Wednesday, September 30, 2015

On the mend

Our nephew Zachary tore a bicep recently, putting him into a rehab regimen. We shipped a sympathy pound of our Shakopee-produced Cameron's Coffee and received this selfie back along with a note that said that, despite appearances, he wasn't actually violating his therapist's absolute prohibition against grasping and gripping with his left hand.
We hope he mends quickly.
(Personal to The Mother. Zach writes a very nice thank you note.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Congratulations Andy Dang! (He's gonna be a doctor!)

It came today!
Andrew Dang received his letter of acceptance to the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences - College of Osteopathic Medicine. Andy's going to be a doctor! He can enter the class of 2016 next fall if he so chooses.
The letter arrived today and was greeted with excitement and great relief after a stressful round of interviews and waiting and uncertainty.
Congratulations to a hard-working, bright young man who will be a wonderful physician some day soon.
Future Doctor
Our favorite photo.

Here's the letter that triggered all the excitement.
His father called Stan from California this afternoon after getting the news. Andy's grandma has been saying a prayer every day.

Dear Andrew Dang:

Congratulations!  It is my pleasure to inform you that you have been accepted into Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences - College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM).  This marks an exciting time as you embark on your journey to become a physician. 

KCU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine is a leader in osteopathic medical education, and we will prepare you to become a highly competent, caring and compassionate physician. Our clinical presentation based curriculum places the patient at the center of the learning process and emphasizes the integration of basic and clinical sciences.  Encompassing our educational program is the focus we place on values - those that embody the core nature of care for human life. Our students learn to lead with integrity in the service of humanity while providing holistic and compassionate care.

In the next few days, you will receive additional information from the Office of Admissions regarding steps you will need to take to secure your seat in the entering Class of 2016. Additionally, we want to inform you that the annual White Coating Ceremony for all first year medical students and your families will tentatively be held on July 30, 2016 which is the last day of orientation.  This is a momentous occasion and will be the ceremony when you will receive your first white coat - the symbol of what it means to be a physician.  You will learn more about this at the special event. 

Once again, congratulations on your acceptance, and I am delighted to welcome you into our KCU-COM family!


Bruce Dubin, D.O., J.D., FCLN, FACOI
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Provost and Dean of College of Osteopathic Medicine

Andrew will continue to interview at a number of other institutions. . . but he's got one in the bag now!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Family treasure on loan

Pre-med student Andy Dang is pointed toward pediatrics, but you never know. This could get him interested in
surgery. Andy grasps the prized pruners, girlfriend Laura has the tree saw and a coffee creamer???.
Over twenty years ago, Stan's late mother-in-law gave him a pruning shears for his birthday. Never mind the snickers, her thoughtful gift just keeps on giving, year after year, season after season. No other gesture has had such longevity or notoriety, "Grandma's Shears" are an institution and are prominently displayed in the yard and garden section of the family garage. Her name and memory is invoked whenever branches are clipped around our house.
Today Hai asked if his son might borrow the treasured pruners to clean up branches around his mother's house. Andy was quickly granted the favor, but not until he was briefed on the history and importance of this iconic tool.
Andy promised to bring it back promptly and safely, in plenty of time for our fall cleanup when the shears will yet again play an important role, cutting back an overgrown arborvitae and maybe a few branches on the flowering crab.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sixty Something

Alex, Virg, Aaron

Kim, Cherice, Aunt Katie
Birthday breakfast guests at Virg and Kim's this morning included the celebrant's sons and daughter, along with an uncle and aunt. Something was different as guests entered the house, but no one could figure what it was. Sure enough, a maple that shaded the front entry for years was gone, and the sunlight streamed through.
Kathleen remembered a nice card for her brother-in-law; his sons told Dad to be patient, he might be getting something tomorrow.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Of course she has a wig, but why would she wear it and risk losing membership in the elite baldies club?
Kate's been a great help and
friend to Jennifer.
We met Jennifer and her pals at the Farmer's Market near 50th and France today to catch up and see the new do. We sampled her friend Kate's goat cheeses, (photo at right) bought a round of homemade popsicles, selected some granola, spinach, carrots, and free range eggs then posed for the group shot below.
Jennifer was in good spirits today, she's bravely facing a new round of chemo and her support team is in rally mode.
She sent along this photo and note about her barber, Phil:
Here's Phil who did the honors. ;)
He's been in business on the corner of Nicollet and Diamond Lake Pkwy for 47 years. He started at that location as an apprentice, then stayed to work there, then bought the place and has been there ever since. He says he's done a lot of these haircuts. Unfortunately.
Nice guy.


Thanks to all who have sent along best wishes to our courageous one. She continues in her difficult regimen with optimism and resolve. We're grateful for her spirit as she faces these challenges.

From left, Stan, Christina, Katie, Tasha, Jen, Alex, Gabby. Willie had to wait in the car.
No dogs allowed in the Farmer's Market. :(

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Hoi and his driver.

This photograph had to be a selfie, because there was not another soul available anywhere on the golf course to take it. It rained all day, pausing only briefly once or twice this afternoon, keeping the sane and the intelligent indoors, perhaps watching the pope. The foolish, above, are in possession of a game not adversely affected by rain, wind, snow or gloom of night so the solitary pair merrily splashed through 18 holes in under three hours, managing to stay just dry enough to have a good time. Hoi kept his brand new golf shoes out of the puddles as best he could.
Drizzle, clouds, rain drops were simply ignored. Thankfully, there was no thunderstorm today. Last week the pair unceremoniously scrambled to escape lightning strikes suddenly crashing about, scaring the bejesus out of them as they frantically urged their sluggish old golf cart to its limit, finally reaching suitable cover.
Hoi forgot golf shoes today, arriving in sandals. He bought a pair of Footjoys and reported dry feet at the end of his round.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Do we need one of these?

Matt kindly loaned us his Ford pickup and was interested in our impressions. He's planning on getting a new one this
spring and we've floated the idea of buying a matched pair.
The test drive of the pickup went well. We did not test drive the tractor.
We've long entertained the notion that a man needs a truck. We gave the concept a test spin this morning, borrowing a loaded pickup from that long-time man's man, Matt Drees.
Matt was mowing his lawn, trying to beat a naughty drizzle that threatened to set back his plans to head to Canada for some fishing and logging with other men.
He quickly gave Stan and Katie the keys to his 2011 Ford F-150 4x4, an iconic man's vehicle if there ever was one, and the perfect starting point for the truck novice trying to decide. Stan has driven numerous farm trucks, SUVs, vans and other heavy equipment. . . but Matt's truck definitely was not like any of that.
Katie was pleasantly surprised when a convenient step silently emerged from the truck body to welcome her aboard. Matt's got all the goodies in his top-end machine, claims he doesn't or can't use most of them, but that's beside the point, isn't it?
We checked out the appointments and details, noticed there was even more headroom for Stan and plenty of space for a kennel and trip luggage in the back seat and then we fired up the big engine.
Deb greeted us at the front desk.
She noticed.
We made up an errand, heading the big bruiser out to Savage to find out for Matt when the Open House would be at the newspaper office. A rumor of a pig roast has circulated and Matt didn't want to miss out while cutting wood Up North.
Our classic pickup was noticed in the newspaper parking lot as an unusual conveyance for the retired publisher, but thankfully no one there had time to remark on an old man desperately trying to regain his youth. . . but then we didn't stick around that long.
The ride back to Matt's on the freeway was remarkably stable, the wide and long wheel-base giving the pleasant sensation of smooth sailing. We quickly passed a couple of slower vehicles, looking down at their rooftops as we accelerated past.
You begin to see the attraction.
We shared impressions with our sponsor, still not convinced of the logic of acquiring this popular and expensive transportation mode. Matt could only snort a bit, laying no claims to making exclusively sensible decisions and ever pleased to encourage Stan in any foolishness or flirtation that would keep him happy in his dotage. So be it.
Meanwhile, Katie will stick to her bug.

The step was a nice surprise.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Finally. . . they're fencing in the prison

Construction is moving at a frenetic pace these days in Shakopee. New bridge over the Minnesota River. The country's biggest malt producer is erecting another huge elevator; Amazon is building a mega distribution center and looking for employees. Then there is that fence around the women's prison. It's never had one before and it's controversial. Really. The neighbors don't want one.
We drove by the reformatory today on the way to visit a friend and stopped for a photo. It's going to be a very nice fence, even if the neighbors don't want it.
Here's what Minnesota Public Radio has to say about it:
The Shakopee prison houses more than 600 women, including nearly a hundred serving sentences for homicide. Although the prison employs numerous security measures, there's not much separating its grounds from the surrounding neighborhood - just a small decorative hedge that is about knee-high this time of year.
In the last two decades, eight prisoners have escaped, including one last year. All were apprehended. Guards caught another 19 plotting escape plans. In in the last seven years, more than 30 people have been caught trespassing at the prison. 
Luckily, nothing disastrous has happened, such incidents point to the need for more security, Warden Tracy Beltz said.
"That's what this is about is averting that really bad day," Beltz said.
But some neighbors see building a 12-foot-high fence as an overreaction. 
Among them is Dennis Hron, who can see the facility from his front steps. When the state built it nearly 30 years ago, officials promised there would be no fence.
"When they put it in they said it would be compatible with the neighborhood," Hron said. "And now, all of a sudden, they need a fence. That's flat-out lying to the people."
The prison grounds look something like a college campus, with brick buildings and even a softball field. But add a fence, Hron said, and everyone will know it's a prison. He predicts most potential home buyers won't even look at houses like his.
"The ones that will, will go in and look in the house and then stand in the living room, and look across the street at that 12-foot fence," he said. "And I don't care how pretty it is, it's still a twelve-foot fence. And they're going to say 'show me something else.' And when that happens enough times, the seller is going to have to cut the price." 
When Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke goes door knocking in the neighborhood, he finds that many of the people who oppose the fence live across the street from the prison. But Tabke said that doesn't represent public opinion citywide.
"What I found fascinating was if you get just two blocks away from the prison, where people don't directly see it, the people who want the fence goes up dramatically," he said. 
When the prison was built in 1986, it had just 85 inmates. Today its population is seven times that. 
Kathleen's a good sport when it comes to
measuring height. Here's our five footer
 with the 12 foot fence.
The fence issue has been a hot topic in Shakopee for the last 10 years. For most of that time, the City Council opposed it. But recent elections have changed that. Tabke said the new members are less concerned with what the prison used to be, and more concerned with what it is today.
"Times have changed, and it no longer is simply a reformatory," he said. "It's a full-fledged prison, with a lot of dangerous people in there, and we need to protect them, protect the staff, and protect the community."
Matt Lehman, the one council member who didn't vote to support state funding for the fence, said he understands the prison's security concerns. But he said the real issue for Shakopee has nothing to do with a fence.
"The question really is: Do we really want a maximum security prison in the middle of Shakopee next to residential, across from a school," he said. "That's the question."
Lehman said he'd rather see the state put the $5 million toward a new high-security women's prison far away from anybody's back yard.

 Curtis Gilbert / MPR News

Thursday, September 17, 2015

In the pipeline. . .

Rudder in the rear, the "legs" are actually fins that criss cross beneath the stern, providing forward propulsion.
It's been ordered and shipped.
This ocean-worthy fishing kayak is on its way to a California port, soon to be guided by Capt. H.V. Dang and his fishing partner in the abundant waters near San Diego. It's a winter-time sporting activity that would be brand new for a Minnesota boy and promises great fun and adventure. It's a long way from the little red rowboat that once plied the summer waters of Lake Andrew near Alexandria.
Lots to learn about skegs and no-motor zones and exotic species.

Watch this video to see how the fins work demonstrated on a smaller craft.

Here's the product description, if you're curious about this new toy. You'll get a closer look this winter.

The all-new Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 17T is a fishing machine with comfort, stability, and room for everything you need. Like the original Pro Angler, the 17T is powered by Hobie's MirageDrive pedal system. You'll have the option to set up the fully adjustable Vantage XT Seating, in the in-line tandem configuration, face-to-face social tandem, or as a single. The PA17T is the perfect platform to teach a young one how to fish, take your family member out, or simply fish hard with your best fishing buddy. Fishing rod storage both front and rear holds up to 12 rods; 2 vertical and 10 horizontal. The new H-Rail System allows you to customize accessory placement and comes with 2 H-Rail mounting plates, 2 H-Rail rod stacks, and 2 H-Rail cup holders. Both users can stand and fish in comfort and each cockpit is fitted with a large rectangular hatch with pivoting tackle management system; there's even additional under-seat storage for bringing plenty of tackle boxes. The Pro Angler 17T is Lowrance Ready with pre-installed thru-hull cable plug outlets. The hull will cut through ocean swells and the drop down skeg provides solid tracking over long voyages. With three rudder control steering handles, you can position the boat from any seating location while you or your buddy battles the big one. This vessel has found its niche through human propulsion via the MirageDrive, the ability to launch in no-motor zones or areas with no boat ramp, and minimal maintenance thanks to its durable polyethylene hull and rigid components. It's all about getting out there as often as possible...the Pro Angler 17T is waiting for you and a friend to explore new waters and better your biggest catches. See the videos for more details on the features of the Pro Angler 17T.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Hooray for the Army team!

Army Guys
 SSgt. Keifer Davis and SSgt. David Moerman with John and Stan
David lines up a putt.
Between them, they've done multiple tours in Kuwait and Iraq, these two U.S. Army staff sergeants, one a reconnaissance specialist, the other assigned to a Patriot missile battery. Today they shot 18 adventurous holes of golf at Stonebrooke with two sponsoring duffers as part of a charity fundraiser called "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon."
It was great fun spending a beautiful afternoon with Kiefer Davis, 25, and David Moerman, 27, especially when the beer cart gal carded the two handsome dudes. The event was a golf scramble, a collaborative team outing where you only play the best hit ball --- and don't care how many others get wet.
Let the record show that the vets contributed as much as the active-duty lads and together the Army team put up a respectable performance, well under par.
The sergeants are now assigned to the Army Recruiting Office near France and Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington, so you might say they are presently in sales. After the round, Kiefer looked in his trunk and found an Army t-shirt for Stan; they promised to earmark more swag at their recruiting office, and pledged to not try re-enlist the old draftee when he comes by to pick up the stuff. For his part, Stan donated a couple dozen assorted yard balls to their golf bags.
Kiefer is from Burnsville, David from Worthing, South Dakota.
Stan's partner today was John Skarhus, an artful dodger whose short game, time and again, kept the foursome out of trouble.
Flags, flags, flags fluttered in a fresh autumn breeze from the parking lots to the 18th hole as sponsors and supporters did their best to show appreciation to the men and women who serve this country.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

New appliances, new backsplash, yippee

The much-anticipated arrival of the new stainless appliances made it possible to complete the adhesion of the backsplash tiles. They will dry overnight and then the grout will give it a finished look.
Our big girl can reach all the controls on the microwave. The project is being done by our daughter, Melissa, at her Eden Prairie home. She's not done yet… new floor next. Tile? Laminate?

(The blue tape in the photos is to protect the granite while mortaring. It's not a trim color:)  )

Friday, September 11, 2015

Moving Day… welcome our new neighbors

It was a beautiful day for moving.
We met this friendly, engaging couple today, they're moving in with their family just down the street in a new house off Stonebrooke No. 17. (They're avid golfers.) They were busy and we tried not to take up too much of their time, but it was hard, we had lots to talk about.
They're from this area so it was a short move. Both work for the same company. Their kids are school age.
They'll soon have new neighbors as well, as their lot is adjacent to a development that shows all the signs of getting started.
Good luck to them and welcome to the neighborhood!

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Cool. Make it last.

While we hate to say that summer is over, we do love this fall weather, brief though it may be. Our Great Blue Heron dipped in for a visit, we hope not the last, before he heads south. Days and nights are cool, great weather for sleeping in, which is good, because we are trying stay awake late to see how Stephen Colbert does on his new gig.

Late, late.

Monday, September 07, 2015

New look

Stan's brother Virg finished his Eden Prairie back yard project this week and the result is fabulous. Virg, ever meticulous and patient, took his time, and mixed his brickwork with numerous rounds of golf at his nearby course.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

High School chum still rockin'

That's Solveig across the table from Rock and Roller Rick Beresford at an Alex alumni luncheon in the Sofitel.
Rick Beresford attended school in Alexandria along with Stan and his sister, Solveig. Played with a local rock band. He was a preacher's kid and before he graduated, his father was called to a parish in the Twin Cities. Next thing we knew, Rick was in a six-boy band called "The High Spirits."
Alex School Days: Rick, Bill and Karl Tegland.
Do you remember "Turn on Your Lovelight?" by Bobby Bland? It was turned into a regional hit by these guys, made the Top 5 in the Twin Cities, No. 1 in Kansas City.
That was 50 years ago. In today's StarTribune, there's a big feature story on "The High Spirits" and a video to go with it. Although the band broke up after a couple of years, they staged a band reunion last week for the St. Louis Park Class of 65, and were a big hit.
Rick became a banker but never put down his guitar. Somebody else went to work for Prince. In the meantime, the lead singer changed gender identity and appeared as a woman at the well-received performance. Another band member is now an ear, nose and throat doc.
Gray-haired Rick does a lot of the talking in the video:

Back-to-school for Joey and Emily

Just three years ago
Fourth graders now

Sprinkle, sprinkle little star.
Joey and Emily were born a week apart, so whenever both happen to visit their respective grandparents on the same day, it's an opportunity to appreciate how they've grown up. The latest happy coincidence was Sandy Story's birthday, which brought large numbers of the Story clan next door to celebrate. Our Emily happened to be here, while her mother enjoyed a much-deserved day off.
Joey and Emily, both nine, will be entering fourth grade this year. Actually Joey started in Chanhassen already, Emily starts in Eden Prairie on Tuesday.
This gathering was also an opportunity for Kathleen to bake a cake for our good neighbors, especially as an activity for Emily on a long day indoors, given the tropical weather we've been having. Emily didn't just lick the bowl, she measured and stirred and sprinkled, and was rewarded with a family cake-baking secret not written in the recipe, a secret so classified that even Grandpa doesn't know it.
In 2008 we made a little movie of Joey and Emily at play, so if you're really in to this story, you may click here and see the two-minute clip.

There are still some bugs in the new selfie camera. Operator error.
Katie, Joey, Holly, Emily, Tom, Michael, Sandy, Jane, Barret

Friday, September 04, 2015

This is a fine kettle of fish you've gotten into

We've tried unsuccessfully all summer to trap the snapping turtle who is devouring every scrap of protein in the pond. We were ready to turn in our trapper's license when we noticed a disturbance on the deck where Kathleen offers suet in a wire suet holder to her feathered friends. It's a popular spot. The cake was gone when we looked and a persistent juvenile sparrow had caught himself in the wire and got stuck in the cage and couldn't back out.
Kathleen carefully extricated the little birdie and when it was freed it flew away quickly so we knew it was okay.

Mr. Gerken makes yet another public appearance

Film star John Gerken, whose elbow appears in the movie "Grand Prix," has another claim to immortality. Our neighbor's image was recently captured by the Google camera car when it took a spin around our cul-de-sac, taking pictures for Google Maps. It was a Monday, trash day, and the street view photo series shows John, frame by frame and from a variety of angles, faithfully pulling his trash and recycling bins back to his garage. A star is reborn.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015


The Morning of Day Two.
Our daughter Melissa has been updating her Eden Prairie kitchen. The other day her mother dropped by to look over the new granite and cabinets and, before you could say "mortar and grout" Stan had "volunteered" to do her backsplash.
Work got under way yesterday and tonight it's gone as far as it can go until the new appliances show up. Stan was assisted by his granddaughter Emily, 9, particularly in showing off the progress so far. Melissa has selected a "pearl" grout and some under cabinet lighting to brighten up her busy kitchen. We'll post when the project is done.

Later that day. We await new microwave and fridge before final tile and grout.

Pony ride?

Continuing our series "Unusual Construction Equipment Observed on Morning Walks," please consider this entry from CenterPoint Energy. Looking somewhat like a kiddie ride at the Scott County Fair, this ditch digging Kubota backhoe was mounted by a worker covering a utility line along Wood Duck Trail. Skillfully operating the joys sticks and foot controls, when the cute little machine didn't go exactly where he wanted it, the driver just shifted his weight, controlling it with some clever butt moves. Sort of like a jockey moves a horse.
"It's a bit undersized," the shovel-leaner on the left admitted, "but as soon as you get a bigger one, you'll get into a tight spot and wish you had a smaller one."