Monday, November 29, 2010

Continuing our deer harvest series. . .

Two things to notice in this hunting photo submitted by Stan's retired co-worker and veteran outdoorsman: 1) Wayne's cap says "Old Folks Camp, Ray, Minn."  and 2) You're not supposed to notice, but Wayne is holding the buck that certain way because of what he did after his first clean shot, which took the animal. When it appeared to him that the buck was parting company anyway, Wayne got excited, fired again and blasted one of the horns off the big rack, thereby spoiling his otherwise impressive trophy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Where's the snacks?

Birdie enjoyed today's Viking's win from her usual laid-back position, legs up on the best seat in the house. Katie got two wrong today. She picked the Redskins and the Packers to win. They didn't.

Chapter Two: Ooma escalation. . .

Late last night I received this response from Ooma. I don't know what part of the globe it came from, but I think my very polite and kind assistant is on the day shift. (Read chapter one of this adventure posted below)

Discussion Thread
Response (Carren) 11/27/2010 11:16 PM
Dear Stan,

Thank you for contacting Ooma!

I appreciate all the information you provided. This issues was escalated to our department and I will handle this case for you. I will need to review the call samples that you made through you device logs. I will give you feedback as soon as I'm done.

If you have further questions or require additional clarification, please write me back and I will respond to you as quickly as possible, usually the same day. Your satisfaction is important to me, and I will make sure we bring this to resolution consistent with your expectations. If it’s more convenient, you can also visit our support website and check out our wide variety of helpful articles that may answer any additional questions that might come up in the future.

Thank you for choosing Ooma!



Ooma Technical Support

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Here are Katie's NFL picks!

Sunday noon kickoffs. Winners are in red.
Jacksonville at NY Giants
Pittsburgh at Buffalo
Vikings at Washington
Carolina at Cleveland
Green Bay at Atlanta
Tennessee at Houston
Only six games this week. Somebody's gonna win the money!

A slight case of 'mis-routing calls congestion'

The excitment over the new OOma phone system builds. Yesterday we tried to call Kathleen's sister in Durango but we kept getting Delta Airlines. So we tried calling her daughter in the same town and we got a fax machine, even though Heidi doesn't have one. We called Wayne in International Falls and got a phone company message that says his number is no longer in service, which, Wayne says by email, is not true. So we posted an inquiry with the Ooma help folks, explaining that most of our calls go through, but not all. Here is the note Stan received tonight from the Help center located somewhere on the globe. We thought you would enjoy listening in as we luxuriate in the joys of technology. We have put 'x's in place to protect the innocent.

The email begins:
Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.
Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.

Subject: Difficulty with certain area codes (outgoing issue)
Discussion Thread
Response (Micoboy)
11/27/2010 04:20 PM

Dear Stan,
Thank you for contacting Ooma Customer Support. I apologize for this inconvenience. I have tried to call the two number you have provided from a different soft phone system.

For your sister's number (970-382-xxxx), I got several rings then I was routed to there voicemail. That made me sure that I was routed to the correct number owner. For her daughter's number (970-769-xxxx), I have I got several rings as well then I was routed to the voicemail then I hand up. Definitely I did not hear a Fax tone.

I can conclude that your Ooma is experiencing misrouting outgoing calls congestion. I may need to check the routing tables of your network. I would need you to place calls within the next 24hours and then you have to provide me the call sample following a certain pattern. At least three numbers will be good. Please provide these information below for each numbers:

(a) Phone number you have dialed
(b) Type of phone (i.e. landline, cellphone or VoIP)
(c) Time stamps (i.e. 11-27-2010 12:00PM PST)
(d) Where was the call routed? (I suggest you to ask the direct phone number of Delta Airlines)

By the way, have you check if your incoming calls are going through?

If you have further questions or require additional clarification, please write me back and I will respond to you as quickly as possible, usually the same day. Your satisfaction is important to me, and I will make sure we bring this to resolution consistent with your expectations. If it’s more convenient, you can also visit our support website and check out our wide variety of helpful articles that may answer any additional questions that might come up in the future.

Thank you for choosing Ooma!


Ooma Customer Care Specialist


Stan to OOma

Thank you for your kind response. I will endeavor to follow your instructions. This is a difficult assignment because I am doing it on a phone instrument. The instrument does not reveal time stamps in the format you requested for outgoing calls. It does reveal time stamps for incoming calls, however.

It may be that I just don't understand the complexity of the instrument. But I am no tech. You are, fortunately.

I will be posting our discussion on my blog so that others can follow our progress in solving this problem. Thank you.

At 7:47 p.m. CST Nov. 27 I dialed a landline phone: 218-286-xxxx
The phone rang three times and then I received this message:
"We're sorry the number cannot be completed as dialed, please check the number and call again."
I have confirmed, via email, that this is a working landline.

At 7:53 pm. CST Nov. 27 I dialed a landline 970-382-xxx It did not ring, but was answered immediately: I received a recorded message:
"You have reached a number at Delta Airlines which is not in service, please call 1-800-221-1212"
At 7:55 I did exactly the same thing with exactly the same result. (My time stamps are approximate for outgoing because I can't find where outgoing time stamps are kept on my phone. Incoming yes.)

7:58 CST Nov. 27 I dialed 970-769-xxxx. It is a landline, I believe, but have no way of knowing since the phone rang three times before a fax machine picked it up.


At 5:52 CST PM I received a successful incoming phone call from 651-222-3333, it was the Cable Company. [Editor's note: In an issue unrelated to telephone issues, there was no picture on the two tvs upstairs, after an hour wait for a service phone call, we found someone who rebooted the system remotely and, thank goodness, we can now watch The Beverly Hillbillies.]

Voice quality was good.

At 4:32 pm CST Nov. 27 I RECEIVED an incoming phone call from 608-873-xxxx. The call was 100 percent successful, although the voice quality wasn't the best. . . perhaps she was using a cell phone, I don't know.

So there you have it, Mico, I hope I have carried out my assignment satisfactorily. I will eagerly await your reply. Thanks again for your kind attention to this matter.


Happy Thanksgiving from Virg and Becky's. . .

From left, Alex, Aaron, Cherice and Lacey Rolfsrud.

The Great Gatsby. . .

Photo by Stan Rolfsrud
Upon first seeing his portrait, his sister Becky was reminded of F. Scott Fitzgerald characters. She writes: Geez, Virg could have had a role in "The Great Gatsby!"
The photo was taken circa 1975 during a St. Valentine's Day dress up dinner party modeled after the then popular "The Godfather" movie.
We're inclined to agree with Becky. He certainly doesn't look like a New York gangster.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday activity

Zach and Jenn taking a post-holiday holiday
Black Friday at Point Piedras Blancas, just north of San Simeon. No coupons, no membership fees. At right, the photographer got as close as she could and now reports that what she actually saw was a zebra and colt. (C'mon. Pretty good for a cellphone camera. And she didn't want to scare the beasts.) Below, apparently oblivious to Black Friday, only mild confrontations broke out among the younger elephant seals.

Sent from my iPhone
Meanwhile, in Nisswa, Jennifer's boyfriend Joe stood outside Sears in the cold and dark at 2 a.m. waiting for a Black Friday half-price deal on a washer and dryer for the new place. There were five sets. Joe was no. 6 in line.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Beverly Rolfsrud enjoying her Thanksgiving Dinner at Bella's in Alexandria yesterday with Linda, Michelle and Ron.
Linda writes:
We had just enough of a window to make the trip out to Alexandria. However, as we drove toward Clearwater we could tell a lot was changing and after only 20 minutes in Mom's room and back out in the parking lot, the whole scene was colored white. Visibility was poor, winds blowing hard, snow everywhere and cold. Michelle parked in the back of Bella's and a worker cordially shoveled a perfect path for Mom. We were all glad to get inside. Mom was wonderful, but ready to go back to Clearwater when we wrapped things up. After a leisurely meal, Mom was tucked into Michelle's car and Ron and I took off for the cities. What a difference! Eight cars were in the ditch, most with no chance of getting out on their own. It was icy all the way. We went at least 20 mph slower than in the morning. We're glad to be back with both fireplaces on, the snow on the outside and no ice in the house.

A real friend to the turkeys. . .

Our cousin, Larry Veeder, is a prominent artist, who raised a family in Red Wing, Minnesota and now winters in Arizona. He continues to paint and produce excellent work.  No one was prouder of Larry's career than his mother, our aunt Agnes.
Recently, our sister Solveig Agnes (who, we believe, is named for her aunt, but that's another story),  dug up the photograph above. She had been organizing Dad's considerable memorabilia. This is a reproduction of a vintage photograph of Dad, probably taken with a box camera about 85 years ago. The photograph was used many years later by Larry to construct a wonderful drawing of a young man enjoying some birds. Stan can't find Larry's drawing, somebody has it, it's displayed somewhere. We'll publish when we find it.
Anyway, scrawled on the back of the photograph are handwritten instructions from Aunt Agnes to her artist son.
Her instructions read:
"I want to give this to Erling for Christmas next year. He was so enthralled with the binder, etc. that you did for Halvor. [Apparently Larry drew his Uncle Halvor with some harvest equipment earlier]
"He was a real friend of the turkeys, kept getting in the oatmeal box to feed his friends and we were poor too.
"I want both of his barefeet sticking out. I want this as soon as you can as I intend to display them somewhere before I give them up.
"Black ink and brown with water color would be nice."
So there you have it, directly from Dad's sister. Soft-hearted Erling was a true friend of the turkeys, filching oatmeal flakes for them from the family larder even during hard times.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Aunt Agnes with her brothers, Erling and Halvor.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Attention: Sosie and Bill. We're IN!

After hearing brother-in-law Bill rave on for years about his club membership in the Oakland-area Costco, it sounded like some kind of cult. Finally, when our corporate membership to Sam's Club ran out, we put down our fifty bucks for a membership in the Costco in Eden Prairie. Here we are in the weather-swept parking lot this afternoon, icy snow bearing down and threatening to ruin the Thanksgiving weekend, struggling to take a self-portrait in front of Costco, for Bill's sake. We're in the club, Bill!
We made our first purchase today, something to replace the Magic Jack free phone calls system we've struggled with for the past year or so. We have $125 worth of monthly cell phones but they don't work well indoors. We pay a ton for phone technology and all we'd like is a nice old-fashioned phone conversation where you don't have to say "over" when it is the other person's turn to talk.
Don't know if that will ever happen again. But we now hope to do a better job with our end of the conversation with a new $185 Ooma, a Voice Over Internet Phone (VOIP) that promises free calls and the best voice clarity of all the internet digital phones. . . which isn't a very high bar.
We will let you know how it goes, and when we do, we'll tell you what our next phone number is. In the past year or so we've had more telephone numbers than we had in the previous 60. (ELcrest 1895 was Kathleen's first number; ROckwell 3, 7364 was Stan's. Hard to remember the one we use now.)
And all we really want is a nice relaxed conversation. When can that happen?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rolfsruds rack a pair of bucks

Word has been received from the far reaches of Western North Dakota that our cousins there have once again prevailed in the hunt. The Rolfsruds got their deer. Family spokesman Guy Rolfsrud reports that he and and his son, Josh, garnered the specimen above, about 3/4 of a mile north of the Rolfsrud farm. It is a small 5 by 5 White Tail Buck. Meanwhile, Guy's brother Doug bagged the mule deer below in his farmyard at the Tobacco Garden Ranch.

International Falls deer hunter Wayne Kasich writes:
Nice racks too.
I got nervous and tried to finish my buck off at about 125 yards from my stand and shot an antler half off. I'm gonna have the taxidermist fix it and hang the "rack in the shack".

The street lights are in. . .

This morning Stan and Dan wired up the new street lights for the condo. The bases had to be weighted down with mini-sandbags tucked inside the aluminum poles and we were lucky that sand was still available in the Twin Cities after all the weather this weekend.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Katie picks 7 out of 9 NFL games correctly

Better than Bradshaw. .  .

Jacksonville and Washington pulled out last minute victories to sink Katie's hopes of winning the Canterbury Park Perfect Pick contest today.
Katie correctly picked Green Bay over her Vikings -- and she got the Buffalo upset victory right, so all in all she had an excellent showing. Back at it next week.
Check the rest of her picks below.

So far, so good

As it stands at 2:40, Katie has every pick correct with one game tied. Still time to go, however. Too bad about the Vikings. Time to start over.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Here they are: Sunday's NFL winners!

The winners are in RED. 
Your tout is St. Paul Katie!
Baltimore vs Carolina
Houston vs NY Jets
Buffalo vs Cincinnati
Cleveland vs Jacksonville
Green Bay vs Vikings
Washington vs Tennessee
Arizona vs Kansas City
Detroit vs Dallas
Oakland vs Pittsburgh
These are all Noon Kickoffs, CST!
(Go Vikings, even if Katie can't give 'em the nod.)

Okay, boys. You've read Katie's picks.
 Now it's your turn!

We like it here. . .

Understated shopping is the norm in Nisswa, you bet. It's home to Jennifer and Joe. If you want some real exciting shopping, go to Jennifer's on-line store to see her brand new line of cinch bags. . . just in time for Christmas giving and everything. It's different. Pretty good, huh?
Click here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

RE: Don Shelby's long goodbye. Get the Hook!

Sweet townhouse for Rent

Jenny's boyfriend Joe still has an apartment for rent in Hopkins, a suburb of Minneapolis, it's a steal at $1200 a month. They worked on it all winter and spring to get it into top shape. It's gorgeous. Click here for the particulars and a ton of photos.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some assembly required. . .

We love cheap goods from China. The problem is, of course, is that they're made by fine-fingered Chinese. So when a fat-fingered American goes to work to put together this classic street lamp for Danny's condo, well, bad words get said.
The bolts came in from the side and you had to finagle the nut onto it, and then turn it tight, all without the use of an opposable thumb. Squeeze as hard as you like, there just wasn't room in the narrow cylinder for a finger, a nut and a thumb. Believe it or not, a small paint brush proved most useful in coaxing the nuts onto the bolt and turning them righty-tighty. That, and a lot of patience. As you can see by the photo taken 12 bolts later, we got the job done and we like the street light, even though Danny's perhaps not smiling as broadly as a street light model should.
The street lights are designed to be bolted onto a concrete base outdoors, so we still have some work to do cobbling up a wooden base with levelers to keep the glass lanterns from crashing down onto the new red sofa.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A door-raising in Nisswa

Photos by Kathleen Rolfsrud
Click to enlarge and see the big tractor
A small crowd of relatives and friends gathered yesterday at the Simenstad homestead in rural Nisswa to witness a door-raising. Jennifer and her boyfriend, Joe, are restoring the log cabin on the front edge of his parent's property. The project is creating a bit of a neighborhood stir, as the occasional motorist slows down to gander at what's happening to the old landmark today, gets an eyeful, then resumes speed. A new roof sits almost finished atop the gutted hulk, the foundation has been restructured, foam insulation applied, and by yesterday it was time to install the atrium door on the second floor bedroom. The hope is to get tight for winter work.

Joe covering his head. OMG!
Punctual Uncle Bob trundled up astride his 1958 Farmall with a massive hydraulic bucket and protruding spar, looking like an iron unicorn charging down Red Oak Road. When he's not out boosting atrium doors for his nephew, Uncle Bob can rip your tree logs into custom planking with his back yard sawmill, loan you a jack to raise your woodshed, or elevate shingle bundles onto your leaky roof. A good man to know.

Joe rigged up a rope sling snaked through Dad's iron clevis, keeping the dangling door frame just the right height to slip over the forward edge of the balcony. Ever so slowly, Uncle Bob eased the unlikely assembly into position and before you knew it, the whole dang thing had popped squarely into the opening Joe had carefully leveled and nailed. A couple of screws to secure the weather edge and then handshakes all around. This Old House had a new door.

Then back inside for Mom's warm biscuits and bowls of hot chili. Yesterday was no barn-raising, but somehow you got the feeling of what one might be like.

Jennifer and Bob steady the window on the balcony.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Birdie breaks into Dinner Theater

Birdie rocked the room Monday with her appearance in the Clearwater Suites Dining Hall in Alexandria, energetically working all the tables with her canine routines. The ladies went gaga over their turkey ala king as they watched and cheered her playful antics. Assured by management that she was breaking no rules, Birdie leaped into a number of open laps, dancing and kissing anyone who came close. Above, Jeanne, who is Beverly's daily tablemate and a self-described "dog person," took her dose during a special post-lunch session outside Mom's room. Inside, Mom debriefed the pup and invited her back for a return engagement.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Heading North. . .

We're on the road today. . . northbound on I-94, then east on 27. We packed up the dog and the air bed. What more do you need? Don't have the technology to post progress from the road. Full report on Wednesday.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kathleen misses two this week

Grandma gets sentimental when it comes to the Vikings and it interferes with her best judgment sometimes. 
Kathleen picked all but two winners this week in the NFL Perfect Pick contest sponsored by Canterbury Park. Last week she missed the big money by just one. Today she correctly predicted lowly Buffalo's first win of the season. She felt they couldn't lose forever. But she missed on the Vikings in Chicago, despite warnings from her spouse, and she incorrectly picked Moss's new bosses in Tennessee, as they dropped theirs to Miami. Otherwise, an excellent score on the noon games. Look out, Terry and Jimmy. Next week, by popular demand, we'll post her picks BEFORE noon kickoffs.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hello, Snow!

Photo by Stan Rolfsrud
No doubt about it, this morning it was different, again.
This photo taken from the storm deck by Kathleen on her cellphone and emailed in! (Stan doesn't know how to do that.) Birdie was bounding about and loving it . . pausing briefly to revise a tiny bit of the snow color. (That will be erased in about 15 minutes at the rate the snow is still falling. We think there's already four inches piled in the backyard at 8 a.m.) 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Becky's birthday cake

Happy Birthday to Stan's sister Becky! 
Becky and Al celebrated her birthday a little early this year.
When servers brought out the dessert tray at Luna Rosa On The Beach at Delray Beach, Fla., the couple just couldn't wait for Nov. 13,  indulging in birthday cake right then and there. After all, the sweetly-paired roses on their table were dewy fresh, in anticipation of a celebration, it seemed.
Becky and Al were enjoying a two-day getaway along the Atlantic Coast, looking up friends and visiting an ancient monastery. 

Seasonal subjects

Try as she might, Grandma had a hard time getting Emily to draw stuff for Grandma's all-time favorite season today. It is just too early. Grandma knows there is snow on the way tomorrow, so maybe that's why she's getting Christmas restless and drew that house with the decorated tree in it. Or maybe it's a big hint to Grandpa to get to work and hang some lights while it is still warm enough outside and he can't use his annual "too cold" excuse. The Dalys are done hanging their outdoor lights already. Just waiting to pull the switch.
Emily's not there yet, thank goodness. She's still drawing pumpkins.
And we haven't even got to the turkeys yet.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Remember Pastor Pearson?

The Rev. Neal Pearson, age 91, of Edina. 
Preceded in death by son, Brian. Survived by wife, Jerry; daughters, Kathy Pederson (Dr. Jonathan), Jeanne Pearson; sons, Jack (Nancy), Randy (Shirl); 12 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; other relatives & friends. Memorial service Saturday (11-27-10) 2:00 PM, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 4100 Lyndale Ave. S. Mpls.,
Rev. Pearson was the pastor of Alexandria's Calvary Lutheran Church in the 1960s.
Visitation one hour prior. Private interment Ft. Snelling National Cemetery. Memorials are preferred to Rev. Pearson's favorite mission projects.

Monday, November 08, 2010

So close, so close

This is Kathleen's NFL worksheet. Canterbury has her official "almost a winner" entry form. Alas, it is now in the dumpster. Maybe next week.

Each Sunday Kathleen enters the Perfect Pick contest at the Canterbury Racetrack. It's a free contest for people who think they can guess all the winners in the NFL games that start at noon. Yesterday Kathleen did better than most of the guys on television: She correctly picked seven out of eight winners (including the Vikings, who won it OT). The only one she got wrong was the San Diego vs. Houston contest.
Each week Canterbury adds $250 to the prize pool. Kathleen just missed out on $500. But we enjoyed the breakfast and we're very proud of our prognosticator. She's been doing this ever since the Chaska Herald's Pick the Winners contest back in the 1970s. (Some say she was just trying to impress the editor) She'll be back at it next week, so if you have any tips. . . contest deadline is noon Sunday.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

It's curtains for Danny

With the blue shag area carpet in place, it was time to add some curtains to the red, blue and beige condo. The velvet navy blue panel will divide the wider beige cotton panels. Mounting the double curtain rods to the backside of the arch/valance proved tricky because there was no room to operate, but a new 90 degree adapter on the old power drill did the trick.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Flora from Florida

Brother Virg sends this note from Florida:
After last year's record low temps (we almost got to freezing here) I bought some Cape Honeysuckle (native to South Africa) plants because they were cold tolerant and had survived well through the cold at the nursery. This is how they dealt with 90 degree temps. I recommend them to all who wish to live in southern Florida. When I saw this after coming down here I tried to buy more. There were only two left and they can't seem to get any more in. Anywhere. My order awaits.

Wild Goose Chase

Canada Geese had mobbed the 14th green this crisp November morning, so we set out on a goose hunt right after breakfast, just to see how close we could get. Not very. Wild ones have mixed with our tame locals, it seems, and now they're all a bit skittish.
Ordinarily, it takes a fist with a nine iron in it to get one to skedaddle. Maybe being shot at a few times has something to do with it. Anyway, upon our approach, in a thrilling cacaphony of squawks and honks, they goosed it en masse to the stubble field across the road. 
Emily wanted to continue the chase, but grandpa had had enough.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Happy Birthday, Briggs

She's in Washington D.C. today and we hope she's enjoying her birthday. Here's a special hug to our girl at the Sanity March, our niece, Briggs. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Red Rover, Red Rover can Linda come over?

Danny took delivery on his red furniture today. Blue shag area carpet comes on Friday. More stuff to be coordinated later. We'll report, you decide.
Looking at it today reminded an observer of the old childhood game "Red Rover."
How did it go? Seems like two teams would go on the opposite side of a house or something and one team would shout, "Red Rover, Red Rover, can (name of a teammate) come over?
The other team on the other side of the house would shout "Yes, if she is wearing (name a color)."
But, if she wasn't wearing that color, her team would rush over to the other side and to surprise and tag members of the other team, who would then have to join their team.
Does that sound right? How do you remember it?

Monday, November 01, 2010

New lawyers

 Stan's niece, Breck, was sworn in as an attorney last week by her father at ceremonies in the River Centre at St. Paul. Breck took the bar exam on July 28 and 29, learned that she passed on October 6 and was sworn in on October 29. She is an associate attorney with the firm of Jones and Magnus in Mankato. 

Coincidentally, at the same ceremony, Leah Lussier, the eldest daughter of Carol and Gary Lussier -- (Carol Engstrom is a lifetime family friend from Alexandria) was sworn in as well, along with Leah's brand new husband, Jesse SixKiller. (photo right)

Congratulations to everyone!

Somewhere in there. . .

According to her big brother, Stan's niece, Briggs, attended the sanity rally in Washington over the weekend. This photo was taken by another Washingtonian, Gretch Obert. The two have never met. . . and they probably didn't meet Saturday either.