and treadmill are moved in and the serious remodeling begins.

Maybe next month? No sweat. It can wait.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


In a little over a month, Emily has grown an inch. That's what the pencil marks in Grandma's hallway indicate. Our three-year-old is just under 40 inches today. If her growth spurt continues at this rate, she will qualify for the scary rides at Valleyfair by September, and will be wearing Grandpa's jeans by Christmas.

Monday, July 27, 2009

KXRA gives Bev and Erl a nod

KXRA Radio celebrated its 60th anniversary in Alexandria today.
Years ago Mom would record some music and bring the tapes in to be played on the air. Stan can remember running into the little white radio building on Broadway (with a certain amount of awe) carrying some audio tapes to ask Disk Jockey Steve Sherwin (above) to "bulk" or erase the tapes on a big magnet so Mom could put new songs on them. That was in the early 1960s. Sherwin was on the air at KXRA for 41 years!
Of course we all remember that every Sunday the 9:30 First Lutheran Church Service would be broadcast live. This was very convenient, because you could get pertinent sermon details from the car radio to snuff any parental suspicions of teen church skipping. Don't know if they are still broadcasting services to assist today's youth. Anybody?

Radio Host Patty Wicken (pictured below) says they talked on the air about Erling and Beverly during their anniversary programming today.

Here's an email written by Patty that was forwarded to Stan today:

KXRA 1490-AM went on the air July 27, 1949. I am attaching a couple of pictures. One is of Ken Tessmer, seated at the microphone (Mayor Ness to his right). Ken was one of the original owners of KXRA. The owners all sat together and flipped a coin to see whose voice would be the first one heard on KXRA. Ken won the toss and returned to our studios today, 60 years later, for an interview. He is still actively selling real estate in the lakes area.
Steve Sherwin, holding the balloon, was on the air continuously on 1490 for 41 years. Amazing. The other one is lumpy and limpy.
Maybe Stan would be interested to know that we talked about his parents today on the anniverary show. Erling Rolfsrud would play the organ and Beverly Rolfsrud would sing on their little radio show on KXRA.

A kiss for the Father of the Bride

It's a big week for Bro. Steve so Stan and Birdie did their best to keep him loosened up for the wedding Saturday night. A round of golf and then a big smack from the French hostess got Steve's week off to a merry start this afternoon. You're on your own from here, Steve. It's the Summer of Love.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


After three days of partying, classmates gathered on the front porch for a final Big Chill photo. Mark and Karen (left) headed back to Wisconsin; Sue and Karl, right, will drive their rental to Alexandria to see relatives before flying back to Seattle later this week. Stan and Kathleen will nap.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Class of '65 mini-reunion

From left, Paul, Stan, Karl, Sue, Mike, Karen, Ron and Mark. Stan's classmates from Alexandria gathered this afternoon for a buffet and lots of memories. Joining the overnight guests were Ron, Paul and Mike who drove in from St. Paul. Breakfast tomorrow at the clubhouse. Photo by Kathleen, the only one present never to wear Cardinal red and black.


The last one to breakfast gets the ribbing. High school chums, Mark, Karen, Karl and Sue arrived last night for a weekend of fun, and we are off to a good start. More classmates coming this afternoon.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Missy

She's 43 today! Happy Birthday to our eldest. She's pictured here with two favorites: Emily, of course, and her timeshare in Mazatlan. Fair warning, Greater Minneapolis and St. Paul. She'll be out celebrating tonight with her 42-year-old younger sister, Marcy! Go girls!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Quick! Before the bees come. . .

These are poppies. Our friend, Hai Dang, grows them in his back yard garden, then shoots them with a macro lens and flash at f22. The blossoms are less than three inches across. He says he has to capture the pollen early before the bees come because they tromp around and get the subject all mussed up. The depth and details in his photos are amazing. So is Hai.

Blessings of Company

Company's coming... and a good thing too. Here's what's happened so far and approximate time in the job jar.

Door knob on back porch repaired. . . three months.
Front doorbell fixed.......... two years
Hot tub cover siliconed. . . six months
Barn swallow mud nests removed again. . . 14 hours
Toilet seat in guest bath tightened. . . six months.
Paint splotch on door panel removed . . . two years
Shower head cleared. . . one year.
Towel bar, master bath. . . two years
Towel bar, guest bath. . . one year

There are still plenty of items left in the job jar. No time for that now, just the ordinary prep. But it is great having a doorbell again! Thanks Karl and Sue, Mark and Karen!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Joe and Mina take limit of big ones

Our dear neighbors, Joe and Mina, spent their careers in and about San Francisco. They often fished the ocean in big party boats. They have since retired to Minnesota, but they still love the challenge of big fish and the big water. Last week they chartered a Lake Michigan boat captained by a grizzled veteran who promised they'd catch their limits. They did. Yesterday they returned to Shakopee with about 100 pounds of beautiful salmon, fresh and ready to eat.

Mina gave Stan a slab last night and he's already into it, grilling his first chunk for about 10 minutes, skin-on, salt, pepper and a bit of lemon. MMM. More tonight.

The 80-something Captain Ozzie was very strict, Mina said, meticulous, experienced and remarkably spry. No jolly soul, he redefines the term "tight ship." But Joe and Mina got into the spirit, rose at 3 a.m., took their orders, kept their tips up and caught their limits. Thrilled, they vow to return to cantankerous Ozzie's vessel next year.

Other boats caught a mere one or two salmon. Joe and Mina got spectacular results that will be shared with the neighbors on the tarmac this August.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The fellas liked the movies

They also liked the chicken wings and the quesadilla rolls. . . and the 18-year-old single malt scotch whisky. Stan made the movies. Kathleen made this picture... and the wings and the rolls. We don't know who made the 18-year-old Glenmorangie. He could be dead by now. But he did some good work too.
(Not pictured are John and Rick. They didn't arrive until the second show at 10 p.m. And Kathleen wasn't making pictures, or chicken wings, anymore.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Prowling petunias

A brash wave petunia leaves its terra cotta home to stalk arrogantly on our sweet yellow coreopsis. The calm summer has been great for flowers.

Below, more excitment as the gentle lilies are just starting, with many to come. This brave yellow pioneer, backed by blue Russian sage, reaches for sunshine, surrounded by dozens of younger siblings that we hope will be in full bloom when our late July company comes for backyard visits.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ruby Tuesday Thursday

The Ladies Who Lunch played a home game Thursday when they met at the Shakopee Ruby Tuesday restaurant for the monthly exchange. They adjourned to the nearby Canterbury Park for two rounds of poker. The ladies had a great time playing cards, but neither won enough to buy next month's lunch.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Grandma & Grandpa went to Monterey Bay

and all I got was this Seahorse Shirt!

Grandma and Grandpa went to Zakk and Jenn's wedding in California and got to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and saw all kinds of fish and stuff. Lucky for me, Grandma wasn't able to get past the souvenir store without getting something nice for me! Isn't it pretty? Birdie didn't get anything! That's her back there, trying to squeeze into the picture again. Grandma had a shower at the aquarium and she says she didn't even get wet! Don't believe it? Just watch Grandpa's video:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Holding back the crush of middle age

Road to Riccarton

Monday night eight guys are coming to the house for chicken wings and movies of their recent golfing and whisky study trip to Scotland. Stan has been busy cutting up two hours of video clips and 1000 still photos into something reasonably entertaining for this demanding crew.

In the process, he uncovered footage of the brief geneological search he conducted in Riccarton, home of our great great great grandfather Adam and his son, Peter, who immigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1800s.

The search began, and ended, at this bus stop. Here's the snip from the movie. It's not exactly "Roots."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Secret shame buried for years

The sins of mother's gardener
Over a half decade ago, we imagine, a young man, hired for the summer by Cullen's Builders, was charged with installing the landscaping cloth and stone in the low-maintenance gardens around mother's new house.

Cheater exposed
He probably had a date that night and was in a hurry to complete a task deemed beneath himself. The thick layer of stones would easily hide a sloppy, slap-dash job of stretching plastic to meet the edges. It would be years before the weeds would find the massive gaps between edging and the plastic sheets, but by then he'd be long gone, he reasoned, and finishing dental school.
So the lazy summer gardener is now a dentist, cheating his patients on the gold content of their fillings.
Mother's weeds are now thick enough to earn a notation in the official neighborhood association meeting minutes.

No killer
You can always just kill the weeds with a fine chemical product called Roundup, but this only buys a little time until the next crop. What is required is major surgery, removing the rocks, rooting the dirt and patching the plastic gaps the way it should have been done years ago.

This we did on a good Friday. Under a glorious sun, we knelt down, exposed the lies, the sins of omission, the cover-up. We removed the rocks, shook the dirt off, separated out the pig weed, the threw the dirt onto the adjacent sod.
Just that very morning the Lake Region Echo-Press had delivered unto us a free copy of its County Shopper.

We pressed this into immediate service and to its highest use: hard-working weed blocker, guaranteed to hold up at least 20 years before breaking down. (Look this up -- at least one neighbor and one brother shook their heads and said we should use plastic, not newspaper. Uff Da. Look up chapter and verse in your recycler's prayer book.)

As we refilled the saved stone onto the clean newsprint, we took satisfaction in a difficult job well done and in a mood of generosity, forgave the sloppy landscaping engineer. Our late Uncle Halvor would have described his work as "Peter Tumbledown," and would often point out the folly of building a crooked fence, not mouse-proofing a granary, or skimping on oil in the crankcase.
He would have approved Friday's reconstruction and we thought of him as we finished up.
Satisfied, we looked across the sidewalk at the next flowerbed. It, too, was a swamp of pigweed hiding a secret past. But the sun was high now, our knees were sore, our spirit flagging.
We got out the Roundup.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wine here from California

Notice to Sosie and Bill:
The case of Fenestra vintage we selected after the wedding at the 1889 Winery building in the Livermore Valley has arrived safely by UPS. You know, the 2006 Zinfandel with a spicy bouquet of black cherry, pepper, and cloves, with flavors of plum, dried cherries and toasty oak. That one. It took an extra day to deliver it because receiving a liquor shipment in Minnesota requires a responsible adult. Kathleen signed.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mom's Friday Team

Bev's personal staff gathered this afternoon for a quick meeting at the Clearwater Suites. It's all good. Mom feels as good as she has in three years, she says, and she's meeting her goals. She's got a bit of a sunburn from a pontoon outing on Lake Latoka Wednesday, but other than that she was in great spirits and ready to talk. This we did. That's her companion, Michelle, along with sons Steve and Stan. Thursday night, an assortment of folks converged in front of Mom's house using multiple forms of transportion and enjoyed 10 minutes of neighborly conversation. Betty and her husband, Perry, drove, Ken biked, his wife rode her Rascal and Don cruised in on his motorcycle. Doesn't anybody walk? Alexandria: a city of motion.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Zakk & Jenn's Big Party

A really good live band, sunshine, lots of food, newlyweds, friends, gunshots, and free drinks all equals fun. We're still working up a wedding video, but we did this four-minute party clip today. Enjoy this toast to our Zakk and Jenn, they're still honeymooning.

Happy Birthday, Al!

Today is Allen Jerdee's birthday. Here he's aboard a Flam Railway car in Norway. His wife, Becky (Stan's sister), accompanied him and took this photo. They're in the upper mountain ranges, Becky says, "so we could, as our British guide, Barry, so often put it, 'do a bit of staring.'"
Enjoy your day, Al!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kim Jerdee!

Kim Jerdee waves at her camera-carrying mother-in-law across a rapid whitewater way in Norway as she and her husband, Adam (and another tour friend), explored the other side. Today they're all back in Iowa celebrating her birthday and remembering the great times the family had in Norway and Iceland this June.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Honeymoon voyage begins

Here's a look at Zach and Jenn's private wrap-around deck on a very special suite aboard their cruise liner to the Caribbean. This shot was taken July 4 by Zach in the harbor where Internet connections were still reasonable. A shroud of privacy has now fallen over the newlywed's journey as they island-hop for a week.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Steve's Fireworks Show

Here's an encore performance of a Steve Letnes piano composition put to Mystic Lake Fireworks. Click the play button.

It's Stan's birthday. . .

Fill in your own caption, he's got the day off.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

July Birthdays!

As our nation celebrates its birthday today, we're reminded of the busy birthday month it will be for Rolfsruds & Friends. We're already behind schedule, Bill Shearer celebrated a well-deserved day in his honor Thursday as he wound up his father-of-the-groom duties in Sunol, California, documented on this blog.

Here he's pictured getting a scrap to eat between greeting friends and doing errands at the wedding reception on a hot June day in Sunol park.

Meanwhile, the groom called his mother a few minutes ago and then emailed this picture, proving he's safely aboard the honeymoon cruise ship. Zach and Jenn (the bride and groom) are under way after enjoying a quick two days in Key West. They will go to several Eastern Caribbean islands and be back home next Sunday.

As well, Dan Neilson, Kathleen's brother, observed his special day on Wednesday. He had intended to go to the Hubert H. Humphrey metrodome to watch the Twins take on the league-leading Detroit Tigers yesterday, but he didn't quite make it. A good thing, too. Fans didn't get home until way past midnight this morning, after a 16-inning death march that ended in a loss for the home team.

Maybe this afternoon, Dan. First pitch at 3:10.

Friday, July 03, 2009

"Lots of loons!"

Stan's brother-in-law, Ron, writes:
Stan, this is the "before" picture of our trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, June 29-July 2. The other picture (below), is the "after" picture. In this picture, L to R, are: Steve, Ron, Joe (Erik's friend), and Erik.

Our route was east of Ely on the Fernberg Road, starting at Snowbank Lake, then on to Parent Lake, Disappointment Lake, Jordan Lake, Ima Lake, Hatchet Lake, Thomas Lake, Kiana Lake, Insula Lake, Hudson Lake, and "Numbers Lakes". The distance was 38 miles.
We saw lots of loons, a bald eagle, hawks, turtles, and gulls. Cloudy and overcast all days, very little sun, some rain, and mist.

Man Up!
Our food ranged from granola to scrambled eggs with bacon bits, bagels with lots of peanut butter and jam, highlighted with summer sausage, macaroni and cheese with Spam, (yummy!), Jamaican chicken with rice, beef stroganoff, and ample beef jerky. And of course "gorp": dried fruit and peanuts. Coffee, hot chocolate, and water were the preferred liquids, along with a spot of brandy and whiskey around the campfire to "man us up"!
Some of the great joys were the campfire conversations which usually centered around religion, politics, history, and ethics. The big suggestions to come out of the trip are:
1) Do it again next year;
2) Invite President Obama to join us!
On our way home we stopped at Gordy's in Cloquet and feasted on burgers, coneys, malts, and onion rings! Shana called us and asked Erik to bring home an order of onion rings (he did)!
Truly a great trip and very liberating. Creation is a true gift of God! The BWCAW stirs the solitude of the soul!
Next year....!
Question: Is that the same shirt that Ron has on in the "before" and the "after" picture? If so, why is Steve smiling?

C'mon, spit that pit!

Emily seems none the worse for wear after a nasty fall from the monkey bars last Friday. After she fell, Emily earnestly informed her mother: "I need a doctor." She was right. You can feel the stitches in her little noggin but the hair is too thick to see them.

We had a nice fruity lunch today, careful not to swallow the cherry pits. Meanwhile her Mom is running a garage sale on her day off in Eden Prairie, she reported $70 in sales before noon.

Kathleen made the fruit bowl and these photographs. (Don't worry about that arm tattoo. It washes off. We checked.)