Friday, July 31, 2015

Nova and Birdie eyewear trending

We did a double take when we saw today's sporty post of our 21-week-old Grandniece Nova in sunglasses. (See details in blog below)
Reminded us of Birdie's Doggles, thus giving us a convenient excuse to raise the cuteness bar on this here Rolfsrud Friends & Family blog.

We will stop at nothing to make you say "aaaww."

Thursday, July 30, 2015

California backyard transition

Less than a year ago, this space was nothing but rock-hard dirt and a fancy concrete pour.
Now trees, roses, vines, and succulents are nourished by endless sun and an efficient wall to wall drip system.
Our California son has been busy.
A dozen new rose bushes for planting came home yesterday we're told. Eventually our compulsive planter is going to run out of room. He's got a jackhammer now so he's unstoppable.
Get out of the way.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mid-life flight

Getting up her courage.
Missy prepares for her leap.
Our eldest claims she's fighting off a mid-life crisis the only way she knows how: by doing crazy stunts and texting the movies to her mother. Melissa, 49, and her daughter, Emily, took on the "Freefall" giant pillow last night and here's some stop action shots from the movie they supplied.
(Emily shot the movie while her Mom jumped. Earlier Emily took on a kid-size challenge and plopped just the way Mom suggested.)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Getting out of the way of progress

That's a different, smaller barn across the road, used as a
shed for the vineyards located there.
The old red barn was pulled 500 feet away from the highway expansion project Friday. We didn't see it actually happen, too busy trying to stay cool indoors.
The landmark building still is quite visible from the road, situated now in a slightly more agrarian setting, surrounded this year by soy beans, and not too far from Lake O'Dowd.
We sent a photo dispatch to Matt, at a fishing shack in Ontario. He's walked past this site for years, didn't want to miss the move. Ya snooze, ya lose, Matthew.
It'll be there when you get back. It's not going any where. Any more.

Friday, July 24, 2015

River City Days outfit comes back out of the closet

They're doing a 40-year retrospective of the Chaska River City Days summer celebration, and editor Mark Olson posted this old photo today on the Chaska Herald Facebook page.
Stan set up this photo in 1975 to promote the celebration, then in its inaugural year. Two ladies in bicentennial garb are kissing Butch's Tavern owner Dale Diedrick, responding to his button that says "Kiss Me, I'm German."
The bonneted woman on the right was Kathleen Blethen, Stan's future bride. She married the photographer in September 1980.
The bicentennial outfits were handmade by Sandy Wenz, Kathleen's business partner, at left in the photo above. The busy pair wore the outfits during River City Days Sidewalk Sales, receiving many positive comments about their finery. Kathleen's outfit still hangs in our closet.
We brought it out today, for a forty-year reunion.
Still looking good!

Why would you save the outfit for forty years? Kathleen explains that it was her hope that some day she would have a granddaughter big enough to wear it.

Emily is getting there. Watch this space.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A distant relative?

A reader reminded us that last January we posted photos of a Great Blue Heron fishing near our rental home in Scottsdale. The migratory species has a wide range, and he wondered if yesterday's visitor could be the same one. That possibility is remote, of course, but we looked in the archives and, sure enough, here's what we found.
Whatever its origin, the Great Blue is one amazing snowbird.
Photos by Stan Rolfsrud

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Great Blue Heron, we think

We'll ask Birder Greg Johnson to confirm the identification of this morning's visitor. We think it is a Great Blue Heron. Rare for us to see this in the yard. It was huge, didn't spend too much time, lucky to spot it. It flew out of here very majestically when a noisy lawnmower approached, but the digital camera we used couldn't catch the drama. This is when we miss the old point and shoot technology.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Yes, you can move a brick house?

New location. Historic brick house at rest with no apparent damage, tightly corseted like some Victorian debutante.
Continuing our popular summer series of neighborhood "Houses on the Run," we present this Chaska entry, a 130-year-old brick home that was moved about 10 blocks last week to make room for a new Curling Arena. The historic home near the main intersection was headquarters to a local landscaping company for the past 30 years, before that -- you'll have to check with Chaska Herald editor Mark Olson. The night move created quite a stir, putting a reporter on the curb way past midnight to witness this epic event.
Thein Movers from Clara City did the honors, took four hours to move it over to Walnut Street, to take residence amongst similar architecture.
It's now a block away from the town square and two blocks from the newspaper office, which is made from the same vintage Chaska brick dug from the local clay pits and about the same age.
The city hopes to become a mecca for curlers with the construction of a mega ice sheet at its main intersection. Curling, an Olympic event, is emerging as a favorite for leisure timers. Consult with Wayne Kasich of International Falls on that. Not sure if he handles the broom or what.
The Raidele/Ernst house, above, is no longer an impediment to progress.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Which way the winds. . .

Photo by Stan Rolfsrud 
Photo by John Dovolos
Swilcan Bridge, Home Hole, Old Course, St. Andrews
Five-time  Open Winner Tom Watson crossed it yesterday,
possibly for the last time in competition.
It's the middle of July, but the cold stormy winds are again blowing off the east coast of Scotland today, presenting a stiff challenge to the sturdy men of the The Open. We were up bright and early to watch the live coverage, set amidst the ruins of an ancient age when constant struggles drew real blood and wrecked cathedrals.
Some believe that the invention of golf was the distraction needed to keep the English and the Scots, the Catholics and Protestants, from constantly killing each other.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

We had no complaints. . . until now

To the editor of the Shakopee Valley News,
Thank you for the local news story explaining why the quality of our daily newspaper delivery has dropped off so precipitously since Monday. The neighborhood reading public has been in turmoil, (seniors just don't like any breaks in the routine). They've called the circulation robot, they've complained to each other, unable to figure out why delivery suddenly is so poor. It's been great up until now.
You've shed some light.
Turns out our faithful newspaper delivery lady, Mrs. Schommer, to whom we mailed a big Christmas tip after receiving a picture of her "five children," is in jail, according to a story you wrote in the Valley News. She's been using her delivery job as a cover for stealing boxes and birthday cards and letters from mailboxes early in the morning. Police finally caught her by using a "bait box" rigged with a tell-tale beeper and GPS, you wrote.
So you got your big story. Good for you. Now who is going to deliver our newspaper?

Return to the Home of Golf

Photo by Stan Rolfsrud
St. Andrews, Scotland.
We'll watch The Open this weekend. If you want to watch the tales of Stan's round on the Old Course yet again, click here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Musical houses

Unlike the house we showed you last month that has departed for a small town 35 miles away, this house will be moved just across the street and turned to fit onto vacant lot with a basement yet to be built. The vacant house next to it will be simply razed.
Cement guys are very busy, they can't find enough qualified workers, we're told. That's a good sign for the housing economy, of course, but irritating when you're the one who wants some concrete work done.
The county continues its relentless pursuit of a wider County Road 17, bringing change to our neighborhood, speculation about the future and the usual gripes about government, as owners place themselves in the best negotiating positions.
Our friends, Gwen and Dick, used to have a house between them and the highway. No longer.
A landmark classic red barn on the right of way will be scooted back 500 feet to make way for four lanes of traffic anticipated to some day flow between 169 and 13.
We hope to witness that move.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

It's always something

A two-year-old refrigerator shouldn't rattle like a John Deere on idle. Ours does.
Fortunately, there's a simple fix. We jammed a dish rag between the cabinet wall and the fridge and got immediate relief. That's going to have to be good enough for the time being until we've worked our way deeper into the job jar. We're thinking that eventually if we tighten or loosen one of the adjustable legs it will shift enough weight to chase out the rattle. Wait and see.
In the meantime, we've got phone calls and mail to answer.

There's this note from Stan's sister Sosie out in California who has ordered a chandelier for their vintage project house in Ohio and called to talk about it. Also, Cousin Harold called from North Dakota where he's had another hip replaced and now has taken time from his summer tractor duties to recuperate and call relatives. We agreed he should drive here soon to see a Twins game at Target Field, now that the boys are making something of themselves. Stan suggested getting a group together, big enough to have it announced on the public address system. The retired Norwegian farmer thought that might be a bit bold, and wants no public displays.
Later, this note from Sosie arrived in the mailbag, thanking Stan for saving her $100.
Read on:
So we were talking about our various DIY projects and I mentioned the light fixtures we bought for here (contemporary) and Ohio (Queen Anne Victorian). That the crystal chandelier would be shipped for free to Ohio.
"Watch out for complicated assembly," you warned, and you referenced a neighbor who had experienced angst over such a purchase/project.
Well warned, I went to the Internet for information, if not solace. On the Lamps Plus website, there was no mention of assembly instructions for our selected chandelier. The only reviewer (from Pasadena, CA) stated that the chandelier was "Beautiful" and the bulbs easy to change. The reviewer was so pleased with the price and beauty that he/she planned to buy a second one. Hmmm, if there is assembly, Pasadena didn't mention any problems.
Maybe, maybe not. Who knows. Pasadena could be an assembly genius.
But then today, I open my iPad and the software obligingly updates the website address. And guess what? Our selected chandelier is on a "Today Only" sale for $100 less. I make my phone calls, and yes, once the order is fulfilled and the chandelier safely arrived in Ohio, I will be refunded $100. I have 60 days to ensure the transaction.
Thank you Stan. For the cost of anticipating assembly angst, I get $100.
Not bad for a retiree.

Stan responded:
Will you be using the $100 to hire an assembler, or are you now convinced you and Bill can put the Queen Anne masterpiece together?
I spoke to Cousin Harold yesterday. He just had a hip replaced and is sitting around the new house in Bismarck, eager to be useful. He can assemble a transmission on a John Deere tractor and slip new rings into an engine block. A chandelier should be a no-brainer. Perhaps you could drop ship one to him for quick assembly. Although, as I now recall, he may be missing a thumb on the right hand, which could be problematic for hanging tiny crystals.
Just a thought. Any ideas on a rattling refrigerator?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Yes, it rained a lot last night

You can see the copper top on our pond gauge in the photo above (lower right corner) and below.
That's a solar-powered cap that shines a steady light at night for the minnows. Not sure if it still works now.
Under water.
We slept right through it, but the rain fell hard last night, leaving at least an inch and a half in our part of the world. We don't actually know how many inches fell in our back yard, because gauge custodian Tom Story hasn't reported in. And sometimes he forgets to dump it out after the last rain, so then we get these really big impossible numbers.
But a trusted web site says an inch and a half and we will go with that.
The pond rose about six inches, we think, taking the drainage from the neighborhood, and inundating the copper top on the post we installed to help us with calculations. (See photo)
The result is a nice green world for us. . . sorry, California.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tuning up the washing machine

Bass virtuoso Jeff Brueske backed gypsy jazz guitarist Reynold Philipsek as patrons picked fruit.
Midtown Dan and Landlord Stan stumbled onto a casual jazz session today when they went downstairs, seeking lunch at the Holy Land grill in the Global Market at Chicago and Lake.

The onions were particularly sharp
today, we thought.
Double Trouble.
Dan's condo washing machine was on the fritz, and the dryer was balky; the front-loading washer seems to have a hard time getting into balance and going into the proper high-speed spin cycle. Probably something to do with heavy, sopping towels. And we think the dryer, after nine years, has stopped "sensing" moisture levels. So it is time to start using the manual control settings instead, operating as we did in the good old days before dryers knew how to feel how wet your stuff is.

Meanwhile, there's always something going on at the Midtown Global Market, but today was very special, with an appearance by the famed Sidewalk Cafe Jazz Trio.
As we settled in amongst the noon lunch crowd on this warm day, we picked out the melodic line from "Summer Time," as the boys riffed and skillfully played with the tune, to the delight of their listeners. As they progressed through their program, we picked out more favorites, selected, we think, especially for today's casual crowd. Before long, we had forgotten the misery of a busted washing machine, lost in the chords and imaginative fingering of this professional crew, having its way on a musical Saturday afternoon.
Eventually, we left our tip and went back to work upstairs. The good news: we won't be buying any new appliances just yet.
We just needed a tune up.

Always fun to look through the windows after the washing gymnasts have been through. They work with a
rope and trapeze-type arrangement, "walking" across the windows. No scaffold for them.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Marcy has a diamond engagement

When it was first breathlessly reported that our daughter Marcy was going to throw out the first pitch at a Minnesota Twins Baseball game, we were a bit skeptical. Marcy is not what you would call a serious baseball fan, nor is she the president of some fabulous organization, or a wounded vet.
But sure enough, she had won the right, through some kind of contest or lottery at work, to be a part of the pre-game festivities at last night's game against Detroit.
It was enough to get us to watch the pre-game show and hope to get a glimpse of our star in the background. Alas, no such luck, only a report from her this morning of what actually happened -- along with this photo.
Marcy did get into the bowels of the Target Field grandstand, then out onto the actual field, near what she referred to as a "bunker." Then she stood behind home plate, along with two others, while the General Manager of the Lakewinds Food Co-op, her employer, threw a baseball to the Twins' mascot. Marcy's full name reverberated over the massive public address system.
While that may seem like just a lot of hoopla and promotional hooey, we're envious nonetheless. We've taken the tour, but we've never been out on the field. And we've never been mentioned over anybody's baseball public address system. Yet.
Oh yes, for actual baseball fans, this bit of news: The Twins lost the ballgame, 4-2.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Snowey and Dad drop by

"Here's the way out if they forget to lock the door."
Our nephew Ford stopped over this afternoon with Snowey, the new family dog, to swap a back yard puppy corral for a fresh supply of lefse from Ingebretsens.
He also shared his concern and good wishes for his cousin, Jennifer, as she begins a chemo-therapy regimen today for breast cancer. We appreciated his thoughtful comments on behalf of his family.
Poor Little Birdie :)
Birdie was delighted to meet and mix it up with the lively, yet well-mannered Snowey and quickly showed her the ins and outs of the corral.
Ford and his daughter Kaia were running errands this morning, one of them to the famous Norwegian store on Lake Street in Minneapolis… hence the supply of lefse. Stan has already smeared one slice with butter, rolled it and ate it.
How do you eat your lefse? With butter and sugar? Brown sugar? Jelly? Mayo and mustard? Salsa? A cappella?

Salt and Pepper Dog Team

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Meet Willie!

Here's Jennifer's brand new Labradoodle, Willie, on his way home from Iowa this week. He's eight weeks old, is learning how to go down the back steps, and will have free range in Jen's big fenced-in back yard. The puppy wasn't used to travel when Jen drove him to his Minnesota home and he threw up all over her. Ever resourceful, Jen pulled over at a Thrift Store in Waverly and bought a change of clothing.
It's the first of many unexpected expenses the owner will endure, but hey, just look at those adorable eyes and huge paws.
Good Boy. . .
The Labradoodle was originally developed to be a hypo-allergenic guide dog. The first planned crosses of standard poodles and labrador retrievers were arranged by the Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia. The result was a smart and sociable dog, who not only possessed a nature appropriate for guide dogs but also had a low-shedding coat -- according to
We're excited about the addition to the extended family, especially Stan, who delights in anything male. . . even though there are plans afoot to take care of that. Willie may grow to about 50 pounds, 30 pounds bigger than cousin Birdie, but we're sure they'll get along famously.
The timing couldn't be better for Jennifer, who faces surgery on July 10, and will no doubt benefit greatly from a four-legged companion during her convalescence. Willie was born on April 24, the same day Jennifer learned the details of her breast cancer.
We all think they were meant for each other.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

This is really hard. . .

Grandpa and Emily love watermelon.
Grandma not so much.
Okay. The easy part is, from left to right, Grandma, Aunt Jennifer, Emily, Grandpa, Mom and Aunt Marcy celebrating the Fourth of July and Grandpa's birthday in one big parade. Now the hard part. Hidden in Emily's drawing are a slice of pie, a banana, an orange, a golf club, a heart, a leaf and a rainbow. Can you find them all or will the Puzzlemaster stump you?
Hints to finding the hidden items.
Click to enlarge.

Emily watched fireworks from Matt and Anne's farmyard next to Mystic Lake. Matt comforts his black lab.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Rotarians honor Mark Olson

This is not the trophy that the Rotary Club gave Mark Olson, but it should be. 
We used to call him Opie, but that was more like eleven years ago when he had a bit more of an impish grin than now. Chaska, Minnesota may be no Mayberry RFD, but it does cherish small town values and our Opie has always been a good fit.
Last week the Chaska Rotary Club presented Chaska Herald Editor Mark Olson with the club's annual service award. We couldn't be more proud of our man.

"To know Mark is to know a person who doesn't just have the responsibility to report the news, but he cares about Chaska, cares deeply about how its health is today and will be into its future," the Rotary President gushed during the award presentation at the new Hazeltine National Clubhouse.
He sure got that right. Stan has seen a lot of community editors come and go over the past 35 years and has hired plenty of good ones. (Some bad ones too.)
Little Mark "Opie" Olson in Third Grade
But Stan can't think of one of them who would be more deserving of the prestigious service award given to Mark last week. And that would include Stan, himself. Back in the 70s, Stan held Mark's editor's job at the Herald. Nobody even thought of giving him an award.

"Mark is not just a story-teller," Rotary President Tom Croft continued. "He's a story-teller that cares about the story and its impacts. It is a job that isn't very easy much of the time because you may disappoint and in some cases anger those that may disagree with an opion or a story.
"Mark also understands the concepts of small town and community and what it means to value and respect each and every person. His presentation and coverage of stories provides to community members the stories of the community and helps get an insight to what it all means. His actions support the meaning of community and in essence serves our needs to better understand and appreciate where we live."
Official Chaska Herald editorial board meeting, Sept. 20, 2007. (Minutes have been lost.)