Monday, June 30, 2014

A new approach to the rotting deck rail

The aluminum baluster fits exactly into the wooden hole, but water gets in anyway.
Rain gets inside and it's all over.
The balusters on our deck are mounted in holes drilled into a piece of cedar 2x4. That's great for a while. But constant freeze/thaw and sun/rain and before long there is water seeping into the holes and rotting the wood from the inside out. Paint won't stick to rotting wood.

Wandering through Lowe's the other day, Stan discovered a product that solves this problem: Instead of drilling holes INTO the 2x4, you screw a plastic plug ONTO the wood that holds the baluster. That way you don't have to cut into the 2x4 and invite water and ice inside.
We've started the conversion to the new system on the rotten front deck railing and so far, so good. We're painting the wood in the garage before installation, there haven't been two dry days in a row yet.

These little buggers aren't cheap. $26 for a "contractor pack" of 130. But they should do the trick.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Iron Ranger was The Father of The Bride today

Father of the Bride arriving at party central, followed closely by his new son-in-law, Christian Fenstermacher.
The Newlyweds
Readers of this blog may know the Hibbing native by his signature, "The Iron Ranger."  He's Patrick Minelli, long-time editor of the Shakopee Valley News. Today he was also the Father of the Bride.
They've been good friends since Stan met and hired him back in the 80s, just hours after Pat and Evon had returned from their Hawaii honeymoon. Befuddled by lack of sleep and jet lag, the highly-touted candidate gave a horrible interview, but Stan, perhaps tired himself, figured oh-what-the-hell and hired him anyway. Pat's held the job for three decades now.

Mother of the Bride. . . with the bride's dog.
At their Iron Range wedding dance, Pat and Evon hadn't picked out a song for the traditional first dance as a married couple, so the DJ did it for them, cueing up "You Are My Special Angel." The newlyweds liked it a lot, and adopted it as their special song.
Today under a huge white wedding tent pitched in an apple orchard near Maple Plain, the DJ played that song again, this time for Pat and his beautiful daughter Alexandra Caroline, given this day in Holy Matrimony to Christian John Fenstermacher -- who seems like a very nice chap.

Shoulders may be damp, but the hair is dry.
As thunder boomers crashed and rain pelted the canvas, the groom poignantly noted that the song he so often sings with his bride, "You Are My Sunshine," was all that he would ever need to brighten his days, which is fortunate, as the couple intends to continue living in Minnesota.

Friends and relatives, many from the Iron Range, trekked to this exotic apple outpost, set amongst rivers and lakes and woods, for a genuine Italian sit-down feast for 300, catered in from faraway Faribault.
Taking the cake… to the buffet.

Stan and Kathleen carpooled with two other long-time newspaper employees, splashing along in the usual downpour, taking a round-a-bout route from Shakopee due to the recent bridge closures over the swollen Minnesota River.
They got to the orchard before the cake did and before "Angel," Ali's Yorkie arrived, decked out in some kind of wedding tutu, along with her escort, Evon.
And The Iron Ranger, always the supportive, loving father, arrived with a bundle of umbrellas.

"You Are My Special Angel," reprised.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

President Obama visits Sosie's hot spot.

Bill and Solveig Shearer outside Matt's Bar, a South Minneapolis landmark visited by the President today.
(Photo: Mandel Ngan, AFP/Getty Images)
Well, guess what.
When Sosie came to Minneapolis with her hubby in May of 2007, she wanted to go for lunch at Matt's Bar on Cedar Avenue in South Minneapolis and have a "Jucy Lucy." And she did.
When President Obama came to Minneapolis today, he wanted to go for lunch at Matt's Bar on Cedar Avenue in South Minneapolis and have a "Jucy Lucy." And he did.

Here's the story from USA Today:
By David Jackson
President Obama followed the tradition of ordering the specialty of the house during a Thursday visit to a restaurant in Minneapolis.
In this case, the house is Matt's Bar, and the specialty is known as "the Jucy Lucy" -- a burger with melted cheese in the middle of the patty.
Oh, yeah ...
Obama dined with Rebekah Erler, a 36-year-old working wife and mother who wrote to Obama about the economic challenges facing her family.
During the traditional presidential greetings of other customers in Matt's Bar, one patron asked Obama a unique: What is your favorite television show of all time?
The president's answer: MASH (1972-83), the comedy-drama about Army surgeons during the Korean War.

Around the table, 2007: Becky, Stan, Bill, Sosie, Virg, Alex, Katie

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A visit from Mr. and Mrs. A. Goldfinch

Photo by Stan Rolfsrud
An  American goldfinch breeding pair. The male has attracted the female with his fine plumage. Once courtship is over, he'll molt back to ordinary wear -- t-shirt, pajama bottoms and flip flops.  Monagamous goldfinches mate in July and produce one brood a year. Usually very social, they become territorial during breeding season, which is why, we believe, we are not seeing as many goldfinches at our feeder lately.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Two Birdies. . . two beers

Photo by Kathleen, Birdie is policing the spilled popcorn
Stan's Monday golf partner, Pat Hunter, had a horrible front nine today, but atoned nicely with a pair of birdies on the back. Here Pat celebrates with a Honeyweiss as he retells his story for anyone who cares to listen. Did you ever hear about the time Pat shot an Eagle on the Par 5, No. 1, Stonebrooke last year? Stan has. Many times.  Did you know that Pat was raised in Rock County, Minnesota, the only county in Minnesota that has no lake in it? You'd think that with 10,000 lakes. . .

Country music just the ticket

The view over the sandbags is still spectacular -- if not ominous.
Wayne reports this afternoon from flood ravaged Rainy Lake, where a raccoon has taken up residence in one of Mary Ann's tourist cabins:

First things first. The mother raccoon and her kits are gone from MaryAnn's lake cabin. The high-powered painter's light in the attic on a tripod and country music did it. Heavy mesh screen has been installed over the vents to keep her out. 
Here is the view of our back yard. With a little help from the National Guard we are bagged. They did the big row furthest up on the lawn. The Guard does not help saving docks.
The lake went up a half inch in the last 24 hrs. That is a good sign. Within a week it should stop rising.
We hope!

Cluck, cluck. Chickens are coming to Shakopee

In a brave decision this week, the City of Shakopee boldly authorized the raising of domestic chickens in residential back yards. City folk may now coop up to five hens, but may not sell the eggs.
However, in a blatant act of sex discrimination, the city council flatly refused to allow residents to raise roosters, despite cries of foul from early-risers.
Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke, a rustic immigrant from an Iowa farm, led the chicken faction. He and his kids will now keep a full limit of egg-laying hens in their own backyard. "It's educational," the progressive mayor crowed.
Meanwhile, in nearby upscale Lakeville, a hard-boiled planning commission unanimously said "No" to city chickens and their kind.
A zoning action to restrict hens to the edge of town, a so-called "chicken strip," died as well.
Concerned about possible odors and coyote incursions, St. Paul-raised Kathleen Rolfsrud isn't so sure about Shakopee's decision.  She had no warning that the chickens are coming, but has no plans to protest.
She gets her eggs from the store and will continue to do so. Her daughters have encouraged her to select the "free range" variety. . . you know, the brownish ones from the happier flocks. So far, her biggest issue with eggs is getting the fry cook at the Canterbury grill to fix them "over medium" without leaving a runny egg white.
"How can hens lay eggs if there is no rooster?" she asked incredulously after reading the news.
Her rural husband, who once raised 100 summer chickens to butcher and can in the fall, will explain.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Catch me if you can. . .

Action and athletics dominated the weekend on Abbey Point after our eight-year-old arrived yesterday for a sleep-over, brimming with vinegar and spirit. She got a full nine hours of sleep last night, all the better to push Grandma and Grandpa through a whirl-wind of non-stop activity today.
Soccer, scooter tricks, dog tricks, hide-and-seek, paper-scissors-rock, Huber Park and golf. We'll put her back in the box this afternoon. We've had quite enough…for a while.

Whenever she goes clothes shopping for herself, Grandma invariably returns with something for Emily. . . like this Size 8 "Catch Me If You Can" Roadrunner play shirt. 
Poor Grandma just can't help it.

Left arm straight, eye on the ball, head still, smooth swing on plane. Beautiful.
She splashed one in that pond today, Yes she did! (High Fives All Around)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

. . . and now a raccoon invasion

National Guard called to assist with sandbags along Rainy Lake on the Canadian border.
Weights piled on the docks keeps them from loosening and floating away.
Our friends, Wayne and Mary Ann Kasich, are under threat from the rising waters in front of their lakeshore home on Rainy Lake near International Falls. Our thoughts are with them as the rain continues. Rainy Lake drains a huge watershed on both sides of the border, releasing into Lake of the Woods, eventually flowing north to Hudson Bay. Dismal outlook. The Borderland is no place for softies.

Wayne writes:
Bad...the water is about 6 to 8 inches higher now than in the photo and they announced yesterday the lake will rise 15 more inches before it crests. The National Guard has been requested to help sandbag homes etc. Our house is OK. Lost 40 feet of dock and two cribs so far. [Cribs are sturdy rock-filled structures that carry dock sections.] Had a big wind last Thursday at the wrong time. This view is from our neighbor two doors down. Our dock is in the middle somewhere.
We are having check valves installed in our home and the bank building to prevent sewer back up. They sent us a warning for that too.
The worst high water flood ever was in 1950. We are approaching that. More rain is in the forecast today.

Disaster update -- and now the raccoons
Got three pallets of sand bags last evening (about 75) to add on top of barrels etc. today. All we can do is wait for the lake to crest sometime next week. DO NOT PRAY FOR RAIN. Someone already did that.
In the meantime, Mary Ann had been on Facebook noticing that a neighbor two doors down from her cabin two miles up the lake has been having problems with a raccoon. Last year and this spring.
On Monday, they announced that the raccoon was gone. They had installed a bright light and loud music in the attic for a couple days and it worked. 
On Wednesday, Mary Ann's summer renter called and said she was hearing a lot of noise in the attic. Yup. Damn thing moved in to Mary Ann's cabin. There are two 7" square vents in the peak and it tore off the aluminum louvers and the screen behind it. I put a 300 watt bulb in. Last night I climbed the ladder and the critter was still in there. I did not see any little ones so I hope it's a loner.
Trying to decide if we should choose punk rock or country western music this evening. Someone also said to dampen rags with ammonia also and toss in. I will do that too.
I will follow this up with a photo or two soon.

We await images.

Another Wet One (sixth wettest day since forever)

Flag over No. 15 green, Stonebrooke
Dust from Day One still in the bottom 
of the sump basket. A true blessing.
We're a ways from forty days and forty nights, but we have had rain in Biblical amounts for six days straight now. Today we added 4 more inches, breaking yet another record. Ho hum. The big excitement actually came when an 18-wheeler backed all the way up Abbey Point and a soaked driver delivered a classic SUV to our neighbors.
Meanwhile, rain turned the 15th fairway into a lake, inundated the green, and created woes for everyone elsewhere. Our afternoon drive to see Mom was blocked on Normandale, a major Bloomington thoroughfare. Chris, the Kell handyman there, was busy organizing pumps.
Back home, we're counting our blessings: the sump hole is dry as a bone.
More good news from the weatherman: "The End is Near." (Lord, we hope he meant the rain.)

The rain poured as we watched him back all the way up the street, unhook the SUV and
deliver it to the neighbor.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

'And Grandma -- looking so much smaller than she was. . .'

Stan's country school classmate, Lorlee Bartos, says she's never considered writing to be her strong suit, but she entered The Dallas Writer's Garrett "Last Writes of Spring" contest anyway. Entering in the "Over 50" category, she took honors.
"I am really pleased to report," she writes, "that I am one of three winners.
"There may have only been three entries, for all I know, but I am pleased nonetheless," she adds with characteristic modesty.
She wrote a remembrance about the auction sale at her Bartos Grandparents' farm in the Glenwood/Alexandria area. It is wonderful.

The Auction
 By Lorlee Bartos

African violets were Grandma’s favorite flower. She had whites and pinks and purples …. But there were no African violets in the window on that day.

For today was the day of the auction and we’d all gathered for the final disposition. As I climbed the little hill behind the house for one last time to survey it all, the old pump was painfully creaking, its ungreased squeak seemed to be talking to me of days gone by.

Days when there were chickens in the coop … and sometimes a kitten. Christmases with grandchildren overflowing the little house. Grandpa stooping at the pump for a drink of water on his way back from the lake where he’d been fishing. Do you know that he could magically produce sling shots with just a y-shaped twig and a piece of rubber from an old inner tube?

Lorlee's Grandparents
They had moved from the farm and
lived in a little house by the RR tracks on 
55 just west of 29 by Glenwood. 
This is a photo from 1963. The auction was about '68.
The October wind felt colder than it ought to have, but the ladies aid was selling hot coffee and “Donuts for a nickel.” The auctioneer’s raspy voice echoed. I saw a tear gather in the corner of my Dad’s eye as he helped display the items for sale. People gathered round and each piece brought a “Do you remember” or “I was sitting in that chair the night that…..”

How can you put a price on so personal a thing as a memory? How can anyone know how much a little girl loved grandma’s organ or how fascinated she was by the turn of the century wedding picture nestled on the bride’s veil and somehow the whole thing was bound up in a huge gilt frame. Or how peaceful it was to fall asleep in Grandpa’s chair or blow out the match from his pipe.

Grandma’s old purse lay in the corner of an emptied room. She always had a piece of candy in that purse for me. Who would buy an old purse on a day like today?

And Grandma – looking so much smaller than she was --- how must she have felt to see her things taken away by people who really didn’t know what they were worth. She would have no use for them because she was going to spend the remainder of her days in a rest home. The finality of it all was just too much for her and she turned and cried on my shoulder.

She was no longer my grandmother but simply a person whose whole world was being sold from under her. And all I could do was put my arms around her and cry with her.

No – there would be no more trips to Grandma’s house because today was the day of the auction. How much am I bid for a piece of a life?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Shakopee VA open house draws big crowd

He volunteered in 1964, served on two destroyers and an atomic submarine in the Atlantic Ocean.
Kept a close eye on the Russians for us. Now he'll get his VA services in Shakopee.
Offer free coffee and light refreshments on a gorgeous Monday morning and you're sure to draw an army of eager old veterans looking for excitement and chow… early.
No flyover was scheduled for
the grand opening. That
contrail is just a coincidence.
Quicker than you can say "Thank you for your service," the cupcakes at the Veterans Affairs Shakopee Health Clinic Open House disappeared today, disappointing latecomers. Stan didn't get there until 10:30 a.m. because he had sticks to pick up in the yard and other chores that had delayed him. Neighbor John showed up too late for the free snack too.
That's tough. They should both know better by now.
But the line for the self-guided tour was still functioning so they had a good look at the latest good reason to live in Shakopee.
The VA may not agree, but Stan has already
selected his Shakopee RN. She's Kim from Jordan,
who cut miles off her commute today.
The VA opened the satellite clinic in an aging shopping center on the west end of town today. There's a Goodwill store and a business college next door. The grocer, Radio Shack, JoAnn Fabrics and countless others have long ago departed.
Area veterans can now get appointments to see a doc in Shakopee, avoiding the long drive to the Fort Snelling megaplex.
Touring through the warren of rooms carved out of the center, you got the feeling that there would be very comprehensive services available to those who choose to come here. Labs, counseling, exams, administration -- it has it all.

Responsible parties: They put together the
center. Not sure if they ordered the cupcakes.


And judging by the enthusiastic appearance of so many vets from every branch of U.S military service . . . and by the sorry condition of the cupcake trays, the new Shakopee clinic will be a popular choice indeed.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fractured trunk reveals a blackened heart

 Years ago a lightning strike burned out the core of this shade tree,
but did not kill it. 
After a valiant recovery from a lightning strike over five years ago, yesterday the fulsome ash south of our house succumbed to high winds. Gales were said to reach up to 65 mph.
The trunk shattered, revealing a five-foot long coal-black gash burned deep through its heart, a battle scar left by its previous lightning bolt encounter.
We thought we had lost the smoking, reeling victim for sure that day back then, but after pruning and reshaping, it gradually recovered from its shock, healing neatly over the long split riven deep into its trunk, and completely re-closing its burned-out core.
But yesterday's blasts proved too much for the now heavily-endowed shade tree, as the old veteran bowed gracefully to the winds, then broke.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Murrae Freng directs his final service

This quartet of Alexandria grads sang in the last high school choir to be directed by Murrae Freng, who resigned in 1965 to join the Minnesota State High School League.
From left, Robert Johnson, Stan Rolfsrud, Sara Smith Sevey, Bruce Phelps.
Music filled the enormous nave of the big old Lutheran Church on Highway 101 in Maple Grove this morning where gentle folk had gathered for a Memorial Service befitting the memory of Murrae N. Freng. And fitting it would be, for Murrae himself had worked diligently to get it just the way he wanted it.
He delegated the execution of his thoughtful plan to the able Bruce Phelps, who has drawn a lifetime of inspiration and mentoring from Mr. Freng, beginning in elementary school in Alexandria, where Freng spent 14 years leading the community in song, as a director of choral music in the public schools and at the First Lutheran Church.
Traditional hymns, piano pieces and a violin solo, "Meditation from Thais" by Massenet, preceded spoken remembrances and then two stunning vocal solos by Esther Peterson of Kerkhoven, Minnesota. Her renditions of "Pie Jesu" by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Mallotte's "The Lord's Prayer," made it easy to see why Murrae Freng has long followed and admired the singing career of this outstanding young soprano.
Freng was so well-known in Alexandria that
none of his kids wanted to go to town to run
errands with him. "It always took too long,"
his son Al remembered.
Freng included some easy-to-sing hymns for the large congregation of Norwegians and others to sing with gusto and in harmony, ending with "O Day Full of Grace" and "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less."
The Frengs left Alexandria in 1965 to begin his next career at the Minnesota State High School League, retiring as its President in 1985 and moving back to Alexandria. There he, his wife Helen, Beverly Rolfsrud and others founded Shalom Lutheran Church.
After a very active retirement on Lake Ida in Alexandria, Murrae and Helen moved back to the Twin Cities in 2005 to be near their family. Murrae died at home surrounded by family on May 31, 2014 at the age of 89. According to today's printed program, "He will return to Alexandria for his final resting place, leaving behind family and friends who all hope to grow up to be just like him: kind, gentle, thoughtful and supportive."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rana wins $1000 at House of Comedy competition

Wayne and Mary Ann Kasich got their boat pulled out of Rainy Lake in time to get down to the Mall of America and see their daughter take honors in the House of Comedy contest last night. She won the big prize. She is apparently "Minnesota's Funniest Person With a Day Job."  Let Dad tell it:

Wayne writes:
Went down to The House of Comedy in the Mall of America where Rana had made it to the final round of competition that started many weeks ago.
The final six people competing in "The Funniest Person With a Day Job" contest performed last night. Rana walked away with first place and a thousand dollars. Got lots of compliments from lots of people, including the owner of The Comedy Club. He has clubs in Toronto, Los Angeles, New Jersey and somewhere else. Sounds like she will get asked to emcee and perform more in the future. Only first place winners receive money. Rana performed last and there was some really good competition.
It was very exciting when they called her name!

One-of-a-kind roundabout leaves superintendent clueless

When the roundabout is completed at this critical Shakopee intersection, planners say it will be the only one of its kind in the nation. How that could possibly be has sidewalk superintendents on both sides of Vierling Avenue abuzz.
Your representative took a four-mile hike (or 6.5K if that sounds better) this morning to try to shed light on the controversy, but workers astride their busy little machines had no time to fritter. A good thing too. We use this intersection almost everyday, as do thousands of other locals and we'd like to use the one-of-a-kind improvement as soon as possible.
As a wise Father once said, "wait and see."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

StarTribune marks Freng's passing

Services for our family friend and hometown choir director, Murrae Freng, will be held Saturday in Maple Grove. Here's the obituary that appears in today's StarTribune, in their "Remembering" section.

Murrae Freng, executive director of MSHSL, helped girls' sports take hold
Article by: JOEL RIPPEL
Updated: June 9, 2014 - 8:16 PM

Murrae Freng worked in education for 38 years. At the time of his retirement, he told the Star Tribune, “One-half of those 38 years I had the opportunity to work with high school students and the other half working for high school students.”

Freng spent 19 years as a high school teacher before joining the staff of the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) in 1965. In October 1970, Freng became the acting executive director of the MSHSL. He became the permanent director in March 1971.

Freng died May 31 at his home in Plymouth. He was 89.

During his 14-year tenure as executive director — he retired in January 1985 — Freng oversaw significant changes, including the addition of girls interscholastic sports, a two-class system in basketball and a football playoff system.

David Stead, the current MSHSL executive director, said Freng, “was a man whose personal touch spanned the breadth of every extracurricular program in schools throughout Minnesota, and his leadership, as well as his commitment to excellence to fair play, was the standard set for administrators in each of the member schools of the league.

“Murrae championed the fine arts, but he also fully supported athletics. When difficult decisions needed to be made, Murrae researched the questions and formulated answers that best met the needs of all of the member schools and their athletic and fine arts programs.”

Freng, a Pelican Rapids, Minn., native, graduated with a bachelor of arts in music from Concordia College, Moorhead, in 1946. He started his teaching career at Brooten. After six years, he moved to Alexandria, where he spent 13 years.

He joined the MSHSL staff in 1965 as an assistant to the executive director. Freng became the acting director when executive director B.H. Hill died.

When his retirement was announced, the Star Tribune wrote: “When Murrae Freng became executive director of the Minnesota State High School League in 1971, he spoke of the need to anticipate and plan for change. Freng resigned yesterday, after adhering to that philosophy through 14 years of policy changes by the league. During his tenure, Freng changed the league from an organization perceived by the public as closed to change to one of openness.”

Freng told the newspaper that the most gratifying moment of his tenure was, “the day in March of 1969 when the [MSHSL] Representative Assembly adopted bylaws to add a program for interscholastic athletics for girls. That, above all, is most significant.”

Freng, who earned a master of arts in music education from MacPhail College of Music, also directed church choirs during his career. In 1986, Freng received the F. Melius Christiansen Memorial Award for lifelong contributions to choral music, and last year Freng received the Concordia College Alumni Achievement Award.

Former Minnesota State University, Moorhead, sports information director Larry Scott said, “My hometown, Alexandria, was blessed with a rich music tradition, and much of that can be traced to Murrae Freng, That he built a marvelous choir was just part of his legacy, and the inspiration and leadership he provided the students of Alexandria can never be overstated.

“While we were disappointed that he left us too soon … we were very proud of his rich contribution to the state high school league. He was a remarkable man with great talents, great patience and great kindness.”

Freng is survived by Helen, his wife of 64 years, three daughters and a son, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove.
Stan Rolfsrud believes he was the last soloist that Mr. Freng directed during his magnificent career as a high school choral director. Stan sang "Everyman" with the senior choir during the 1965 Jefferson Senior High Baccalaureate services, immediately before Freng resigned to join the MSHL.

Monday, June 09, 2014

OK. Now find the humor . . .

The Rainy Lake couple was heading south to see their daughter's Comedy Club competition at the Mall of America. One hundred amateur stand-ups had performed and she had survived several cuts and was now in the semi-finals. Then the urgent call came from the neighbors. That wasn't so funny.
Mary Ann and Wayne live near International Falls, across the bay from Canada, so they're prepared to endure all sorts of punishment. This winter was especially long and harsh, and now that the ice has finally melted, the watersheds are overflowing and docks are going under water. And so on.
Nevertheless, the boat has been bravely launched, with its twin motors -- one is a 200 horse job for crossing the lake in a hurry, the small one is for fishing. There's also a battery-powered bilge in it that bails water out of the hold. This IS Rainy Lake, after all.
He let the battery die.
The neighbors reported that their boat was underwater, swamped alongside their dock. So they turned around and hurried back home, got the boat out of the water and went to work on it with the marina and the insurance company.
Wayne says it's all his fault, he had let the battery that powers the bilge run down, and the rain, wind and waves did the rest. The rescued boat will be fixed and returned to service shortly.
Wayne says: "Heavy snow pack and poorly-timed heavy rain is the reason most lakes and rivers in the watershed from Virginia, Minnesota to Aitikokin, Ontario are overflowing. It all comes to Ranier and pushes the Rainy River from here to Hudson Bay."

Meanwhile, their daughter, Rana, has advanced in the stand-up comedy competition at the Mall. Wayne and Mary Ann are heading back down Tuesday night to cheer on their comedian and have a few laughs. As it turns out, there just may be a bright spot to the boat fiasco: some new material for their daughter.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Easy like Sunday morning. . .

Three generations anticipate the Big One.
 Shakopee's popular O'Dowd Lake, scooped from the uplands over the Minnesota River Valley, drew many outdoor enthusiasts this sunny morning, celebrating the reawakening of this public jewel.
With water temperatures still moderate, fishing, paddling and boating were dominant; soon swimmers and skiers will take the plunge, gratefully shaking off the winter-too-long.

And release. . . his tiny fish was fun to catch, but went back in for a chance to grow up.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Here's your Belmont $12 Exacta Box from St. Paul Katie

2, 4, 5, 11

Triple Crown candidate California Chrome -- CNN image
If any two of those four come in first and second place, you're a big winner.

2 = California Chrome
4 = Commanding Curve
5 = Ride on Curlin'
11 = Tonalist

Good Luck in the Belmont today!

How do you make a Kleenex dance?

"Hello, Beverly. My name is Jill. I am going to be taking care of you from now on."

We had just delivered Mom to her new home in Bloomington over a year and a half ago and we were worried. We weren't certain we had done the right thing. So many unknowns for all of us. Second thoughts.
But when Jill leaned forward, reached around Mom's torso and quietly and confidently took charge in the Kell Avenue garage that fall day, we got a really good feeling, a flood of relief.
A year and a half later we still feel that way. Thanks to Jill and all the other members of the wonderful Welcome Home staff, Mom is getting great care every day and we're absolutely delighted with the entire set up.
Jill with the favorite strawberry surprise angel cake..
prepared by master baker Marcia, background.
Mother awaits her slice.
We celebrate that today, but especially Jill. It's her birthday.
So Happy Birthday to you Jill, thank you for all you do for mother. You really care about her, and you still give us that great feeling, just knowing you're there with her.

We don't take many pictures of Jill. It's an activity she prefers to avoid. But yesterday's party was a special occasion. The top photo was finessed by Kathleen while Jill opened gifts from well-wishers on the back deck at Kell. Stan, not so clever, snapped the one with her wearing the birthday tiara.

Jill does enjoy a good joke. Mother delivered the punch line to this one yesterday, which we suspect she learned from Jill. There were giggles all around, when Mom deadpanned:

How do you make a Kleenex dance?
. . . You put a little boogie in it.