Sunday, October 31, 2010

A visit from a turtle

Jenn and Ford dropped by this Sunday afternoon with their turtle. They had earlier been to the EP Mall and have more neighborhood trick or treat plans for tonight. Kaia was fine with all that and was quick to share the treats she had already gathered in her pumpkin. Kathleen traded her a loaf of pumpkin bread from today's baking project.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


We got the last furring strip glued to the concrete ceiling and attached the vertical blinds today. Stan's brother-in-law Danny admired the beginnings of the big condo window project which will culminate with some spiffy colorful curtains one day soon. These blinds are actually intended for patio sliding doors. We used two units designed to cover eight-foot wide patio doors, seven feet high. Since we didn't have to get custom treatments, we got this done for a song, $90 to cover this window, $50 for the small one.

A tree falls at Cardinal Creek

Got these snaps from Becky Rolfsrud today. Looks like they lost one over at the EP homestead. No details, other than that she suspects the witch in their foyer had something to do with it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hitting the peaches

Sporting her new Chaska Hawks football warmup, Emily dove into a bowl of peaches this morning. Her Mom graduated from Chaska High and Emily gave us a rousing version of their fight song today:

Orangeade, lemon ice
Hit 'em once, Hit 'em twice
Hit 'em high, Hit 'em low,
Chaska Hawks, Go, Go, Go.

By the way, there's a house rule in effect here: No Hitting Ever.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not so fast, Snowbird

Tom Obert's neighbor, Arnie, normally rolls south about now in his Recreational Vehicle. Minnesota isn't going to release him easy though: last night's high winds dropped a tree on the Escapemobile. Meanwhile, here in Shakopee, our association president is glumly walking around the compound, picking up shingle scraps, getting ready to make his call to the insurance company.

Alexandria this A.M.

Alexandrian Tom Obert took this photo of the old hometown. With the wind howling -- just as it is here in Shakopee -- Tom didn't venture out onto the deck in his jammies. Mom can no doubt see snow from her Clearwater window.
Things have been going bump in the night all night here. The 50 mile an hour gusts will continue until this evening, they say. So Steve's feeling snug and smug in Tucson, we suppose.
This goofy blow won't last, of course, as we wonder what's in store on the other side. Stan bought some boots to go with launching the kayak . . . the DNR has pulled all the public access docks on the nearby lakes . . . so he picked a pair of $20 Dairy boots to keep his feet dry the next time out.
They're better than garbage bags, which were used last time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

From somewhere in Ohio

Sosie and Bill are in Ohio. She sends this note and photo from her Iphone:

Here is Bill contemplating what to do in our next five days. The creek is full of ducks and a huge swan. Maybe they will fly home Saturday too. The batter fried dill pickles were good. If you want to try some, Gaylord makes them at the Bag of Nails in Gahanna.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Homecoming for Leno!

Steve writes from Tucson:

It's the season for homecomings and Leno has come HOME!

The photo shows his loyal support staff that got him through an extended stay at the hospital after his open heart surgery. They are his wife of more than five decades, Carolyn; their son, Anthony, and his significant other, JoJo, (who live in Phoenix) and their daughter Marina (from Colliersville, Tennessee).

Leno's coming over later this morning for (decaf) coffee after actually being able to sleep in his own bed last night.

He's already been talking about his golfing and tennis comebacks: something about golf between Thanksgiving and Christmas and tennis by New Year's Day. Not so fast there, Leno. Remember your old coaching motto: just take it one play at a time.


Now playing at Danny's

A couple of weeks ago Stan and and his brother-in-law Danny bought these classic black and white Marilyn Monroe posters for $20 at Michaels. We framed up a piece of plywood, painted it antique white, and used wallpaper paste to glue the prints into this layout. Today it was hung in Danny's entertainment room, joining the 500 or so VHS movies that he has gathered there. You can see some of them on the wall. (Yes, he still watches VHS videotapes . . . and spins LPs on a record player too. You gotta envy the simplicity of that.)
Okay. . . Now Danny needs a side table for his popcorn bowl. Ideas?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

We're not the only ones. . .

It was our neighbor Tom calling on the cellphone. "Can you hear me," he asked?
"Yeah, sorta," Stan responded as the digital sound came in and out.
Recently Tom installed a booster antenna on his computer to try to get a better cell phone signal. In desperation, sometimes Stan will go sit on his front porch to hitchike on it to improve his crappy Verizon reception.
Tom laughed on the other end of the line. "Did you read the paper yet? Did you see the comics? Read Zits. I thought of you when I saw it."
Thanks for the heads up, Tom.

Always remembered, Tuesday is Trash Day. . .

Long ago, when Stan was trying to help raise three girls The Right Way, the middle child, assigned to bring our garbage cans to the curb for pickup each week, was failing.
"I just can't remember that Tuesday is trash day," Marcy lamented, explaining why she had forgotten the week's stinky garbage in the garage once again. Her lapsed memory was her excuse.
So in an effort to refocus her teenage brain, Stan prescribed a dramatic memory hook: He set a ladder and sent Marcy to the rooftop to sit on the ridge and repeat "Tuesday is Trash Day. Tuesday is Trash Day" until she was quite certain she wouldn't forget her responsibility again.
She lingered on the roof, enjoying this unique experience, gazing out over the stunning Minnesota River Valley, repeating the mantra.
The device was effective. From then on our trash consistently appeared on the curb each Tuesday.
Marcy's little sister remembers too. Last week she was scraping shingles off the log cabin on the refurbishing project she and Joe have tackled in Nisswa, when she came upon an unexpected sight. Under a layer of shingles she found two boards, one labeled "M" and the other labeled "T."
She sent along these pictures today, naturally assuming the letters are just left over from some zealous parent trying to get a point across.

She writes:

Hi Stan and Mom,
The funniest thing, when I was up tearing the shingles off the North room, I found a large M and T, must have been left there from times gone by. Looks like you're not the only one to come up with that creative punishment Stan! Mondays and Thursdays must have been popular chore days! ;)


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We're grateful, Danny.

Chatty Dan Martin, headmaster of the Danny Martin Driving Range and School of Charm, did Stan a big favor a week or so ago when he took Stan's driver to a golf shop to be reglued and regripped. Stan paid the equipment repair company $8 for their work, but what to do for helpful Dan who brokered the transaction? A valuable gift coupon for the talkative, garrulous Danny would be the perfect thing. So today the headmaster received this:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Leno's in good spirits

Steve visited heart patient Leno today in the Tucson hospital. Says he's doing fine, they're fiddling with his heart rate but he may be home tomorrow. That's all we know.

Get your flu shot

Kathleen and Stan are big flu shot advocates and today it was Stan's turn so he drove over to the Veterans' Administration in Minneapolis to get a free one. The parking lot was jammed and it looked ominous.
But once inside, as he lined up with the gentle brotherhood of retired warriors, it was very quick, it went with military style and grace. They may be colonels, they may be sergeants, they may be Navy or Marine. They may be WWII, Korea, Vietnam, but they have one thing in common: they know how to wait patiently and follow orders.
It was smooth, quiet, respectful. Nostalgic.
Swipe your ID and check in to the system, get your number like at the donut shop, sit briefly in a holding area until the big ex-Marine volunteer barking numbers sounds off your 72, then go to one of 10 numbered work stations each outfitted with a tech, a computer and vaccine. No clipboards, no pencils on strings, no questionnaires, no insurance forms.
Now tell Marilee at Station No. 3 your birth date so she's sure that you're really you, then tell her you're not allergic and you've never had French polio and then a light prick in the arm and you're done. Five minutes total.
Thousands got theirs today. Have you had yours?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Actually, we're sort of serious

Danny said he really wants some color in the condo. After a lifetime of golds and greens and beige, he's ready for some summer colors and the one he mentions most is red. Yesterday we stumbled onto this ensemble at a nearby furniture store. Is this exactly what the doctor ordered? Or is it just too much? We'd probably just get three pieces, the loveseat, chair and ottoman.
What do you think? Would you ever do this? Could we pull this off? What does the rest of the room do?
What would the Red Hat ladies say?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Medium well, Steve

It's Steve's birthday today, and he's heading for Tucson where, no doubt, he'll celebrate soon with some steaks on the grill. He has an extra assignment, reporting on the progress of our neighbor, Leno, (with his tennis partner at right) who had heart surgery yesterday.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Danny's new rug

Danny's got a new rug at the condo. . . actually, the rug isn't here yet. We're going to get a big blue area rug soon. So we painted a rug on the floor first with three colors of latex wall paint and sealed it today. Danny thought it came out pretty good. . . "a shame to cover it up" he remarked.
He'll change his mind when he gets the nice cozy feel of a real wool rug under bare feet.

Open House

A back yard full of crisp golden leaves were just the thing for a house building project this morning. Grandma and Emily laid out the perfect dream home. For some reason, it had an extra-large laundry room in it. Kathleen vividly recalls this childhood activity with her pal, M'liss.

Heart surgery today

Our Tucson neighbor, Leno, is going under the knife today. Please have a good thought for him as we wish him the best of everything and a speedy and easy recovery. You can't keep a good man down.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's your day, again, Zach

Happy Birthday to Stan and Kathleen's nephew, Zachary Shearer.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back from a birthday blast. . .

Jenn Rolfsrud celebrated her 32nd birthday this weekend with her husband Ford (Stan's nephew). He planned a trip to a biker's haven in southern Minnesota. Click here for details.

Cozy, nice views from roof

Large lot, room for add-on. Bringing a camera adds some interest to regular local lake workouts in this gorgeous fall weather. Stan is confident now that he won't dump the camera from the tippy kayak. Lots of lakefront things to look at.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Are you nuts?

A pair of acorns fell from a mighty shoreline oak and onto a Thole Lake lily pad, momentarily delaying their inevitable plunge to the bottom.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

David Brewer 1919-2010

We learned this afternoon of the passing of Kathleen's brother-in-law, David Brewer, 91. He died this morning in Durango, Col., his wife, Mary Lou, and daughter, Heidi King, at his side. He had suffered a massive stroke at a care facility two days ago.
David lived a long and interesting life. A rocket engineer by trade, his imaginative and restless mind drew him into many adventures, sometimes nude. He loved science and chemistry. He cheerfully tinkered with anything and was constantly seeking to invent something better, perhaps a battery or a solar cell.
He could make your old car run again. He was quick with a blow torch to help a solo sister-in-law with three little children when her townhouse heating pipes froze. In his energetic 80s, he and Mary Lou built a country French mansion in the exclusive Shadow Falls neighborhood of Minneapolis, doing most of the work themselves. A suspicious neighbor once spotted the couple's mega-vitamin stash and called in the drug cops.
He was the son of the famed Minnesota portrait artist Edward Brewer. His late sister, Barbara, was a prominent artist as well.
He will be missed by many. Our thoughts tonight are with his devoted wife of 35 years who for the past two years faithfully visited and cared for him daily at the Durango facility.

Uncle Dave with bargain blanket shoppers at an open-air market in Tijuana, Mexico. From left, Missy, Heidi, Kathleen, Jennifer and Marcelline. In 1983 Kathleen and Stan took their girls to Disneyland. A highlight was a visit with Dave and Mary Lou at their San Diego home. Dave loved a day-trip to Mexico, not for the blankets, but for the gasoline. He hated paying energy-crisis prices in the states, preferring to tank up at state-controlled prices in Mexico. He even brought back extra petrol in plastic drums. Really. He did. 

Hey, pumpkin head!

 These exquisitely sculpted busts are the work of Jennifer Blethen's friend, Krafty Kathy Goodman, who gives a whole new twist to the fall pumpkin carving tradition. Mostly she works in pumpkin media, but a green squash (above and below) will do nicely as well. (Don't you love how some of the the green skin is still on Father Nature's nose?) Click on Mother Nature at right to enlarge and see the incredible detail and the creative flourishes of birds and bees and butterflies. Owning one of these would be a reason to throw a fall party.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Anybody lose a dog?

We've just been through 24 hours of digital hell, that nasty time of frustration and hurt when no matter what, you have to make a change to your computer setup. Plus we're dealing with Comcast's dreaded cable tv transition. ("We want you to have MORE") We got the Easy Setup Guide yesterday. Verizon's dropped calls and bad connections during the Comcast technical advisors sessions didn't help matters, as we battled just to hold on to a conversation about what to do next. Ain't the New World Grand? The failure of a Comcast $5 a month rental modem triggered the whole debacle. That was coupled with the forced transition to digital tv that coincided with the modem failure. We're back now, sorta, and as we indicated a day ago when the modem dropped . . .

We found this tender five pound morsel in the middle of Fairhaven at its intersection with Langston on our morning walk at 10 a.m. today. We've since found its owner during the digital chaos, but it's so dang cute we're running the lost dog photo anyway just to see if the system can handle it.
Last night, the coyotes were howling. Bet our little lost Yorkie is glad to be home.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

St. Andrews vets

Post round posers
Little Stix on the tee, Maxa,
what's left of him, at left.
An early morning phone call stirred Stan from his second cup of coffee this morning. It was Dan Martin, of the Danny Martin School of Charm, calling from the clubhouse. Last night he had assembled almost all the golfers he had escorted to Scotland last year and today was the first chance for a reunion round. Thanks for all the notice, Stan groused. But a perfect autumn day beckoned, so before you could say "double bogey" Stan was out in the yard awaiting pickup. After a crisp round, the group paused for these reunion snaps. Just one missing player. Everybody looked pretty much the same. . . except for Rick Maxa, who had dropped 60 pounds. There's one at every reunion.

Front row, John, Danny, Rick; back, John, Kevin, Stan

He's back!

The last time Randy Moss played for the Minnesota Vikings was in 2004. Emily wasn't born yet so she has no idea what all the excitement is about. But a potential Hall of Fame receiver with plenty of tread on his childish tires may be just the thing to get Emily throwing her pom poms again. We shall see.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

No silver spoons. . .

The word has come down from Hanover, Germany.
Since we disclosed last week that Stan's family has ancestors from the Hanover area, diligent genealogists have raced to track down the bloodlines we have identified as our Wendelkin forebears. (See post below).
The international phone call came Monday afternoon here, late evening in Hanover. It was Ingeborg.
She eased into the conversation with some small talk first.
"It has been 20 years since we have been reunited," she said, referencing when the great wall that divided Germany was taken down. We agreed that it didn't seem that long ago. "There are young adults who have never experienced this separation," she said in her good English.
Then she let us have it. Both barrels. "Stahn,"  she said, sounding like a former schoolteacher. "I have looked in the area where your people come from. Yes. I must tell you. It was a swamp."
A moment of silence hung on the transcontinental wires.
Yes. It would seem that when our great great grandparents wed in Worpswede they did so in an area known for its production of. . . peat. Yes. Peat. Rotten dirt. Our forefathers didn't farm. They probably dug up rotten dirt and sold it for heating homes. Without doubt, they were poor. Very poor. Dirt poor.
"Well," Stan surmised. "No wonder they came to America."
"Yehs," said Ingeborg, with just a slight hint of pity.
Then, trying to make the best of it, she said: "But, the other town mentioned in your post, Mevenstedt, was known as an artists' colony. It was known for producing art work."
So there you have it, my dear family members. It appears that either our German forefathers were dirt poor, or they were starving artists. And for whatever reason, they immigrated to South Dakota. Wow. South Dakota, our promised land.
Ingeborg will be sending us maps of the swamp to confirm where our German roots were nourished. You never know. So take heart, Wendelkin/Brown/Rolfsruds.  Maybe they'll strike oil there.
Here's the historical reference that put Ingeborg on our trail:
Johann Wendelken Jr was born on 31 March 1817 at Winkelmoor, Ottersberg, Hanover, Germany. He married Anna Katharina Kohlmann, daughter of Zeband Kohlmann and Katherina Gutindes, on 3 December 1841 at Worpswede, Hanover, Germany. He emigrated in 1843 from Spring, Emigrated to, Marietta, Washington County, Ohio. He appeared on the census of 6 August 1850 at Ward 2, Page 177-B, Dwelling 21, Marietta, Washington County, Ohio. He was (an unknown value) on 6 August 1850 at Carpenter, Marietta, Washington County, Ohio. He died in 1903 at Elkton, Brookings County, South Dakota.

Monday, October 04, 2010

No camera. . .

The popular public access at Lake O'Dowd in Shakopee is in a densely-populated area surrounded by homes and, this morning, lots of garbage cans set out on the road, awaiting pickup.
Stan had just completed his morning kayak session and was paddling into the public dock when a senior citizen rolled up in his green pickup truck with camper cover. Stan watched as the elderly man struggled to clamber onto the tailgate and into the cramped truck box area . . . where he eventually produced a wire cage.
Google Images
Holy cow! Inside the portable jail was Rocky Raccoon!
Stan surmised that the pesky creature had been live-trapped by his frustrated host. What Stan couldn't guess was what would happen next: The man simply popped open the cage and released Rocky into the "wild."
The pest was off like a shot into the brush. He'll soon discover the Eden he's been given. His captor has generously provided Rocky with a whole new set of garbage cans, back yards to visit nightly and perhaps even a cozy chimney to occupy during the upcoming winter.
Our gentleman trapper was off as quickly as he came, his raccoon no longer his problem. He's long gone and so, it would seem, is any concept of the "common good."

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Here's your seats, Joe and Mina

When the Yankees come to town Wednesday to settle the American League championship, our neighbors will be in these seats. Kathleen scored the tickets (she's mastering the Twins web site) for Joe (left) and Mina and the view (below) looks good. We previewed them last Thursday, about the time Wally the Beer Man was being busted for serving underagers. Free Wally!