Friday, October 30, 2015

Mystery Solved. . .

About three weeks ago Kathleen began missing her prescription sunglasses, searching high and low, retracing her steps around the house and at various locations, repeatedly inquiring at numerous Lost and Found departments, sadly, all to no avail. She blamed herself for not putting finder's information in the case.
While getting her regular lenses replaced last week, she was asked if she'd like to buy a new pair of prescription sunglasses as well, as part of the package, which would have cost an additional $200. She said no, "I haven't given up hope." (The so-called "special deal" would expire in 30 days.) "I take such good care of them, I was really disappointed," she said.
Today, during a cleaning routine, lo and behold, way under the bed, in a little private stash, she discovered her sunglasses in its soft cloth case. There was an abundance of joy and exhultation.
Since the statute of limitations has run out on the crime, the miscreant was not to be punished, only shamed in the hopes that some public humiliation would help. We don't have a lot of tools here.
The first thing Kathleen did when she got her prized sunglasses back was to insert her name and phone number into the case.
Prudent, yes, but Stan is sure it would have made no difference.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Clearing the air

Photo by Stan Rolfsrud
Workers disassembled power poles lining Marschall Road yesterday. Utilities are now buried in the
right-of-way, leaving an unobstructed skyline.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Yikes! Peeping Toms reported at 2358 Abbey Road!

Martin the greenskeeper enjoyed
nature's moment as well.
With Thanksgiving closing in, you wouldn't think they'd be so brazen. But there they were, a quartet of gobblers, admiring themselves in Gary and Carolyn's window glass.
Gary was out on his walk and said he didn't much care about all the window peeping, he's not the modest type. "We've had a red fox peeking in there too," he reminded.
Eventually, the four turkeys moved on and were last seen disappearing into the woods and well out of sight. Which would seem like a pretty good idea about now.

Turkey shoot by Stan Rolfsrud

Sunday, October 25, 2015

November, 2011

And they look the same today. ...
Our burning bushes got raves from our new neighbors, "This has been the best fall for color," Carolyn observed to a local dog walker this morning. That's true, but we offer this sample from 2011.
That was a very good year too.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Musical Siding

Day One: the boards on all four sides of the window do not fit. The gaps between the siding and the window
trim are just too wide. And vinyl won't stretch that far.

The kitchen window is 70 inches wide. The opening in the siding was 73 inches wide. Oops.

The spiffy new windows in Jennifer’s Dundas home were installed last spring. With November about to follow October, Jenn’s unpaid contractor sighed and strapped on his tool belt .

A suitable product match was found at Menard’s, there are 200 square feet of slate vinyl siding on order and promised. Allow two weeks for delivery. In the meantime, in the spirit of Jenn’s values of reuse, repurpose and recycle, we played a little musical chairs with the longer but poorly-fit siding, which is still in good shape.

Vinyl siding may be an economical product, but a bit quirky to master. Stan viewed some YouTube videos and interviewed a local expert before he started in on his small part of the project. The idea for the installer is to show as few ugly splices as possible. Make a game of it.

The top photo is Day One. The boards on both sides of the kitchen window are too short, though it is hard to tell. So we removed the boards from both sides, then recut the longer boards and swapped them with the short side.


Hopefully we’ll get the new 12 footers delivered soon. . . and serious professional help. It’s supposed to be an easy winter in Minnesota this year. . . but we’re not counting on it.

Nice, tight seal under the window and on the right side. So far, so good. Hope we can post the final soon.

Here's a fun coincidence

Surrounded by parents, an aunt, uncle, grandfather and cousins, Mike Bolin sits on the Lake Andrew dock in the early 50s. The boy in the white t-shirt is Mike's brother, Stan.
The late Michael Bolin was Stan's good friend in high school and later at Concordia College. He became an artist of some renown in The Twin Cities and passed away a few years back. Today his cousin Kathy posted this photo and Stan happened to see it.
There's Mike sitting on a dock in Lake Andrew, looks like about age 10. His parents owned a cottage and lake lot. Meanwhile, Stan grew up with his family just a short swim away, but never met him until some years later.  It would have been fun to have Mike as a playmate back then, but who knew? We have lots of our own pictures taken on the lake similar to this one. Impressed that it is in color, but Mike's Dad, Floyd, was always ahead of his time.
Alexandrians remember Floyd for his ownership of the Dutch Girl Dairy and association with the  fledgling Aircraft plant in Alexandria.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Hai's Flock

The grass in the field that stretches behind Hai's SoCal back yard was getting tall enough to become a potential fire hazard, so they moved a flock of lawnmowers in for a week or two. The city boy was fascinated by the ecologically sound process, but not too pleased with the eu de manure, temporary though it may be. It was particularly enjoyable watching the border collies manage the flock. Very cool.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Rolfsruds in The Big Apple

Spotted this Facebook photo posted without an explanation. Looks like our Rolfsrud relatives from western North Dakota are exploring New York, this shot appears to be taken from the Freedom Tower. One posted comment was amusing, giving the rural Rolfsruds a tweek. It said:
"You're not in Keene anymore!"

From left to right are our cousins, Guy, Brooke, Kelley, John and Nancy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Massive Muskellunge emerges from Rainy Lake

Stan's friend Wayne catches a lot of fish. So when he's impressed by one, it is worth taking note. Today Wayne writes from International Falls with a fish photo:

My friend Tony went bass fishing Monday with a couple of his Canadian friends in Seine Bay on Rainy Lake. Fishing was slow and they were about to quit when this fish hit his bass bait on an 8 lb test line. One hour later they landed it -- with their hands -- on the fourth attempt. They took measurements (28 inch girth). Tony hasn't calculated it yet but they figure it will be over 50 lbs.
Tony's 200 hp Honda blew up in June. He just bought a newer boat and wanted to get in one last day of fishing.
Not a bad day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Easy to distinguish these Clones, even without name tags

Photo by Lorlee Bartos
Stan, James, Paul Nokes, (this is not about him) and John
Stan's loyal classmates, the Kloehn Twins, James and John (pronounced "clone," we always like to say with an ironic grin), still farm near Alexandria. They were drafted about the time Stan was --  by the same draft board. One Kloehn's duty was driving a boss of the First Cavalry around Fort Hood, Texas, where Stan also did his service, though they never met up. The other Kloehn was ordered to Vietnam. How can you tell which Kloehn twin was the one put into combat? Take his hands in yours. If it feels odd because two fingers are missing, he's the one. Then thank him for his service.

Easy birdie

Greg, Steve, Scott

The ball came from the right and somehow circled the hole,
denying Greg a Hole in One and the privilege of
buying endless rounds at the clubhouse.
How does this happen?
Greg Lewis got his ball BEHIND the cup on No. 15 at Creeksbend today, somehow missing a Hole-in-One, but still finishing the back nine One over Par.
Singletons Greg and Scott joined Steve and his brother for a brisk round on a beautiful October Day. Lovely weather continues, this won't be the last time out.
Golf course managers are delighted with this year's revenues.

Linemen from the country. . .

A forest of utility poles was erected in a parking lot near here over the weekend. Next spring Shakopee will host a national utility workers rodeo, with contests displaying the skills of pole climbers and electrical specialists from around the country.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Good News/Bad News from high above the finish line

Don Kieger likes to say that he’s lost so much money at the Canterbury Park Race Book that they’ll give him anything he wants just to keep him around. Today he got into the glazed donuts. Again.
A month ago Melissa said she wanted to move to beautiful Colorado.
We hadn't seen our Canterbury server since and figured she'd gone and done it.
We're glad she didn't. She's really nice -- and remembers how we like our eggs.
If you wait for it, Don will get to the good news. But first the bad:
1. There are so many detours in St. Paul these days that the stress of working around them almost caused heart failure last week. Even Snelling was closed. It took hours to get his pulse and breathing back to normal.
2. Another Racebook friend has died, he's bet his last horse, his everyday table over there is  vacant now. And no one seems to know what took him. More ashes to scatter on the finish line.
And so on.
But if you prod him enough, eventually our favorite player at the Canterbury Park Third Floor Race Book will give it up:
The Good News: Yesterday Don Kieger and Co. won the fabulous Pick Four at Keeneland. Don could barely suppress the grin tugging at the corner of his mouth as he recounted this high achievement to a couple of casual inquisitors this morning. Choosing the winning horse in four consecutive races is very good indeed. Careful study, hard work and keen observation paying off at last. Life is good.
But before we got too happy for him, Don quickly brought us back.
They had actually missed the really big money by a nose, he explained. They would have won really big if just one horse had finished differently. But, that would have been a problem, he continued, because no one in his cartel had agreed to accept the IRS form that would have accompanied the lucre. This inconvenient event could have pushed somebody into a higher tax bracket.
"So, it was good that you lost then?" we asked, somewhat incredulously. "Well, then we certainly hope you fellows never make so much money here that you have to pay more taxes, right?"
We got a knowing grin from the player, still working on his complimentary donut.
Sometimes, when you're sitting in the rarified air high up in the Third Floor Racebook, it's really hard to separate what's good from what's bad.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Haircuts, small engines, coffee 'n breakfast, guns 'n ammo, or big 'n tall

Google photos
Despite years of rapid expansion that have consistently ranked it among the nation’s fastest growing cities, Shakopee (pop. 40,000) has managed to maintain a vibrant and interesting Old Town that still feels like Norman Rockwell may have painted it.

So after “Munkabeans” (locally-owned, free wifi, compostable cups) advertised a grand opening there, we drove down for breakfast and a look-see.

We parked diagonally in front of the barber shop (open Mondays, around the corner from the guns and ammo and Bill's Big and Tall Toggery) and picked our way past the worn snowblowers awaiting their winter tuneups at Zadra’s Mobile Small Engine Service.

A Saturday morning gang of bikers had commandeered the big table in front, but not to worry, they wore lycra, not leathers, and were simply fueling for their day of leaf-looking on 10-speeds.

The Munkabeans offerings were neatly described on a big chalkboard, legible enough for seniors to see that, beyond the exotic coffee mixes that beg understanding, there was a nice handful of eggy, meaty and bready delights for morning appetites.

The barista patiently explained the food and processes, we selected a hot chocolate, a medium coffee, today’s quiche and, despite past misgivings about anything wrapped in dough, the highly-recommended breakfast burrito.

The hot chocolate was judged most worthy by our aficionado, the coffee, though described on the carafe as “light,” was heavy to this coffee drinker, consider, however, that his usual brew comes in three pound Costco cans.

About this time, the titular heads of Shakopee’s Wermerskirchen retail clothing dynasty entered, greeted and sized us, and immediately imparted a local, hometown feel to the fledgling establishment.

Sadly, we must mark down the Munkabeans for its uncoordinated delivery of our breakfasts. Kathleen had all but finished her recently-baked quiche before Stan’s burrito was announced and delivered by the very busy help. The ham’n cheese quiche was tasty, Kathleen will try the egg 'n swiss croissant next time. The burrito balanced a hash of scrambled eggs, ham and peppers, laced with just about the right amount of kick for a Norwegian out on the town taking risks. Its bland wrapping was dutifully consumed as well, judged to be a poor cousin of church basement lefse.

Just up from Munkabeans, they tore down a house to provide parking for yet another new Shakopee restaurant: The O'Brien Public House. As we drove by it on our way home this morning, we wondered if those Irish will actually make that November opening. We’ll let you know.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Once bitten, twice shy

The last time Dick Crawford parked his car at our house, he returned to find a shattered windshield, the victim of a wildly errant golf ball. Yesterday, his insurance company would be pleased to know, we found our chastened visitor cautiously snugging his car safely against our garage door, out of harm's way. We live, we learn.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Our daughter, Marcy, painted this "Sunshine" acrylic for a realtor to use in a Minneapolis house staging starting tomorrow. Nice, huh?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Honor Roll

Thirty-three classmates were honored in this Memoriam at the recent 50th Reunion of the Alexandria Jefferson High School Class of 1965.

Monday, October 12, 2015

At the shack

Wayne and MaryAnn were at their hunting shack near International Falls this weekend. We got these photos and a note from Wayne:

We are past the color peak up here but this maple is holding on and showing off. Note the cool hollow logs. (at right) They make for a very interesting fire when they are stood up in the fire pit. Came in from the woods on Sunday morning. Too warm.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Season finale?

A gorgeous day (claimed by meteorologists to be in the Top 10) inspired an intimate neighborhood gathering on the tarmac tonight, with beverages and discussions of everything from a grandchild serving on the Navy Ship "Comfort" to favorite movies. . . and the neighbors who were not in attendance tonight. Midway through the evening, Vance and Lisa drove in from a holiday in Mexico where they had celebrated a birthday with friends. We were jealous. . . until they said they had to get back to work tomorrow morning.
People who keep track of these things say that today, Oct. 11, was the latest tarmac event ever.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

On changing dipsticks, operating systems

About that much on the spiral dipstick.
Ordinarily Wes Anderson would be settling in to a relaxed Saturday afternoon watching collegiate football, anticipating that 3 p.m. Merlot allowed on special days. Not today. The missus sez they're going on a road trip to see the mother-in-law, so plans have changed. Prudently, he checked the oil in the family Chevrolet before heading out, but "You know, Stan, I just can't read that doggone dipstick. Now that they've got it all twisted in a spiral and then there are three dots on it. You can't tell what you're looking at."
A quick trip to Hennen's Shell solved that, the boys told him all about the new and improved dipsticks and told him it said he was three quarters of a quart low. Not sure how he resolved that.
We don't much like change here at Abbey Point. Leave well enough alone. Good enough is good.
The pushy folks at Apple computer have been prompting Stan for at least a year now that it was time to change his operating system to something called "El Capitan." They call it an upgrade and promise it will be free and easy and it will make things better. Stan takes a different view.
But yesterday he finally succumbed to the pressure, and with trepidation and dread, at 9 a.m. agreed to make a change to "El Capitan."
After skipping over the legal agreement that gives Apple privileges heretofore reserved exclusively for next of kin, the download began. It looked promising, mentioning things like 28 minutes left and offering a pause button, but then the screen turned cold, locked up the keyboard and displayed nothing but the Apple logo and a bar that was 90 percent filled.
That was it. . . for 18 hours.
By 6 a.m. today, El Capitan had finally wedged itself into the computer, and the keyboard and screen were active again, but the list of horribles has yet to be completed. Nothing is the same, it's all different, and some things aren't even there any more. Email is broke; notes are lost.
We don't like the new operating  system. We don't like El Capitan at all.
A kind and patient gentleman with advanced degrees and years of experience in the digital world has volunteered to consult and advise tomorrow and help make things right. We're grateful.
In the meantime, the folks at Apple are already prompting again. Updates are available. Time to make some changes. Free and easy and better.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Ribbon cutting at newspaper office

The leadership team of Southwest News Media hosted a community gathering and ribbon-cutting at their new offices in Savage. It's the old newspaper company Stan used to run, reincarnated in a glitzy warehouse setting where employees busily continue to keep the local communities informed using new digital media applications. . . and good old newsprint as well.
The mayor of Savage was there and announced that one of the newspapers, the Savage Pacer, was named by 60 percent of residents as their primary source of local news. The founder of that newspaper is seen above, Laurie Hartmann, on the far left.
Inside, visitors were treated to turkey sandwiches, desserts and cold beverages and got a good look at what a progressive newspaper office looks like these days.
Also in attendance were Jim and Carrie Becker (right). Jim was the controller of the parent newspaper company for decades.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Still the Fun Class, fifty years later

We'll add more photos when Lorlee Bartos, class photographer, gets around to sending them.
Organizer Beverly Roers Korkowski  with
Mary Anne Hibbard Estenson
About 150 of us, which is half of the Alexandria Jefferson Senior High Class of 1965, gathered for a 50-year reunion last night. Our memories were sharp because we all had name tags with our senior pictures on them.
Barbara Kloehn Pyle, who attended a one-room country school and had the same teacher and only one classmate for eight grades before being told to report to town school in a dress, emceed the program at the Alexandria Golf Club. (Yes, that's where Tom Lehman learned to golf, sometimes barefoot.)

Thirty-three classmates have died, a beautiful book and display memorializing them drew admiration in the lobby. A couple dozen veterans, all from the Vietnam era, were called upon to identify themselves and their branch of service -- a highly unusual honor for this formerly overlooked group of men, many drafted against their will to serve in an unpopular war. Being thanked for any military service became fashionable only after the first Iraq war.

Statutes of Limitation on Certain Acts of Hooliganism and Desecration have apparently run out after 50 years, as responsible miscreants willingly admitted to here-to-fore secret deeds. Classmates were finally freed to shake their heads and fingers at naughty boys and girls for everything from toilet paper on statues to granite tombstones in the high school courtyard.

Emcee Barb Kloehn Pyle, with Charley Stark and
your blog host in yet another selfie.
As the emcee ticked off the many achievements and notables of the Class of 1965, she also included our convicted murderer, perhaps to keep us humble.

When Walter Cronkite announced the death of John F. Kennedy, we all heard the news over the same intercom. Barbara was in Mr. Morrison's History Class and she remembered the tears and the sounds of wailing from classrooms down the hall. Mostly she remembers what Mr. Morrison did for her that day and was able to thank him 52 years later when she saw him at the Douglas County Fair:

After about 10 minutes of shock and fear of the unknown, Mr. Morrison stood up and said: "Yes, the president is dead, but Vice President Lyndon Johnson will be sworn in as our new president. You are going to be alright."

Other teachers were lauded as well. We all looked down on Mr. Madson. But that was only because he was short, not because he didn't care. He had insisted on seeing BOTH of Barb's parents when he felt she could do better in biology. He just assumed two parents, she mused, an unusual assumption these days.

Later, as usual, numerous members of the Class of 1965 came over to say what a great teacher Erling Rolfsrud was. They recall his methodical drills in ninth grade English that had served them well over the years, avoiding embarrassment with misplaced modifiers and dangling participles in correspondence, writings and speech during various professional and personal endeavors. Erling's son is left to simply acknowledge the expressions and thank his father's former students for their earnest comments.

Jean Huberty lost her high school yearbook and had somehow acquired a brand new one. She spent the evening getting it autographed. Again. One classmate boldly scrawled: "To the cutest girl in the class!" And why not?

The class has six sets of twins. That's unusual, but even more so, one set has a last name of Kloehn, which is pronounced "clone." There are the usual number of cancer survivors and victims and hip and knee replacements. One hip replacement did not go well, which is unusual, as the patient promptly broke her leg, but gamely attended last night with a cane.

Not satisfied with Barb's official class summary, Tom Ellis rose to give a minority report. Barb had totally omitted mentioning Seegar's, he complained, the worthy basement pool joint just a block from junior high, where a ninth grader could smoke three cigarettes over lunch hour and still get back to class. The "hour" was really only about 22 minutes, so this was an achievement in itself. The enterprising proprietor of the smokey haven, realizing that his noon rush wanted more than mere chips and pop, thoughtfully boiled hot dogs behind the bar, and sold them for 25 cents each. Tom's mother gave him $5 a week for lunch money, so this was enough to cover meals and a pack of cigarettes.

Tom reeled off the names of Seegar's lunch hour regulars as the audience helped along, lest anyone be left from the roll. Sadly, none of the honorees attended last night, but, it was hastily noted, not because of lung cancer.
Mr. and Mrs.  Benson
Fifty years later.

Classmates Mark and Karen Benson were there from Wisconsin, they have already celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. . . which (gasp) occurred well before their 50th high school graduation anniversary. Their marriage appears as rock-steady as ever.

Almost all were born in 1947, the same year the first dynamite blast tore into the South Dakota mountain containing a statue of Crazy Horse. Three generations of the same family have carved the mountain and recently a spokesman said the job would be done by 2047, taking exactly 100 years for its completion. Looking out over the audience, Barb issued a challenge.

"Let's all get together for the dedication!"

By the looks of this robust group of healthy fun-seeking boomers, a lot of them are going to make it.

Attendees included:
Anderson, Brad; Anderson, Doug; Anderson (Roers), Judy; Anderson (Helie), Ruth; Andres (Feda), LaVonne; Bartos, Lorlee; Benson, Mark & Karen (Schjei); Bettin (Zimmel), Marlene; Bey, Russ; Bird (Meyer), Karen; Black (Arendt), Mary Jane; Blanchard, Judy; Braunschweig, Charlie; Carlson (Johnson), Jane; Davis (Seppanen), Judy; Deleski, Jerry; Drexler, Joe; Eastlund, Van; Ellis, Tom; Estenson (Hibbard), Mary Anne; Evans, Linda; Faber, Hank; Faust (Josephs), Kathy; Forster, Peter; Froemming, Steve; Gilbertson (Olson), Bonita; Hagemeister (Schultz), Kathy; Hanson (Widstrom), Paula; Helie, Bob; Hendricks (McCarthy), Diane; 
Herdan, John; Hillemeier (Salt), Jeri Lee; Hilsenhoff (Anderson), Kaleen; Howe, Mike; Hurley (Erickson), Sharon; Johnson, Greg; Kiehne, Tom; Kloehn, James; Kloehn, John; Kochie, Rob; Korkowski (Roers), Bev; Kuhne, Tom; Lagergren (Koubsky), Jeanette; Lanigan, Jerry; Ley, Louie; Linnes (Hartung), Beverly; Lommen (Spellman), Lynne; McPhee (Olson), Marilyn; Miller (Bakke), Cathy; Mithun (Marquette), DiAnn; Navratil (Meyer), Wanda; Nokes, Paul; Obert, Tom; O’Brien (Hoffman), Diane; Olson, Larry; Overly, David; Owens (Collins), Patty; Peterson (Nelson), Dorothy; Peterson, Patricia; Putzka (Pederson), Betty; Pyle (Kloehn), Barbara; Rolfsrud, Stan
Schmidt, Greg; Schroeder (Hanson), Gail; Schulke, Gary; Seltz (Graves, Sue; Serie, Dave; Skadsberg (Sherry), Kathy; Sly (Froemming), Ramona; Stark, Charlie; Steinmetz, Robert; Stramer (Nack), Sherryl; Sundblad (Anderson), Joyce; Thornton, Lonnie; Tobolt (Dokken), Betty; Toenjes, Tom; Trousil (Tvrdik), Bernice; Trousil (Dynda), Marlene; Trushenski (Bartholomew), Sharon; Van Kempen, Ellen; Wachter (Huberty), Jeanne; Wachter (Unger), Nancy; Widstrom (Wadsworth), Terrie; Williams, Darrell.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Bringing in Jennifer Lane

Your sidewalk representative made a quick tour of the neighborhood this morning and files this report. The sparkling fall weather supports a flurry of activity, each day marking stunning progress given the highly mechanized activity that has rendered the shovel and spade obsolete.

The extension of city utilities down Jennifer Lane required absolute trust and coordination this morning as a worker at the bottom of a trench signaled the operator of a massive bucket that is big enough to crush him and his entire family tree with a single swipe. The collaborators successfully found the stub end of the city water main and delicately prepared a comfortable bed for its upcoming marriage with the new pipe.

Your inspector was joined by an honest-to-goodness inspector from the City of Shakopee, who appeared to approve the procedure.
Mid-November appears to be the goal for completion of much of this activity; gorgeous weather is foretold for the near term. After that, if the hurricane hits the East Coast, we'll receive the usual dowsing a few days later.
The massive trenches photographed this morning should be closed by then.