Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stan's psychologist

Dave Chase has been golfing with Stan all summer.
But it wasn't until today that Dave started quoting from his new favorite book, Bob Rotella's "Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect." As Dave extolled the virtues of the book, and explained its theses, --- (Set realistic goals; negative thinking is 100 percent effective; it is more important to be decisive about a putt than correct; No matter what happens with a shot accept it. Acceptance is the last step in becoming a better player. etc. etc.) --- Stan's game began improving immediately. He carded three consecutive pars, then a tap-in bogey, then a par, before Dave even got to Chapter Three.
Dave had changed the subject by the time they got to No. 8 (below), and Stan subsequently missed his par putt by an inch -- apparently due to performance anxiety creeping back into his psyche and resulting in a loss of confidence.
It was chilly today, but beautiful. Leaves are starting to turn, light frost is possible tonight. That's enough to send Dave, his wife, and his book on the long drive to their winter home in Phoenix this week.
For his part, Stan will be driving to Barnes and Noble.
Par 4, No. 8 at Stonebrooke in Shakopee. 180 yard carry, dogleg right. You can make it, but you must believe you can.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Virg!

We're not sure where the newly-minted Florida resident is today, but he is probably not taking his ease in a Lazy Boy.
We hope he has time to relax just a bit and enjoy this transitional season as he prepares to rejoin the snowbirds.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Katie's Love Affair

Stan and Kathleen toured the Mississippi on board the Jonathan Padelford last night to celebrate their 29th Anniversary. Here's an on board interview with St. Paul Katie, explaining her affair with St. Paul.

Happy Birthday, Amy!

Mr. Wonderful (Amy's husband, Dave) took the birthday girl out last night while Dave's parents did an overnight with sons Blake and Hunter at Dave's sister's house. Today Amy's sister-in-law (Kim) and her mother (Becky) are taking Amy out for lunch and a review of the new sculpture park that's opening in downtown Des Moines. She'll be back home by 3 p.m. for a surprise ice cream and cake party hosted by the boys: Dave, Hunter, Blake, (brother) Adam and (father) Al.
Amy is Stan and Kathleen's niece. Oops. Hope we didn't spill the beans about the surprise party. Don't worry. She's going to be too busy to read her aunt and uncle's blog.
Sounds like a perfect day!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Old Man River hosts No. 29

A couple of weeks ago, while looking at Parade housing in Kathleen's beloved St. Paul, the Jonathan Padelford churned past on the nearby Mississippi River. How romantic, Stan thought.

Today was Stan and Kathleen's 29th Wedding Anniversary. The couple enjoyed the Sunset Cruise on the Padelford. With a 7 p.m. departure, the sunset came early, but the celebrants enjoyed each other's company on the two spacious decks, ate a fine buffet dinner, met some interesting people and managed a couple of snapshots along the way.

When the leaves turn in a week or so, a day trip of the Mississippi will no doubt be quite spectacular. Not many of these perfect fall days left. Enjoy what's left.
Stan and Kathleen were married in a park and remember exactly how the foilage looked on that day. They use the memory each year to gauge the relative progress of the new season, comparing it to their special day.

Tugboats lined up at the Port as St. Paul Katie made a little movie. Her cozy wool wrap was carefully selected in Edinburgh this spring by her husband of 29 years.
Now is this romantic or what? Looks like Murray's Butter Knife Steak Dinner for Two will just have to wait for another year.

Found in the car wash

We lost one of our little cigarette-pack-sized flip video cameras shortly after we attended our grandson Maxwell's graduation from Lake Country School last spring. Couldn't find it anywhere until Kathleen had her little bug cleaned. There it was. The graduation proceedings intact.
Max's eighth-grade ceremony lasted more than an hour. Don't worry, we've cut it to a minute and a half, keeping the best parts, of course.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lorlee's postcard blog noted

(Editor's note: Here's the article we've been promising about our grade school classmate Lorlee Bartos and her postcard project. The article appeared in the Alexandria Echo Press this week. Lorlee's blog is linked below.)

Twitter of the 1910s
Postcard collection offers colorful glimpse into the past.
By Tara Bitzan, Alexandria Echo Press
Annie Bartos saved nearly 700 postcards during her lifetime. She died in 1983.
When Annie Bartos carefully tucked away every postcard she received from friends and family through the years, she probably thought that no one else would ever appreciate them as much as she did.
It’s almost certain that she never thought that one day those postcards would be posted on something called the Internet and read and enjoyed by people around the world.
According to her great-niece, Lorlee Bartos, Annie was a “collector.”
“One walked between boxes in her house,” she said.
Annie and her twin brother, Wencil, lived together on the Lowry farm homesteaded by their grandfather in the 1860s. After Wencil’s death, Annie lived alone on the farm until her death in 1983.
Annie never married or had children, but she did have several nieces and nephews, including Lorlee’s father, John Bartos, who lived in Forada.
After her death, family members gathered to go through her belongings and prepare for an estate sale.
Among her things was a small wooden box that contacted approximately 700 postcards Annie had received, mostly between the years 1910 and 1924.
“Aside from being real pretty, they are a beautiful sign of the times,” Lorlee said of the cards. “Ever since I first saw them, they captivated me.”
Lorlee’s mother, Clara, felt the cards should not be sold, and tucked them away in her own home, where they remained until she moved to Windmill Ponds in Alexandria about six years ago. The heirlooms were then up for grabs for the next generation.
“Both my older sister and I were interested,” Lorlee noted. “We had a friendly bidding war, with the money going to the Reno Cemetery where Aunt Annie is buried.”
Lorlee outbid her sister and took ownership of the postcards.
“Once I had this treasure, it struck me about what a treasure it was since it was such a large collection from a single source. Not necessarily monetarily, but historically,” she explained. “With each card, I gain new insight into these ancestors, some of whom I never knew. It is my way of touching the past.”
Lorlee took the cards to an antiques appraisal show where she learned they were worth about $1 to $3 each, but the box they were in – a wooden seed box – was probably worth more than the cards.
“Obviously, there was never any intent on my part to sell them since they are a family treasure,” she stressed.
Lorlee not only appreciated the historical value and the family sentiments tied to the cards, but also their beauty.
“I found them to be so beautiful and such sweet reflection of and insight into the time,” she said. “A sweeter, simpler time.”
She noted that often the cards were signed with such sentiments as “your loving brother” or “your loving son,” etc.
Lorlee decided the postcards should be available for others to enjoy as well, so she explored the idea of setting up a website to which she could post all the cards.
Discouraged by the design cost, she opted to start a blog instead, and began the tedious process of scanning the postcards, both front and back.
She tries to scan and upload five to 10 cards each week and currently has about 140 done.
“My sister is the genealogy buff and has done the genealogy, so this is my contribution to family history and my tribute to the memory of Aunt Annie,” Lorlee explained. “Perhaps, also, as one gets older, you have a greater appreciation for family and what has come before. It is a way to display and document our family history.”
Her main purpose in uploading the cards to the Internet was to share them with family.
“While Annie only had 11 nieces and nephews, in the second generation there are more than 50 and I feel a little guilty being the one who has the cards,” she said. “In addition to direct descendents, there are descendents of Annie’s many cousins who number in the hundreds.
“The descendents of those who wrote the cards also number in the hundreds,” she added. “This way everyone can ‘own’ them and review them at their leisure.”
“I think, though, that even if one has absolutely no connection to Aunt Annie, they are so charming and a window into the past.”
Others agree.
A couple of weeks ago someone from Argentina posted on Lorlee’s blog in Spanish the words “Very good blog.”
Another reader posted that though he didn’t know any of the people, he enjoyed reading about them.
“It may be as one of my friends commented, we love to read other people's mail!” Lorlee said.
Once the postcards are all scanned into the computer, Lorlee plans to will them to the Pope County Historical Society so they are “saved for posterity.”
Lorlee Bartos is posting Annie Bartos’ postcard collection to a blog, which can be found at: http://anniebartos.blogspot.com/
Following are a few excerpts from some of the postcards in Bartos’ collection.
• Hello Anna, just a line from me to let you know that I didn’t for-get you yet, am far from home today and tomorrow. I intend to go to a show so will write again after I get back. Your friend Anna Dynda
• Dear Sis Anna. Just a few lines to le you know I’m sill alive and that I received your letter and card a week or so ago. I did not write because I did not know where I would go or be. Am in Longmont a town of about 5,000 people. am working in a Sugar Beet Factory you can see a little of it on the other side. I board in town. The factory is about a mile walk from where I stay a good walk in the morning and evening. Working pretty hard some days but feel fine just the same. I would like have my overcoat sent up as soon as you can. I will stay here a while so please send it and all my mail this address Longmont Colorado. With Best Regards For All. I am your brother John J. Bartos Longmont Colorado. PS Will send you a letter in a couple of days. PS. When you answer let me know when is Bessie Chan’s Birthday.
• Dearest Bird your card all o.k. was to the dance Sat and had a pretty good time. Why didn’t you folks go? Heard there is no dance at W. Benesh this Sat. but I think there is one there next Sat so we’ll make up for lost then won’t we? Love Friend Antonia. How’s John? Heard he had a runaway.

Briggs in East Hall of Fame

From The Mankato Free Press:
Mankato -- Mankato East High School will induct six new members into its Hall of Fame on Friday at a 3:30 p.m. ceremony in the East auditorium.
This year's honorees include:
Briggs Rolfsrud
A 2001 graduate, Briggs Rolfsrud was the No. 1 singles varsity tennis player from her ninth grade year through her senior year. She was a three-time All-Conference pick and a Big Nine Champion in 1999. [She was Section runner-up in 1999 and Section Champion in 2000. She is the only Mankato girls tennis player to ever win the Big Nine and was the first Mankato East girls player to win the Section.]
In the winter she participated in basketball, starting all four years, and was captain and honorable mention All-Big Nine her junior and senior year.

She was part of a Section Championship and Big Nine Championship in 1998.
In softball during the spring, Briggs again started all four years of high school, was All-Section all four years, and was All-Big Nine three straight seasons. She was part of Section Championships and Big Nine Championships all four years. She is the school's leader in hits (143), runs (101), and is second in stolen bases (65).

Briggs is the niece of Stan and Kathleen Rolfsrud, Shakopee. (We can't help adding that to the story. Congratulation to Briggs. Once again, we are very proud of her. Look closely at the top photo. That's Ford in red, proudly supporting his sister.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Awkward triangular corner

What do you do with a basement corner that doesn't work for anything? Cut plywood sheets diagonally at 45 degrees and you've got deep storage. The IKEA see-through boxes make it easy to spot stuff that you don't really want anyway, probably should throw out, but as soon as you did, you'd be looking for it.

This makes a nice compromise and helps re-square the room.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


"Be sure to get a picture of the outside of the restaurant this time," Stan instructed Kathleen, as she dashed out the door to the September Ladies Who Lunch meeting. Kathleen had so much fun at lunch today she darn near forgot that last detail, but as they drove off she remembered and quickly handed the camera to her partner, M'liss. She gamely shot from the window and got this picture in a picture, as Kathleen sped away in her blue bug.

Earlier, the couple had enjoyed lunch at Mai Village on University in St. Paul. Kathleen has a special connection to this lovely restaurant.

The owner, Ngoan (pronounced Wan) Dang, was an officer in the South Vietnamese Army and fled his homeland with his life and little else back in the early 70s. His young son joined him many years later, after escaping the new regime in a leaky boat and spending a desperate month on the open sea.

Eventually, the son got a college education at the University of Minnesota and went to work for Stan. The son has been a key player in the newspaper company for the past 15 years, handling a variety of tasks centered on new technology and creative services. (He majored in marine biology in college -- go figure.) He also became Stan's trusted friend.

So there was plenty to talk about with the father when Kathleen stopped at his restaurant for lunch with M'liss today. The tough economy seems to top the list of concerns. People just aren't eating out the way they used to.

So, people, get out there. Try the lovely Vietnamese restaurant on University. Come for Dim Sum. Or just have the lemon chicken. And ask the boss about his wonderful son. He'll beam.

Another ol' 55

Before there were McDonald's in Alexandria, there was a McCarthy's. Here is Stan enjoying the precursor to the famous 15 cent hamburger in this Feb. 21, 1965 photograph by Karl Tegland. Karl unearthed a trove of black and whites this weekend while organizing his office. He emailed this series and some others we'll show later.
Look through the frosted window and you'll spot the distinctive lines and door handle of a '55 Buick. The photograph was taken midway during a burger-eating contest wherein Stan bet he could eat 15 of the little gut bombs in 45 minutes. He failed, not because he didn't have the capacity, but because the gobs of everything-on-it mustard made him gag after a half dozen. Prudence would have called for a plain hamburger. But, sadly, she was nowhere to be found that day.
A burger-o-meter was created by another friend, Mike Bolin, to keep spectators informed of the progress of this important event. Karl not only photographed the day with his Insta-matic, he tape-recorded it and acted as play-by-play (or burger-by-burger) announcer. We had never seen such a thing as a portable cassette recorder until that day. Karl was very cool. He played guitar in a rock band with some older fellows and always had plenty of money. He was also class valedictorian. He now writes law books in Bothell, Washington.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Farewell to the Metrodome

We bade goodbye to the Metrodome this weekend. The Detroit Tigers series will be our last in this storied venue. The dome is three decades old and spans the life of our marriage. Indeed, we were still newlyweds for the very first exhibition game when Pete Rose got its very first hit. We were seated high in right field with a great view down the foul line.
What a curious place this was, no visible means of support. We spent more time that night trying to figure out how the roof stayed up than watching the Reds.

(Above) Michael Cuddyer laces a homerun to left centerfield. He was the hero this weekend, and gave the Twins the leverage they needed to take two games out of three.

( Photo left) Ryan Kubel added another run on his "dome hit," when a confused Tiger rookie was unable to catch what should have been a routine fly, after he lost it in the lights and the tricky roof, which is the same color as a baseball. "Quirky" is the word favored by kinder pundits when describing the Metrodome.

Engineers were not too sure how to keep the roof up either, apparently. One winter day it simply came down, you may remember, making the front page of about every daily newspaper in the nation, looking like a sad, pooped Pillsbury Doughboy.

We stuck it out and eventually got air-conditioned. Got better seats too, close to Kent Hrbek, so we could laugh at him when he pantomimed the irony of the announcement: "NO SMOKING IN THE METRODOME. NO SMOKING!" Drinking, Yes. Smoking, No, Kent would mock before every game. That was long before the Minnesota Clean Air Act and not allowing smoking still seemed a bit odd.
The audience always clapped appreciatively when Bob Casey announced it. But they really roared when he called out "Kirrrrrrrbeeeeee Puckett" with his distinctive flourish.
We never did attend any tractor pulls, but Stan did attend the Rolling Stones Concert, seated high above the pounding, roaring din, lights strobing and dense smoke billowing up from the glowing red pit; disoriented, we felt as we were looking deep into Hell. During one number, immense anchored canvas puppets throbbed three stories tall while Mick Jagger sang "Jumpin' Jack Flash is a gas, gas, gas." And when the bawdy female puppet didn't jump fast enough, Mick ran over and jerked on her rope and the huge blowup doll bobbed in nasty gyrations and the crowd screamed out for more.

Once in a while somebody would score corporate tickets and we'd sit in a little clean booth and watch a ball game. Nice and comfy. Some "suites" boast sliding windows so you can get the "feel" of the game. Another time we sat behind home plate and listened to Sid Hartman coughing and chatting a couple seats over. In 30 years, we never caught a home run or a foul ball and never got Circled by Bert or appeared on the Kiss Cam. We got a free Bobblehead once, but you can't recognize the player.

The best times, of course, were when we watched Game Seven of the World Series in 1987 and then again in 1991. Nobody cared that this was the worst venue in the world to watch baseball. We stayed seated for the duration and were grateful for every minute and the noise was ridiculous and so was the joy in the street. Nobody torched anything and there was no violence, but thousands of emboldened Minnesotans high-fived it down the center of Park Avenue and nearby streets, violating numerous traffic laws. Kathleen still treasures her homer hankies.

But it is a lousy joint, through and through. We attended a few football games there, especially when brother Steve's law firm got tickets behind the Viking bench. We could see spitting and scratching and everything. But the comforts of home with a big screen and good munchies are hard to beat. We quit one boring Vikings game early, climbing down from the cheap seats after just a quarter. Not sure who was ahead by then. Didn't care. It was a beautiful fall day outside, we remember that.

The late Steve Cannon once read a letter from Stan on WCCO Radio. Cannon had been vigorously promoting the sale of Twins tickets and that year the slogan bragged that the Twins would "Keep you on the edge of your seat."

"Dear Mr. Cannon," Stan wrote: "Given the dimensions of a Metrodome seat and its proximity to the next row, it is physically impossible to sit on the edge of it."

Sidekick Morgan Mundane advised Stan to lose some weight, but still lost the argument. Cannon no doubt watched games from relative comfort in the Press Box, where you could actually sit on the edge of a seat. But even that exclusive retreat suffered the occasional sling from a disgruntled reporter.

The sight lines are horrible, as everyone knows. The place simply wasn't designed for baseball. Virtually all seats are "obstructed view" as you rise repeatedly to excuse the full bladders brushing by.

So Farewell to the Metrodome. Call it the Homer Dome, the Hump, Humpty-Dumpty Dome, whatever, we're not going to miss you.

We'll just keep the memories.

Here's Mina and Joe with the trademark Domedogs. We're sure the Domedog will be reincarnated under a new name at Target Field. After all, at $24.00 a pound, it is arguably the most desired cut of beef in the Twin Cities.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Riding the rails

Kathleen and her neighbor, Mina Daly, were all smiles last night as their Minnesota Twins handed the Detroit Tigers a critical loss and moved within three games of the division leadership. The pair enjoyed a light rail ride to the metrodome, ensconced in these seats between the cars, quite suitable for such baseball royalty.
In the photo at left, Kathleen joined neighbors John and Mary Gerken to applaud Michael Cuddyer's go-ahead two-run homer. Below, Stan and Kathleen, John and Mary, Mina and Joe.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Callie and her Coach

Shakopee Varsity Tennis Coach Ford Rolfsrud teaches young men during the spring season, but in the fall he's building the junior high girls program, starting with sixth graders.

Among the brand new players is Callie Rodning, a promising youngster who happens to call our neighbors "Grandma and Grandpa."

Her entire family is enthused about Callie's new sport, and for our part, we know their youngster will get the finest coaching available. Stick with it, Callie!

(Ford is Stan's nephew but he'd be saying these nice things anyway, of course.)

Hi Ya, Kaia

They're both seven months old, and try as we might, we couldn't keep them apart. Stan and Kathleen spent about an hour with Kaia today while her Mom ran an important errand. Kaia slept through half of it, but when she awoke, there was a new toy to mount and an excited puppy that insisted on seeing her up close.

Ford and Jenn have a barrier erected to keep Kaia out of the kitchen. We figured this would be a good way to confine Birdie and keep her from overwhelming Kaia with puppiness. Birdie was not happy about that, of course, and whined her disapproval. Hearing this from the other side of the room, Kaia perked up and crawled vigorously on a rescue mission to the pup in distress. They met up at the barrier, with Birdie making the most valiant of attempts to somehow squeeze her head and body under that bar.

Eventually we relented, scooped Birdie up and gave her a chance to touch the baby.
Kaia is a treat to sit with, a good little girl. Birdie is quite another story, but you've already heard that one.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Guest baker at Cafe Tempo

Cafe Tempo, a busy coffee shop at 42nd and Grand in South Minneapolis, featured a guest chef today. Kathleen Ann Rolfsrud joined her daughter to whip out a double batch of her famous "Mrs. Murphy's Date Cookies." The shop routinely surprises its patrons with a variety of culinary creations to accompany the coffees and beverages that make this a popular spot.

Stop by, when you're in the neighborhood. If you're lucky, part-timer Marcy will be there managing the counter. If you're really lucky, her Mom will be there to bake you something good.

Kathleen says she had a great time today, but has no plans to pursue any new career. Her only plans at the moment are to babysit Kaia (Photo right) tomorrow morning and cheer the Minnesota Twins later with a gang of neighbors. Detroit is in town and this is for all the marbles. And it will probably be our last trip to the miserable metrodome.
Kaia's Mom (Jennifer Rolfsrud, niece-in-law) just got a job at Thomson Reuters and she's got some important errands to do tomorrow. So we get watch Ford and Jenn's baby for a couple of hours. Should be fun.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Logging in

The classic toys are the best toys. Today's fun featured a brand new box of that old standby, Lincoln Logs.
Emily and her helper got it opened and a stockade built before afternoon nap time.
We hope there's still hours of play left in the box, because Emily will be staying late at Grandma and Grandpa's tonight. Mom's got a date.
Meanwhile, Birdie stays alert. Little wooden logs look like great fun for a puppy, too. Something to really sink your teeth into.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Meet the Parents

There's nothing like a two-tone '55 Buick to make a great first impression.

Our neighbor's daughter dates the golf course superintendent. Today they invited Duane's parents over to meet Jane's folks.
Duane's parents purred up the cul-de-sac on fat whitewalls in an immaculate hardtop, waxy fresh from a classic car show in Stillwater.

In the top photo, you can see Duane (red shirt) with girlfriend Jane on his right. (Unfortunately, Jane is pictured touching the parents' polished fender, a car-show etiquette no-no, but understandable considering all the nervous pressure of the moment.)

Jane's parents are in the middle and Duane's are far left. The young man is Duane's son. The car remained in the cul-de-sac all afternoon and evening so we are assuming that the Meet the Parents event went just fine.

The golf-course superintendent (pictured at left with his mother and son) holds the Stonebrooke course record (64), is an agile point guard, and also has a fine tenor singing voice. So he may not be as good-looking as Jane is, but he's an excellent catch none-the-less.

That's what they're saying around the cul-de-sac at Abbey Point. And the elders know something about these matters.
Tom Waits wrote "Ol' 55," one of Stan's favorites:
Well my time went so quickly,
I went lickety-splickly out to my old '55
As I drove away slowly, feeling so holy,
God knows, I was feeling alive.
Now the sun's coming up,
I'm riding with Lady Luck, freeway cars and trucks,
Stars beginning to fade, and I lead the parade
Just a-wishing I'd stayed a little longer,
Oh, Lord, let me tell you that the feeling's getting stronger.
And it's six in the morning, gave me no warning;
I had to be on my way.
Well there's trucks all a-passing me, and the lights are all flashing,
I'm on my way home from your place.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Barefoot booyah chef kin to Katie

If you want more evidence that St. Paul is the greatest city on earth, read on.

This afternoon Stan and Kathleen were tooling down Snelling Avenue and made a quick, impulsive left into the Highland National Golf Course just to see. We entered a quaint old brick clubhouse, got info from young Rob ($20 for senior citizens, weekdays before 4 p.m., no cart) and headed back to the parking lot. Then Stan spotted a practice green and grabbed a couple balls to see if Highland putting was really as good as advertised. Meanwhile, Kathleen was drawn eastward to a smoking grill with a husky Irishman in careful attendance.

A tad hungry this afternoon, Kathleen timidly inquired if he was selling burgers.

"No," came the hearty reply. "But come on over. They're free. Have a burger. Here's beer if you want it. Buns there. How about some peppers? Chips? That's stew over there. Water's in the cooler."

Well, I want to pay you something, Kathleen protested.
Not possible, it turns out.
A stunned Stan joined her, still grasping his putter, balls in his hand. Never needing to be called to dine twice, he put down the putter and split a hamburger bun amidst a chorus of jocular exchanges between a knot of St. Paulites enjoying a beautiful golf afternoon.

Before Stan could get to the bottom of his stew bowl, the group had established that the barefoot guy stirring the booyah with a canoe paddle was probably Kathleen's kin. Pat Sullivan. He's the guy in the photos with Stan and Kathleen.

Yes, there are hundreds of Patricks and Sullivans in St. Paul, but this one asked all the right questions and knew the answers. Our Lady of Peace. St. Paul Central. Old boyfriends. Cretin. Pat's dad is a geneologist, so Kathleen supplied her pedigree in the name of research: Gander, Neilson, Sullivan, etc.

Ah yes, St. Paul. One big small town. And if you don't know what booyah is, my friend, you're not from here, are you? Look it up in your wiki.
Footnote: Pat says the nine hole course is even better than the vaunted eighteen. And yes. He does own a pair of golf shoes.