Sunday, June 30, 2013


We delivered a roast beef and mashed potatoes dinner to Dan's place today and were joined by two of his nieces for Dan's 75th birthday celebration dinner. Homemade angel food cake was garnished with fresh strawberries from the Midtown Global Market downstairs. We left enough dinner and fixings for Dan and roommate Steve to enjoy for at least another day. Dan had hoped the Minnesota Twins could have delivered a victory for him on his birthday, they lost, then Dan was reminded that his birthday is actually tomorrow, so he's got another chance for a birthday win . . . against the New York Yankees.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dundas Day

Jen (above in the Superman T-shirt) and Joe removed more insulation, plaster and lath from the Dundas house today. Here's the evidence. We dropped by this morning for coffee and quiche at Martha's. It was Dundas Days and there was a pancake breakfast and Draft Horse rides and a sign dedication. There's a street dance tonight, but somehow we doubt Jen and Joe will make it.

Attention Kmart shoppers. . .

Kathleen has been looking for this classic Granite-ware roasting pan ever since she gave her huge one away to the Vietnam Vets 13 years ago, because it would not fit in her new oven. She's looked for a smaller version in Macy's, Kohl's, Target, even Williams Sonoma, but to no avail.  (It's just a $15 item). Granite-ware (which has no granite in it, but has speckled paint to make it look like granite) is made of porcelain and steel, browns better, is dishwasher safe, lasts a lifetime and is made in the U.S.A. What could be better? Today, on a hunch, we checked out the Dundas Kmart and were thrilled to find it on our first pass through Housewares, positioned just beyond the Paula Deen cookware display. We chose the nicely-sized 15-pound model.
Dan, young at 74,
chillin' to Floyd Cramer -- on vinyl of course.
It's home now, washed and standing by for its first assignment: a roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy dinner in honor of Kathleen's brother Danny tomorrow.
We'll deliver the hot beef and fixings still in the new roasting pan, Meals on Wheels style, for his 75th Birthday celebration. We think Dan's old favorite family dinner will taste just like the one his mother used to make in her Granite-ware roasting pan.
Thank you Kmart.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Blueberry tip

Scott's on the phone as he reloads.
Scott showed up at 8 a.m. sharp this morning to replace the window Saturday Golfer Wes busted with a nasty slice off No. 14 a couple weeks ago. Scott went right to work on our $280 project, with a cellphone still in one ear, talking to other unlucky clients. He's been doing this for 21 years and when he was done here he went two doors away to look at our neighbor's situation.
Scott loves blueberries, even grows his own blueberry bushes, which is a good thing, because Kathleen just happened to make blueberry muffins with extra blueberries this morning. Scott took his warm helping to go, he's already on to the next job.
Here's a link to his web site if you're ever in need. . .

Thursday, June 27, 2013

As seen from the car window on Humboldt Ave

It's nice to know that if the girls ever lose their jobs, they'll have something useful to fall back on. (This is the pose they took as we drove away from the party.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gone native

A little sunshine goes a long way after a season-long drenching. Exotic and colorful rose hybrids and teas, discarded here long ago, have taken firm root on the pond bank. Their commercially grafted branches are gone so the plants have reverted to their native untended state, producing this perennial display of wild red roses for us to enjoy. They now thrive without care, hidden from public view by a huge Black Hills Spruce.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Grandpa Paul Brown

Cousin Faith writes from Texas:
Greetings to you both on this summer day.
I made my grandson a copy of the attached photo that I found of my grandpa, Paul Manley Brown. He is the short one next to the coach! If I remember correctly, he was shorter than Grandma Brown (Jessie) who was about 5' 8". Picture was made in Champaign, IL. Thought this might interest you too.

Paul Brown (Stan's grandfather) graduated from the University of Illinois in 1906. Then he set out by horse and buggy from Aberdeen, SD. with his cousin Frank Brown. They crossed the Missouri (at Everts?) and followed the rail trail.
The bridge over the Missouri River at Mobridge was not completed until 1907 after which the train could come to Hettinger, North Dakota, and westward. On their trip, Paul Brown stopped in Bison and made arrangements to establish an abstract office. From there he went north to Hettinger and built a temporary office. 1907 saw the influx of homesteaders and he became a locater--he aided the homesteaders in identifying their land and filing the necessary papers. His business was firmly established by 1908.

Paul Brown married Jessie Wendelken May 7, 1908 and settled in Hettinger.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Storm art

Photos by Michelle Loeffler
Roommates Dan and Steve are fine. Tucked safely in their 10th Floor Aerie, they watched Saturday morning's violent storm raise havoc beneath them on the debris-strewn streets of Minneapolis. Meanwhile, upstairs on the 14th Floor party plaza, the unruly, uninvited guest was throwing chairs around, creating this somewhat artsy window rendering.
Xcel Energy reports that this weekend's power outage is the state's worst ever, with over a half million homes without power at the outset.
"If we can get any kind of break from Mother Nature tomorrow. . . we can put a serious dent in the last 112,000," the earnest spokesman promised. We listened with a bit of pride to every word the power company spokesman was saying, not because it is all that interesting, but because it came directly from Tom Hoen, Stan's former employee, golf partner and long-time sports editor at the Chaska Herald.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Graduate celebrates with family and friends

Photos by Beate Heide
Maxwell's Mom and Aunts
Missy, Marcy, Jennifer and Max
Last night violent storms toppled trees, shut off power, cut the internet and generally made a mess of things, but the organizers of Maxwell Harrison Hien Ho Tong's graduation party persevered through the chaos. By this afternoon near perfection had returned to John and Kim's back yard near Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. (Max's Aunt and Uncle.)
Grandma, Dad and Max
at the buffet
Max with his cousin Jade
The traffic lights were out on the way there and we worried about refrigeration, but Maxwell's caterers had an emergency generator so all was in order. A huge tree had uprooted in a neighbor's front yard last night, but now an orderly display of international flags fluttered in a gentle breeze at Max's party.
About a hundred guests wished a gracious Maxwell good luck in his future endeavors. . . and deposited cash and gifts with him as well.
A couple of Rolfsruds drove from Mankato, but the award for the farthest journey went, of course, to Unni and Beate, visiting from Norway, and enjoying this cultural event as well as the ample buffet with Asian treats and homemade confections.
Mr. Party was there too.
Midway through the party electricity was restored to the neighborhood, turning the air conditioning back on and triggering a raucous burglar alarm nearby, as though to notify everyone that things will be getting back to normal soon.

Hostess Kim An (center) greeted guests outside her
beautiful Minneapolis home.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Kicked out of First National

Beate and Unni 
Steve treats a couple fans
to a demo.
The most exciting part of the day just may have been meeting a real live music composer in a real live closet studio. Or maybe it was enjoying the savories and quiche with Jennifer at Martha's Bakery.  (Martha did make a personal appearance at our table.)
The Correct Bank
Old Main at St. Olaf was a highlight too, high over the Cannon River, begging to be photographed.
But we needed to further clarify and certify the Jesse James Northfield Raid saga which has met with some misfortune on this otherwise precisely constructed blog.
We found the correct bank around the corner from the Post Office and sure enough there were the two bullet holes marked with circles. But true authentication came from the young leader of a sidewalk tour group, costumed in a full-length print dress, giving chapter and verse to the whole story, the perfect summer job. Did you know they only got $26 in the raid? The horse was shot over there.
Group Leader
When she finally invited her little group into the restored bank, we just naturally blended in with them, eager to see the inner workings of this historic place -- its reputation known even to Norwegians.
As our gang crossed the threshold, we were addressed directly by the group leader.
"Were you here at the beginning of the tour?" she asked the gang. She already knew her own answer, of course, and then it dawned on us too. She wanted some money.
We exited faster than Cole Younger and Jesse James.
Ten years ago Mom hosted Beate and Unni at her Alexandria home.
They visited her in Bloomington today.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Norwegians are here. . .

This akavit cleared customs, adding authenticity to their visit, the agent
remarked. Norwegians always seem to bring some for their hosts, he mused.
They arrived on time tonight on Icelandair at Terminal 2, bearing gifts and full of plans for a three-week adventure in the USA. Norwegians Beate and Unni were here 10 years ago and remember plenty about their last visit. They even stayed one night in Alexandria with Mom, and she put them up in her Motel Six Kids. Unni remembers seeing Big Ole there in the actual "Birthplace of America." We spent a delightful evening reviving old times.
It's now the middle of the night, their time, but they are wired and not ready for bed yet. Tomorrow morning we'll drive to Northfield for breakfast at Jen's Dundas bakery, a stop at St. Olaf College and a Jesse James experience (????!) and then north for a visit to the City of Lakes, while we drop off some chairs and equipment for Maxwell's Saturday afternoon graduation party. We may stop at the Midtown Exchange for a personal interview with an honest-to-goodness music composer laboring in his closet studio.
Sunday night the Norwegians depart for Seattle on the Empire Builder, then points north. Accustomed to European trains, they've never experienced Amtrak. They will return to Iowa and then Minneapolis by rental car, driving through western North Dakota to see our relatives and the Bakken Shale oil boom towns. Last time they were at the Rolfsrud Ranch, they helped brand some calves and neuter the boys. Unni still remembers the smell of burnt hide. What new excitement will this year bring?
Is there someone who is shorter than Kathleen?
Results tonight were inconclusive. We can't convert meters.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Heaven's view of No. 2, site of Virg's moment of perfection.
Virg (Stan's little brother) shot a hole-in-one today at the beautiful downhill Par 3 No. 2 at his Bent Creek Golf Course in Eden Prairie. It's 116 yards from the white tees. Virg shot a 37 on the front nine. We don't know where he teed it, what he used or how much it cost him back at the club house. We do, however, have a copy of the scorecard below, which indicates there were four witnesses. Congratulations, Virg!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Season finale at Field No. 4

Is this really how Joe Mauer got his start?

Despite ominous team names, we somehow got a break in the weather tonight: The Eden Prairie Golden Thunder battled the Chanhassen Storm on a perfect evening for baseball.

This year Emily is swinging at thrown pitches, no more tee ball. Innings last for three outs or four runs, whichever occurs first. 
Run like the wind, Emily!

Teams are made up of first and second graders.

Mom gets plastered

We're setting up Mom for an ankle brace to slip inside her shoe. It will help her walk better as she propels herself around the house and soon, we are sure, down the sidewalk in front of Kell. Today a plaster cast was constructed on the spot by Dennis the Orthotist, so that he can quickly make a proper insert for her.
Dennis showed up with a full kit today and went right to work. Before you knew it, he was cutting the hardened mold off her foot, a perfect replica of her right ankle. It was all very exciting. . . and educational too, as we learned a lot about the joints that make mobility possible.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A dirty job. . .

Team player. . . breakfast at noon today. . . full speed ahead by 2 p.m.
A dormer added about 70 years ago has complicated
the situation in this 100 year old house.
By the time we got there at noon today, Jen and Joe had already spent two days gutting the upstairs at Jen's Dundas home. This was the first weekend they had free since the weather turned and they made the most of it.
Stan joined the pair for some ripping and tearing and hauling, filling the garage with bags of debris and leaving the house at least two tons lighter than it was last week.
The rafters are open to view now so an assessment can be made as to the next move in this long-term fixer-upper project.
We're not sure what happens next, when we find out, we'll tell you.

First the plaster, then the insulation, then the lath.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Breaking news

For the first time in 12 years a golfer has found a path under the defending pergola to smash our front window. Wes teed off from No. 14 at about 11 a.m. today, torquing a banana slice into the right middle pane. The angle of entry required didn't leave Wes's drive enough momentum to penetrate both panes, so the smithereens remained outside the house. The immense bang from the sudden release of inert gas scared the bejesus out of Kathleen and could be heard throughout the neighborhood. Kathleen quickly gathered her senses and a pencil and paper to meet a sheepish, apologetic golfer for a polite conversation in the back yard. Wes said he was having a really good round up until now and didn't know what had happened. Tell that to Sergio Garcia. He shot a 10 on No. 15 at the U.S. Open today.
We're not sure how this is all going to end up, we'll let the professionals take it from here.
The souvenir ball is still at large.

Late breakfast. . .

The best thing was that none of the strawberry sauce or triple berry syrup got on the little girl's outfit. 
It was too late for breakfast anywhere else this morning, fortunately Emily remembered "Perkins!" just in time. Not that Grandma wouldn't make her breakfast, but at the moment she was back at the house busy sweeping up shards of glass from the first errant golf ball in 12 years. 
The miscreant had identified himself to the firm homeowner . . . he'll pay the deductible and work to improve his swing.  Meantime, back at Perkins, our first grader did very well on Grandpa's obnoxious scale; Photo Booth provided the entertainment while we waited to split a Belgian waffle, bacon and two eggs over medium. Then we got home to hear Grandma's story.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Oh oh

Kathleen took her yellow VW bug to the dealer today for a recall on a faulty window system. It's a four hour ordeal, fortunately she has a good book. She did, however, find time to text this photo, without comment, of a convertible parked in the showroom.
Very pretty. Very Porsche.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Really? You've got to be kidding. . .

Just when the lawnmowers and leaf blowers shut down for the day, the evening shift takes over. Somebody's children in a neighborhood near here got a go-kart and now they're bent on making the Abbey Point cul-de-sac their summer dirt track. It's all very cute, of course, until you remember how irritating it is, and the tragedy and heartbreak you would be hung with for the rest of your life if you should crash into it while driving home.
The go-kart makes regular appearances, speeding through the neighborhood streets, and if no one says anything it will doubtless become a permanent nuisance.
So now what?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Scratch and Dent weren't available. . .

Nick and Shane probably don't have a gym membership. Don't need
one. Today they carried, not rolled, our new fridge into the house,
remarking that it was relatively light as fridges go.
 Nick and Shane muscled our new refrigerator into place this afternoon and hauled off the noisy old Amana that made our ice cream go soft. The replacement was overdue and, further, today's delivery puts an end to the long-running discussion over whether to repair or replace it. All the while, the old girl vibrated more like a leaf blower than a proper kitchen appliance.
Shoes on. Out with the old.
The shiny new one weighs about 300 pounds, according to Shane, which means that they're splitting the entire weight between their broad backs as they walk it gently through the openings. (Photos) In the good old days when Stan delivered refrigerators and pool tables and such for Arvid Benson Furniture and Appliance in Moorhead, Minnesota, they used straps and two-wheeled appliance carts to ram the washers and dryers into place. No more. Too many marred floors, apparently.
Using a patented harness of straps and pads, Nick and Shane humped the carcass up the walk and through the door, swinging the load between them, automatically pausing to remove their shoes, unprompted.
"This is much easier than delivering to a split level," they mused.
In with the new.
Shoes off.
While switching the door handle from left to right, their sweaty palms touched the stainless steel front and left stains behind, thus igniting a debate as to the best way to clean up stainless steel.
Windex? Soap and water?
"No, use Orange Pledge on the whole door and wipe it," Nick advised. "Call the store if it doesn't work great."
Question to readers: What do you use on your stainless? We use Windex.
Question to Shane: Have you ever seen the movie? No, he said, "but I have heard of it. I am going to see it some time."
Question to Nick: Would you trust your new furniture to a man named Nick?

It's a relative thing. . .

If you watched the Today show this morning you may have seen author Carl Hiassen shopping his latest book, "Bad Monkey." According to our Cousin Arnold Rolfsrud, who researches these things, Carl Hiaasen is a distant relative of ours on the paternal side. He's Norwegian, etc. There's a homestead near the traditional Rolfsrud place in Norway by that name. That's all we know. Otherwise, we don't know Carl. Just sayin'.
According to,
Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, where he still lives with his incredibly tolerant family and numerous personal demons.
A graduate of the University of Florida, at age 23 he joined The Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for the paper's weekly magazine and later its prize-winning investigations team. Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a regular column, which at one time or another has pissed off just about everybody in South Florida, including his own bosses. He has outlasted almost all of them, and his column still appears on most Sundays in The Herald's opinion-and-editorial section. It may be viewed online at or in the actual printed edition of the newspaper, which, miraculously, is still being published.
For his journalism and commentary, Hiaasen has received numerous state and national honors, including the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club. His work has also appeared in many well-known magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Time, Life, Esquire and, most improbably, Gourmet.
In the early 1980s, Hiaasen began writing novels with his good friend and distinguished journalist, the late William D. Montalbano. Together they produced three mystery thrillers -- Powder Burn, Trap Line and Double Whammy -- which borrowed heavily from their own reporting experiences.
Tourist Season, published in 1986, was Hiaasen's first solo novel. GQ magazine called it "one of the 10 best destination reads of all time," although it failed to frighten a single tourist away from Florida, as Hiaasen had hoped it might. His next effort, Double Whammy, was the first (and possibly the only) novel about sex, murder and corruption on the professional bass-fishing circuit.
Since then, Hiaasen has published nine others -- Skin Tight, Native Tongue, Strip Tease, Stormy Weather, Lucky You, Sick Puppy, Basket Case, Skinny Dip, The Downhill Lie and Nature Girl. Hiaasen made his children's book debut with Hoot (2002), which was awarded a Newbery Honor and spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller lists. For young readers he went on to write the bestselling Flush (2005) and, most recently Scat (January 2009). The film version of Hoot was released in 2006, directed by Wil Shriner and produced by Jimmy Buffett and Frank Marshall. ("Hoot" is now available on DVD).
Hiaasen is also responsible for Team Rodent (1998), a wry but unsparing rant against the Disney empire and its creeping grip on the American entertainment culture. In 2008, Hiaasen came back to nonfiction with The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. The book chronicles his harrowing and ill-advised reacquaintance with golf after a peaceful, 32-year absence.
Together, Hiaasen's novels have been published in 34 languages, which is 33 more than he is able to read or write. Still, he has reason to believe that all the foreign translations are brilliantly faithful to the original work. The London Observer has called him "America's finest satirical novelist," while Janet Maslin of the New York Times has compared him to Preston Sturges, Woody Allen and S.J. Perelman. Hiaasen re-reads those particular reviews no more than eight or nine times a day.
To prove that he doesn't just make up all the sick stuff in his fiction, Hiaasen has also published two collections of his newspaper columns, Kick A** and Paradise Screwed, both courageously edited by Diane Stevenson and faithfully kept in print by the University Press of Florida.
One of Hiaasen's previous novels, Strip Tease, became a major motion-picture in 1996 starring Demi Moore, and directed by Andrew Bergman. Despite what some critics said, Hiaasen continues to insist that the scene featuring Burt Reynolds slathered from his neck to his toes with Vaseline is one of the high points in modern American cinema.