Friday, April 30, 2010

Just can't help trying to keep it. . .

A sense of urgency over came the sense of peace this morning, during a solitary walk on the fresh-cut fairway of No. 3 Waters Edge. Gray storm clouds gathered and turned as gusts of wind rushed through a grove of Norwegian pine on the west edge. A palette of pinks, reds and whites had been organized on a verdant green canvas, as bright yellow flags whipped and snapped. Soft white petals, having successfully attracted the bees to pollen, had since lost their tiny grips and become fallen snow on the bluegrass. Surely they would melt soon. 
Many times the golfer had admonished others to simply relax when you come upon such a magnificent symphony. Just listen and experience the peace, learn from it, he said. You'll never be able to capture it, hold it. No camera or mechanical device can keep it. Just let it be. Enjoy. It's for you.
But he just couldn't help it. This was way too cool. So he left his clubs on top of the hill, drove home, got his camera and came back to try to do what you can't do. 
Even so, you are invited to click to enlarge these images.

Unexpected adventure

Kathleen's sister Mary Lou (left) and her stepdaughter Deb are back on the road again after an unexpected three-day layover in Pierre, South Dakota. The pair, along with a friend of Deb's, were motoring back home to Colorado and New Mexico by way of the Black Hills when a balky Toyota Prius refused to go further than Chamberlain, So Dak.
A tow to Pierre resulted in a long wait for the proper part to arrive in this isolated state capital on the Great Plains.
The trio made the best of it, however, and did some sight-seeing and visited the capitol building. Deb's grandfather (Mary Lou's father-in-law Edward Brewer) is a famous artist  (see note below) so they checked around there and at a nearby museum. Sure enough, they discovered three Brewer paintings: portraits of a governor and two supreme court justices.
Mary Lou said it was all a delightful experience and now the weather is gorgeous and the three have continued on. Pray for the Prius.

EDWARD BREWER of St. Paul was Minnesota's answer to famed illustrator Norman Rockwell. From 1911 until 1926 Brewer created the enormously popular full page Cream of Wheat advertisements that appeared monthly in dozens of national magazines. The folksy ads for the Minneapolis company have become collector's items. And Brewer's reputation as an illustrator has been given a fresh coat of polish. The son of one of this country's finest portrait painters (and the father of a talented portraitist), Edward Brewer was also a gifted muralist and portrait painter. His paintings of business, academic, and political leaders in Minnesota are included in numerous public and private collections. Several other examples of his work — portraits of governors and one of Abraham Lincoln — are in the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Springtime on Fairhaven

Lorlee's Mom passes

Lorlee Bartos called Stan yesterday from the Minneapolis airport to inform him of the passing of her mother. Lorlee is Stan's classmate, a resident of Dallas, and a frequent contributor to this blog. Our thoughts are with Lorlee and her family.
Here is the notice from the Alexandria paper:
Clara Bartos, 90, Alexandria, died April 26, 2010 at Knute Nelson. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, April 30 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alexandria. Visitation will be Thursday, April 29 from 5 to 8 p.m. with a 7 p.m. prayer service at Anderson Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service on Friday at the church. Arrangements are with Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria;
Our thoughts are with Lorlee Bartos, our classmate.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Still galloping downtown

The electric pony at Hake's Variety on Broadway in Alexandria was ever so much more magnificent than this tired relic spotted on the Main Street of Nisswa yesterday. Even so, it evoked dreamy childhood memories of a country boy bashfully walking into the five and dime store, sometimes waiting out a smart-alec city kid, then finally swinging a leg over the squeaky black leather saddle. Once the coin was slotted, there was a brief moment of anticipation before the motor kicked in and you got your minute or so of bumping and jerking. The ride was over much too soon. The horse could run in two speeds. If you pulled on the reins, it kicked into a higher gear for a glorious gallop. . . but doing so shortened your ride -- An early lesson in the economy of self-discipline.
The relic in Nisswa didn't have the elaborate saddle and flashy appearance of the Alexandria memory. It seemed smaller too. . .
Jennifer's telephone took these photographs.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Birdie and Mary Lou

Kathleen's sister, Mary Lou, fell in love with Birdie during her brief stay with us and asked Stan to make a keepsake picture of the two of them. Here it is, Mary Lou. We made a hard copy on the good paper for your frame.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Trouble at The Goose

The Golden Goose is a busy Thrift Shop in Tucson staffed by senior citizen volunteers. The savvy bunch does email broadcasts to promote the discount days and the hottest used merchandise. They're so successful they recently moved into a brand new building on Oracle Road, custom built for them.
Today we received this email blast:
Did you Purchase a White Ladies Tennis Sweater on Wednesday?
Dear Golden Goose Customer,
On Wednesday, April 21, a ladies sports sweater belonging to a volunteer was sold by mistake. It is white, size medium, with long sleeves and a black stripe on the vee neck and both sleeves at the wrist. There is a logo on the left breast - 2003 National Tennis Champion - and a tennis logo on the left sleeve. The manufacturer is TAIL. If you purchased it, Stephanie is asking that you please return it to the Goose and she will give you a credit for it.

Cover Girl

Our former neighbor, Sherry Vogel, moved away a few years ago but we've kept up with her national career as a tire executive. She's also apparently taken on a role as soccer coach for preschoolers. Her proud mother, always a big fan of her athletic endeavors which included a varsity volleyball role for the Tar Heels, forwards this spoof magazine cover. We remember Sherry creating a bit of a stir on the local links when she golfed from the men's tees.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

They're here!

Kathleen's sister Mary Lou and Mary Lou's stepdaughter, Deb, arrived in Shakopee last night after a three-day journey across the Great Plains that started in New Mexico. As always, a stop was made in Le Mars, Iowa, for ice cream. Stories and laughter last night. Big plans for the coming week were made over breakfast this morning. Details to come.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Company's coming!

We're waiting for Kathleen's sister, Mary Lou, (above) to arrive tonight along with her stepdaughter, Deb. They're driving in from Los Alamos, New Mexico. Spent last night somewhere in Nebraska. They'll be spending a few days in the Twin Cities, visiting old friends and organizing some things. We're organizing some things too. Just went through Kathleen's and Mary Lou's late mother's photos: Here's a collage from a few of them.

Log walls revealed

Joe and Jen are working on his family's legacy cabin in Nisswa. This week they removed some interior cladding and exposed a log wall. Joe's grandfather built the structure and no one has seen these walls since 1939. The project is somewhat of an adventure. The pair don't exactly know how it will all end up, but they're in it now!
FYI. Jennifer is smiling.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring planting Up North

Jenny and Joe are in Nisswa helping the neighbors plant strawberries. . . 4,000 of them! Jenny got her hands dirty riding the planter and setting the transplants. Our farmer.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chair Man

Driving range boss Danny Martin was Stan's source for four vandalized clubhouse leather chairs in bad need of a makeover. Danny sold Stan the damaged clubhouse chairs at a bargain. . . you've seen them here on previous posts. . . and saved a fifth one for himself. Stan sanded it down and oiled it up and yesterday presented it to his pal.
The ex-marine sometimes has a gruff demeanor so Stan renamed his driving range operation the Danny Martin School of Charm. (It isn't always just leather chairs that could use some smoothing.) But Dan's cheerful side takes the ribbing in good form and now, after a hard day of non-stop customer service, he can relax in a chair that has absolutely no rough edges.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lasagna, then Australia

Our neighbors, Joe and Mina, returned recently from a trip through Australia and New Zealand. Mina bought herself a spiffy digital camera and brought back a trove of trip photos. These she neatly organized into a traditional album of actual photographs, labeled and indexed. Thursday, John and Mary hosted the neighbors for dinner, wine and a travelogue. We enjoyed the lasagna, the company, the photos and a bonus: Neighbors Tom and Sandy, a bit more high-tech, brought along a CD with photos of their recent trip to the Holy Land. Tom fired this up on his lap top and we adjourned to the living room sectional for a musical sojourn through Jerusalem and Jordan. And then, as an added back to the 70s treat, actual 8 mm movies of Tom and Sandy's wedding. Sandy hasn't changed a bit. And Tom's double-knits looked very durable.
As they say, "A Good Time Was Had By All."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Finally, a chance to do this . . .

It's been almost 30 years since Twins fans were caught in a shower. Today's on-again off-again rain didn't ever stop the game, just slowed it. . . they had to rework the mound midway, scooping the muck out and installing dry dirt.
All that rain was just fine with Stan. He had been seated next to what must have been the largest man in the ballpark and when the rain came, the big guy split, as did everyone else in Row 25, Section 102. Except Stan, who was grateful for the elbow room and a peaceful moment.
It was a noisy, sellout crowd, long lines for everything from a steak sandwich to a men's room visit. We took the I-394 Express Bus right to our gate. That was very smooth sailing. . . once we found the correct park and ride lot. (That took four attempts and nine minutes of music on hold.)
 Better luck next time for us, and for the Twins, who lost 6-3.

First come the flowers, then Bill and Ann

The earliest flowering crab we know of is blooming again across the way at Bill and Ann's house. And as usual, Bill and Ann aren't here yet to enjoy the show. They're still wintering in Florida and won't be here to see their front yard in bloom. If past is prologue, the pink display will be long gone by the time our neighbors get here. Legend has it that dear friends in Minnesota planted the tree there to try and entice the snowbirds to come back home early. So far it hasn't worked. In the meantime, we always enjoy this harbinger of spring. Our flowering crab won't be putting out for a month yet.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

When she was two, Thunder was a happy sound

After the storm, a late breakfast

Emily was up all night last night, comforting her mother during a nasty electrical storm that lit up her home in Eden Prairie as well as the surrounding region. So when Emily got to grandma and grandpa's this morning, it was straight to bed. She slept soundly, then rose as cheerful as ever. Above, grandma teaches today's lesson: jello doesn't just come in red and green. . . amazingly, you can get it in blue too! Snack time soon.
Yes, our Wednesday girl is here a day early this week. Grandma and grandpa are going to the Twins game tomorrow afternoon. Sunny with a chance of rain. . . maybe some thunder boomers for us too.

After breakfast (left) all the animals had a meeting.
"The dinosaur has tears in her eyes," Emily said.
"Oh my," said Grandpa. "Whatever happened?"
Without hesitation and with clear enunciation, Emily replied: "She was climbing and then she fell out of the frickin' tree!"

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mary checks in again. . .

Today we got a nice note from an old friend, Mary Scarvalone. She used to party with us in the 70s; now she's running a school in France. (That's her, at left, at her 2007 high school reunion) Last time she wrote us was in 2005. Her old pals were still sitting around and listening to tunes and partying at Stan's house. . . so we staged this photo and sent it to her by return email.

Five years later, Mary reports:

I'm still in France but moved a bit back from the coast and into deep Provence, where I've been working as the director of the French campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design. Lacoste is a wee perched village of about 40 year-round residents, including a handful of artists, a few supposedly harmless ghosts, and the fashion designer Pierre Cardin, who has made a rather controversial hobby out of buying up and restoring most of the old village houses. He is best loved -- or hated -- for turning the chateau of the Marquis de Sade at the top of the village into the venue for his annual summer performing arts festival. All in all, it's a very odd place to live, but the work keeps me so busy that I don't have much time to think about it.

A very interesting, productive life, it would seem. Don't have much to report back. Everybody in the photo above is still fine. We don't party as much any more, but keep listening to tunes. Randy quit smoking, and Stan is still the shortest of the bunch. That's about it from here, Mary.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Inspiration peaks

More inspiring stories of springtime energy:

Our Dallas correspondent, Lorlee Bartos reports a burst of activity from her gargantuan rose bushes. She writes:

It is spring everywhere -- here are some photos of my Lady Banks Rose -- they only bloom once, but it is astonishing when it happens. Two of them extend about 35 feet

The rest of the highway garden is covered in weeds this year so I have my work cut out for me. I have given up on vegetables and will just add fruit and nut trees out there. I have joined a CSA and am going to let a real farmer grow my veggies.

Dogwoods are blooming and the iris have started.


But in the most inspiring story of spring, energy and renewal we've heard today, our soon-to-be 90-year-old mother walked to the Shalom Lutheran communion rail under her own power for the first time since last Autumn. If Lutherans ever clapped during communion services, they would have done so today.

Way to go, Mom!

Window redux

After a two-year hiatus, we've decided to hang and fill our windowboxes again this year. Must be the early spring giving us all that energy. We've got the deadheads off in the backyard and swept up the patio. Goodness gracious.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Happy Birthday, Nancy

Happy Birthday to Nancy! We join Beverly in wishing her all the best. Nancy's had a very busy year, married off her youngest daughter, got her first granddaughter. Here she is last summer as the mother of the bride, with her son, Ford, and his daughter, Kaia.
The best to all!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

We HAD a roast for dinner. . .

The pork roast was the perfect size, and the mashed potatoes were just the right amount. There were no green beans or corn leftovers for Missy to take home to her renter, Marcus will have to settle for salad and rolls. Kathleen cooked exactly the right amount today for Easter. . . which is unusual. There are usually enough leftovers for Stan to use for soup or sandwiches until Thursday.
What may have tightened her calculations was that for the first time in memory, there were as many boys as girls at the table this year.
And all the boys love their meat and potatoes.
Jenny and Joe brought a complete salad bar, and Marcelline chipped in with a yummy chocolate/banana cake. Missy brought Emily and enough Easter candy to keep our soon-to-be four-year-old hopping.
Hope you enjoyed your Easter too. 
Stan and Kathleen

Happy Easter!

We hope for 10 at 2!
Mom's new plates make their formal debut
Grandma's old goblets have come out too.
We hope that you have a wonderful day
As our families gather to sing and to pray.
(Martin Tyndale, 1643)

Saturday, April 03, 2010

A stage father glows

Stan's Cousin Arnold writes:

Hi everybody,

Please forgive me for extolling the virtues of our actress Erika, but they don’t call me “stage father” for nothing!

“The Cocktail Party,” by TS Eliot, is being performed by The Actors Company Theatre in the Broadway neighborhood in New York. The Wall Street Journal doesn’t review many plays, but they reviewed this one, extolling its virtues. Four of the cast members were singled out for outstanding performance, including Erika, who plays the female lead. But let me quote from the Wall Street Journal review:
“It helps that this production…is being performed with elan by a high-class ensemble cast. Jack Koenig and Erika Rolfsrud are excellent as the quarrelsome married couple whose estrangement sets the plot in motion while Lauren English is entirely believable as a saint-in-waiting. Simon Jones is the star of the show, and I can’t imagine anyone topping his quizzically urbane performance (except, perhaps for Alec Guinness, who created the role of the Unidentified Guest).”
“The run of ‘The Cocktail Party’ has been extended by a week. It should have been a year.”

Simon Jones is an older English actor who is famous in theatre ranks in England and America. When a major reviewer makes a favorable comparison to Alec Guinness, you’re REALLY GOOD. Erika says that Jones is a very nice man.

Erika was in the 44 person cast of “Coast of Utopia,” but she had smaller roles in that play while understudying Jennifer Ehle, who won the Tony for Best Actress and didn’t miss a single performance. So Erika didn’t have a chance to ACT in “Coast…” in the way Erika usually does. So the Trish mentioned below didn’t see Erika performing in a major way in “Coast.” “Coast of Utopia” won seven Tonys, including the one for best play, and was performed at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

You can get more information at

Erika is coming home for two weeks on April 24, and we’re looking forward to having the lass who has been entertaining us since she was “knee high to a grasshopper.” She’s a delight, and a very nice person.

Have a great day!

Arnold Rolfsrud

Friday, April 02, 2010

New ballpark shines, no rain this time

Stan and Kathleen joined the crowds exploring the new Target Field ballpark during its first major league exhibition game tonight. It was a night of firsts, with Denard Span getting the first major league home run . . . and first triple. . . and first hit in the new venue.
Above, after sitting out 2009 with Tommy John surgery, Brooklyn Park boy Pat Neshak got a chance to show off his unorthodox delivery during the eighth inning. He was in the running to be a closer now that Joe Nathan is out, but after giving up five hits last night, maybe now not so much. (Click on the photo to enlarge: there are two Cardinals on base and the batter is a millisecond away from getting a hit. This is the view of the action you get while standing on the concourse putting mustard on your hot dog. Very nice, perfect for those with short attention spans who just can't seem to stay seated.)
Despite predictions of precepitation, the weather cooperated nicely. Cloudy but pleasant, no rain. The sun even made a brief appearance just before nightfall. The wind put a snap in the flag and made the wind veil behind it, one of the largest pieces of public art in Minnesota, dance magnificently. Somehow there was no wind in the stands; the friendly structure sheltered the fans effectively. The acoustics are great, the crack of the bat reverberates convincingly throughout the intimate structure.
Below, Susie and Barry of Burnsville, our enthusiastic neighbors in Section 103, mugged for their keepsake photo after quizzing us on Target Field trivia. Did you know:
  • The wood floor in the Town Ball Tavern is the actual floor from the Minneapolis Armory, the last home of the Minneapolis Lakers prior to their move to Los Angeles.
  • Larger than life-size bronze statues of Kirby Puckett, Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew were created by local artist Bill Mack.
  • The videoboard is the fourth largest in the major leagues.
  • The overlook seating area cantilevers eight feet over the playing field in right.
  • Kentucky Bluegrass covers Target Field.
  • The original flag pole from the Old Met has found a new home on Target Plaza.
Susie and Barry knew all this because they read the Fan Guide. But what's not in the Fan Guide? Susie asks: So where was the flagpole kept during the years between the Old Met and Target Field? Don't know, do ya. Well, our new friends informed us, it was used as the flagpole at the Richfield American Legion. The Club donated it back to the Twins to fly Old Glory at the new ballpark.
Remember, you read that here, it's not in the Official Fan Guide.

Advice from the Iron Ranger

When veteran Twins fan Patrick Minelli learned we were headed to the new outdoor ballpark today, he couldn't resist giving some wistful advice:
He wrote:
Bring an umbrella and adequate clothing Friday. Forecast: Passing showers or sprinkles, high of 59. - The Ranger

If we bring an umbrella, it won't be the first time we've taken advice from The Ranger, the alias for the editor of the Shakopee Valley News. Stan hired Pat in 1985 (Pat will dispute this) and he was one of Stan's best hires ever (Pat won't dispute that). He soldiers on today, keeping Shakopee informed, as in when exactly will the Minnesota River floodwaters recede and allow traffic to resume on Highways 101 and 41?

Pat grew up on the Minnesota Iron Range, the son of a printer. Hibbing. Home to Bob Dylan and Kevin McHale and other illuminaries too numerous to mention, although Pat will often attempt to do so. Meanwhile, Stan was born in Miner's Hospital in Crosby-Ironton, way south of Hibbing, adjacent to an open pit iron mine. No good, Pat rules. That's the lowly Cuyuna Iron Range and nativity on that range -- which produced the iron ore to win World War II -- does not qualify Stan to boast as a Ranger. Not pure enough. Sorry, no pedigree.

Pat's a pure baseball fan too, of course. When Major League Hall of Famer Johnny Bench dropped by the office to promote his book, Pat did the interview. He didn't fob it off on the sports dept. That's Pat with the old Cinncinnati Redlegs catcher, above, inspecting the photographer's lens. Johnny, apparently another purist, is claiming there is a spot on it.

Pat has raised a family of baseball fanatics. They're all purists, so they're delighted that there's a new, traditional outdoor ballpark and baseball can again be played the way it was meant to be played -- even if it means bringing an umbrella.

Wonder how he'll feel if we pass on the hot dog and cracker jacks today and go for the steak sandwich and gelato?