Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Legends of Poker

When Stan learned that his golfing partner at Stonebrooke today was a professional gambler from the West Coast, he knew exactly what to do next. He brought Bob Lund, who's made his living playing poker since 1976, home to Kathleen for a beer, a photograph and a few stories about the poker legends that he knows personally.
The two hit it off immediately, yakking away about poker stars like Daniel Negreanu, Annie Duke, Phil Helmuth, Greg Raymer, Layne Flack, Doyle Brunson, Joe Hachem, Gus Hanson and others. Bob is single and staying in the Twin Cities area for a while, seeing friends and playing some games. Oh yes, he's a pretty good golfer too, and has a tee time with Stan again tomorrow. (They won't be playing for money.)


Monday, June 28, 2010


Stan's favorite son, Hai Dang, spent his weekend killing a virus in company computers. They were going to enjoy some time in his Prior Lake garden, looking at the new stuff. Who are these bastards, ruining so much, creating so much hardship?


The weekend's rains gave a generous dousing. We avoided the winds and it appears this week is smooth sailing with a persistent high keeping it dry and nice. Above, a fan of earthy coleus leaves sets off our Endless Summer hydrangea in an unusual color combination that you may not choose for your kitchen walls. . . but outdoors, everything seems to work.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Mary Lou!

Kathleen's sister Mary Lou Brewer celebrates today in Durango, Colorado.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Waffle lessons

A big step in Emily's cultural development was undertaken today when Grandma revealed the family secrets associated with that inter-generational icon and breakfast standby, the waffle.

Emily absorbed as much of the procedure as possible, mixed the seven ingredients, covered her ears from the whirring sounds of the blender, poured the batter, then quickly abandoned her cooking stool for the more familiar kitchen table booster chair, where she enjoyed the result of her morning labor, accompanied by raspberries and dollops of Gogurt.

So, is this the first of thousands of waffles? Grandma hopes so.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Prize fighter, union organizer, merchant seaman

Eighty years of living were celebrated across the way tonight at our neighbor Joe Daly's birthday party. Friends, family and neighbors enjoyed cake and ice cream with this California transplant who married a Minnesota girl and retired here 10 years ago. He's become a Twins fan, persistent rose gardener and neighborhood favorite. His San Francisco family members flew here to join others for a birthday dinner at the clubhouse tonight, then returned to the cul de sac to be greeted by more well-wishers.

Above, Joe paged through an album documenting his early years as a golden gloves boxer, merchant marine, grocer and union organizer. His pop worked on the Golden Gate bridge. He's joined in the photo by neighbors Bud Osmundson and Mary and John Gerken.

Our very own octogenarian carries on. Last week he joined striking nurses in Minneapolis (below) during their bid for better working conditions.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's 10 p.m. on the longest day

Welcome summer. At 10 p.m. tonight there was still enough light for this shaky hand held time exposure. That's the neighbor's gazebo in the foreground illuminated (we suppose) by the 10 p.m. news.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Linda and Ron reveal "Best Of. . ." their East European trip

In the Bosnian city of Mostar, there used to be a stone bridge built in 1566 by Khayr-ad-din, one of the students of famous architect Mimar Sinan. That bridge (above), which was under protection of UNESCO, was one of the most beautiful and majestic Ottoman works ever...It was 28 meters long, and with that length, it was the longest stone bridge in all Europe.

Unfortunately, on November 9, 1993, this bridge was destroyed by Croat artillery.

It has been rebuilt and repaired by Turkish artisans and reopened in 2004.

Stan's sister and her husband, Ron, visited this stirring sight during their annual European holiday. You can see the new bridge among the many photographs the couple took during their stay, a few of them in the collage, below (click to enlarge images and see the new bridge).

Read Pastor Ron's blog, at left, for his take on travel, and if you'd like to be let in on the couple's "best of" list, i.e. best hike, best walled city, best view, etc., click the comment bar below.

After 83 years, Maid-rite gets Hunter's review

Want to see how restaurant critic Hunter Underwood rates the local Maid-rite on his national blog called Hunter's Dining Out? Click here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Backyard, Thursday evening

Winds and cloud formations beset Shakopee Thursday night, but no storms materialized. There was severe activity elsewhere, but we just got some magnificent entertainment.

Talent, talent, talent

Smoke free at St. Kate's! Stan and Kathleen's niece, Briggs, is a STAR in this promotional video! (She's the one in the grey tee shirt -- not the one puffing a weed. 30 seconds.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More photos from Mom's 90th shindig

A package from South Dakota arrived in the mail yesterday. It was from Mom's Great Niece, Nancy Clary. She had attended Beverly's 90th Birthday Party in Alexandria in May and had a CD full of photos to share. She also tucked in some info on the Black Hills arts scene and a newspaper clipping saying that Stan and Kathleen had been joined by 10,000 others in their recent hike to the top of the Crazy Horse monument. (Well it didn't exactly say it that way.)
Nancy took the best family portrait so far (above) and that's her in the picture with her mom and our mom, (left) but she didn't mention the name of the dog who stayed home, but got to appear on the CD. If you want to see Nancy's entire album, click here.
Thanks, Nancy!
(Photo above is in reverse birth order: Virgil, Stephen, Solveig, Stanley, Linda, Rebecca)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chewing gum too. . .

We just saw the ultimate multi-tasker on Abbey Point. A lone garbage hauler was adroitly driving while picking and dumping the garbage cans into the back. . . all the while talking on his cellphone.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Finally, a full report from Nisswa!

Hello Mom and Stan!
I see from the blog you did a little digging on the Stamman and found some of the acts and info. We did in fact see and listen to  O.O.O.O (The way they pronounced it was O.... O.... O..... O.........., as in I just stubbed my toe, sort of way) and they were fantastic! Yet it would be impossible to say that any of the acts were less than that. Here is the breakdown of the weekend, some photos and what you need to know for planning your trip up here next year! The dates for next year's Nisswa Stamman will be June 10th and 11th. (Get your hotel booked early!)

My weekend started on Friday when I went to help set up chairs for the Friday night concert. This is put on at the Lutheran Church of the Cross, and it is great as they have a beautiful space with wonderful acoustics. It is a preview of many of the acts that will play the next day. It costs $15. (free for me as I was a volunteer.) This fills up so if you want to attend and get a good seat, get there at 6 pm. It officially starts at 7 pm, yet there are musicians playing while people are being seated so people come early. The Norwegians started coming at 5:30!

After the concert everyone goes to the Nisswa Legion for an Old Tyme dance and there many of the acts play again and there is music and dancing until 1 am. I was lucky enough to find Henry, a lovely dancer, who was willing to dance with me, more than once, even though I didn't know the steps.

The next morning, there is a musical parade at 10 am. All the musicians walk from the South end of Nisswa up the sidewalk and the Paul Bunyan Trail ending at Nisswa's Pioneer Village, the perfect spot for this festival! There they have food, drink, tee-shirts, music and dancing, and music and dancing, and dancing and music. The musical acts this year came from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and good ol' USA. There were 105 performers. I was supported by many in my opinion that the Polka Chicks from Finland stole the show, as they were extremely talented, very funny and had the showmanship that will, I'm sure, take them far in the musical world. (They also dedicated a song to Joe and me, since we bought them a pizza when they were hungry!) The other act that stood out for me was Faerd who claimed two Danes and a Swede as their slogan. (I bought both of their CD's so I will play them for you when I see you next.)

While at the festival, I walked around with Joe, met up with my new co-worker Jesse from the Crow Wing Food Co-op and her son Patton (pronounced Pay-ton). I hugged Joe's aunt, Ilene, who was volunteering at the gate, ate some some yummy mushroom soup and great lefse rolled up with butter and sugar, found another willing dance partner, worked the information booth, sold t-shirts and made many new friends. You'll notice some umbrellas and raincoats, but we got pretty lucky and it only really sprinkled for the last few hours of the festival.

After the festival, there is a smorgasbord. The price is $15. I know you know what's on the menu, and if you post this in your blog, I know all your readers know too, so I won't bother to list the items. ;)  Being a vegetarian, I opted out and so was the perfect person to sell the rest of the Stamman t-shirts and gear in the hallway!

And if you're thinking it was over after the food. NO! Not with all these musicians in town! It was back to the Legion again for another Oldtime Dance.

For many, that was the end. But since I was smart, and volunteered, I got invited to go to the more personal "volunteers and musicians thank you brunch and party" hosted by Don and Mary Ann Bennett. They actually host many of the musicians during their stay. They live in a big house on a lake and so there were musicians all over, playing and eating and talking and wringing out the last of the weekend.

Wow!!! What a weekend! So much fun!
Let me if you want to know about anything I may have forgotten to mention.
I Love You Both!!
xo Jennifer

Making Lutheran ladies smile. . .

Now we know what our Jennifer was talking about.
Since moving to Nisswa, she's gotten very involved with this little town Up North, working in a flower shop and at a food co-op, as well as reconstructing a small house with her boyfriend, Joe. This weekend was Nisswa's Stamman, a big annual Scandinavian Music festival we knew nothing about. So we googled "Stamman" and before long we knew why she was having so much fun this weekend.
Dozens of fiddlers and musicians take over the town. Norwegians, Swedes having fun. Uff Da. We expect more details soon. Jennifer and Joe are having a great time in the middle of all this commotion and fiddling. Here's a sample of the dozens of performers and groups from the official Stamman web site:

Ole Olssons Oldtime Orkestra

Who is Ole Olsson? Ole Olsson, of Snoose Boulevard fame, is the supposed leader of the group, but he has yet to turn up at any gigs. Folklore has it that he once owed someone a musical favor, so he was forced to scour the entire state of Minnesota looking for musicians to make up a band. In the end, he managed to put together this all-star cast. Olsson was quoted by Lutefisk Today to say: "Ya, dey sure can play dose old time dance tunes, and dey work real cheap too." Olsson was particularly pleased that half the band is composed of females."Der is a lot less snoose chewing on stage," he noted. "I yust hate it when dey dribble tobacco yuice on my microphones!" Nothing has been heard from Ole since, but the band carries on, wondering if one day he may appear......

Ole Olsson s Oldtime Orkestra (usually referred to as O.O.O.O.) is a fun loving group of musicians who first met each other at Dick Rees Sunday Evening Social dances at the Good Templar Hall in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Nowadays, they still play some pretty darn good Scandinavian music for oldtime dancing and/or just plain enjoying. They play fiddles, accordions, pump organ and guitar, and sing some funny Scandinavian vaudeville songs that may occasionally make Lutheran ladies smile. They play for festivals and lutefisk feeds all around Minnesota and even make it out of the state once in awhile in their old yalopy to perform in far flung places like North Dakota!

And, while we're at it, here's a clip from Hutenanay: (Sorry. Don't have any omlauts on this keyboard. ed.)

This is all we know so far. . .

Hello Mom and Stan,
The Nisswa Stamman was FANTASTIC!!!
More photos soon!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New house, old friends

Jamie and Sean (holding his toddler) joined many others Saturday visiting Ford (above, left) and Jenn in their brand new Shakopee home. That's Jenn, below, having a laugh with her friend, Marit. The couple recently completed the big move. . . and the new sod and deck. . . and are ready for a memorable summer.
They are most celebrated, however, for their 17-month-old Kaia, watched in the photo at right by a great aunt and a pair of grandparents. You can reach Kaia's personal blog by clicking here.
Aunt Kathleen and Uncle Stan offered their best wishes to the couple as well.

Steady she goes. . .

The editor of the Shakopee Valley News came to call last night to assure Stan that the newspaper company is getting along just fine with out his interference. Pat Minelli has been at the helm for years and continues to steer the ship on its proper course. Pat is also a Twins fan and last night's actual purpose was to pick up tickets for Wednesday's game against the Colorado Rockies. Stan and Kathleen will be unable to attend, as their homeowner association has an important meeting that night. They will be voting on whether to water the grass on even or odd days. Even in retirement, will the pressure never end?

Friday, June 11, 2010

. . .with lots of chocolate chips

Perfect on a rainy day after a hard-fought game of Go Fish: Fresh-baked cookies from Grandma's kitchen. This batch is for Mom. She gets off work early today.

Yes. For 30 years, Emily.

During a discussion on the way to grandma's house this morning, there was an earnest question from the back seat:

"Are you married?"

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

What's the bad word?

The passing of patriarch Delbert Kluver brought about memories from a long-ago time of simplicity and innocence. (see his obituary below) Lorlee's big sister, LuAnn, and her big brother, Duane, attended the Oak Grove one-room country school with us as well. Upon reading of Delbert's passing, LuAnn recalled this anecdote to share with us:

LuAnn writes:
I remember that Duane was called into the schoolhouse by the teacher because one of the little Kluver boys (cannot remember which one) said that Duane had said a "bad word." Duane had not a clue what he had said.
It was "peter."

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Where's Waldo?

The album is ready. . .

By popular demand, Stan and Kathleen's entire collection of photographs of the South Dakota Badlands, Black Hills experience have now been made available, at no cost, to the general public. By simply clicking on the sculpture's nose below, you will be granted unlimited access to 381 unique images from 2005 and 2010. Thrill to magnificent geologic formations, see relatives and friends, revisit nature's glories, be amazed by the mighty Wall Drug. Play the slide show as many times as you wish. Download every picture you like. Print them out for your walls, adorn your coffee cup, tell your friends, be the first on your block. But hurry, before you forget this one-time offer.
Crazy Horse 2005-2010

Monday, June 07, 2010

Delbert Kluver died

The Rolfsrud family will remember Delbert Kluver. He was the eldest of a family of 14. We six Rolfsruds attended a one-room country school with his younger brothers and sisters. Delbert's obituary provides a summary of those classmates and friends. This obituary appeared in the Echo Press and was provided by another classmate of the Kluvers, Lorlee Bartos. Her comments appear at the end of the obit.

Delbert Gordon Kluver, 74, Alexandria, died at his home on May 17, 2010 from congestive heart failure.

Delbert was born April 12, 1936 in Clara City to Henry and Taliena (Degrote) Kluver. He lived in Clara City for a few years before he and his family moved to Alexandria. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1955, serving in Germany until 1958. He returned to Alexandria and met the love of his life, Marilyn Johnson. Delbert and Marilyn were united in marriage on November 28, 1959 in Alexandria. They had five daughters, Gayle, Judith, Barbara, Denise and Janice.

Delbert farmed and raised his family on the Kluver family homestead. He also worked for Ludkes Wholesale Grocery for 25 years, driving delivery trucks. After his girls had graduated high school and college, Delbert and Marilyn moved to North Minneapolis, where he refurbished three homes in the metro area. After 12 years in Minneapolis, he retired and moved back to the family homestead by Alexandria. Delbert built a warm comfortable home for his whole family to come back to enjoy.

Delbert was a jack of all trades, always finding a way to fix what was broken or needed attention. He enjoyed landscaping; using fountains, ponds, and rock gardens to enhance the look of his work. He was a caring and loving husband, father and grandfather. Delbert was always willing to lend a hand to those in need. He had a strong influence on his children and grandchildren by reminding them to make good choices and to love the Lord. He will be missed by those who knew and loved him.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Taliena Kluver; brother, Loranz Kluver; sisters, Lorraine Swenson, Mary Simonson, Minnie Taft and Evelyn Gades; granddaughters, Megan Johnson and Erin Johnson.

He is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Marilyn Ann (Johnson) Kluver; daughters, Gayle Ann Kluver, Judith Christine Hunke, Barbara Jo (Timothy) Schjei, Denise Marie (James) Kraft, and Janice Lena (Kevin) Johnson; grandchildren, Nye Hunke, ReAnna Hunke, Ashley Hunke, Teila Schjei, Mariah Schjei, Adam Schjei, Austin Kraft and Amelia Kraft; brothers, Simon (Vera) Kluver, Roger (Joan) Kluver, James (Rosemary) Kluver, Marlow Kluver; sisters, Grace Stromen, Sally (Elmer) Benjaminson, Joyce Yittre and Doris (Dean) Olson.

A funeral service was held Friday, May 21 at Lakes Community Church in Alexandria with Pastor Ron Berget officiating. Pastor Dale Anderson gave the message. Jon Gaugert was the song leader and Doris Anderson sang special music during the funeral service. Inurnment was at Hudson Cemetery. Casket bearers were Kevin Johnson, Jim Kraft, Duff Hunke, Tim Schjei, Rick Kluver and Lee Gylsen. Honorary casket bearers were Roland Trousil, Joe Marshall, Nye Hunke, Austin Kraft and Adam Schjei.
Lorlee comments:
This is for Delbert Kluver -- the Kluvers of our country school. I knew there were a lot of kids, didn't realize there were 14 -- and so sad to see that several are gone including Evelyn and Mary -- two that I remember. Sweet Mary.

I think the ones I knew were the youngest. Marlow started in our grade, and Roger, I think, was the youngest. I remember Evelyn, Joyce, Mary, Doris, Marlow, Roger and I think Jimmy. but then I may be confusing him with Jimmy Navratil (who was married to Wanda Myers from our class -- he is gone as well.)

Sounds like Delbert made quite a good life for himself and his family.


Pat's got new glasses!

This is Stan's golf partner Pat. Pat was not trusted to choose his new glasses. They were personally selected by his dear wife who is so much better at this kind of thing. Don't they look good? They have improved his golf game. Today he made a "Rock Hudson putt" --- you know, the one that looks straight, but isn't.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Five years later, he looks the same

Five years ago, when Stan hiked up the Crazy Horse monument for the first time, at the very top he met Casimir, one of 10 children raised by Korczak Ziolkowski, the sculptor who began the immense mountain carving in 1947 -- the year of Stan's birth. The swarthy, diminutive son of the legendary character was standing off to himself, leaning on a chain-link fence, enjoying a smoke and what must have been a day off of his usual duties, blasting and moving tons of granite.

Stan got a brief interview. Casimir said that now that the face was done (dedicated in 1998), the next phase has been to move material away from the horse's head, creating stone benches to step back the massive mountain to within feet of its ultimate shape. Certainly not as exciting as blasting and burning eyebrows and eye balls on the nine-story face, but necessary to the final outcome. . . whenever that might be.

Exactly five years later, Stan made exactly the same hike, this time with Kathleen, and there, at the same chain link fence at the summit, at exactly the same spot, stood Casimir Ziolkowski, having a smoke. 
"Hello, sir!" is how Stan greeted the quiet, unassuming man in work clothes, not trying to pronounce Mister Ziolkowski. "We spoke here five years ago . . . and you haven't changed a bit."
"Well," the tanned, wiry stone carver grinned. "I do have a new hat!"
Doing some quick calculating, Casimir figured that since that day five years ago, they had moved 200,000 tons of rock off the mountain. For comparison, a typical loaded highway dump truck carries 15 tons. From a distance, it sure didn't look like 200,000 tons were missing.
But when Stan got home, he looked at his old pictures. At first glance, it appeared that the monument hasn't changed any more than Casimir has in the past five years. But comparing two photos (above--click to enlarge it) you can see they've cut away a big part of the mountainside, removing the rock that doesn't belong in the Korczak sculpture. Go the the web site to read about the drilling and blasting process.

Here's the family story, taken from the web site:
When he arrived at Crazy Horse, Korczak, almost 40, willingly had dedicated the rest of his life to keeping his promises to the American Indian people. About the last thing he expected was to get married and have 10 children. The turn of events made him equally happy and proud, and Crazy Horse became a family story.

Several of the children -- five boys and five girls -- have names reflecting their Polish ancestry of which the Boston-born sculptor was very proud.

Later, when there were so many Ziolkowskis in school at one time, Korczak decided the practical thing to do was to open his own school. So he moved a one-room school house to Crazy Horse, where several of the youngsters got their grade school education from a certified teacher.

The self-taught sculptor also was a teacher at heart, and he schooled his family in every aspect of Crazy Horse, including the special skills of mountain carving.

The boys grew up helping him on the mountain, the girls assisting Ruth in the ever expanding visitor complex. Everyone helped with the big dairy farm, the lumber mill and the multitude of other year-around activities at Crazy Horse, where, since 1947, the construction has never stopped.

As they reached adulthood, the Ziolkowski sons and daughters demonstrated that Korczak and Ruth imparted to their family not only knowledge and skill, but also a deep love of the Crazy Horse dream. All have been free to leave, but seven remain involved in the project today, working under Ruth's direction. Grandchildren now help, too.

The second generation of Ziolkowskis began writing a new chapter of the unique Crazy Horse story when Korczak died October 20, 1982. His parting words to his wife were, "You must work on the mountain-but go slowly so you do it right." The torch was passed, and Ruth and her sons and daughters, together with the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation board of directors, now are guiding Crazy Horse and the ongoing progress.

A report from Dubrovnik

Stan's sister Linda is on her annual European trip with her husband Ron. She's doing a good job of keeping the family up-to-date on her itinerary, this year through Italy and Croatia and the "soft underbelly" of Europe, as Winston would say. Here's a sampler of her detailed etchings of their daily life. If you'd like more, comment and Stan can forward you the other emails so far, filled with tips and details.

She writes:
. . .Shortly after leaving the internet cafe in Split, our every day perfect weather was interrupted by a thorough drenching.  No problem, we bussed back to Pink Inn for the night, another scrumptious breakfast and off we went down the coast to Dubrovnik.

The three hour trip turned into 4 1/2 as we kept pulling off into cutouts for a hundred or two hundred pictures.  The Dalmatian Coast is that impressive.

Once again our directions brought us to the door of our next apartment, right past Old Town, (no one can miss it) and up a switchback and up and up to a reserved parking spot.  Now that's value.  A few of you have said you'd like more on Croatian contacts so here's the best one I found.  Check out Aerie, Apt. 1 That's ours.   I had searched books, tripadvisor and all my usual hotel.coms and couldn't be confident of getting everything I wanted and then maybe on I found a simple recommendation for DAS and bingo, I had it all.  For those of you who don't like the detail work, this one site can do it for you otherwise you choose between the Hilton and some strange sobe.  DAS says it takes 10 to l5 minutes for the 300 plus steps down to the ancient city, but it took us only 5 and then 10 to get back up.  Also, without our leaving our terrace, our helpful hostess 0Diana set us up with Adriatic Explore for our day trips to Montenegro on Wednesday and Mostar (Bosnia) on Thursday.  Ron can tell you about the trips, but he is sleeping right now.  They were excellent, 20 guest brand new bus, great guides both on the bus and local, interesting border crossings.  Well worth it.

Number 1 attraction is walking the walled city Wso that made way over 1,000 steps UP/Down besides the regular walking during the day.  The ancient city is immaculate, rebuilt since the war in the '90s.  Beautiful.  Each evening we would explore, eat, and then drop into the RS recommended netcafe and catch up on news/emails.  Our last night was really special, piano music while we ate and then later we ran into a couple of American girls drooling over their crepes.  They showed us where to get them and the owner gleefully and generously showed us his $5,000 French crepe making machine and put together the yummiest chocolate, nut, banana, anything you want on it crepe.  Unforgettable, also the fun we had with the German family joining us in the pure joy of travel and sharing crepes.  Just 10 Kuna, less than $2.

. . .