Monday, April 29, 2013

And it's Benita in the backstretch. . .

Mom's housemate took an early lead in the Kell Avenue Handicap Trials this morning, due to some unsportsmanlike jostling, but eventually hard-riding Beverly closed the gap to nose out Benita in a photo finish. The horses have shipped to their California stables, but will return for the finals of the Bloomington Stakes. The prestigious winner's trophy, presently on public display in a Kell Avenue yard (below) awaits the victors.

Tea Party, Tea Party, Tea Party

This heirloom tea service was personally selected on a trip to Hong Kong
and imported to Sunol.  Her Great Aunt is a tea service nut and has a far
more substantial collection of her own.

Our six-year-old, soon to be seven, got a pre-birthday surprise from Great Aunt Sosie. . . another tea set to go with the other tea sets her tea-crazy aunt has provided.
"I am so happy I can't even scream," Emily proclaimed, as she assembled her prizes and planned future afternoon events. There's an every day service, a special events service, and now a Christmas holiday service.
Our breakfront bulges with little girl luxury.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Theater of Seasons

 Sunday afternoon watching Old Man River from the cheap seats at the Guthrie Theatre. That's Tyrone, in the photo below, with Zachary.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Photo by Kathleen Rolfsrud
Zach (Sosie's), Steve (Linda's); Marcy (Stan's) and Jenn (Zach's wife)
chilling at Jennifer's (Stan's) housewarming bonfire yesterday.

The fever breaks

For the third day in a row, Mom has been outside enjoying the fresh air, after eight months of winter, cooped in a cabin on Kell. Today's company included Virg, Sosie, Zach and Jenn (who took this photo). Tomorrow springtime madness continues with yet another outside activity planned.

Jesse James was not here either

What's so funny? Why are Lorilee and Tim laughing so hard?
Read on.
Now that Jennifer has established herself in Northfield, Minnesota, we enjoy bringing visitors there for a grand tour of this storied college town. We've put together sort of a chamber of commerce routine, visiting the St. Olaf and Carleton college campuses, the Malt-o-Meal plant and other interesting venues in this beautiful historic town.
Tell All Your Friends!
Steve,  Zach and Jenn in front of what they believe
at the time to be the bank raided by the James gang.
Northfield is well known for its Defeat of Jesse James Days, which marks the failed attempt by the outlaw and his gang to hold up the Northfield bank in 1876. As is our custom, yesterday we stopped to take photographs of the famous bank and imagine what it was like when the townspeople rallied there to repel the bad guys. Our guests were thrilled to stand exactly where this historic event occurred so long ago.
After the usual ton of photos, we got back in the car to attend Jennifer's bonfire party in her back yard, just down the Cannon River.
Mr. James
There we consulted with Jennifer's friend and neighbor, Tim, who annually participates in the re-enactment of the famous Northfield raid and knows all about it. He and his wife, Lorilee, had arrived with a wheelbarrow of firewood to toss on the community pile.

Tim was also quite happy to share some embarrassing information. Yes, the James gang raided the bank in Northfield and got shot up bad by an angry populace. But the bank we showed our out-of-town guests? Er, that's not the right bank. Not even close. That one was built in 1910. The actual bank is over there on the other side of the river.

Our apologies to all of our guests. We will make good on the souvenir photos at your convenience.

The historic plaque on this old Northfield bank makes no mention of Jesse
James, but our gracious tourists did not say anything about that at the time.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Email from the Mall of America. . .

Our relatives went to the Mall of America today, and we are so proud. Here they are dining at "Dick's Last Resort" where apparently the goal is to be more obnoxious than your server. Going there was Jill's idea, the "Retired Pole Dancer" claims. And don't argue the point with Zachary. He "kicked Anorexia's ass. Yay." They're sure to be even more obnoxious by the time they reach Northfield tonight. Oh Goodie.

(Actually, they're quite distant relatives, my friends. We hardly ever see them.)

It's 70 degrees and Sosie!

Zach, Jennifer and Sosie are here for a weekend in Minnesota, bringing with them enough California sunshine for four days of non-stop fun. Zach's wife has never been to Minnesota, so today we'll get started with a visit to Mom's Bloomington house, then on to THE MALL OF AMERICA! :) Tonight our Jennifer has a party planned in Northfield at the new house, a bonfire and potluck. More to come, we're still in the coffee and planning stages.

Later that morning. . .
Here's Mom with Zach and Jen in Mom's sunny back yard. First time this year! They're tellling Grandma about how Birdie ate Zach's entire bacon helping this morning before Zach even had a chance at it.
Party tonight!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Ping from Virg in Tifton, GA

Brother Virg is on his way home from a winter in Florida, just in time to bask in 70 degree temperatures here this weekend. He pinged from a BK in Tifton, GA, just before noon today. Tonight in Kentucky. Tomorrow in Minnesota.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cast Off!

The blade doesn't rotate, it just vibrates, we were relieved to learn.
Doc said he hasn't cut anybody. . . yet.
Killing time in the cast room.
Examining the tools.
One month after a nasty slip on her way to the mailbox, Katie's cast was removed today. X-rays proved a good healing process is under way around the hairline wrist fracture. Katie's Doc split the fiberglas using a skil saw before applying a pry bar.

Painless, she said. A couple of weeks in a soft cast and some gentle exercises and she'll be as good as new. Nothing like the agony of her luckless sisters-in-law, who have preceded her in a nasty assortment of wrist fractures and ankle breaks.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Waiting for spring break up

Should the Vita-Mix be packed in to the north woods
 for solar-powered smoothies and
beer-batter? Careful planning continues.
When spring finally arrives in the Canadian wilderness, Matt Drees will lead an expedition there to prepare a remote fish camp for another summer season. It's an annual adventure, flying in with supplies, cleaning up winter damage, splitting firewood, floating docks into place and pulling bear boards off cabin doors and windows.
With the long-time camp manager on injured reserve this year because of his brand new titanium knee, Matt has asked Stan to join the ice-out A-team. They discussed the proposition over fruit and vegetable smoothies this morning at Matt's Shakopee kitchen table, mixing in tales of previous spring outings.
When will Canadian lakes open enough to allow the first float plane to splash in? Hard to say, there are still 22 inches of ice reported on nearby Lake Minnetonka. Takes longer Up North, of course. Our International Falls expert won't commit to a date yet, but he's certain the lakes there won't open before the May 11 fishing season opener.
But this time of year, with a direct sun burning overhead, warm spring rains will soon make quick work of winter's bitter end.

Final FINAL drawing

A final recheck of the final drawing for the new bathroom cabinet revealed that the drawer configuration would not accommodate the present plumbing situation. So the computer was rushed to work, lowering the bottom drawers and here is the result. We like it, the variety of drawer sizes improved the appearance, we decided, which is a good thing, because, short of replumbing, we don't have a lot of choice.
The saws are buzzing in Alexandria today.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Could be worse, ya know

Sosie is coming to Minneapolis on Friday to bask in the predicted 60 degree sunshine, she'll no doubt wonder what all the fuss is about. Well, it could be worse, here in the Winter Wonderland that won't go away. The photo above is of Linus Korkowski, taken somewhere near Alexandria on May 4, 1954. It was an unusual enough winter back then to sit Linus down to photograph the record. We hope it won't have to be updated.
Our thanks to Bev Korkowski for the photo.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Jo Sletto 1916-2013

Cousin Harold called tonight with news about an old family friend. Her Norwegian immigrant parents rented our grandparents' farm in western North Dakota one hundred years ago, when our grandparents had a bumper flax crop and returned to Norway for a time.

Sletto, Josephine
Josephine O. Sletto, age 96, died on April 9, 2013, at the Knute Nelson Memorial Home in Alexandria, Minnesota. Jo was born in McKenzie County, North Dakota, on December 14, 1916, the daughter of Kittil and Anna Skavanger.

Jo spent her early years on the family farm near Keene, North Dakota. She was baptized and confirmed at Clear Creek Lutheran Church. She went to Olson School through the eighth grade and graduated from Watford City high school. Jo attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and later worked for the State of North Dakota at the capitol building in Bismark.

Jo’s family moved to Douglas County in the late 1930s, when the severe drought made farming nearly impossible in western North Dakota. Jo worked for the Selective Service in Alexandria, and she also helped out at other draft board offices in Minnesota during World War II. Jo was interviewed by the Minnesota Historical Society, and the story of her experiences during the war years was included in a traveling display of the society’s Greatest Generation Project in 2010. After the war, Jo went to work at the Douglas County Treasurer’s Office.

Jo married Cleve Sletto on August 20, 1948, at the West Moe parsonage. They farmed near Brandon for seven years before purchasing the Maryland Resort on Lake Mary. Cleve and Jo owned and operated the Maryland Resort for over twenty years, retiring in 1979. After retirement, they built a home just down the road from the resort, and that’s where they lived until moving to Nelson Gables in Alexandria in 2008.

Jo was a member of the West Moe Lutheran Church of rural Brandon for over sixty years. She was active in church, Sunday School and ELCW activities. Jo was also a 4-H leader, and she was actively involved in many other organizations.

Cleve and Jo were married for sixty-three years, and the two were inseparable. After they retired, they traveled throughout the country in their motorhome. Jo loved her flower garden, her home, and her family. She greatly enjoyed entertaining friends and family, and she loved being with people.

Jo was preceded in death by her parents and husband Cleve (in 2011) as well as many brothers- and sisters-in law.

Jo is survived by her son Terry (Kathy) Sletto of Alexandria; grandchildren Christopher Sletto of Avon, Colorado, Jon Miller of Avon, Colorado, and Beth (Jeremy) Hill of Savage, MN; great-grandchildren Kaiden, Ryder, and Berkley Hill of Savage, MN; sister Gudrun Roeland of Atlanta, Georgia; and many nephews, nieces and cousins.

A memorial service was held at West Moe Lutheran Church on Saturday, April 13th, with Sarah Evenson officiating. Music was provided by organist, Barb Gulbranson. Internment following in the church cemetery. Pallbearers are John Roeland, Robert Roeland, Ron Sletto, Stanley Sletto, Merritt Wadleigh, and Jerry Johnson.

Arrangements are with the Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria.

And Father Wm. Macy?

Watched "The Sessions" on Netflix last night. Will never view Helen Hunt quite the same way again.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Final Drawings Approved

We got the cherry finish picked, toe kick figured out, single lever Fairfax faucet ordered and today we shopped for some brushed nickel hardware and matching sconces. Tuesday cabinetmakers start cutting wood in Alexandria, with a May 8 Shakopee delivery promised. The excitement mounts.

Friday, April 19, 2013

No Golf Today . . .

Photo by Katie Rolfsrud
Today on the Fourteenth tee, Stonebrooke
Five inches overnight, temperature now at 30 degrees.
Snowplow came through in a haphazard, when will this ever end,
 kind of sloppy sweep through the area.
As we watch the wall-to-wall Boston coverage where snipers are taking up their positions, we're snug in our snow-swept community, and we wonder if our Hai Dang made it out of town this morning for his two weeks of vacation in Vietnam. Our Dallas correspondent, Lorlee Bartos, just checked in with a report on West, Texas, site of the fertilizer plant explosion.
We're tired and depressed with this lousy weather. . . but we're certainly not bored.
Lorlee writes:
West is a town with a Czech heritage (though these Bohemians are from a 1910
migration through Galveston -- my Bartos forbears came thru New York in the 1860's, but Czech none the less). I have been to Westfest which is an annual Bohemian festival -- and have stopped, while passing thru on my way to other places, at the Czech Stop to pick up Kolaches.

It is less than 100 miles south of Dallas. Absolutely devastating.

As it unfolds, I think it will show up the total lack of oversight of dangerous places by the Texas government. Just last year we had another chemical plant blow up not far from there -- fortunately no one was killed in that one.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

How much longer, Mom?

When you're out in the middle of Nowhere, Wyoming, and you don't have a GPS, it is handy to text your Mom in Minnesota to find out how far it is to the next stop. Some things never change.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In Cousin Heidi's Durango kitchen

Midway in Marcy's Great West Adventure, here's her Aunt Mary Lou (Kathleen's sister) and her cousin Heidi. No word on what they had for supper, but our experience has been that it is always good. Storms are swirling between here and there, our turn to worry and hope for the best.
You be careful out there, Marcy and Leanne!

The Northern Light

Bruce Phelps, urging on his troops
Bruce and Stan in
JHS Yearbook 1965
He was the most reliable ear in the Jefferson High School choir, in Stan's opinion. A good thing too. Almost 50 years ago, Stan sang the occasional solo a capella for the Alexandria concert choir, and picking out that starting note would have been a scarey proposition for him. But not so with Bruce Phelps standing at your side, checking his pitch pipe and humming your first note directly into your left ear. Easy peasy for Bruce to find the right note. A great comfort for Stan.
Bruce is still standing tall, now in front of the risers. He's the director of the prestigious Northern Lights Chorale and they have a series of spring events coming up.
Bruce's choir today.
Listen to Bruce Phelps conduct an old standby, Praise to the Lord the Almighty, F. Melius Christianson. Click here. It's really good.
Our former high school choir director and lifetime family friend, Murrae Freng, brought this note to our attention last week, adding his personal encouragement to attend. He forwarded the following invitation from The Director.

Dear Friends,
The Northern Lights Chorale is completing their fifth season with two concerts here in the Twin Cities and I would like to personally invite you to come and hear us. The title is The Music of Living and it takes you on a journey of life. We have programmed a variety of music with you our audience in mind. I do hope you can make a special effort to come and hear us this year.
Here are the details:
Saturday, April 27th - 7:00 p.m. Benson Great Hall on the Bethel University Campus. No admission charge and donations will be accepted.
Sunday, May 5th - 3:00 p.m. at the Hoversten chapel on the Augsburg College campus. Harmonious Youth, a brand new children's choir will be joining us for this afternoon of music. There is no admission charge here either.
If you would like to see the entire program, please visit our website at
Put us on your calendar now. I look forward to seeing you this Spring.
Musically yours,
Bruce Phelps
Director, Northern Lights Chorale

Stan's sister Sosie was in Bruce's grade and sang in the high school choir with us. Personal note: Hey Sosie, wanna go? Haven't seen Bruce for many years. You'll be in town April 27. Stan will spring for the donation.

Here's Bruce's bio from the Northern Lights web site: Not one mention of him singing with Stan in the high school choir. :(

Bruce currently serves as the Minister of Music at Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Brighton, MN where he is responsible for all the music for the church.
A 1970 graduate of Concordia College, Bruce taught at Luverne, MN for 5 years, Wayzata MN for 1 year and finished his 34 year teaching career at Anoka High School in Anoka, MN. Bruce earned his Masters Degree in 1978 from Bemidji State University.
Bruce with his Board of Directors

Besides his teaching duties, Bruce directed choirs at the United Methodist and Zion Lutheran churches in Anoka, served eleven years on the education staff at St. Olaf College, directed the South St. Paul Male Chorus for five years and the 3M Male Chorus for nine years. In 1998, he founded The Two Rivers Chorale and served as their director until 2004.  He has been a guest clinician at numerous choral festivals in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Alaska and Virgina, was the director of the Minnesota All State Mens Choir in 2005-2006.

Bruce has written a Sight Reading Manual for schools and institutions, a Sight Reading Manual for barbershop choruses, and a Music Mastery Manual designed to help teach music basics in the choral classroom. He has also published two pieces with Kjos Music.

Following his time at Anoka High School, Bruce served three years as Associate Director of Music Organizations at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and directed the Great Plains Harmony, a barbershop chorus and member of the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Bruce was named the Outstanding Music Educator of Minnesota by the National Federation of State High School Associations in 1995. Bruce also received the Outstanding Music Educator Award from the Minnesota Music Education Association for the school year 1999-2000 for his outstanding efforts and leadership in the classroom and beyond. In 2009, Bruce was inducted into the Minnesota Music Educators Hall of Fame.

Bruce has been a regional representative for the Minnesota State High School League, served as Choral Vice President for Minnesota Music Educators Association and has served on the Minnesota ACDA board and is currently a member of MENC and ACDA.

In 2008, Bruce founded The Northern Lights Chorale. The group rehearses weekly from September through November and again in January through April with concerts at the end of November and April. Bruce continues to be active in music, is an avid Minnesota Twins fan and has been known to chase a white ball around the golf course.
Bruce giving Stan a shave in this 1965 Barbershop Quartet photo.
With Randy Gaugert and Bob Johnson (manager of the St. Olaf choir)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Life on the edge. . .

Marcy and her friend, Leanne, paused at the southern rim of the Grand Canyon yesterday afternoon and sent along this photo. They're driving Leanne's car back to the Twin Cities and are making an adventure out of it. Dinner tonight in Durango with Marcy's Cousin Heidi and Aunt Mary Lou (Kathleen's sister). Leanne is in the U.S. Army and was training in San Diego.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hope . . . at the end of the tunnel

Yes, it is true that there is still snow on the ground and it is frickin' cold outside. But look, dear friends, that is a patch of blue out yonder, barely visible through our bathroom window. It is a sure sign that this never-ending winter shall pass.

Western Road Trip!

Our middle daughter, Marcelline Harrisonfields, checks in today from somewhere in Phoenix, where she flew out to join a friend for a drive back to Minnesota. Here she is chilling at The Grotto, listening to Bob Dylan "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" from the soundtrack of the 1973 western "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid."
Marcy's relatives atop
Crazy Horse Mt.,  in 2007.

Weather certainly looks great from this photo, not sure why they would be in any hurry to get back home. Marcy says she saw some wild pigs, but her mother says they're javelinas and they just look and act like pigs.
The travelers may tarry at the Grand Canyon, then head north, visiting Marcy's cousin and aunt in Durango, then possibly push further to Rapid City, where Marcy and her stepdad once viewed the Crazy Horse monument, long before the warrior chief's face had emerged from the rock.
We await further transmissions.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Susan Lee Diedrick, 1941-2013

Last summer, we bumped into old friends as we entered the gate of the Great Minnesota Get-together, the State Fair. This was a happy meet up, we hadn't seen Sue and Dale Diedrick for many years and so we took some extra time under a leafy tree to pause and recall old times in Chaska, where Dale and Sue were Kathleen's long ago paint store landlords and where Stan and Kathleen often met, partied and dined at their popular Butch's Tavern and Restaurant on Chestnut Street.
Dale was navigating about the fairgrounds on a brand new pair of hips and he freely passed on plenty of advice and encouragement for Kathleen's brother. (Be sure to do all your exercises!) By that time Kathleen was doing quite well on her own new knee so the two could compare joints, the surgeon they happened to share, and their respective coaches. Stan and Sue just rolled their eyes at this exchange. We shared other news, mutual friends, vacations, retired life, and grandchildren, of course.
We're so glad we stopped that day and took our time and this picture. Eventually, after hugs and handshakes, we parted the sweet company of this happy retired couple, certain indeed that our paths would cross again. We promised each other that they would, then said good bye.
Back home, we posted the above photo and it wasn't long after that a serendipitous relationship was discovered. We got an email from Jennifer, our nephew Ford's wife. "That's Lucie's grandparents you have on your blog," she wrote. We were delighted by what we learned. Ford and Jennifer happen to live across the street from Dale and Sue's daughter,  Jodi, and her husband and their little daughter, Lucie. Lucie plays with Jennifer and Ford's daughter, four-year-old Kaia. Lucie and Kaia have enjoyed many fun outings at Dale and Sue's Lake Bavaria home in Victoria, as Lucie shares her grandparents with her playmate Kaia. We've seen them happy together many times on Jennifer and Ford's blog, but deduced nothing.
Now we just scratched our heads, thinking about how close we are in this world.
Monday we were stunned to learn that Sue had suddenly died at home, medical cause of death not immediately known, leaving a loving husband bereft and an extended family riven with grief.
We have returned today from a service in Victoria, where throngs gathered to pay respects and try to support a family shocked by the sudden loss of this vibrant soul.
The jolt of her passing has generated an appreciation for the tenuous, fragile threads of our lives and the importance of always stopping to hold what is dear. Sue and Dale's Lake Bavaria neighbor told us today, that the day before Sue died, she saw Sue jogging down the road as usual, a 72-year-old woman living life to the full.
We drove to Victoria to share our condolences with Dale and the four children today, wondering how they would bear this, knowing that the strength of their family would somehow uphold them.
It was a day for lessons, we thought about how important it is to take the time to make the call, take the picture, share some time; and we thought too about little Kaia and Lucie, as they come to understand why Lucie's grandma doesn't play with them anymore.

The Master's Final Cut

Dorian Gray will cover up the old Luscious Lavender, thus
matching the gray and yellow comforter we scored at Kohl's,
who, of all things, just happened to be having a sale yesterday.
Today we finish the master bedroom/bath painting project. Above, Edy J. cuts in the Dorian Gray, tight against the Antique White crown moulding and ceiling he sprayed Thursday. No masking tape for Mr. J. . . . No sir. A precise masterful hand accurately divides the two colors, creating a nice look and deep envy in the homeowner, who would be using gobs of expensive blue masking tape to achieve a similar result.
Steady, Edy.
Kathleen offers encouragement. She'd be helping out, of course,
but with an arm in a cast, she's on injured reserve

Friday, April 12, 2013

Breaking out the champagne at last. . .

Here's Marcy and her boss celebrating at the Smack Shack in the North Loop of Minneapolis this afternoon. For the past five years, our daughter has been the personal business manager for Matt Giovinetti, director of photography for the popular Food Network show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. The two marked the achievement of an important five-year financial goal today. Matt credits his "financial guru for facilitating his financial harmony," according to the press release received moments ago on Kathleen's smart phone. :) Next project for these two? Watch for "Matt's Five-Star Dive Bar." Sounds interesting.
Congratulations Marcy, we're very proud of you... now don't forget to claim the champagne as a business expense on Matt's taxes.

Yellow, gray and blueberry

The doors and trim have been sprayed Antique White, the soffit over the sinks has been brushed Monorail Silver, but before he mixed up the Amulet AF-365 for the bathroom wall, "Fast" Edy J. took a break for a fresh blueberry muffin and a visit.
We took this color and the
blue out of the granite.
Of course, it's hard to get
a true value in a photo.
Edy (that's how he spells his name, not Eddie) likes Minnesota a lot. He moved to nearby Chaska a year ago, after working in California for the past 20 years. He says he enjoys the lakes here. The snow? Whatever he said about that was somehow lost in translation. In California, he lived in San Bernardino County, and there painted tons of interiors in Indio, Palm Desert, 29 Palms, Big Bear and elsewhere.
We could tell he's held a brush before, the years of experience show. He's painting our master bathroom and bedroom from a palette of grays, with gold and blue highlights.
So far, the work is beautiful. We'll give you a final "Katie's List" score later on quality and price when the job is finished.
Meanwhile, we have to score The Masters.

Winter, by Cousin Larry

Today's snowy weather comes shortly after we received this inquiry about a couple of our cousin Larry Veeder's lovely paintings of winter settings. These paintings were purchased in the 80s, held and cherished by an art collector who has since passed on. It's an interesting note reflecting the value of art in our lives.
The note reads:
My name is Dale Sxxxx, I live near Sacramento, California. I just returned from Minneapolis on Monday, where I'm the Executor of my Aunt Dolores' estate. (Dee was my dad's sister, dad was born in St. Paul, but settled in California after WW2.) Aunt Dee passed away in January; she had quite a bit of art, most by Minnesota artists dating from the 1960's to 1980's. Dee and her husband operated an art gallery in the 60's; but she also retired as President & CEO of the Minneapolis Telco Credit Union (now Topline CU).
Attached are close-up photos of two acrylic paintings by Larry Veeder which Dolores bought at Zonta art auctions, the first in 1981 for $150 [I'm not sure of it's name, could it be 'January Trail'?, I saw that title in another area of her files], the second - titled: 'Morning Light' was bought in 1983 for $250. Aunt Dee cherished these paintings for 30 years; you can tell by the photos that they were hung prominently and lit with art lights. The prospective buyer of her condo is interested in buying both paintings and I'm trying to establish a current market value. Any help you can give in determining their value will be greatly appreciated. (I was only in town for 6 days and didn't have time to get anyone to appraise them.)
Cool. We passed on cousin Larry's email address. Aren't the paintings great? They're hard to see in these low quality phone photos, but you get a feel for them. They're so winterish, so Minnesota... especially right now.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Cardiology, not meteorology, postponed Dan's hip surgery scheduled at Abbott/Northwestern today. In an abundance of caution, we opted to look into some additional heart issues to increase the certitude of success in this elective procedure we so desire.
A predicted eight-inch snowfall today did not play into the decision-making (Dan lives in the same complex as the hospital and could stroll to the surgical suite). However, the postponement did provide some stress relief to the support team located out in the burbs. Now they can watch the storm blow in from their armchairs.
Thanks for your continued interest and support for Dan. He's disappointed, but vows to press on.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Everybody likes to help Melissa cook. . .

Melissa's day-care kiddies get into the action with a boost here and there.

Testing Carl and Eloise's wifi. . .

Thanks, Carl and Eloise. Twins fan Dan waits for his pager to buzz.
We're in a waiting room here this morning at the Abbott Northwestern Heart Hospital, in the Family Care Center given by Carl and Eloise Pohlad, the late owners of the Minnesota Twins. Free wifi, a pager and soft chairs. What could be better? Oh yes, free coffee.
Dan and Stan are making sure Dan is ready for hip surgery tomorrow and are checking with some specialists to be sure. Thanks for all your good wishes as we embark on our challenging journey seeking the best of all outcomes.

Oh, C'mon. . .

Our lovely climate continues to frustrate. The big stuff is coming tonight, they say. Joy.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

House hunters

This morning's heavy rains brought out Mr. and Mrs. Mallard Malone in their annual quest for a suitable nest. First they nosed around the Andersons, then waddled across the driveway to see what the Rolfsruds might have available. Though we doubt they'll spring for a home site in our front yard, we hope they're also wary of the nearby pond bank. Last year Martin P. Marten raised a batch of furry kits there and helped himself to the clutch of eggs (photo below) hidden nearby. It's really hard to find a good home these days.
Last year, this nest of duck eggs hidden by the pond included a golf ball.
The eggs soon disappeared. The golf ball was moved, then
rejected as inedible.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Home again

We saw two of these sandhill cranes 
on the golf course in Florida. Delicious with mashed potatoes.
Dear Virg,
I'm safe at home. I just want to say thanks and report on my drive.
Ideal weather conditions followed me all the way from Florida; as I pulled into my yard at 5 p.m., the last vestiges of a six-month snow cover were burning off under a direct sun. Kathleen has already collected 10 errant balls from the season's first golfers.
I truly enjoyed the nature hikes, golf and an insider's look at the Southwest Florida real estate market; Thanks for all the lovely dinners out, but none were better than the shrimp on the barbie you fixed me poolside in the lanai. The perfect rescue from a brutal Minnesota winter. I was delighted to meet and get to know Gayle. She's wonderful and good company and everything you said. Hope to see her in Minnesota this summer.
A perfect storm of snowbirds, spring breakers and ordinary folks clogged I-75 for 200 miles on my way out Saturday morning, adding two extra hours to the 26 hour drive time. "Extreme Delays" were promised on flashing signboards by the Georgia Highway Department. They delivered.
Three lanes of evacuees, pinched at one point by 24 miles of a two-lane never-ending construction project, stressed the corridor's dwindling supply of patience, gasoline and clean bathrooms.  
(Georgia does seem to have a wealth of "Adult SuperCenters." Whatever is that?)
Relief finally came, of all places, in downtown Atlanta, where 10 wide lanes on a Saturday night easily absorbed the pressure. Posted speed there is 50 mph, but the pent-up traffic accelerated to 70, whipping past the Coca Cola headquarters, leaning into the turns and dodging a swarm of crotch rockets out for a Saturday night of fun. Commuter trains passed overhead. It was 5 p.m., time for the opening tip-off of the Final Four nearby. It was all downright exhilarating. Madness. 
Passing through a calmer Tennessee in the blue twilight, I honored my neighbor, Sandy, and stopped to rest for five hours in Kentucky, then rose early to head for a town I have never seen, St. Louis, Missouri. 
My GPS lady didn't want to go there at all, persistently suggesting U-turns and numerous alternate routes through Illinois until I punched her mute button. I figured it was Sunday morning and I could take whatever downtown St. Louis could dish out. Plunging ahead, I rode I-64 into the heart of the city. Closing on the Mississippi, we clattered through a tangle of ancient freeway ramps and exits all converging piggly-wiggly on this roller-coaster Gateway to the West. 
Although there was no traffic anywhere, with all the twists and turns and busted paving, I almost missed seeing the famous Gateway Arch, but there it was, magnificent and glorious, just a bit of a disappointment after all the build up. Busch Stadium was shoehorned into a riverfront nook surrounded by ramps and concrete. The beer city lived up to its name, broad-shouldered, lots of steel and brick, very working class. 
But the Clydesdales, the brewery tour and free samples will have wait for another time, I pushed homeward on the west bank, very happy to have checked another item off the bucket list.
Thanks again, Virg, for putting an exclamation point on the end of a long, dreary winter.
Now pardon me while I enjoy Kathleen's "Welcome Home Sundae."
Your brother, Stan