Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Birthday, Laurie

Happy Birthday to Laurie Hartmann today, shown here with the silver medalist in the obnoxious dog competition. Laurie "sits" for Birdie from time to time, and we appreciate it, Birdie loves it.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Out it goes. . .

High-top table set as seen on Craigslist.
Steve and Denise liked it.
Two years ago we bought a nice high-top kitchen set that we thought was perfect for our eat-in kitchen area. It was. We enjoyed the tall chairs, big boy size table. It was fun.
We got tired of it last week and put it on Craigslist. Denise and Steve from Plymouth immediately emailed us to say they'd like to own the set, and next thing you know, Steve was on his knees in our living room, taking our long-legged table apart so it would fit into their Durango.
Out  it goes, and so we're here, cash in hand -- with no place to set our cornflakes.
Now what?
Steve and his tool kit.
Just the right socket to remove the 36" legs
We're shopping for a deuce, a small restaurant- size table-for-two. That will leave room for two big easy chairs for Mama Bear and Papa Bear to relax, watch tv and use the area for more of a family room than a breakfast nook.
We'll serve company in the dining room, whenever.
By the way, Denise and Steve actually didn't want the counter-height table for themselves. They have an aunt who has remodeled her kitchen and they helpfully figured that this would be the perfect thing for her, but they couldn't get a hold of her to confirm that before making the deal.
So if you're liking the looks of this set, you just might check out Craigslist. Last we heard, Denise and Steve's aunt said she wasn't so sure about any of this.
Proud Owners
Nice table, nice people.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Watch it grow! Wisteria races up trellis at Olympic pace!

Our skinny leader is growing skyward at a blistering pace. Hai Dang
(a newspaperman with a degree in biology from the U of M)
said if we just cut it back to almost nothing, it would thrive. It has.
We've had good luck with a couple of wisteria vines on our back deck over the past eight years. So when our friend Randy planted one to cover his gazebo in his Los Angeles back yard this spring, we were inspired to start another planting on our front deck pergola.
We transplanted a big pot of wisteria in May. It was a promising specimen, all bunched up about three feet high, clinging to some support sticks. Paid $35 for it at Minnesota Valley Garden near here. Believe it is the Japanese version.
We gave it a fair opportunity to establish itself, but it just sort of galumped along for the first month or two. Then family friend Hai Dang suggested that we prune off everything but a single dominant leader. This was hard to do, cutting off all that expensive foliage and woody growth, but we did. Snip, snip, snip, we left nothing but one pathetic stem.
Our wisteria is off to the races.
Fifteen month-old Emmy K. took early steps among the
wisteria growing crazy wild on the back deck in 2007.
The cracks between boards surprised her
as she looked down at her baby feet.

We can barely keep up with installing new pig-fence trellis, it is ten feet tall now, gaining about three inches a day, galloping toward the top of our 26 foot high gazebo on the southwest corner. Eventually we will allow it to branch out, fill out, trimming out any suckers, allowing only dominant branching. This is an entirely different approach to our wisteria husbandry. The one in the backyard has been allowed the freedom to grow like topsy and it has, throwing out shoots almost daily, tough to control. It's beautiful, but most of its energy goes into running off in all different directions, not producing blooms, just a mass of foliage offering good privacy to the back deck.
Our new wisteria display will be the result of disciplined, controlled cultivation. A single big trunk with organized branches. Let's see what works.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chaska's River City Days

Stan helped start Chaska's annual small town celebration, "River City Days," over 25 years ago. . . and it is still going strong, blessed this year by perfect weather that brought out the throngs we would have been proud to host in the early years. Our big draw then was the "Picnic in the Park," featuring dinner for a dollar. Chaska has a town square with a band gazebo, so it's a natural for community gatherings. We served up a hot dog, cold beans, a cob of corn plunged in butter, a local Gedney pickle, and a watermelon slice -- for just a buck. You'd still have plenty of money left in your pocket for the Jaycee beer tent. Folks lined up down the block, especially larger families.
Kathleen was a fellow member of the chamber of commerce and one year she was the bean lady, placing a dollop of cold beans on each outstretched paper plate. Many diners had never heard of such a thing... beans served cold. Kathleen hadn't heard of it either, but she dutifully performed, scooping beans from the big industrial size cans with her ready chamber of commerce smile.
Another Chaska delicacy: spicy chopped beef and onion served raw, yes, cold and raw, bound up with raw egg, on a cracker. You just don't see that around much anymore, do you?

Careful on those corners!

Kathleen was faithfully working on her exercise bike this morning, watching the exciting Olympic cycling event in front of the wide-screen television. As she pumped away, on two separate occasions she felt an overwhelming sensation that she was in the race. She couldn't help but lean into the turns, trying to turn the handlebars on the stationary bike to avoid a nasty spill.

Happy Birthday, Melissa!

Events earlier this week overshadowed daughter Missy's 46th birthday on July 24, but today we're wishing her the very best. Here she is with our granddaughter in a light-hearted moment.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Excitement at peak on Abbey Point

The installation of six brand new sprinkler heads and a delivery pipe extension tops the local news this week on Abbey Point.
Two days after the city marked out all the buried bodies with bright red flags, today's hero arrived with a trenching rig that pulled black plastic pipes to some thirsty patches on the north side that are apparently under-served by the original setup.
The workman commented on the relatively pleasant weather for today's task, but stripped down to a tee shirt and reflective vest anyway.
Not sure why you need to wear the safety vest in our backyard, but we don't know that much about sprinkler technology either. Looks pretty complicated: timers, valves, junctions, low-voltage wiring, head choices and the politics of rain vs well vs how much is too much at what cost.
Pray for more rain so we can shut down nature's back up.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Forecast: Scattered Grumpy and Cranky

Red sky at night; shepherds delight,
Red sky in the morning; shepherds warning
When will it make an end? Hot as blazes again today with a ton of humidity. We'll take tonight's red sky as an omen that it will be cooler tomorrow and dare to make a high noon tee time -- the only time Stan's employed partner could get away, he said. We'll use a cart and drive fast.
We did have a nice rain a couple days ago so the grass and flowers are doing okay. The wisteria planted this spring has climbed eight feet up the fancy new pig-fence trellis. (Photo when we're good and ready) The rain took care of some burned spots where the sprinklers don't reach. Could be worse, ya know.
Cousin Harold out in western North Dakota says crops are looking pretty good, squeezed in between the oil rigs. . . they've had good rains too, but then there was that occasional hail, you know, and all the truck traffic from so much commerce. Did we mention that it has been really hot out?
Thanks for listening. Don't mean to complain.

A gathering of families

Ruth Thompson French, Carol Thompson Trittin,
Mary Thompson Huspeni and Bonnie Thompson Snater
As the youngest of nine, the late Rebecca Lynn Rolfsrud was the object of a good deal of pride and adoration by her elders. Mary (second from the right on this couch of Thompson sisters) told of combing Becky's curly golden hair and dressing the child for a bus ride to downtown Minneapolis with no particular destination, just to show her off. Other siblings and her best friend spoke at yesterday's Memorial Service  in Eden Prairie, relating stories of a short life well-lived. That was followed by a luncheon buffet offered by Becky's husband Virg, and enthusiastically attended (below) by his family members, Nancy, Steve and Allen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Remembering Rebecca Lynn

A large turnout of family and friends gathered in Eden Prairie yesterday to honor the life of Rebecca Lynn Rolfsrud, 57, who died July 17.  She was the wife of Virgil Rolfsrud and the mother of three: Cherice, Aaron and Alexander.
The youngest of nine, (thus the perennial flower girl) she is remembered for her indomitable, mischievous spirit. She enjoyed her membership in the quirky Lady Bug social club and would have appreciated its tiny round insignia fixed to the funeral urn, above.
Becky faithfully maintained scrapbooks, her treasury was amended yesterday by a trove of additional memorabilia organized by family members. We'll present excerpts here from time to time.
Today's memorial service begins at 11 a.m. at the Washburn-McGreavy Home.
"Oh, look at the cute 4-year-old flower girl!" the caption reads.
"Who knew her feet hurt so bad that she would remember it for 44 years."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Write with your right, right?

Our six-year-old has added an inch since March 20.
Emily is having fun with homonyms today. It's Sunday and we're having a sundae! (Actually a banana-strawberry-orange smoothie) On the way over here, she discovered that when we turn right, we think of the right hand, which is the writing hand, right? (Except if you're a southpaw.) What's a southpaw? Why do they call it southpaw?
Wash your hands, Emily. We're going to do a puzzle now.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The After

For the "Before" picture, scroll way down.
The project we introduced last week, repairing the freeze-thaw damage to two dozen window frames, is complete. Tape, scrape, sand, wipe, stain, seal, varnish, varnish. Remove tape. We think it came out very well. Should be good for another eleven years. We think the real culprit is the April Air. We don't like the dry winter air, so we turn up the April Air. This causes excess humidity, which forms water drops on the cold window pane. The droplets stream to the base of the window and freeze over night. Then the sun comes out and melts the water and it stands there, until it gets cold and freezes again or evaporates. And so on. Minnesota Hail to Thee.

Friday, July 20, 2012

This Doctor makes house calls

Got home this forenoon and tried to raise the garage door. It went up a pathetic 12 inches and stalled. Nothing. Sure enough, went inside and no good.
Got on the internet and found the "Garage Door Doctor" in Prior Lake. Got Mario (he's the doctor) on his cell phone and he said he'd come by in an hour and a half. He did.
One look and he said both our heavy coil springs were broken. He had replacements in the truck. This is the kind of project that retired pubishers should avoid. The torque on the springs is immense and you can lose a hand if you don't know what you're doing.
Mario knew exactly what he was doing. He said it would cost $199 to replace the springs. Once the springs were on, he could hear that the bearings were also shot.
"Hear them go click?" he asked. Stan couldn't hear it but didn't want to admit it. That would be $25 more. Go ahead.
Once the bearings had been removed, we checked them over and sure enough, they were shot, just like the man said.
Mario says a garage door lift system typically has about ten years in it. We got eleven out of ours and now we have new springs, new bearings, new grease and a tune-up. Couldn't be happier.
Mario got it all done in about half an hour, two quick to get his picture.

Broken garage door? Call the doctor. He makes house calls.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rebecca Lynn Rolfsrud 1955-2012

We are saddened to report the passing of our dear sister-in-law, Rebecca Lynn Rolfsrud, wife of Stan's brother Virgil.

Becky Lynn, in a photograph she made for her Facebook page.
Rebecca Lynn Rolfsrud died July 17, 2012, at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, surrounded by her family. She was 57.

Rebecca was born June 24, 1955, at Lutheran Deaconess hospital in South Minneapolis to Melba and Rueben Thompson, the youngest of nine children. She graduated from Roosevelt High School and received a bachelor of arts degree from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul.

She was preceded in death by her parents as well as two brothers, Gerald and John, and her first husband, Robert Steward.

She is survived by her children, Cherice, Aaron, and Alexander and her loving husband of 24 years, Virgil; a granddaughter, Lacey Athey, as well as six siblings: Bonnie Snater (Manfred Stoelzle), Carol Trittin, Mary (Terry) Huspeni, Ruth (Ken) French, Tom (Janet Arrell), and James (Cindy Mitchell); sister-in-law Ellen Thompson and numerous nieces and nephews.

Despite a 24-year struggle with diabetes, and eventual congestive heart failure, Becky maintained a wry sense of humor, and is fondly remembered by her family for persistent laughter and motherly advice. A sentimental, sweet-toothed sweetheart, she loved flowers, her Lady Bug friends and a good old sad story. When thunder clouds loomed, she would call to warn her adult children to take cover, stay out of the shower and keep off of the computer. Becky enjoyed crosswords, calligraphy and shopping.

Visitation will be held Monday, July 23 from 4 to 7 p.m. followed by an 11 a.m. Memorial Service and luncheon on Tuesday, July 24, at Washburn-McReavey Funeral Home in Eden Prairie.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Riding the Plasma Wave. . .

Those of us struggling to understand what the hell our future in-law actually does for a living are grateful to his employer for publishing an explanation of it from time to time. Not that it does us much good, but we like to think that we are capable of at least imagining what it might be like to know about these so-called plasma things. (Last year we heard he was measuring bulges in the earth. Maybe that's done now.) Our lovely niece, Briggs Rolfsrud, has made public her intentions to marry this Lynn Wilson, a wonderful man and an employee of  NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Here's a recent posting on his topic that quotes him liberally and makes us all feel good.
A cloud forms as this F/A-18 Hornet aircraft speeds up to supersonic speed. Aircraft flying this fast push air up to the very limits of its speed, forming what's called a bow shock in front of them. Similar bow shocks are also found in a variety of forms in space, and new research suggests they may contribute to heating of the material around them. Credit: Ensign John Gay, USS Constellation, U.S. Navy 
By Karen C. Fox

Throughout the universe more than 99 percent of matter looks nothing like what's on Earth. Instead of materials we can touch and see, instead of motions we intuitively expect like a ball rolling down a hill, or a cup that sits still on a table, most of the universe is governed by rules that react more obviously to such things as magnetic force or electrical charge. It would be as if your cup was magnetized, perhaps attracted to a metal ceiling above, and instead of resting, it floats up, hovering somewhere in the air, balanced between the upward force and the pull of gravity below.

This material that pervades the universe, making up the stars and our sun, and also – far less densely, of course – the vast interstellar spaces in between, is called plasma. Plasmas are similar to gases, and indeed are made of familiar stuff such as hydrogen, helium, and even heavier elements like iron, but each particle carries electrical charge and the particles tend to move together as they do in a fluid. Understanding the way the plasma moves under the combined laws of motion we know on Earth and the less intuitive (to most Earthlings, at least) electromagnetic forces, lies at the heart of understanding the events that spur giant explosions on the sun as well as changes in Earth's own magnetic environment – the magnetosphere.

Understanding this mysterious world of plasma, however, is not easy. With its complex rules of motion, the study of plasmas is rife with minute details to be teased out.

Lynn Wilson and Briggs Rolfsrud
"Which particles are moving, what is the source of energy for the motion, how does a moving wave interact with the particles themselves, do the wave fields rotate to the right or to the left – all of these get classified," says Lynn Wilson who is a space plasma physicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Wilson is the first author of a paper in Geophysical Research Letters that was published on April 25, 2012. Using data from the WAVES instrument on NASA's Wind mission, he and his colleagues have discovered evidence for a type of plasma wave moving faster than theory predicted it could move. The research suggests that a different process than expected, electrical instabilities in the plasma, may be driving the waves. This offers scientists another tool to understand how heat and energy can be transported through plasma.

For the study, Wilson examined coronal mass ejections (CMEs) – clouds of solar material that burst off the sun and travel through space -- that move so much faster than the background solar wind that they create shock waves. These shock waves are similar to those produced by a supersonic jet when it moves faster than the speed of sound in our atmosphere.

"A bow shock is a little like a snow plow," says Adam Szabo, a space scientist at Goddard who is a co-author on the paper and also the project scientist for Wind. "The wave picks up particles that are traveling more slowly and speeds them up, piling them up in front as it moves."

Of course, the snow plow is a non-magnetic analogy, and that's where things get sticky. With a snow plow one would never expect a cloud of snowflakes to magically lift up from the shock and begin to speed ahead, streaming down the street faster than the rest of the plow's pile. But in the magnetized gas ahead of the shock, Wind observed a large wave in the plasma – a wave moving faster than it should be able to travel if it had been made by the shock.

The wave in this case is called a Whistler wave. (Classification, for those who want the nitty gritty: an electromagnetic wave, carried by electrons, right polarized, propagates obliquely to the magnetic field.) Since the wave couldn't be created by the shock, the Wind observations suggest that perhaps the waves are created by instabilities out in front of the shock. This is not in itself surprising. The Wind data used by Wilson can measure magnetic field information at 1875 samples per second and new qualities of observations always produce new sights. But the team is surprised by how large the waves are.

"The waves are massive," says Wilson. "They are almost as big as the shock itself."

Such size means the waves may play a larger role than previously thought in the quest to understand the ways that different types of energy converts from one form to another. In this context, two kinds of energy are of interest: bulk kinetic energy, which relates to the collective movement of a bulk of particles, and random kinetic energy, which relates to the speeds at which particles move with respect to each other. Increased random kinetic energy is, in fact, the very definition of heating, since temperature measurements are a characterization of how fast particles are moving within any given material. Large amplitude Whistler waves are known to cause both bulk acceleration and an increase in random kinetic energy, that is, the very temperature of a material.

So, this suggests that shocks and the instabilities they create may play a larger role in transferring the energy from the plasma's bulk movement into heat, than previously thought. Wilson believes that the instabilities caused something called perpendicular ion heating – a process that increases the random kinetic energy of the positively-charged ions in a direction perpendicular to the background magnetic field. The waves also added energy to the negatively-charged electrons -- with the greatest effects observed not being heating, the random kinetic energy, but bulk acceleration in a direction parallel to the magnetic field.

"The same type of wave-particle interaction is thought to happen in solar flares, the heating of the sun's corona, and supernova blast waves," says Wilson. "All of these energizations have very similar properties. Now we have evidence that these Whistler-like fluctuations may be causing heating in all these places."

Understanding the mechanics behind all these events requires collating and categorizing an entire zoo of waves and processes. Wilson's work may be but one piece of a larger puzzle, but together, teasing out the motions of plasmas will help scientists describe the laws of motion that govern the entire universe.

The elbows still look sharp. . .

Stan's high school basketball practice opponent has gone on the DL. Stan got to know Paul well as they sweated and elbowed and pushed each other around in preparation for the weekend's ball game back in the winter of 1963-64. Paul went on to Concordia College and became an accomplished school adminstrator. He's retired in Alexandria now and recently posted this note. The Donleys were good friends of the Rolfsruds, they went to our church and had at least a half-dozen in the family. Our best to an old friend who writes:

Hi Guys,
 In my never ending quest to experience as many health maladies as possible, I've come up with a new one. The preliminary diagnosis is a foot condition called "Charcot Arthropathy." Look it up as it's too complicated to explain via e-mail. In any event when you all arrive I may well be in a leg cast and wheel chair. (four to six months) You're still all invited, it's just that I may be very limited in what I can do given mobility issues. It's pretty serious stuff as I may be at risk of losing my right foot. I have more tests next week and then two doctor consultations the following week. Yes, I'm getting a second opinion on this issue. In the mean time I'm just cooling my jets and staying off my foot. As is the case with everything else I've faced, I'll deal with it and life will go on.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Coolish in Germany, Inge says

Ingeborg, our long-time friend from Hannover, checks in with an email and a picture today:

. . . Talking about the weather in Germany, it's been awful for weeks...sunny intervals, rainy showers, thunderstorms, temperature too low for this season. On the other hand, the roses are in bloom quite well this year, it's pretty green in the city. 
The weatherman has spoken, "We have to stand another week, then it will become better." There is bad news of our only larger city lake, called "Maschsee," the one where you can go ice skating in winter, remember? The lake is polluted because of droppings from gray geese. Therefore the public swimming possibility must close by hygenical reasons. So there is no swimming possible, but what could we do? The geese love to stay on these premises.

The picture is of the Lake Maschsee, in the back you can see the city hall, built around 1890, and on the left side in the back the large, old tower of the market church, our biggest church building, was built in the medium age.

(Our pal Inge has excellent English. . . but she obviously meant the church was built in the Middle Ages. Our favorite misstep was one sunny day when Stan was wearing a new pair of short pants, Bermuda length. Ingeborg threw Stan a compliment as he sported about. "Stan," she said enthusiastically, "I like your panties.")

Happy Birthday, Marcy!

Our middle daughter, middle age, healthy, active. We're so grateful she's ours. Today? We found her with friends in Seattle, enjoying much cooler weather than at her home in South Minneapolis.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Eleven years of freezing and thawing cycles has pretty much destroyed the finish on our crank-out window sill frames. Moisture has settled, pooled, frozen and cracked the varnish on about three dozen windows. Now with the weather so hot, it's a good time for an inside air-conditioned put-sy project, so here goes.
Best tool for completing the removal of the finish? A simple dull-bladed broad knife, scraping back and forth. Vacuum. Repeat. Then on with the detail sander for a touch up. Apply lots of blue tape, then stain, then sealer, then varnish, then varnish. . .
Patience. One detail at a time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Stan saw doomed Russian MIG passing overhead

Stan observed the Russian MIG that crashed at Flying Cloud airport cruising at low altitude this morning. Seemed unusual, we rarely get military aircraft flying low in this area -- certainly not Russians. The plane was heading across the Minnesota River for its eventual crash landing. The pilot was not hurt.

Paul Allen Photo, Google Images

Here's the story from the StarTribune:

A vintage Russian jet was destroyed after crashing Thursday morning in Eden Prairie as it attempted to land for this weekend's annual air show.

The pilot, who hasn't been identified, was landing his 1975 MiG-21 at 10 a.m. at Flying Cloud Airport for this weekend's Wings of the North AirExpo. Officials said the jet's parachute, which helps slow the aircraft, was deployed, but appeared to collapse and detach, causing the plane to overshoot the runway.

The nose of the plane came to a rest in a roadside ditch on Flying Cloud Drive near the intersection of Pioneer Trail. No fire started, but the plane was heavily damaged.

"I don't think it will be usable ever [again]," police spokeswoman Katie Beal said after talking to a mechanic at the scene. "I think it will just be for parts from here on out."

The pilot was the only one on board the plane and suffered minor injuries, but was treated at the scene.

While an official cause of the crash won't be released by officials with the Federal Aviation Administration for weeks, Beal said the detached parachute is likely the reason for the crash.

The southbound lane of Flying Cloud Drive will remain closed through most of Thursday, she said, until crews can clear the wreckage.

The AirExpo activities will go on as scheduled on Saturday and Sunday.

The good old days

Life was so simple. Toothache? No problem. Wonder if it worked for spousal irritation?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More news about Mr. Wonderful

Kathleen was checking out at Cub Foods yesterday when young Kayleigh, the perky cashier, got a look at Kathleen's debit card, and asked:
"Do you have a son who's a teacher?
Kathleen responded "No, but I have a nephew who is a math teacher."
Almost going into a swoon, Kayleigh said: "Oh. . . I had him for Math, and he was SOO nice!"
And then, she added, "And his WIFE is nice too."
Kathleen said "Thank You" then bagged her groceries, now with a big smile and warm feeling inside.

Ford and his daughter, Kaia.
Meanwhile, Jenn Rolfsrud writes on the family blog:
After two years of night, weekend and summer classes, studying, presentations and internships (not to mention working, coaching and being a family-man), Ford added another degree to his collection yesterday. Joining his Master's degree is an Administrative license. This means he now has the requisite credentials to apply for and become a principal. Completing this degree has been one of his goals since I met him 10 years ago. We are so happy for him and could not be prouder. He's hoping to be a principal of a school Kaia attends in the future. Poor kid, as if being a teacher's kid isn't hard enough already.

Studies have shown. . .

Our friend Robin passes on this advertisement that ran in many popular magazines while we were growing up. Just shows you, not only how times change, but just because you have money to advertise, doesn't mean you've got it right.

The copy reads:

How soon is too soon?

Not soon enough. Laboratory tests over the last few years have proven that babies who start drinking soda during that early formation period have a much higher chance of gaining acceptance and "fitting in" during those awkward pre-teen and teen years. So, do yourself a favor. Do your child a favor. Start them on a strict regimen of soda and other sugary carbonated beverages right now, for a lifetime of guaranteed happiness.
The Soda Pop Board of America
1511 W. Hart Avenue
Chicago. Ill

Oh, and then there is this old favorite:

Monday, July 09, 2012

Don't mess with Sandy

Photo by Ranger Tom, sent via wilderness internet
Our neighbors are spending this month acting as campground hosts at Bear Head State Park near Ely. There actually are bears in the area so occasionally one must be captured and transported, using this wheeled device demonstrated above by Ranger Sandy.
With this newfound knowledge we're excited to have her return to the neighborhood soon, and take charge of the Resident Association Gopher Extraction Team.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Happy Birthday, Al!

Best Wishes to Allen Jerdee today; he's our brother-in-law, Becky's wonderful husband.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Our favorite swim coach gets out of the pool

After seven years, our niece has decided to retire from her coaching career at St. Kate's. We're proud of her achievements there. She's Linda (Stan's sister) and Ron's daughter. Here's the official press release:
Shana Erickson
St. Catherine University athletic Director, Eric Stacey, announced the resignation of head swimming and diving coach, Shana Erickson. Shana had been with the program for the last seven years and served as head coach for the last two seasons.

“We are sad to see Shana leave,” said athletic director, Eric Stacey. “Her contributions to this program have been immeasurable over the last seven years. Her dedication and drive have been vital to the increased competitiveness of the team during her tenure. As her role increased, so did the demands on her time, and the time away from her family.”

Erickson has been instrumental in the growth of the Wildcat swimming and diving program in recent history. She began working with the team in the 2005-2006 season as an assistant coach. Over time her role continued to grow as she became the recruiting coordinator and then the head coach prior to the 2010-2011 season.

During her first season as head coach, the Wildcats had their best finish in the last 25 years. The team finished 5th in the MIAC and set 12 school records and posted three NCAA provisional qualifying marks. Erickson was named MIAC Coach of the Year following that season.

In regards to her departure, Erickson said "I'm proud of the way our team has grown throughout the past seven seasons and believe that I am leaving the program in a good position to move forward for continued success. Thank you to Eric Stacey and Nicole Hempler for giving me the opportunity for tremendous professional growth, first as an assistant coach, and then as head coach at St. Kate's. I wish all of our current and newest student-athletes the best of luck next season!"

A search for Erickson's successor will begin immediately.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Rose's best

Kathleen's favorite: Rose's House Salad. Laurie brought over this edition for Stan's indoor birthday picnic last night. Why does Kathleen get her favorite salad on Stan's birthday? 
We all agreed: When Mama is happy, everybody's happy.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Birthday greeters

Here's the mother-daughter birthday text/photo that arrived today. Thanks everybody for all wishes. Laurie is bringing dinner tonight.
-- The birthday boy

A birthday kiss for the old man

Photo by Katheen Rolfsrud
Stan's 65 today.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Fourth of July neighborhood indoor picnic

Our hostess
She organizes, cooks, keeps an eye on Joe, serves. . . and takes pictures.
Twenty hungry Abbey Pointers made quick work of Joe and Mina's catch of freshwater salmon tonight. The July Fourth event brought together the largest gathering of neighbors so far this year, with Joe and Mina's annual offering continuing to be a big draw. Neighbors filled in with a nice buffet of salads and sides, and everyone was delighted to be out of the heat.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


Hot weather brings out the cooling drinks. Today Marcy and Jennifer drove out to the house with makin's for Mojitas. We enjoyed a refreshing drink and a long chat in the air conditioning.
Then Marcy brought out the hats. She's Stan's personal haberdasher and has produced a variety of lids over the years to protect his bald pate, making presentations during special events, this one being Stan's upcoming 65th birthday.

Today's gifts included an interesting military cut along with a traditional baseball model from the University of Colorado. What do you think? Which one will get the most use? Didn't Dr. Zhivago wear one like that?

Here's the Mojitas recipe. Try this at home.
10 Mint leaves
1 tsp raw honey
1 6x6 chunk organic watermelon
3 tsp lemon juice (or lime, if preferred)
Ice cubes
Sparkling water

Smash the mint leaves in the honey, then add to 16 oz tumbler;
Blend watermelon and lemon juice until slightly chunky
Add mixture to tumbler
Top off with sparkling water and ice
Garnish with mint leaf
Drink on the rooftop in hot weather for maximum pleasure.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Hooray for the Herald!

Photos by Mark Olson
Okay Buddy, 
just wave the cap and then go sit down.
The venerated Chaska Herald reached its 150th this year so there was a big hoop-ti-doo last night at the Chaska Cubs town team baseball game to help mark the event. 
Free crackerjacks and Culver's custard, Herald logo tats and fridge magnets were offered to fans at the gate. Between innings, the public address announcer posed tricky Herald/Cubs trivia questions and the Community Band (under the direction of graying impresario Barry Fox) played on.
Warm and fuzzy mascots, above, raced around the bases between innnings, with free drinks going to fans who had picked the winner. (Mr. Bubble beat all comers, almost lapping an overheated moose and the lead-foot Gedney pickle). 
Among the historic relics showcased to an enthusiastic, sweating crowd was the longest-serving publisher of the Herald who somehow held the title for 35 years. He waved his jaunty cap (above) and, upon request, received some very nice applause -- but not as much as Mr. Bubble got.

The Cubs, founded in 1922 and featured for decades on the pages of the Herald, are a relative newcomer to the Chaska social scene. The Herald, after all, accurately reported the death of Abraham Lincoln and the old girl hasn't missed an edition since.
Herald staff, 2012: Mark, Mark, Dick, Bob, Molly, Eric, Vanessa.
No, these are not the same people who wore outfits in the top photo.

Stan worked for years with most of them -- Bob and Mark came in the 1970s.
Really, really nice people.
Herald Editor Mark Olson writes:
Very nice.  You may not have received as much applause as Mr. Bubble, but I'm pretty sure you beat Dilly the Pickle. Have a great Fourth!

Happy Trails, Craig!

Weekend house guest Craig Hahn has departed for Lincoln, but not before enjoying Katie's traditional parting breakfast of waffles and strawberries. We advised Craig to skip I-35 and take the scenic route through Iowa and Nebraska, by going via Sioux City, using U.S. 60. He'll save 50 miles and, according to Google, it will take only a minute longer. Judging by his vehicle choice, he'll appreciate the efficiency and enjoy the more relaxed ride. We had fun hosting him and await his return with his wife someday soon.

Once again, it is time to pause from our everyday activity and briefly honor the nativity of Wm. O. Shearer, (at right) who long ago voluntarily associated himself with the Rolfsrud clan by marrying Stan's sister Sosie. Here he stands with Sergio, imagining himself as head waiter in a red jacket at Musso and Frank, the oldest restaurant in Hollywood. (He is way too young to be actually considered for the post.) Happy Birthday, Bill!