Sunday, September 29, 2013

Breakfast at Laurie's

French toast bake, bacon and sausage, muffins and fruit chunks
No NFL picks from St. Paul Katie today. You're on your own. So far this afternoon, the Vikings are giving the Brits a good show. New quarterback Matt Cassel looks promising. We can hope.
Instead of Canterbury Park, Stan and Katie enjoyed breakfast at Laurie's today, where there was a beautiful spread and a lot of catching up to do, with Laurie just back from a trip to California where she visited the Getty, among other things, and had a great time.
Birdie is a favorite at Laurie's table as well, er, under the table anyway. Later on, outside she found a baby snapping turtle that provided a bit of excitement.

This tiny snapping turtle was never in any danger.
Birdie has no idea what to do with prey.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

What's in your backyard?

Karl and Sue in front of  Haystack Rock
In 1969 our friends, Karl and Sue Tegland, left Minnesota to begin a new life in the Seattle area. They found new friends, established their careers, raised two sons, took vacations . . . but never spent much time enjoying the nearby spectacular Oregon coast. Until now.
Here's a photograph of the couple strolling Cannon Beach, during a recent leisurely six-day adventure on the iconic coastline.
William Clark (of the Lewis and Clark expedition) described it as "...the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in front of a boundless Ocean..."
It was time, Karl and Sue. Good for you.

Photo Credit: Lincoln County News

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ella Jean Sixkiller

A new Grandma admires her grandchild.
Ella Jean Sixkiller was born at 11:50 p.m. Sept. 23. Carol Engstrom Lussier is Stan's high school classmate and long-time friend. She and her husband Gary proudly announced this little addition to their family today.
(We have no idea what Carol Jean's cast is about.)
Congratulations, Gary and Carol. Oh. And parents Leah and Jesse too.

An anniversary in St. Paul

Thirty-three years ago today, Stanley Hilding Rolfsrud wed Kathleen Neilson Blethen under a spreading maple tree in Lake Ann Park, Chanhassen.
The marriage has proved to be more durable than the maple.
While it is true that older people tend to arrive early for just about everything, it was yesterday's beautiful weather that inspired the couple to celebrate their anniversary a day early. Really.
They spent the day in St. Paul, Kathleen's birthplace, revisiting favorite haunts and neighborhoods. Although Kathleen hasn't lived in the saintly city for more than 40 years, she still considers herself a St. Paul girl, and entertains a fantasy that she'll someday live there again.
Stan has agreed that attaining St. Paul is a worthy goal, and if a mansion on Summit Avenue isn't in reach, then perhaps someday a nice handicap-accessible condo near Lexington and University, close enough to the new light rail line so that Kathleen can wheel him on to it for a day trip to the ball park.
We all must dream.
For the time being, a road trip to the Como Park conservatory and zoo, a drive around Lake Como, and lunch at Cafe Latte on Grand Avenue will just have to suffice.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Stan shoots an Eagle

Photo by Tom Story
Stan with his eyewitness, celebrating at the CreeksBend 19th hole.
Greg's credentials are impeccable. He was a member of  the First Lutheran
Church in Alexandria --  where he and Stan never missed Sunday School.
No one in the threesome actually saw it happen. Sun, shadows and old eyes prevented clear observation of this singularly rare event. So when Stan approached the flag on the Par 5 No. 9 at New Prague's CreeksBend Golf Course and didn't see his ball today, the first place he looked was on the back side of the green. Victimized by ill-founded optimism many times before, he didn't want to jinx himself. So it was his playing partner, Greg Johnson, who actually discovered the ball down in the cup.
"Eagle," he declared simply, looking up, flagstick in hand.
Neighbor Tom Story and Stan have been out together many times in the past, but this was the first time either had played with Stan's childhood friend. Greg and Stan grew up in Alexandria, attending the same church and graduating from high school together. He was Mayo and Pearl's kid.
Greg was promptly awarded an assist for Stan's Eagle. Greg wears a handy-dandy range-finding Garmin (Costco, $149) on his left wrist and therefore was able to tell Stan that he was positioned exactly 113 yards from the pin on his third stroke, which happens to be the perfect distance for Stan's nine iron -- when he hits it properly and all the planets are in alignment.
Besides golf, some talk today was about Vietnam, where both Tom and Greg served in areas not too far distant. Then there was old home stuff: Greg took piano from Stan's Dad, hated it. Skipped out by steering his bicycle in the wrong direction on his way to the dreaded lessons. In Junior High, it was learned today, Greg and Stan were both asked out on separate occasions by the same really cute girl. Dumbfounded, both had dropped the ball.
Stories and laughter abounded, making it clear that it's not about the golf or the occasional accidental Eagle. It's about the beautiful fall day, lasting friendships and good times spent together.
Personal footnote to Stan's sister Sosie:
An Eagle is a good thing that happens very rarely in golf. On a Par 5, you have five hits of the ball to get the ball in the hole and that's a good thing if you do (Par for the course). If you get the ball in the hole in just four hits, that's called a Birdie and that's a very good thing. However, if you get the ball in the hole in just three hits, that's an Eagle and that's a very, very good thing. Actually, it's more an accident than skill, but we like to think of it as pure skill nonetheless, and worthy of accolades and congratulations. So go ahead.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Some artwork would be nice.
Charley Ries left so fast today we didn't get a chance to take his picture. But our old family friend and carpenter did a bang up job installing two new countertops, base shoe, crown moulding and a clothes basket shelf, bringing the laundry room just a few touch-ups away from completion.
He rang the doorbell at 7:45 a.m. and left by eleven.
It was fun working with Charley again. Over the past 30 years he's done a lot of work for the newspaper company, mostly shelves, partitions, work tables, cabinets, archival storage and other oddments that the general manager dreamed up. The former Shakopee fire chief is a man of many talents and a willing and practical problem solver. Ten years ago he built a shoe cabinet with drawers and a CD player nook beside our mud room door. We tossed the CD player and the nook and installed a new matching top today. We'll show you that home improvement as soon as we get the wall painted.
Charley once blew out an entire fuse box while pulling down some light fixtures during an office remodel, shutting down the entire operation. So we called him "Sparky."
He was always patient, precise and quality-conscious. He still is.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Today's NFL winners

Kathleen (who got six of eight last week) predicts these winners: Noon kickoffs; home games are in boldface.
Somebody won last week. Today's pot is $1000.
.666 percent  on the year

Minnesota (Last week she correctly picked Chicago.)
Green Bay
St. Louis
New England
New Orleans
New York Giants
Uff da. Katie missed 5 out of 9 today, getting only four correct. Better luck next week. :(

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Everybody had the same idea

 Photos by Stan Rolfsrud
We don't usually spend much time at the Renaissance Festival any more. Get there early on a promising day, grab a couple of popovers with honey butter and look over the usual selection of pots, jewels, jesters, bosoms and loudmouths.

It was a spectacularly crisp and gorgeous day. Sixty degrees, dry and sunny. MMM.
We watched a glass-blower create a large three-legged vase and even learned a bit about this arcane craft. Did you know that a glass-blower doesn't really have to blow that much? Heat constantly expands air so if he just blocks the hollow tube with his lips, the trapped air on the other end heats up and expands the glass bulb for him. Interesting, we thought.
We looked for a suitable vase for the bathroom. Didn't find one.
After our quick tour of the premises to be sure everything was in its usual place, we departed at noon and were aghast to meet oncoming throngs on all the feeder roads leading into the fair, hoping for a spot in the Queen's free parking lot. It was such a nice day, people crawling along in their cars didn't even appear to be grumpy yet. Two hapless Redi-Mix truck drivers trapped in the mile-long left-turn-lane lineup on County Road 78 may have had some opinions to share, but maybe it was all in a day's work for them. Locals should know to stay away on weekends.
We haven't seen it this choked up since a delighted King George Coulam declared the Festival to be full up, sold out, closed one fine Saturday afternoon in the 70s. He told Stan it was the best thing he could do for business. The word would get out and even more would come the next day.
Based on today's observations, they're still coming.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Red Wing connection

Chocoholics on Kell Avenue were excited to learn that a prized shipment from the Red Wing Confectionary would be dead dropped at the Crave restaurant in Edina today. True to their word, our suppliers, Larry and Carolyn Veeder, arrived as promised and we immediately secured the stash in a plain brown shopping bag: handmade Turtles and Sea Salt Caramels -- two boxes in dark chocolate, one in milk chocolate, were swiftly tucked away.
That connection complete, there was ample time for a leisurely chat over lunch.
Under old business, we learned more about the mansion Larry sketched years ago. Cindy from Worthington had recently purchased one of the old prints and was curious about it. She tracked the artist down through this blog, you read about it here. Anyway, it turns out that the mansion is on Third Street in Red Wing, is sitll occupied and Larry drew it so long ago he has no idea when he did it. They've now responded by email to Cindy, so she's up to date too. She said she'd like to see the building some day just for fun. Sounds like a road trip to Red Wing! Fall colors anyone?
Blue Buttes photo by Marty Kuefler on Flikr.
Can't wait to see Larry's rendition.
Under new business, Larry has completed a painting of the famed Blue Buttes near Keene, North Dakota. The custom painting was ordered last month by his cousin Harold and Marilyn Rolfsrud, who have farmed near the Buttes for decades. Larry grew up in the neighborhood, so is quite familiar with the subject. Larry, Harold and Stan's grandparents, Nils and Rebecca Rolfsrud, homesteaded the land in 1904. The landscape painting will be personally delivered soon, an instant heirloom, if that's possible.
The handmade chocolate samples were well-received later today at Kell Avenue, with Benita and Curt getting first dibs, while Mom, tuckered from exercises earlier today, napped in a nearby chair.
You snooze, you lose, Mom.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Simple, somber sweetness from Steve's Studio

The composer, at left, with Cousins Marcy and Jennifer.
The newest music to emerge from the 10th Floor Studio in the Midtown Lofts surprised us with its mellow tone and pensive phrasing. You gotta hear it.
Our nephew, Steve Letnes, just released "The Long Goodbye," a poignant and wistful melding of piano and cello that sets a sweet mood evoking thoughts of vulnerability, never-forgotten love, regrets and a road not taken. To us, anyway. 
One listener wondered publicly as to whether Steve's Uncle Virg or his Uncle Stephen had been volunteered to supply the cello lines. No, neither one had, the composer has assured us. The cello you hear is a software creation, a very reliable source of musical magic. No help was needed from anyone outside his tightly-wired closet studio to create the simple, yet magnificent opus. 
This comes as a relief to all of us, certainly to his uncles, who put down their cellos long ago to take up other pursuits. Now press "Play" and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Three eligibles. . .

Kathleen and Stan hosted these three Norwegian bachelors tonight, mixing a little tax business with a lot of fun. Glen and Claude Bragstad joined brother Virg for cocktails before we all went out to dinner at the clubhouse. The three are all certified public accountants, among other things, and enjoy talking about finance and the markets, so today's Wall Street bounce made an interesting topic. . . for them.
We enjoyed visiting these two old family friends again, connected as we are through college, work places, relatives, shared experiences and much more. And it's always nice to see Virg. :)

Getting dressed up for fall; a golden necklace amidst the green

Urgent signs portend a change of seasons; we surprised a neighborhood doe on our morning walk, made us wonder if she knows of the coming danger. The cocky red fox sports a very bushy tail this year, does that mean anything? A generous soaking last night and drizzly fog this morning will delay the browning of the meadows. We still have time to linger and wonder and plan.
September is the best month of all, but it won't last forever.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Woman seeks info on Veeder art

We just received this photo of some beautiful art work, signed by our cousin Larry, along with this inquiry from a woman in southern Minnesota. We're on the case now for Cindy, we've forwarded the photo and note and will await more info. What fun.

Here's the email:

Hello, my name is Cindy, I live south of Worthington, MN.
Last week I was in a local shop and bought an art print of a beautiful old home. I do not know much...if anything ... about art, except I know what I like. It looks TO ME like an ink print. The back ground is cream but has aged. The subject is a large house with a three-story square turret . There is also a sunroom and open porches on the first floor. 
I fell in love with this and had a little trouble deciphering the name, but have used my computer to track down the least I think I have. I am 73 years old and not exactly computer savvy. I found your web site and presume I am on the right trail. I was wondering if anyone could answer a couple questions?
When was this art work produced? And what city/town is this house located. I hope it is still in existence. Don't know why it attracts me so, except I LOVE old homes. I am in the process of getting it framed so other generations can enjoy it in the future. Please convey to Mr. Veeder my admiration for his work. Thank you.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Six out of Eight... but not good enough

Kathleen missed her chance at the $2000 Perfect Pick Pot by two games today. She picked six out of eight winners. Missed Miami and Baltimore. Oh well. There's next week.

Canterbury Brain Trust unmoved by end of live racing

Kathleen with her classmate, Bob Lund, and old
St. Paul family friend, Don Kieger
There they were this morning, right where we left them last time, at the big round table in the Race Book penthouse; the table is permanently labeled "Reserved for Don Kieger."
Most of the Canterbury Brain Trust doesn't really care that the live racing season has ended. That's mostly for amateurs anyway, they say. But our old family friend Don says he will miss all the racing fans coming out to the track, because the ladies always dress so nice. Whatever. Their third floor office at Canterbury Park opened at its usual time this morning, where every day there are countless problems to solve, so many details to work out, so much to do.
By the way, please notice that Don has lost a lot of weight. Despite this, he grumbles that he still doesn't feel much better, he's going to die anyway. This morning he treated himself to a complimentary powdered donut (he says his diet allows him one per week) and then submitted what is sure to be the winning choices in a "Pick Six" at some far-away track in simulcast land.
So for now, don't worry about Don. He's still All In.
An opinion on everything
can be found at this table. Just don't bet on it.
Continued good luck to him and all the Learned Gentlemen of the Race Book.

Kathleen's Perfect Pick 
winners for today:

Green Bay
Kansas City
$2000 pot for perfection

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Evon & Pat! Over here! Over here! Surprise! Surprise!

There's no dog, Evon. Just friends and family hiding in the pavilion.
That's Evon's future son-in-law in the background.
It's Pat and Evon Minelli's 30th wedding anniversary and they were told to come down to Sand Point Beach on nearby Prior Lake right away to help hunt for a dog.
There was no lost dog but there were dozens of friends and relatives gathered in the pavilion, invited by the couple's children, Matt and Ali, who tricked their parents into coming. The couple was absolutely taken by surprise.
Pat and Evon hail from "Da Range," and of course there were plenty of Iron Rangers joining them at the celebration, and lots and lots of food too. (Italians, you know) Alan Phillips set the mood with live music (he had new strings on his guitar and mandolin). The couple thanked everyone and then re-enacted their wedding cake-cutting for the cameras.
Stan hired Pat in 1987 to be the editor of the Shakopee Valley News. Pat's still there and, though Stan is retired, they continue to be good friends. Pat reads this blog regularly (signing his comments as "The Ranger") and was pleased to meet Emily. "I know all about you," he smiled. "I am so glad to meet you."
For her part, Emily politely congratulated the couple and then asked if she could have a piece of cake with that big orange flower on it.
Evon and Pat with their children, Matt and Ali.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Complications derailed Dan's hip surgery today. We're all back home. We'll try again later. Thanks for your support. We're all understandably disappointed.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In the hunt at Creeksbend

Steve didn't hit one in here, but enough people have to make it
interesting for a compulsive ball hawk during a break in the action. 
Two and a Half Men.
Steve, Dave and Stan enjoyed a lovely midday of golf at Creeksbend today. Dave has been Stan's weekly partner all summer, but he and Jane are heading to their winter home in Phoenix in a week or so, so it was time to break in a rookie from Mankato for the fall season.
Reasonably good rounds were posted by the three-some, but that didn't mean the rookie stayed out of the rough.
He and Dave took the opportunity during a couple breaks in the action to hunt, an activity that is always discouraged by the host, but to no avail.
Dry fall weather makes ideal conditions for ball hunting, it was explained.
Same time next week, with a basket of new-found balls.

Steve found more than Dave.

Countdown restarted for Dan's new hip

Here's Dan in his condo with his sisters, niece and nephew.
If events continue as scheduled, Kathleen's brother Dan will get a new hip on Thursday. We have a date with a highly-regarded orthopedic surgeon bright and early at Abbott Northwestern. As you may recall, we had a surgery scheduled for this long-desired event last spring, but it was cancelled at the last minute due to some complications. We're taking another run at it this week; your good thoughts and prayers for Danny are appreciated, of course.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Big finish

We enjoyed watching the Sunday morning workouts over
breakfast yesterday. No live racing Sunday at Canterbury.
They're not going to compete with the NFL. Big season finale this weekend.

Live racing at Canterbury Park ends this coming weekend. We hope to meet our long-time friends, the Bragstads, there for an afternoon and evening of fun. The track had its most successful run in recent history this year.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Take a shot, keep the glass?

Sosie couldn't resist a stop at "Fat Stan's Lounge" in Ketchikan, Alaska, to buy a souvenir for her brother. Trouble is, when she came here two weeks ago, she forgot to bring it. So, as the saying goes: "My sister went to Alaska and all I got was this picture."

We checked the Internet for references to the namesake lounge and the first thing we got was an amusing directive to "Avoid Fat Stan's." Realizing you can see anything on the internet, we hope Sosie checked her change when she bought the shot. :)

Avoid Fat Stan's

TOURISTS BEWARE!!! Count your change very carefully. Fat Stan's WILL rip you off!!
I was on an Alaskan cruise this summer and there were several coupons floating around for Fat Stan's near the cruise dock - buy a beer and keep the glass. I went in to the bar to enjoy a beer and my free glass before hopping back on my ship. The place was packed.

I ordered my beer and gave the bartender, CHAD, a $20. He quickly shoved my money in the till and gave me back $4. When I told him I had given him a $20, he said, no, I had given him a $10. When I asked him if he was sure, he responded, "If you don't believe me, you can take it our of my tip jar." Since I wasn't positive, I demured (being a polite, professional 35 year old woman). I sat at the bar drinking my beer and, within 5 minutes, saw him do the same thing to another couple. They paid for their $12 drinks with a $20 and he gave them $4 in change. When they called it to his attention, he said, "oops," and gave them the correct change. I asked him again if he was sure I gave him a $10, not a $20. He said he was. The guy to my left was a local and was chatting with Chad in between customers. At one point, the other guy working in the adjoining liquor store (owner?) came over and the guy to my left whispered to him, "Did you hear what she said? She said she paid with a $20." The other employee responded, "That's not good."

When I got back to my ship I immediately went to my stateroom and counted my money. Indeed, I had given CHAD a $20 to pay for my $6 beer. Like most of the ships, mine was only in town for a half day. That is a whole lot of tourists coming in to Fat Stan's for a beer and a glass in the brief time before boarding the ship at 12:30pm. I am confident they make a significant portion of their profts from short-changing preoccupied toursits in a hurry to catch their ship.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Hey Jesse! Can you hear me now?

The Younger Brothers (above) and the James Gang didn't have cellphones to coordinate their foiled 1876 Northfield Bank Robbery, but if they had, they may have improved their outcome.
We watched the reenactment of the famous bank robbery at the Defeat of Jesse James Days in Northfield today. Bought our buttons, enjoyed the experience, even in the brutal heat. Glad we weren't wearing boots and dusters or the billowy outfits on the left. We made a movie with the new camera. Lots of yelling, gunshots and running horses. Our very own western. Watch for it.

Now we know for sure. This is the actual bank.

Friday, September 06, 2013

New sheriff at Southwest Newspapers

Stan enjoyed a nice visit with Bill Davis at Southwest Newspapers in Shakopee this morning. Bill's the new Group Publisher, (pictured above with a grandson). He's rented a house for the time being in Eden Prairie. Very personable, he's taken over a position that Stan once filled, so there was lots to talk about. Good luck, Bill.