Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Red Wing pottery

On our last trip to Red Wing to see Cousin Larry and his family, we found a very nice print to hang by our pantry. It is up now, there to remind us of our long-time business and personal association with this beautiful city on the Mississippi. Larry's training as a commercial artist is evident in the detailed rendering.
Here's the info that is included with the art work, we've taped it to the back:
This print is the second of a series created by Red Wing Artist, Larry Veeder, and depicts another collection of rare Red Wing Pottery. The pieces shown, from left to right, are:
STONE MASON FRUIT JAR - In the 1903 yearbook "Red Wing, The Desirable City," this piece was described as "A new item this year. . . to be used instead of the familiar glass preserve jar for peaches, quinces and all that." This jar was discontinued in 1910.
GRAY LINE ADVERTISING PITCHER - The potteries referred to their white glaze as "gray." These had a "sponge" band daubed between the two stripes of blue. This pitcher was made after 1930 for the Sundberg Grocery in Red Wing.
SALESMAN'S SAMPLE - Miniature butter churn was created as a "noon hour" piece, which was either one-of-a-kind or very limited quantity produced by a potter as a diversion for his or her own pleasure.
TWIN COWS AND CALVES - This is a very rare and graceful set which was also a "noon hour" piece, created by a Red Wing potter as a gift for his daughter.
RED WING LIQUOR JUG - The brown top dates this hub to the period after the 1906 merger of Minnesota Stoneware with Red Wing Stoneware.
RED WING ELKS JAR - Made as a souvenir for the Elks Convention of 1930.
REFRIGERATOR JAR - Advertising the Semon's Fair store in Athens, Wisconsin.
GRAY LINE CASSEROLE - This sponge band casserole is 5 inches high, the smallest of casseroles made, and the rarest.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Just don't give him your number. . .

At the Renaissance Festival. . .
Our Middle Daughter attended the final day of the popular Middle Ages farce and flirted with Death.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Neighbors report from Amsterdam

Our neighbors' European river cruiser has lifted anchor in Amsterdam, and apparently none to soon. A cryptic message accompanied this dockside photo:

"We've had enough of Amsterdam...we're out of here."

Oh oh. Read between those lines dear reader. More reports will follow.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Progress in Dundas

Attn: Happy Homeowners.
Need a window installed? Your siding tuned up? House wrapped?
For all your household needs, just call
Chad "The Porchclimber" at 
After a month-long hiatus, progress can again be reported at Jen's Old House in Dundas, Minnesota.
Today the new 80-gallon water heater was fired up for the first time. That's a big deal because not only will the hot water heater be called upon to keep Jen and her stuff clean, but it will heat the entire house as well, through a spider-web of plastic tubes buried in the floors of this 100-year-old dwelling.
Another big deal was the installation of a second-story window, big enough to qualify as a legal egress, just in case you need to get out of the house in a hurry.
The catalyst for this whirlwind of activity is Jen's new handy guy, Chad. Stan and Chad joined forces today and, as they say, a good time was had by all.
It's still September. We'll laugh at the winds of November, just wait and see.
And in case you're wondering how a water heater can heat the house, here's the answer:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Lake of the Isles Take Out

Three enterprising metropolitan fishermen made quick work of packing up their gear and moving on to new adventures today. We were on our way to see a remodeled kitchen on the Remodeler's Showcase event, and were caught up in this systematic stowing and packing of coolers, bait and tackle and a fishing boat that is longer than the car.
Minnesota Hail to Thee.

Memorial for Paul Strandberg

A Memorial for Stan's classmate and friend, the late Paul Strandberg, is planned at his brother's home in Alexandria on Oct. 11. Contact Stan for details or a ride.
Bring photos, memories. . . and crossword puzzles.
Paul would have been 67 today.
Strandberg, Paul Alan age 66, of Roseville, MN, passed away peacefully on August 4, 2014. Paul was born on September 26, 1947, and raised on a dairy farm in Nelson, MN. He served the state of MN for 30 plus years with the MN Attorney General, Ramsey County Attorney, and MN Department of Agriculture. He loved reading, crossword puzzles, listening to music, writing song parodies, and simply enjoying life! Preceded in death by father, Winfred, mother, Evelyn, and brother, John. Survived by wife of 27 years, Susan; children, Mark, Carissa (Alex), and David; aunts, Muriel and Lois; brother, Bill (Kathy); sister, Jean (David); cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws, friends, and dog Winston. Donations in honor of Paul preferred to UCSF Memory and Aging Center. Information on a celebration of Paul's life forthcoming. Heartfelt thanks to the Alton Memory Care staff for their dedication, care, and kindness to Paul.

More. . .

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Erika's on TV

Hey TV fans! Watch for a brief appearance by our cousin Erika Rolfsrud on an upcoming episode of ABC's "Forever," which premiered tonight. Here she is in an episode of "The Following" playing a distraught witness being questioned by police. "I'm really enjoying this new found acting adventure," she writes,  and I am looking forward to much more to come.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chaos at Dawn

Blackbirds assembled in the backyard early this morning. Their demanding presence kept the finches and other little fellers away from our feeder. The noisy flocks will soon depart, that's fine.
On Saturday, our birder friend Greg Johnson reported sighting 18 different birds near the Carver Rapids, including a Merlin (a small hawk, his first one) and a Great Horned Owl.
Very cool, Greg.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

She encouraged him

Visiting the Veeder Gallery
Kim, Kathleen, Carolyn --  with Larry Veeder and his
Rolfsrud cousins, Stan, Solveig Agnes, and Virg.

 Agnes Rolfsrud Veeder encouraged her 11-year-old to draw as he recuperated from rheumatic fever in their western North Dakota farmhouse in the early 1950s. An unusual pursuit for a prairie boy, Larry liked sketching a lot more than farming… or football.
Stan's cousin made a life of it, culminating this fall in a three-generation show at a gallery in Red Wing, Minnesota, which the town named after him a few years ago.
Among the colorful family productions on display is a humble scrapbook, assembled from yellowed papers lovingly saved by a proud mother. It contains a trove of Larry's youthful muses, mostly cowboys, Indians, horses, guns and depictions of real and imaginary battles penciled in great detail by a boy with an imagination and a gift. Also among the subjects were a still-life of pens and an ink bottle, as well as portraits of himself, his brother, and this one of his mother at age 40.

Whatever influence Stan's Aunt Agnes had on her son, it lives on today. Larry and his wife, Carolyn, have encouraged their progeny in the creative arts as well. Their daughter and their grandchildren have joined the family patriarch in an impressive collection of work in the Red Wing display, its origin germinated long ago in a farmhouse on the wheat fields of North Dakota.

(Graphic at right depicts the relationships of the six artists contributing to the Veeder show. Click to enlarge. Go the gallery to see their work.)
Larry and Carolyn will drive the Audi convertible to their Arizona home for the winter,
the perfect way to take in all the scenery at Wolf Creek Pass.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

We got a big kick out of this. . .

Photos by Kim Seaton
Sosie's in town. We weren't able to examine the world's biggest ball of string on this trip, but how's this for a roadside attraction: the world's biggest leather boot.
The size 638-D boot is the star exhibit of the Red Wing Shoe Museum. Weighs over a ton and is "too big for the Statue of Liberty to wear." Not that she would.
We marveled at this oddity today while visiting our Veeder cousins in Red Wing.
"The boot is constructed exactly like the actual boots, so you can smell the leather used in the construction, experience the heft of the massive laces and feel the cool touch of the metal eyelets," writes Dale Divers.
Two blocks away, in the restored train depot building, there is a three-generation Veeder art show in the Veeder gallery. We'll have more on that later. For now though, we thought you'd get a kick out of this boot.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Stir up the State Fair Vino!

Every year at State Fair time Kathleen makes her way to the Arts and Crafts building for a free nut cup sample of a refreshing drink on a hot day. It's a "frozen cocktail fusion," sort of a wine slushy. It's a soft berry flavor concoction to mix with a bottle of inexpensive wine.
Our own wine expert Sosie is visiting this week so this morning we mixed up a bag of the stuff we got at the fair with a bottle of Madria Sangria and a bottle of water. We stirred it all together, popped this into the freezer and await the result.
We'll let our sommelier decide.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Now you pick a card. Don't show anyone the card.

"You're five years old? When I was your age, son, I was six."
St. Paul Katie and her amazing poker pal.
Sometimes it's the magician who would like to disappear into thin air.
Kathleen was delighted to see "The Amazing Hondo" billed as the entertainer at a corporate event the other night. She plays poker with the schoolteacher-turned-magician and knew that he worked these kinds of events, but she had never actually seen him on stage. He performed recently at the 3M Championship Pro-Am Party at the TPC Twin Cities; a Delta Airlines fundraiser and a Notre Dame Hospitality event in Ireland.
While it may seem foolish to play poker with a master of deception and sleight of hand, special rules apply when Hondo plays with friends: he is not allowed to deal the cards or shuffle the deck. In his defense, Hondo claims his losses are ample proof that he plays the game straight up.
Anyway, Katie greeted The Amazing Hondo warmly before the performance, then sat down to watch the act, while two audience members unintentionally shred a couple of his carefully-crafted routines. In one trick, a five-year-old picked a card and was specifically told not to show it to anyone. He promptly showed it to the entire audience. A patient Hondo asked him to pick another, the boy did, then showed it again.
Then he refused to leave the stage.
Later, in a mind-reading stunt, Hondo instructed an adult volunteer to draw a card and then go to that page in a book. She drew the Seven of Diamonds. . . then went to page 9. It took a while to sort things out.
The Amazing Hondo soldiered on, inserting a hat pin into a balloon then out the other side, lengthening then shortening a rope, moving a $100 bill into a sealed envelope, and other magic schtick. The audience loved it all and gave him an enthusiastic round of applause at the finale. We went behind the stage to congratulate him on a stellar, entertaining performance under duress, but we couldn't find him anywhere.
The Amazing Hondo had disappeared.

Let's see here. The Amazing Hondo eventually read their minds, but it wasn't easy.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sixties threads

Kathleen and Jennifer with the Sixties-style fabric from their Jonathan home.
The party theme was "The Sixties" and so out of storage came the fabrics.

Todd wore Stan's hand-me-down
Stan thought something looked familiar as he passed the barbecue grill where meatmeister Todd was grilling burgers to order. His shirt had a frilly yoke and button placket. Sure enough, Mom had hand-sewed that very shirt for her son long ago and he had since passed it on to Jennifer, who loaned it to her friend, Todd, who earlier had lamented to her that he "had nothing to wear" from the Sixties. "Groovy, Todd, I'll take my Juicy Lucy Medium."
Jeanine with Peace sign
At first, Kathleen had missed the colorful runner on the gift table. But after waiting a bit, and with Gene Pitney wailing "It's Over" in the background, Jennifer prompted her Mom. Jennifer had saved one of the bright curtain panels from their 70s Jonathan home. The unit had been decorated as a model home/office and the curtains were orange and outstanding, the perfect thing for a Sixties table runner 40 years later.

Jeanine was 50 on Saturday, she's Jennifer's friend and neighbor. Jeanine and friends planned a 60s picnic, so her handy husband Todd welded her a hippie necklace with a hand-made peace sign. Right on, Jeanine! Very groovy. Your blog hosts are Stan and Kathleen Rolfsrud and we each know more about the 60s than Todd, Jeanine and Jennifer put together. It's our bag.

Party-goers model their Sixties threads. Friends and co-workers gathered in a Dundas park.
("These boots are made for walkin' and that's just what they'll do. . .")

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Gabby took the selfie.
"Can you push Gabby and me, please?" Christina asked Stan. The nine-year-old's big sister was already seated in the nearby swing and the girls wanted to go high. As they walked over, Christina had another question for Stan. "How old are you?" she asked. When told, she added, "Then you won't have a heart attack, will you?"
Stan promised he wouldn't and so up they went, higher and higher, two sisters in joyful harmony on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in Dundas.

A sad day. . .

Manny's Piano Movers came and got the Baby Grand today.
We're going to miss it. Mostly we're going to miss our good neighbor, Deb, who is moving away this week. We'll be left with cherished memories of a cheerful, thoughtful gal, and memories too of her neighborhood holiday parties where she would sit down and play every Christmas tune that the piano knew, as we gleefully sang along, sometimes from memory, sometimes from the song sheets provided by our gracious host. It was always great fun. Good bye Baby Grand. Thanks for the memories, Deb, we will miss you!

Friday, September 12, 2014

We go to The Bank

There are only two locker rooms in the world that are shaped like a football. One is in Green Bay where the Packers suit up. Last night we stood in the other one.
Mood lighting creates a mystical glow for the boys

Many more fun facts were revealed during our evening at the TCF Bank stadium on the University of Minnesota campus that the Gophers, and presently the Vikings, call home.

Our neighbors' financial advisor, Don Rosen, played guard for the Gophers in the 60s for Coach Murray Warmath. He celebrated his 40th year with Waddell and Reed last night by inviting his clients for a buffet and party at The Bank. John and Mary Gerken invited us to tag along. We were delighted. Unlike John and Mary, we don't have tickets to the Gopher games so we've never seen this massive monument to Minnesota football.
It was 9-11 so flags were at
half staff. That's the barn and
Minneapolis in the background.
It did not disappoint. The stadium is gorgeous, with a few touches added by the Minnesota Vikings, who injected some cash into the site while they await completion of their billion dollar glass palace a couple miles away.
There's now real grass on the field, heated, extra seating and the end zone simply says "Minnesota" in a purplish burgundy tint.
The locker room was eerily stripped and vacant, awaiting the weekend arrival of the Viking equipment trucks with their purple paraphernalia. Meanwhile the Gophers will be in Texas at TCU. There's a Minnesota logo embedded in the floor at the center of the locker room. Gophers treat this area with the utmost of respect, never walking on that hallowed space. Interestingly, with a Vikings invasion imminent, before leaving, student managers had prudently covered up the logo with carpets and cautiously roped it off. Is the worry that the Viking oafs could be disrespectful . . . or just plain clumsy?

We walked through the training room and through the "M" club, which is an exclusive bistro for lettered alums. We noted the old leather football helmets in the big museum, wondering if they prevented concussions any worse than the current version.
Goldy the Gopher dropped in for a photo op and so did injured Quarterback Mitch Leidner, who assured John that he'd be taking snaps on Saturday.

Stan and John both attended the University back in the 60s. Last night John drove us in the family limousine so we all got a chance to see the many changes on the campus. As we wheeled through Dinkytown, Kathleen suggested we come back sometime for Al's Breakfast. John pointed to the coffee shop where he once stumbled onto a young man picking a guitar and singing by the name of Bobby Zimmerman.
John said he wasn't much impressed by his performance, and moved on.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Hey Kathleen! You in there? Could you please come out and hang this up?"

Seven customers vie for four openings
at this popular neighborhood eatery.

Whenever it rains, the seeds in our popular finch feeder can get damp. Eventually they will harden and mold and have to be replaced.
In anticipation of wet weather, Kathleen often takes the feeder down and sets it on the covered deck.
Heavy overnight rains were again forecast on the 10 p.m. news last night, so the diligent manager removed her feeder to keep the seeds nice and dry.
At daybreak, this accommodation created some consternation in the sizable flock now dependent on this reliable feeding station.
An impatient customer (top photo) seemed to be urging Kathleen to hurry up and put the feeder back to its normal position.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Be back in five minutes. . . sorry for any inconvenience

The panhandler at the I-405 exit to Century Boulevard in Los Angeles left his work station unattended yesterday, apparently needing a short break about the time we drove past on our way to the airport. The office area was neatly kept with the desk, chair, waste basket, signage and coat rack all in good order. We continued on to LAX, caught an easy flight home on Spirit Airlines, arriving early and in good spirits.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Ready to fly. . .

Fortified with a hearty breakfast, our champions are back at work.
When they finish the tile, they'll begin a wood floor upstairs.
We're packing a tiny bag, leaving last minute instructions and preparing for a drive to LAX. There are clouds in the sky and some loose comments about something called rain. We hope not. A few sprinkles can bring traffic to a standstill as inexperienced drivers cope with windshield wipers and irrational fears.
If all goes well, should be home before midnight, if the Spirit Airlines is willing.
We are pleased with our two week vacation here, got more done than we expected. Still plenty to do. For that we've got digital communications and a local general who has proven to be quite reliable.
We're proud to re-enter Minnesota air space; our contacts tell us that the Gophers AND the Vikings won over the weekend. With no cable tv or newspapers, little else is known of the pertinent details in these parts.

Carry on, Russ. You're 40 now. He got a set of golf clubs for his birthday yesterday. We'll talk later.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Saturday night at the job site

Saturday night and the boys are at a party. They say they'll be back at 9 a.m., a bit later for hangovers?
We scoured three Home Depots and went on-line to round up
the 66 accent pieces we need for this great room rectangle and
a square at the front door. UPS is still hunting for us.  :(
About 500 12x24 inch tiles have been spread around the house in the various rooms, including the great room, above, which means we're about 80 percent done with the tile placement. The accent rectangle is starting to take shape, though they haven't been thinset into place just yet.
There's some workman's birthday party tonight (Ramrod Russ is 40 tomorrow, the elder statesman of today's five man crew) but the party isn't for Russ. Our "old man" gets heat from the youngsters, but he gives it back in the never-ending banter of a bunch of guys who seem to like what they're doing and take pride in doing it well. Russ will be back at it tomorrow morning with a full set of hands on deck. Four bathrooms, laundry room, pantry, etc.. there's plenty of work still for everyone.
We interviewed a baseboard specialist today. He comes highly-recommended and you could tell by his precise demeanor and attention to detail as he measured and calculated the job that he has just the right personality for meticulous finish work. We hope his bid satisfies and he wins the job, because it is easy to see he'll produce a beautiful result.
Meanwhile, upstairs in the loft, we rolled on three gallons of a very nice vanilla eggshell called "Churchill Hotel Navajo White." Even if you don't like the color (we happen to love it) you gotta love the name.
Tomorrow is touch up, cleanup day as we prepare for Monday's departure.