Monday, December 30, 2013

Another year in at Drees Trees

The enterprising proprietor of the legendary Drees Trees Christmas Tree juggernaut opened the farmhouse door with a big smile behind a new beard this afternoon.
The visitor stomped fresh snow off his footgear, then inquired about the season's business returns and such, as the good host busily set out a bounty of trimmed meats and tore open a sleeve of Ritz crackers. Pickled herring swimming in wine sauce, a baggie of crab cuts, thick venison slices, and plain old salami chunks almost obscured the notorious Beef Tartare. That latter is really just raw chopped round steak in a seasoned binding. The finest Tartare, Matt asserted, was always found at Cooper's Super Valu in Chaska, as a traditional favorite of Old World immigrants and progeny.
The guest, always the good sport, took his raw helping of red meat with feigned gusto, swallowed, and remarked what a great hamburger it would make.
Matt Drees has been selling Christmas Trees to the public at his Shakopee hobby farm for decades now. It's one of the only places you can still get a custom-made 60's-style flocked tree. Enthusiasts occasionally request that unique traditional treatment and Matt happily obliges, clad in ancient protective vestments, layered with aging coats of spray-on snow.
Mostly he loves the social aspect of this annual Christmas ritual, merrily greeting the festive turnout as they rush about in pursuit of the perfect tree, seeking the right height, shape, color and species. His green goods are tagged and neatly arranged, hung by short ropes from the rafters of his huge pole barn, away from the wind and elements.
With Christmas past, and fallen needles swept away or obscured by new snow, the little farm had returned to normal today, and there was time to visit, admire Matt's new beard, watch the birds, and quietly discuss plans for the new year to come.

Sorry, pool's closed

Photos by Stan Rolfsrud
Click to see the lunch bunch.
Cardinals flocked to our neighbor's back yard as usual today, all fluffed out against the bitter  windchill and light snowfall. They're here with the sparrows for the coffee can full of sunflower seeds he sets out every day. Occasionally they perch on the bird bath, now just a solid block of ice, ever wary for the nasty Blue Jay, who doesn't like to share, even in the cold.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Katie's Krystal Ball

Our overnight guest enjoyed a smoothie in her jammies
this morning while grandma made her picks.
Despite a string of bad luck, St. Paul Katie bravely offers these football predictions for your examination. Today's winners of the NFL noon games will be:
NY Giants

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Football championship game could spark family rivalry

Now that our Golden Gophers have completed their promising season with a heartbreaking Texas Bowl loss, a brief scan of upcoming college football action produces the possibility of an inter-familial rivalry.
Cousin Harold
Lifetime Bison fan
We just received Christmas Greetings from our cousins in North Dakota. Harold and Marilyn Rolfsrud recently moved to Bismarck, from the farm near Keene, but they'll be spending January in Florida. Their stay will be interrupted briefly while Harold flies to Frisco, Texas, to join other family members for the big Football Championship Subdivision title game there. His North Dakota State Bison are undefeated and favored to squash Towson.

Here's what the Associated Press says:
"North Dakota State football fans are making what has become an annual pilgrimage to Texas for the Football Championship Subdivision finale, including thousands of fans who don't have tickets for the game, school officials said Monday.

"The Bison will be aiming for their third consecutive FCS championship when they play Towson at Toyota Stadium on Jan. 4. NDSU officials say there have been 6,000 requests for the 4,000 tickets that have been made available so far by the NCAA.

"While many fans have taken to ticket brokers and the Internet to find seats, NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor said many of them are happy to soak up the atmosphere around the game and a Friday pre-party."

We have to assume that our dear resourceful cousins have secured good seats to see their Beloved Bison take on Towson. The who, you say? The Towson Tigers from somewhere north of Baltimore.
Turns out, this matchup is the source of possible inter-familial rivalry. It is a little-known historical fact that Harold's cousin, Sosie, attended Towson back in the 70s. So she can be counted among the Towson backers.
But will she fly to Frisco, Texas, to sit in a sports bar, soak up the atmosphere and root against her cousin?
If history be any guide, we doubt it.

Here's what Sosie says:
"When we lived in Baltimore, I earned my Master's degree at Towson. My most memorable moment in that endeavor was breaking up a traffic jam.

"I had driven on the beltway to Towson for class and the snow had created a mess and I ended up in the middle of a knot of cars. I was able to turn our Volvo station wagon in such a tight turn that I could unsnarl the mess. Other drivers applauded me! Yes me, using snow-driving skills to rescue others. Memorable indeed.
Go Tigers Go!

Friday, December 27, 2013

The New Plan

Our original winter break plan was to simply relax, hang out in the neighborhood, maybe take a walk or two through the nearby Audubon bird park and zoo, eat Cajun-style over at Magazine Street, visit the WWII National Museum, mostly just enjoy decent weather.
But that's all changed now, since the opening of our Christmas present from daughter Melissa. She gave us a 350-page guidebook to New Orleans.
Uff Da. So much to do, so little time. Two months may not be enough.
(For example: Starting with "A". Did you know that you can visit the famous Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, host of the World-renown Angola Rodeo? Did you know that until recently there were no paid guards at the privately-run prison? Average life span was 5 years. Staffed with "trustee guards" and furnished with weapons, they were notorious for perpetuating prison violence. Leadbelly recorded his "Goodnight Irene" while at Angola, convicted of brandishing a knife. The movie "Dead Man Walking" got inspiration here. Page 260, Missy's guidebook.)
Thanks, Missy. We're just getting started scanning your book. So much for relaxing in front of the tv. Your Aunt Sosie would be so proud.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas couple

Andy and Sydney 
Under the Tree.

There's nothing sweeter than young love at Christmas time. Here's Hai and Thuy's son, Andrew, sharing some Christmas fun with his girlfriend, Sydney.
They're successful sophomores at the University of Minnesota, very much deserving a big Holiday Break.
We hope that stocking is stuffed with Good Luck.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Five to five at Christmas Dinner today

We opened gifts and had a nice Christmas dinner today. Ten family members and guests gathered for Marcy's big homemade chicken and vegetable pot pies and other good stuff from the other ladies at our potluck dinner.
Marcy and Max made up a family crossword puzzle with clues that stumped a few of us. And Emily was patient and didn't act like a spoiled child under the tree, even though she received enough gifts to act like one.
Thanks to Nicklaus (who took the photo above), Hai, Dan, Max and Stan, the testosterone matched estrogen for the first time in our history of Christmas dinners. Birdie was called in to break the tie. (We discovered her helping herself to a loaf of poorly-positioned pumpkin bread.)
Below are the footsie jammies Missy and Emily requested from Santa for watching tv and hanging out on these chilly evenings. They're getting a trial run tonight.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Disturbing a Cup of Christmas Tea

Santa removed his hat to greet Lady Beverly, the Dowager Queen of Kell
Santa barged into High Tea at Kell Avenue this afternoon, disrupting a sedate gathering of refined ladies, chatting about this and that in their stylish hats, and enjoying the cakes and sweets put out by Lady Marcia. The gathering politely looked up and welcomed the loudmouthed oaf. What could they do, he was accompanied by Mrs. Claus, of the North Pole Clauses.
Lady Lillian, Mrs. Claus, Countess Benita
Lady Jill was in the assemblage as well, but, as usual the camera was unable to capture her smile, as she suddenly busied herself in the next room with Curt, who had apparently opted out of the High Tea, favoring a nap instead, as he awaited the arrival of evening guests.
Santa went about his work, delivered his treats, apologized about tracking in, explained that he had other responsibilities tonight, and departed with a jingle and his good wife, leaving the ladies to their winter topics on this fine Christmas Eve, wishing a Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night.

Why is Santa so fond of Lady Marcia? Hint: what goes with milk?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Surprise! Maxwell goes to the "Opera"

Mother and son in the Orpheum lobby.
Our daughter Marcy surprised her son (our grandson Maxwell) with a live performance of the "Phantom of the Opera" yesterday, staged in Minneapolis at the Orpheum. Max had no idea where he was going, only that he was supposed to wear a tie.
Here's his Mom's note:
After at least five years of enjoying "The Phantom of the Opera" in various digital formats -- including his personal copy on DVD -- as his surprise Christmas present, Max was taken to the Broadway Performance in downtown Minneapolis this afternoon. (And he even got the shirt swag after the show).

His review was: He enjoyed it a lot and acknowledged that his mom did a pretty good job this year. :) The best part for Mom was just seeing him smile.

Attached is the evidence.
The reveal. Click play.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Today's NFL Winners Selected

Here are Katie's picks for today:
SeaHawks Supporters
She struggled with the Vikings/Cincinnati question. Virtually all of the professionals have chosen Cinnci. Katie will go against the grain, after witnessing last Sunday's surge by the quixotic Vikings.
Other winners will be:
Kansas City
St. Louis
New York Jets
A bed-ridden Karl Tegland (at right with wife, Sue) is recovering from surgery and a seven-day hospital stay. They're big SeaHawks fans, gearing up for today's test against Arizona. Karl writes:
All things are relative. Around here, "gearing up" means cutting back a bit on the pain meds so I don't fall asleep during the game!!
Katie says Seattle will walk away with the game, even though they've already clinched a playoff spot. So Karl won't have to get too excited, could be a snoozer.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Yes, sweetie, and quite amusing too

Everyone got handmade rings and bracelets from Emily's kit today.
She weaved them, to order, from scented rubber bands. Grandpa requested a nice blue on blue braid.
Emily and Grandpa held hands today as they stood in a long line at the Byerly's service counter in Chanhassen, waiting their turn to make an important transaction. Grandpa had explained the purpose of their errand and now they were just standing, watching the hustle and bustle of cashiers and carry-outs and shoppers, scurrying to and fro, busy with Christmas plans.
Finally, Emily broke the silence with a question that brought smiles to everyone standing and waiting a turn.
"Grandpa," she asked. "Am I being patient?"

Lake of the Woods trophy hunters

Wayne Kasich, Stan's retired publisher friend, reports from an ice house near International Falls where temperatures are hovering around zero today. Please note the fine wood paneling and other comforts enjoyed by these veteran outdoorsmen.

Wayne writes:
Went to Lake of the Woods with three friends. This retired lawyer, Jerry Shermoen, turns 88 in a couple weeks. We caught a limit of walleye and sauger.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Gledelig Jul

Summer guests Beate and Unni. (They didn't open the akavit)
When a package comes from Norway, we can't help it, we don't wait for Christmas, we just tear into it. Self-control is for children.
Bundles have arrived from Norge, sent here by our summer guests, Beate and Unni. They spent a week with us on the front and back end of a grand sweep through the Great West, hitting all the highlights from the Pacific to the Great Lakes, including, of course, the besieged Rolfsrud Ranch in the midst of the Bakken Shale hubbub.
Viking booty
They've safely returned to their Norway families  and have since wrapped and posted a volley of gifts for Americans.
The first to arrive was a narrated collection of thoughtful Advent Essays, written by Beate, translated by Unni, and produced on a CD with original musical accompaniment. The short essays were intended to be listened to, one each day, throughout the season. No matter, we didn't care, we remorselessly gobbled the entire Advent pie in one glorious sitting, and enjoyed it immensely.
Then came the books, Nordic thrillers that Unni knows Kathleen will read and enjoy this winter; page-turning would be a breeze even in the cold, because, from Beate, came a hand-knitted pair of fingerless gloves, small enough for an eager reader's hands.
Beate took these shots during the visit last summer.
They were made into coasters by Unni and shipped to the US.
As for Stan, always a difficult subject, a dozen snappy coasters were made up by Unni for his bar, laminated with an oddment of mugs shot last summer by Beate. Skoal! 
Tusen takk and God Jul to our dear Norwegian friends.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Santa did not appear

The impression you may get from this photo, taken after last night's jolly holiday dinner, may be that Kathleen is picking up the check for this fine group of merrymakers. That's the impression you may get, anyway, and that's a very nice thought you had. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Thank you, neighborhood volunteers!

Retired professionals Bud and John chopped and scooped the nasty stratified ice sheet built up around our mailboxes. It was missed by the hapless snow removal professionals, who have been struggling to manage the repeated onslaught of cold and snow.
This afternoon's thaw offered a momentary pause in the snow action, time enough to dig down to the pavement. . . to prepare it for tonight's fresh snow.
Not to brag, but today John revealed a particularly ruthless-looking heavy-duty Kobalt ice-fighting weapon he had recently acquired for just such an occasion as this. He worked the sticky label right off this new tool -- nimbly smashing and chopping away the accumulated rock-hard ice crust, which had built up in layers after dozens of passes by snow-challenged postal patrons, seeking their Christmas cards and bills and Netflix movies.
Stan had to borrow John's tool in order to help out today. Stan has no snow tools of his own. He gave them all away when he joined a resident's association that takes care of all that. :)

(Pictured at right: John's tool. Kobalt 48-in Long Forged Ice Scraper, $25. A fine
piece of workmanship, mandatory equipment for the serious suburban box holder.)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cabin Fever Hole in the Wall project completed

The former laundry cabinet has been successfully inserted into the kitchen wall. Kathleen gets the lower section, Stan will take the upper. We'll head to Costco this afternoon and fill 'er up! (just kidding).

Monday, December 16, 2013

Inter-stud spice cabinet

Here's Lorlee's contribution to our search for ever more storage space:
She writes from Dallas:
When I had my kitchen redone, I had them build a cabinet between the studs that is only about 4 inches deep – it is perfect for spices and used some space that would have been wasted. So maybe you can find another unused piece of wall and make another.
The one thing I had seen that I didn’t do was put drawers in the kick plate under the cabinets to store things like cookie sheets.

Thanks for the note and photo, Lorlee. Looks great. Right now we're tired, so the spices will have to stay put on the old racks. :)

Incidentally, in the file photo of Lorlee at right, she is seated at our dining table, having a waffle in front of the wall which now has a hole in it.

Step 7. Screw through face frame, through sheetrock, and into stud

Masking tape has been applied
to face frame to limit scratches and damage.
Storage cabinet progress report
Snow falls gently outside as work continues inside on the cabin fever project.

Last year's Christmas present is getting a serious workout this morning as the Hole in the Wall project continues with the installation of the old face frame salvaged from last summer's laundry room project. Matching doors will be mounted to the frame later so it is important to get a sturdy, level attachment to the wall.

New shelves have been cut, painted and varnished and are in the basement drying.
Meanwhile, the recycled frame is counter-sunk and screws inserted into holes created by the new fully-charged Ryobi power driver.
It would actually be a lot handier to have two power drivers, the workman noted to his wife as she took his photo. That way you wouldn't have to be constantly  changing out screw heads and drill bits. You could have one power driver with a drill bit in it and the other with a screw head in it and then alternate them. A matched set of power drivers would be just the ticket.
The wife sighed and noted that Christmas is coming again.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Old Rocker makes the Top Ten!

Stubborn Norwegian
Congratulations are apparently in order for Stan's classmate Karl, a frequent visitor to this blog, retired rock 'n roll guitarist, and all-around good guy with a law practice in Seattle.
According to his wife, Sue, Karl went under the knife yesterday for a chronic ailment and gave up a giant gall stone.
Sue sends this note:
You commented somewhere about Karl. Stubborn Norwegian. He has had this gall bladder disease a long time, apparently, and the surgeon had to do a full-on incisional removal yesterday. Said it was in his top ten of baddies, and saved us a stone an inch across.
He was doing fine, though full of tubes and things when I left him last night. I'm about to go back and hang out some more. He was still cranky, true to Norwegian form but still under the influence; don't know if he'll be up to watching the game; we get pretty excited! 

Here's wishing Karl a speedy recovery. We'll pull for his SeaHawks today.

Happy Birthday Sosie!

We celebrated Sosie's birthday early with Laurie when
Bill and Sosie were in town a couple of weeks ago.
Happy Birthday, Sosie, Welcome to the club.
In your honor, we will invest your birthday money on No. 6 and No. 5 in the first race at Aquaduct today when we drop off our Perfect Pick selections.
The Vikings are playing indoors today, so at least that will lessen our suffering. Katie believes they will beat the Eagles today, bringing their season record to 4 and 9. Uff Da.
Update at 10:45 a.m.
Oops. Breaking News. A guy at the bar at the track says Peterson won't play today after all, nor will Gephardt. Change that to Philly beats the Vikings.
Other winners will be
San Francisco
Seattle (Go Karl and Sue, hope this makes Karl feel better)
Katie got six out of eight correct today. The Vikings???? Wow.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Our Warrior Princess

"She is so proud of earning her yellow belt!" Emily's Mom, Melissa, texted this morning. Grandma and Grandpa agree that Emily isn't the only one who is very proud today.

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Taxes were low at Dist. 24.
In one referendum,
indoor plumbing lost.
We enjoy hearing of the special Christmas events taking place this time of year. The caroling, concerts, parties and such all bring a festive and familiar feel to the air around us. But for pure anticipation, excitement and nostalgia, it is hard to top the annual All-School Christmas Programs at District 24, the one-room rural schoolhouse south of Alexandria, Minnesota.
It would be right about now that the big evening would be occurring, immediately before our glorious two-week Christmas vacation, which would herald the official beginning of the holidays.
We practiced for weeks. Teacher had copied each speaking part from an educator's magazine in her perfect long-hand script and we had committed our assigned words to memory. The rhythm band, with its plastic flutophones, metal triangles and wooden sticks marked time as she pounded favorite carols on the beat up upright in the back corner of the tiny space where somehow eight grades of children were learning their ABCs.
This photo is inadvertently dated 1953. See the Great Northern calendar
above the background sheets. Nobody that we knew had TV.
This was great entertainment, an important event, and we knew it.
It was odd returning to our school after dark on the big night. Those parents who could jammed themselves into our wooden desks to watch the performance staged on planks, borrowed from the lumberyard, and raised on concrete blocks in the rear of the room. Wires and sheets, hung on safety pins and opened and closed by big kids, completed the illusion of a proscenium arch.
By then, we knew all the parts, so when somebody flubbed, we immediately cringed and shared a collective pang of embarrassment.
It seemed such a magnificent evening. A few photographs of the event were made on rare color film, revealing in retrospect what a humble celebration it actually was. Even so, it remains the yardstick for all subsequent Christmas events -- and remarkably few have eclipsed its anticipation and excitement.
The finale was always the singing of "Here Comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus" as he made his way in, before reading everyone's name from a list he happened to have. We all got brown bags stuffed with nuts and sweets.
Yes, dear reader, that's real, genuine tinsel on the tree. You just can't get that anymore.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Hole in the Wall inspection

 With the floor and lining trimmed and tacked in place and the back wall primed and painted "Believeable Buff," it was time to call for the inspector. We got quick approval and the go ahead -- we had covertly left a bribe inside. Still plenty to do. Have to cut shelves and install trim and doors before we get the final inspection.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy Hour with the Wallweeds

High School classmates Karen, Stan, Kathy, Paula and Teresa (not Albert)
Which of the boys were you most afraid of in high school? Who scared you most? The Wallweeds Happy Hour Club took on this topic and a host of others at Houlihans in Maple Grove tonight. They also mentioned a few warm places they might like to be this winter. Two husbands are contemplating retirement but aren't sure what they would do with their time if they did. The group thought about this problem and agreed that reorganizing the kitchen or teaching your wife to cook might not be a good place for the new retiree to begin.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Egad! Surprise!

First problem we encountered in the "hole in the wall" project was an unexpected sewer pipe, draining the kitchen sink and dishwasher.
The choices are: fur around the pipe or cut it out and put a bucket under the sink.
We'll fur it out and construct a chase, even though this will decrease the usable cubic feet and increase the anguish.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

There's a Hole in the Wall, Gang!

This is not a bearing wall, just a wide partition that 
looks structural, but isn't. It's a hollow waste of space.
Call it a Butler's Cabinet, pantry, a Costco Cupboard, or maybe a Paper Warehouse, there's an opportunity for valuable kitchen storage in the passageway between our galley kitchen and the dining room.
Stan and Hai attacked the wall tonight with a Sawzall and a vacuum cleaner. The wall cavity is a foot thick, the depth of a standard cabinet, so there's a lot of usable cubic feet in there.
We happen to have a leftover matching cabinet face frame and doors from that laundry room remodel we did this summer. It's been leaning idly in the garage, hoping for an opportunity to serve. So this could be a really cheap project.
Let's see what happens next. We're still planning the next move now that we can see what's in the hole.
With the endless below zero weather, and too much HGTV, cabin fever has set in. This may be enough to break it.
It's too late to turn back now.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Actor to host Minnesota snowbirds

When Rob Steinberg flew through a windshield during a car accident in New York, it was a life-changing experience. He figured if he could survive that, he could sure risk a move to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
Headshots from
Rob's web site
He did, and has been winning small parts ever since, most recently  a pivotal role in the critically acclaimed "12 Years A Slave," presently in neighborhood theaters. You may have seen him years ago in "Diehard II," or recently as a talent manager in "Grace Unplugged." He's appeared on numerous TV shows over the years and does voiceover work as well.

Rob is currently writing and developing a romantic comedy set in New Orleans about a hard drinking woman blues singer who falls for a recently divorced, overly sensitive, male college professor called "Tell It Like It Is."  Also under the pen… or the keyboard . . . is a book of bizarre personal vignettes called "It's Okay, I'm With the Band."  A one-man stage production of the book will follow.

Four years ago Rob bought a house in New Orleans near Audubon Park, not far from where he earned his degree at Tulane University back in the 70s.
We'll be staying at Rob's newly-renovated house for our two-month winter rental this year, and he promises to sprinkle some show-biz glitter on our stay. Among other things, we hope to see the plantation where "12 Years" was shot; the Brad Pitt movie was pretty much done on location there.
We've looked over his place on the internet, located three blocks from the park, a zoo, an aviary and a vintage 18-hole public golf course, set in an oak-lined crook of the Mississippi River. We'll ride the St. Charles street car past the mansions to downtown; there's a national World War II and D-Day museum there. . . and a casino. . . and all the well-known New Orleans tourist hoopla, food and entertainment.
We'll head south right after the Christmas holidays for the warmer climate, and at two below zero today, it can't come soon enough.
The neighborhood. Magazine Street, Audubon Park, Mississippi River

Sunday, December 08, 2013

A couple of Growlers

Mark and Vanessa were married down the road from where this beer was brewed at the old Victoria creamery.
(They were married in a church, not the creamery.)
Mark and Vanessa Olson pulled out all the stops on their Christmas party organ last night, providing tons of appetizers, Christmas music and cheerful banter at their lovely Lake Grace condominium in Chaska. Many party-goers braved below zero temperatures, others came from as close as across the hallway.
Everyone fared better than the lemonade bottle left out on the deck to chill; it exploded long before its non-alcoholic contents could be offered to guests, but, no worries, there was plenty of everything including these craft beers from the local ENKI brewery in nearby Victoria, served up in big Growlers.
No Show
We renewed friendships with many old acquaintances, but left for home before Bob and Pat could arrive. As is his holiday custom, Bob was busy helping out his pal, Donnie, with the Christmas rush at his Tommy Bahama store at the Mall of America. Everyone's in the spirit of the season, it would seem.

(Growlers got their name from the lidded pails once used to bring home tap beer. Escaping bubbles of carbon dioxide made a growling sound, it says in Wikipedia. Earlier, Stan learned that "Eighty-eight" is slang for "piano." There are 88 keys on a classic keyboard. Partygoer and veteran rock 'n roller Jeff Engstrom filled him in on that, proving there's nothing more educational than a good Christmas party with friends.)
Bill and Sosie's
Pizza and Growler

Meanwhile, tonight in Evanston, Wyoming, inspired by Mark and Vanessa, Bill and Sosie checked into a motel, then Bill went out for a pizza and returned with a sausage and pepperoni, and a growler of beer to wash it all down.

Today's Perfect Picks for the Big Money!

 Don Kieger
The No. 1 Handicapper (self-appointed) at the Canterbury Park Race Book told us this morning that today's games are the most difficult of the season to predict. Among other things, the crazy weather is adding to the confusion. Nevertheless, we plowed ahead, seeking the $5,000 at stake today in the Canterbury Perfect Pick.

Here's a peek at Katie' entry:
Winners, she says, will be
Baltimore beats the Vikings, (nothing personal, just business)
Kansas City
New England
Atlanta beats Green Bay (tough call)
New York Jets
Philadelphia beats Detroit (sorry Sean)
Pittsburgh beats Miami in a very close call.
Total combined points for the Vikings game? Under 42 and a half.

If Katie's correct, we get $5,000.

(It will be played later today so it's not on the contest, but we've got Seattle over San Francisco in a tight game, for our friends on the West Coast.)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Little Shaver

The very first time she first saw Grandpa's beard at the beginning of No-Shave November (Men's Health Awareness Month), she didn't like it at all. "I just want you to be normal," she said with a frown. "Ok,"  we melted, "at the end of November if you still don't like it, you can be the one to shave it off." Her opinion about Grandpa's beard didn't change any over the month, so today Emily did the honors, using a hair clipper and a two-handed steady grip. No cuts, no gashes. Grandma took the picture. So now we're back to "normal" -- whatever that is.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Sosie's Unbirthday Party

It's not Sosie's birthday until Dec. 15 but we don't care. It was a good enough excuse to wrap up some kitchen utensils that she bought for herself two years ago. . . but hasn't been able to get them through carry on security at the airport. We sang Happy Birthday and she opened the package in wild anticipation of something nice, until the joke was revealed. Bill and Sosie are driving home this time, so her cake spatula and the foley fork have now finally been tucked into the SUV and will ride to California through the wind and weather with the cat in the back. Laurie and Hai joined us in the festivities, Kathleen made vegetable soup and some cream-cheesy dip. Our guests left a parting gift: a handmade wooden peanut butter bird feeder from Ohio.
Now that's not something you get every day.