Friday, May 31, 2013

Best wishes

Somebody's getting married at the clubhouse tonight. We stopped for a burger and fries and saw the cake and all the guys in tuxes, and the harpist, and the pastor, and the pink gladiolas and everybody was gathering together outside by the waterfall for a beautiful ceremony and then we left for home. Ten minutes later it suddenly started to rain. Hard.
Well, we do know the cake is dry.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chillin' in the back yard

Hai Dang noticed that his shirt matched his tree, so he asked his son Andrew to take this. We're glad. (Click to enlarge. It's worth it.)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Congratulations Maxwell!

It's Honors Night at Southwest High and our senior, Maxwell, received two awards, displayed above. One was for excellence in Japanese language arts and the other is a Presidential Citation presented to those with a 3.75 grade point average or better. We don't know our grandson's exact grade point yet, but when we do, we'll report it. He's headed to Hamline in the fall.
Graduation ceremonies are Saturday night at Mariucci Arena.

Joey's performance day

Our neighbor, Grandma Story, sent along this item, produced by her daughter.

Thought you would enjoy this one.
Joey is doing Trampoline Tricks for Performance Day ... 1st grade. He is lucky to have an older sister who can video his tricks and even add a l ittle music to them.

Tile today

Paul and Eric battled traffic on 169 this morning, coming in from faraway Ramsay to install our vanity backsplash and tub trim. Both were in good humor and gave us some compliments on our choice of materials. Meanwhile, across the way at the Cook's, a cement truck dumped a load for their sidewalk redo, making for a busy morning here in Shakopee.

We laughed when Chris got the shaft

Chris, the buff handyman at Mom's Kell Avenue residence, is stronger than a wheelbarrow handle. We know this because he was hauling a heavy load over the back yard recently when the wheelbarrow shaft snapped under the weight. Now Chris has a one-armed wheelbarrow and a handy club.
Chris's entire performance was witnessed by the full complement of Kell Avenue residents and the audience gave him an appreciative round of applause. . . and a few remarks.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nearing the finish line. . .

Is the cold on the left or the right?
Depends on if you're in the tub or out.
John had us decide that one.
Cool, clear, water at last.
Two licensed plumbers were bent over and hard at it today finishing up our upgrade in the master bathroom, but the only plumber's crack there was the occasional wise one.
Barry and John (John the Plumber?) installed three new faucets and tuned up two leaky ones elsewhere while they were at it . . . and Barry even whistled while he worked.
The two leaky faucets needed new Delta cartridges. Barry salvaged two hardly-used ones from the tub in the master that we rarely use, but will be getting a new matching fixture anyway.
Barry magnanimously showed the homeowner how he could replace the next leaky cartridges himself ("nothing to it," says he) but Stan still has his doubts after watching the procedure.
The ceramic guy will be here tomorrow to finish the border trim and backsplash, but we don't care. . . we'll be using the new sinks tonight. It has been a long time coming.
Then Edy comes back to touch up his paint job, and we'll have a party.

Barry, tools laid neatly beside him,
kept his tee-shirt properly tucked as well.
We're sure his work reflects this attention
to detail and organization.

Monday, May 27, 2013

He announced war's end. . .

Stan's Fort Hood Army Buddy was ordered to Vietnam about the time Stan had left Texas to go home in February 1972. Recently (Thanks to Google) Stan reconnected with his friend and learned that he served as an Armed Forces Vietnam (AFVN) news anchor on the Saigon television station that served the troops fighting there. (Think Robin Williams on "Good Morning Vietnam.")
He had the distinction of announcing the cessation of hostilities on military television, which eventually brought to a close a ten-year struggle that so profoundly affected so many young lives.
Here is a copy of the half-hour news broadcast, leading with the historic announcement. If you have some time, it is very interesting, filled with the news of the day, much of it taken from network television sources. The technology appears crude, graphics are primitive, but it is a priceless window into a moment in time, and a record of human sacrifice never truly appreciated.
Our thanks to Robert C. Morecook for preserving it and sending us the link.

 Bob's now 66, a professor of Psychology (GI Bill) in Houston and a volunteer with the Texas militia, mostly doing work during disasters, hurricanes. He's been married 22 years with four daughters (one step, one adopted, two foster).
A good man.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Saturday, May 25, 2013


These skinny Alaska grizzlies are just out of hibernation and very hungry, according to the note we got from the photographer. Which seemed to us to be a good reason to get the hell back on the bus, now!
(Sosie and Bill's adventure to Alaska continues after a train ride to Denali National Park, which they entered on their old people's $10 passes.)

Our baker has a bun

Precision scissor-work with sharp tools to make the
brown-bag drying sheets to cover with hot spritzes.
She came over with cookies on her brain, but she couldn't get her baker's hat on because her hair was up in a bun, an arrangement we don't remember seeing on her before.
Today's spritz disk choices.
(You squeeze dough through them.)

While Grandma got out the cookie utensils and rounded up the ingredients, Emily read the entire 62 pages of "Green Eggs and Ham" without stopping. We're not sure if she did it from memory, but we're delighted with her reading after her first year of school.
With the book back on the shelf, Emily set about to making the exact cookies she requested: Spritzes. No matter that these are a traditional Christmas cookie, Grandma was, of course, quite game for it anyway and got out her green and red food coloring, just for fun.
Soon the kitchen smelled of cookies and the counters were covered with brown bag sheets of cooling cookies. Emily looked over the project, sample in hand.
"I think these turned out pretty good," the apprentice said matter-of-factly, sounding just a bit adultish.

Her hair, and our spirits,
were up today.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Birthday in Northfield

Standing on the walking bridge over the raging Cannon River today, Jennifer slipped her mother a little box: Jade earrings from Monarch in downtown Northfield. The birthday girl had thought she was driving into Dundas this morning to surprise her daughter at Martha's Bakery. Turns out it was the other way around, with Jennifer conspiring with Stan for a day of fooling around eating and shopping in this sweet small town. Kathleen's ID got her a free birthday sandwich at Hogan Brothers and a free ice cream cone at the Bittersweet Cafe. Stan contented himself with holding purses and sweaters while Mother and Daughter tried on stuff, looked at trinkets, compared prices, browsed, and generally didn't actually buy very much, considering how much time was invested in the process. A perfect day all around, in other words. Final selections of the day were made at the Northstar Seed Nursery, where a case of ready-to-plant annuals was assembled, now that spring planting has finally started.
When we first arrived in downtown Northfield, a crowd had gathered on a bridge over the falls by the Cannon River. Police tape was drawn across the road, barring entrance. A huge crane dangled a bucket over the roiling waters. We feared the worst. As we neared the water's edge, we soon remembered that we were in a small town. The large throng had not gathered to witness some daring rescue or heroic deed -- they were just watching city crews cut up a tree that had lodged in the falls.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Northern Exposure to a reindeer breakfast

Sosie and Bill continue their travels in Alaska today, and send along this update:

Our travel group, including Tom and Mary Jo Smith and Bill's cousin Joe Cotton, had breakfast this morning at the Roadhouse Cafe in Talkeetna. The town and the cafe are the inspiration for the TV series "Northern Exposure." We walked to the river to see the ice break up and it sure looked like Minnesota to me. 

The picture (above) was taken by Xuanla Tan (right). She graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) in landscape architecture, worked three years in NYC and is seeing the rest of the USA before returning home to China, where she will live where the best job offer is. She proudly displays her reindeer breakfast casserole. 

A: Wasila; B: Talketna

Granite installed, but the wait continues

After two weeks without bathroom vanities and what seemed like longer than that, the master bathroom granite showed up on schedule today, fresh from the Shakopee polishing works. The boss man who measured the project got it just right, the boys delivering it today dropped them into his tight fit. They're screwing in the under-mount fittings for the sinks now. . . but the plumber is taking the Memorial Day weekend, so we'll continue our vanity vigil for another week.

Austin and Andrew (The "A" Team) eyeball the fit.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Springtime in Alaska

Eating an ice cream cone, astride an Alaska mosquito.
(Don't believe we've ever seen that sentence before.)
Sosie and Bill are touring Alaska today. Here's their report.

She writes:
Winter is finally over in Anchorage and it has been melting for two days, making it too early for mosquitoes so all is well. We stopped for ice cream north of Sarah P's house in Wasilla, west of the Until The Last Day Church, and south of Willow, where the Iditarod starts. We can see half of Mt McKinley, maybe more tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Shakopee tennis beats Mankato East, loses to Minnetonka

Ford's tennis team reached beyond any previous Shakopee tennis varsity when it beat Mankato East today in the Section Final Four, but then fell to the powerful Minnetonka netters. Minnetonka will go on to state competition as a team.
(Individuals will begin their quests for state honors shortly.)
It was a great run for the young Shakopee Sabers, which include stalwart eighth and ninth graders who, under the leadership of a great coaching staff, have pushed the envelope again, stunning fans with upsets and unexpected victories on the way to this singular achievement.
They'll be back again next year, extending the tennis dynasty for the glory of their school and hometown.
Congratulations Ford, we're proud of your work building the program and your team!
Two satisfied Shakopee taxpayers,
Aunt Katie and Uncle Stan

Ford Rolfsrud and his sister, Breck, are both Mankato East tennis alumni. Breck now serves as an assistant coach for East. Today their parents watched the siblings battle it out, remaining strictly neutral, of course. Another proud day for Mom and Dad, indeed.
Congratulations all!

The season's not over yet. They still have a chance to send a number of players to state. The individual tournament starts soon.

Happy Fortieth, Adam!

Cheers! Our nephew Adam (Becky and Al's son) blew out his candles on Friday. Photo is from his 2 for 1 event Friday. See blog at right for details.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Congratulations to our Watford City High graduate!

Here's your chance to congratulate Josh (Guy's son), go to the Keene Dome and see what all the excitement is about in western North Dakota. (Look out for the trucks.) Reception 5-7 p.m. May 26 in Keene.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Prom photo op

Pick a proud parent. That's ours standing on the right
Dinner with friends on Beard Avenue, photos at Minnehaha Creek, then a dance at the History Center in St. Paul. It's prom night for Southwest High and Maxwell and his friend Laura were part of it.

(Grandma is wearing
Vera Wang too.)
Our grandson was stunning in his Vera Wang tuxedo and shiny shoes... and Laura was lovely in her full length gown.

Fun for parents too!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Prom preparations

Matthew Giovinetti,  Match/cut productions.  
Our daughter Marcelline watches her son Maxwell fitting for tomorrow night's Southwest High prom. There's a photo opportunity for Grandparents at 5:45. We'll be there.

Ford's Shakopee varsity tennis upsets Eden Prairie!

Photos by Uncle Stan
Senior Captain Sean Bowerman returns a volley in yesterday's semis. 
He's older than most of the lads on Ford's amazing team, which 
includes talented and motivated freshmen and eighth graders.
Two of Ford's eighth graders beat upperclassmen yesterday.
Read the story, below.
Old foe vanquished by upstart Sabers
Will face Mankato East at Final Four next Tuesday!

By Todd Abeln -- Shakopee Valley News Scoreboard

A great season got even better on Thursday afternoon for the Shakopee boys tennis team.

The Sabers advanced to the Class 2A, Section 2 final four on Thursday when they defeated Eden Prairie 4-3 for the first time in school history.

It was a nail-biter for Coach Ford Rolfsrud yesterday as 
his boys tied the match, then took it all. With seven 
courts to watch simultaneously, there's action everywhere.
The No. 3-seeded Sabers won the third set at No. 1 doubles to top the Eagles. Eden Prairie had defeated Shakopee 5-2 during the regular season.

With the match tied at 3-3, everyone turned their attention to the No. 1 doubles match that had Shakopee freshmen Steffon Mitchell and Raghu Inturi take on Eden Prairie seniors Branson Wetmore and David Hagberg.

They split the first two sets with Mitchell and Inturi winning the first set 6-4 and Wetmore and Hagberg grabbing the second set, 3-6.

Coach Ford with his five-year volunteer assistant
Kevin Hamlin.  If you work hard, you can win,
coach says.
With the other six matches complete and all eyes on them Mitchell and Inturi topped the Eden Prairie seniors 6-3 to win the third set and clinch the victory for the Sabers.

That win sends the Sabers into Tuesday's section final four along with Minnetonka, Hutchinson and Mankato East.

Those matches will be played at Gustavus Adolphus College beginning at 9 a.m. with the championship matches taking place soon afterward.

Shakopee will play Mankato East in the section semifinals. [Ford played for Mankato East during his high school years there.]

In the win against Eden Prairie, Shakopee eighth-grader Jackson Allen topped Eden Prairie senior Salem Bachour 6-2, 7-5 and another eighth-grader, Alex Exsted, won 6-2, 6-2 against junior Kevin Bu.

The other point won by Shakopee came at No. 2 doubles where seniors Griffen Anderson and Sean Bowerman won 6-1, 6-4.

Eden Prairie won at No. 2 and 3 and No. 3 doubles in straight sets.
Ford's former doubles partner at Mankato East dropped by to
support his old pal, but that's as far as it went. Tony Schmidt
now lives in Eden Prairie, works for Signa and is an EP Eagle
through and through. The two went to school together from
K-12 and 5 years of college. They were each other's best man
at their weddings. As doubles partners, they went to state twice in
 High School and were teammates for four years in college
as well. Tuesday Ford takes on their alma mater, where
his sister is now the assistant varsity coach. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gorgeous in Dallas

Those of you worried about the Fort Worth tornadoes last night should know that Lorlee is fine in nearby Dallas. Here's a fresh look at her house and its surrounding landscape. The new retiree finally has sufficient time to cultivate her magnificent garden and already the results are showing. There's a daily flower show on her Facebook page.

Lorlee writes: We had heavy rain in Dallas -- which we really needed. The tornado hit about 80 miles to the SW. My college roommate just moved from that area in February.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Change of Command, PIO, HHC, 13th Spt Bde, 20 May 1971

One of the duties of Stan's Army Newspaper Job (Public Information Office, Headquarters Company, 13th Support Brigade, Ft. Hood, Texas) was covering significant Brigade Change of Command Ceremonies. Important changes got pretty elaborate, with troops marching around and presenting colors and other razzmatazz. We dutifully photographed and reported these august events to the Post Newspaper, the Armored Sentinel.
So it should come as no surprise that when Specialist Fourth-Class Kenneth Fortenberry (above, right), then acting as the non-commmissioned officer in charge of the section, exited the Army on May 21, 1971, that a ceremony suitable to the occasion was mocked up for the camera. We didn't have the usual unit flag to hand over, so a blue editor's pencil was substituted and presented to the new chief (Stan) on the left. He ran the unit until February 20, 1972, reporting on dozens more unit events.
A photograph of this goofy event surfaced this week when Specialist Four Robert C. Morecock, now a psychologist and Lieutenant Colonel in Houston, Googled his old Army buddy to renew old times. He sent Stan a trove of memorabilia, (more on that later) along with best wishes, and this photo.
The guy in the center wearing the fake Brigadier General stars is Specialist Pieper. We have no idea where he is today, but had fun speculating.
This photo was forwarded to Mr. Fortenberry in North Carolina where he and his wife own a newspaper. He was suitably amused as well.
Three months after we took this photo of  the office rookie interviewing Col.
Fred Frog, Bob Morecock was ordered to Vietnam, serving at the Armed Forces
Network, Saigon, anchoring the evening news broadcast. A historic clip
of him announcing the cessation of hostilities is now on YouTube.
(For those of you who notice these things, yes, Morecock has his
steel pot on backwards.)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ford's tennis team is conference champion

Coach Rolfsrud
"Most successful season ever!"

For the first time in school history, Shakopee is the Missota Conference champion in boys tennis. Our nephew, Head Coach Ford Rolfsrud, has definitely hit his stride in bringing the Shakopee boys tennis program into its own. When he took over the reins of the team a few years back, there was little to brag about. Now look what's happening!

Here's a taste from the Shakopee Valley News web site. (Ford's Uncle Stan, it must be noted here, is the publisher emeritus of that fine product.)

SHAKOPEE BOYS TENNISSabers tennis gets No. 3 seed

By Todd Abeln

It is playoff time in boys tennis.

For the Shakopee boys tennis team, they are looking to continue their most successful season ever with a long run to the state tournament.

The Sabers earned the No. 3 seed in the Class 2A, Section 2 North Subsection that begins on Tuesday.

With that seed, Shakopee will face No. 6 seed Prior Lake at home on Tuesday.

Minnetonka got the No. 1 seed followed by Eden Prairie at No. 2. Shakopee defeated Minnetonka earlier in the year 4-3.

If the Sabers should get by Prior Lake, they would face Eden Prairie or Chanhassen on Thursday at the high seeded home court.

The section semifinals and finals will take place at Gustavus Adolphus College on May 21.

Shakopee ended its regular season with three matches on Saturday at home.

The Sabers defeated Minneapolis Washburn but lost to Buffalo 3-4 and Jefferson 1-6.

In the win against Washburn, Shakopee swept all four singles matches with Raja Arul, Ulrick Boyogueno, Alex Exsted and Raghu Inturi getting the wins. Brady Pudwill and Brandon Lehn won 4-6, 2-6, 12-10 at No. 2 doubles for the fifth match win.

Against Buffalo, the Sabers got straight set wins from Boyogueno, Arul and Exsted in singles competition.

The lone point against Jefferson was picked up by Exsted at No. 4 singles who won 6-1, 6-2.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Carpet layer ready to take off. . .

When Al introduced himself this morning, he told us that he's come to our house three times over the years to install new carpet. We didn't believe he could remember such a thing that far back, but then he described the pattern in the basement carpet that he put down 12 years ago, even remembered the Norman Rockwell newspaper office picture hanging on the wall at the time. He added that there was some concern that there might not be enough of the carpet to finish the job (there was).
Further, he remembered that our living room carpet used to be a frosty grape shade. He replaced that in 2006.
Incredible memory. Good carpet layer. Showed up on time and finished our master bedroom and closet in just three hours, even making time for a persistent photographer. We know his seams are good, our house is full of them. We took time to admire some of his previous work.
This may be the last time Al lays any carpet here though. . . he's just finished four years of flight school and he's ready for a new career.
Best of luck to him and thanks a lot!

Suspense, tension, syncopation

Steve at work in his closet studio.
There it is, Steve's first movie credit.
Production has reached a point that the film editors have applied credits to the Christmas movie our nephew works on daily in his Chicago Avenue closet studio. Look, there it is as the movie opens, "Music by Stephen Letnes" flashes on the screen. Very cool.
Steve is still creating some last minute riffs and tweaks for the project, scheduled for release around Christmas time in a theater near you. The "Boot Camp for Santa Claus" children's flick is replete with Steve's work, the balance of it now created in his Minneapolis condo.
Yesterday we listened to a snip of some syncopated mood music he wrote that adds tension and suspense to a scene where a kid is sneaking around in a darkened room. Great fun. Great, rich orchestrations.
He loves the snappy response he gets from his new computer setup and demonstrated some features for his roommate, Danny, who was also suitably impressed.
Danny has heard a lot of sound coming out of the closet recently. 
Steve shows him how it all fits together.